Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

A New Southern Strategy (or Donald Trump Is My President)

Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

A New Southern Strategy (or Donald Trump Is My President)

Article excerpt

Of the so-called battleground states, Florida is the most important because it has the most electoral votes (29). When many people think of Florida they imagine metropolitan Miami, but this area is only a small part of the state. The rest of Florida is part of the Deep South, with the same old Southern problems.

Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election in the state of Florida by just 1% of the vote. In 2004 George W. Bush won the presidency over Al Gore by only 537 Florida votes, which determined the national election. Unlike another battleground state like Ohio, Florida voters do not shift party loyalties. Florida Republicans vote Republican and Democrats vote Democrat, which would normally imply a Democratic advantage since there were 4% more registered Democrats in Florida in 2016.

Votes were not the only deciding factor in both the 2004 and 2016 presidential elections. What may have determined the results were the Democratic votes not counted, which provided enough of a margin to secure Republican wins.

While there have always been more registered Democratic voters in the state than Republicans, Republican strategists under Richard Nixon set out to bridge the gap by dividing the electorate in the South by race, using the Democratic registration of Blacks as a catalyst to mobilize their own base to secure high Republican voter turnout.

In 2016 Democratic votes fell as a result of new voting restrictions and confusion over changing laws requiring government-issued identification at polling centres.

In the past, voter registration drives by non-profit groups have been responsible for outreach to millions of voters unlikely to self-register who are mostly Democrat. In 2012 voter drives in Florida were stifled by laws requiring volunteers to sign out registration forms and return them along with blank ones within 48 hours. Individuals and groups registering were made jointly liable for fines of $250 for each form returned ten days after completion and $5,000 (and possible felony charges) for unknowingly registering ineligible voters. This caused some groups like The League of Women Voters to halt voter drives altogether, resulting in lower numbers of new voters.

Removing voters from the rolls was another effective tool in skewing election results. Florida has the highest rate of voter disenfranchisement in the United States. …

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