Democrats under Siege in the Sunbelt Megastates: California, Florida, and Texas

By Albert J. Nelson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
FLORIDA ELECTIONS

Florida is a Southern state that has undergone significant party change since the 1960s civil rights and reapportionment decisions. When V. O. Key, Jr. wrote his classic Southern Politics ( 1949), Florida was a Democratic, single-party system, highly factionalized, dominated by personalities, and so politically atomized that single strains of ideological commitment were very difficult to identify.

One difference between Florida and other deep South, traditionalistic states ( Elazar, 1972) is the proportion of its population born outside state boundaries. This has characterized Florida for over fifty years and markedly affected its politics. Whether these newcomers were Latinos from Cuba and other Central American nations or northern business professionals and retired middle-class citizens, all have significantly affected the drift of Florida's politics. The most important demographic event has been the shift of rural, in-state white immigrants who moved to urban areas. Historically, they had suffered from inadequate public service delivery and tended to be skeptical about paying higher taxes for programs they believed could not be efficiently implemented. Once in urban areas, the reapportionment decisions also gave them a voice. They have become the most important standard bearers of the Republican Party. From the reelection of President Richard Nixon, the political drift has been largely Republican and is likely to continue in this direction.1

Florida is different in other ways as well. Its legislature is highly innovative, perhaps due to increased party competition, and greater

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Democrats under Siege in the Sunbelt Megastates: California, Florida, and Texas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Chapter 1- Introduction 1
  • Notes 11
  • Chapter 2- California Elections 13
  • Notes 40
  • Chapter 3- Texas Elections 41
  • Note 67
  • Chapter 4- Florida Elections 69
  • Notes 91
  • Chapter 5- Conclusions and Caveats 93
  • Notes 110
  • Bibliography 111
  • Index 117
  • About the Author 121
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