Florida Democrats’ Biden Sheltering Strategy Backfires, Benefits GOP

The Florida Democratic Party’s decision to cancel their primary this week and hand the state’s delegates directly to Joe Biden without a contest has resulted in unexpected gains for the Republican Party. Originally intended to secure the rapidly declining incumbent’s position, this move has sparked controversy and accusations of “intentional disenfranchisement” from Biden’s Democratic challengers.

Due to the lack of a Democratic primary, there was a noticeable decrease in Democratic turnout compared to the Republican primary, where voters strongly supported President Donald Trump.

Notably, in Clearwater, Republican Bruce Rector won the mayoral race and Michael Mannino and Ryan Cotton secured City Council seats, defeating incumbent Democrats. Similarly, in Orange County, Shane Taylor emerged victorious in the Oakland mayoral race, running on a solid conservative platform.

The Tampa Bay Times found the Republican success was due to “significant conservative turnout.” Even though President Trump had already safely secured the GOP nomination before Tuesday, the functional cancellation of the Democratic primary handed Republicans a significant advantage.

Furthermore, in Delray Beach, Tom Carney, a former mayor and commissioner, won the mayoral seat, significantly outperforming his opponents. His victory, along with others, has led to reflections on the Democrats’ emphasis on the “woke” principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, which many believe do not resonate with the broader electorate as intended.

The local races settled on Tuesday appeared to receive little Democratic support, despite the endorsements by Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Nikki Fried. Some candidates only managed to win by much more narrow margins than expected. Several others managed only slim majorities in districts that Joe Biden won handily in 2020.

Democratic presidential hopefuls Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Marianne Williamson blasted Florida’s decision to cancel the party primary as an unabashed attempt to avoid internal competition and guarantee Biden’s nomination. That strategy led to some unintended consequences, including substantial Republican gains in the Sunshine State.

This week’s Florida primary election should serve as a painful lesson for the Democratic Party. The decision to rig the nomination for Biden turned out to significantly weaken the party’s local influence and viability in November.