“Democrats Reinvigorated by Ron DeSantis’ Presidential Bid”
Political US

“Democrats Reinvigorated by Ron DeSantis’ Presidential Bid”


The Florida governor’s ongoing struggle to close the gap in the polls against Donald Trump has injected a fresh surge of hope into a party that has long grappled with political marginalization.

Although Governor Ron DeSantis was absent from Miami Beach on Saturday night, his presence was palpable. The Florida Democratic Party hosted its annual Leadership Blue gala, serving as the party’s largest gathering since DeSantis secured a resounding victory in his re-election campaign, winning by nearly 20 percentage points. This decisive win seemed to deliver a devastating blow to Florida Democrats, leaving them seemingly defeated and serving as a springboard for DeSantis’ ambitious 2024 presidential aspirations.

Nevertheless, the prevailing sentiment throughout the weekend did not reflect a party in decline. DeSantis’ struggling presidential campaign, trailing significantly behind Donald Trump in public opinion polls, has sparked a renewed sense of enthusiasm among Democrats who have been yearning for a breakthrough. Actor Bradley Whitford, a prominent Democratic activist known for his role in the early-2000s TV show “The West Wing,” took the stage as the gala’s keynote speaker. He passionately rallied the Florida Democratic Party and launched a scathing attack on DeSantis. Whitford’s comment branding DeSantis as a “f—– coward” reverberated through the crowd, receiving a standing ovation. He boldly declared, “He is afraid of history. He is afraid of people different than him. He is afraid of Donald Trump.” Whitford’s playful mockery of DeSantis’ political ad, “Top Gov,” depicting him as a fighter pilot reminiscent of Tom Cruise in the film “Top Gun,” was met with uproarious applause. He humorously added, “That’s right, Top Gov is a bit of a bottom.” Whitford also reveled in DeSantis’ dismal performance in polling against Trump, asserting, “The more people get to know Ronnie D… the less they seem to like him.” At the time of reporting, DeSantis’ campaign had not responded to requests for comment.

However, despite the vibrant atmosphere at the gala, Florida Democrats still face significant institutional hurdles as the 2024 election cycle unfolds. Republicans have achieved a historic milestone by surpassing Democrats in voter registration for the first time in Florida’s political history. Previously, Democrats enjoyed an advantage of approximately 700,000 registered voters in the mid-2000s. Additionally, the national Democratic Party has shifted its focus to states like Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona, considering them more strategically important and leaning towards a blue wave. Consequently, the Florida party has slipped down the priority list.

Moreover, Florida Democrats find themselves without a viable candidate to challenge incumbent Republican Senator Rick Scott, making it the state’s most crucial non-presidential contest next year. Potential Democratic prospects for the race include House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, Brevard County School Board member Jennifer Jenkins, and former Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. Mucarsel-Powell was spotted at the Fontainbleau on Miami Beach, the venue of the gala, engaged in discussions with former Representative Val Demings, who unsuccessfully ran against Republican Senator Marco Rubio in 2022.

Since assuming office in January, Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried has made concerted efforts to inject vitality into a party that has been perceived as stagnant in recent years. In her opening speech at the gala’s main event, Fried not only sought to galvanize party members but also challenged Republicans on issues typically associated with the political right. Asserting that conservatives do not hold an exclusive claim to the American flag, Fried boldly stated, “Let me say this loud and clear, I am tired.” Pointing to the half dozen American flags adorning the stage behind her, she continued, “Well, they do not.” Fried’s entrance was accompanied by the resonating chords of Tom Petty’s iconic song “I Won’t Back Down,” underscoring the theme of her speech and drawing parallels to “Never Back Down,” the name of the pro-DeSantis super PAC supporting his presidential bid. Fried also highlighted the unexpected surge of momentum with which Florida Democrats embarked on the 2024 election cycle, notably citing Democrat Donna Deegan’s surprise victory over DeSantis-backed Republican Daniel Davis in the mayoral race in Jacksonville. “Winning local races is pivotal to building statewide infrastructure,” Fried emphasized. “We need to win again.”

Throughout the evening, a prevailing theme emerged, conveying the unwavering determination of Florida Democrats to regain relevance in what was once the nation’s largest swing state, despite significant setbacks. Democratic Representative Fredricka Wilson, standing on stage alongside the state’s Democratic congressional delegation, which currently holds a mere eight of the state’s 28 congressional seats, rallied the audience, urging them not to abandon Florida. Fried concluded her speech with a resolute pledge to reintroduce the Democratic Party into conservative strongholds across the state, playfully mocking DeSantis’ taste in footwear along the way. “What people see us doing matters. That’s why you will find me traversing our state from Pensacola to Key West, appearing in places that this party has overlooked,” she asserted. “I am not afraid to call out his bulls—-.” With a smile, Fried added, “He has abysmal taste in shoes… I simply couldn’t resist.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *