I was asked to give an overview at this session of the election from a South Florida bird's-eye view. Here are the thoughts I presented.
Headlines: 'Voter Suppression Failed.' 'Cubans are going "blue" in Rubio's back yard.' 'Obama won Florida two days after the rest of the country.'
Digging down, we note the following critical factors shaping the results:
- Shortened early voting period led to increased scramble for absentee voting.
- Courts curtailed Governor Scot's initiative to purge immigrant voter rolls and voter registration restrictions.
- 11 legislature-driven constitutional amendments led to a 12-page ballots.
- Lines as long as 5-7 hours (thanks to voter grit and determination) led to innovations including voters with baby lines (leading to people coming back with babies).
- Florida Hispanics voted 61% for Democratic candidate for president (up from 58% in 2008); 83% in the I-4 corridor in Central Florida.
- Miami-Dade County Hispanics voted 48% for President Obama; 51% in the Hispanic concentrated precincts. In other words, the support for Republican-party issues has declined in the Cuban American stronghold of Miami-Dade County and is a sign of changing trends.
What does this mean? Much has been written about the changing demographics of this election. Since all politics is local, it behooves all of us to draw from these lessons to think how to engage our residents in the years ahead, both in electoral politics and in the underlying issues that drove the results: access to healthcare, jobs, education and fair taxation. Catalyst Miami is well positioned to grow engagement through our range of individual and organizational civic leadership programs.