Florida is the key to victory in November for both Donald Trump and the Democratic nominee. With 29 electoral votes at stake, Florida is the swingiest of all swing states, the battleground of all battlegrounds. The densely populated urban areas along the coasts vote heavily Democratic while the panhandle and much of the interior is GOP country. It makes statewide elections very close affairs with a slim margin between victory and defeat.
Bernie Sanders might have just destroyed the Democrats in Florida. In his 60 Minutes interview on Sunday, Sanders proved just how tone-deaf he truly is.
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know?” Sanders said Sunday when asked about the remarks. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
Mussolini got the trains to run on time. Is that a bad thing even though Mussolini did it? Hitler put 7 million people back to work. Is that a bad thing even though Hitler did it?
Only a left-wing crazy could be so obtuse.
Donald Trump and the state Republicans are gleeful. Indeed, Bernie’s got a lot more where those came from. Sanders’ support for Danny Ortega in Nicaragua during the 1980s was even more mystifying.
Rather than concede the point that the socialist government of Ortega had gone too far, Sanders pushed back in his reply to Pike, asserting that the Sandinistas’ “temporary suspension of certain civil liberties is considerably more complex” than Pike described and that Ortega did not intend to “allow their enemy the total freedom to defeat them and destroy their government” as Chile had in the prior decade. “President Ortega and the Nicaraguan government have chosen not to follow that example,” Sanders wrote.
Ortega was on the side of the angels because cracking down on freedom is “considerably more complex” than, well, cracking down on freedom. In the minds of leftist revolutionaries like Sanders, the ends justify the means and if a few heads have to roll — literally — then that’s the price of “justice.”
Florida Democrats don’t see it that way.
“If Bernie Sanders is atop the ticket, it’s going to make it tougher for all of us to win in Florida,” said Fernandez, who has endorsed Sanders’ rival Joe Biden. “No one really sees Sanders winning Florida and I don’t think his campaign does either.”
As a state with an influential cross-section of Latinos whose families fled leftist Latin American regimes and violence, Sanders embrace of far-left leaders and his past refusals to wholeheartedly condemn Latin American strongmen and the Soviet Union have long been seen as fatal flaws.
It’s not just Cuban refugees and their descendants who are angry with Sanders. The Florida Hispanic community is actually made up of several communities: exiles from left-wing oppressive governments in Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and a half-dozen other nations that don’t like the idea of Sanders giving Communist and socialist governments a pass.
Sanders’ positions on Latin America could be the most problematic in a general election. If it leads to defections to Trump or low Hispanic turnout, it could make a material difference in a state where Latinos account for more than 17 percent of the registered voters.
Florida doesn’t have a single Latino community. It has immigrants and exiles from multiple Latin American countries where “socialism” is a loaded term. When Sanders says he wants to lead a “revolution,” it sounds like “revolución!” to many in South Florida who fled Castro and other leftist regimes. Sanders’ supporters have even earned the nickname “Sandernistas,” a play on Sandinistas, the socialist guerillas who overthrew the right-wing Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua in 1979.
Trump could have Florida locked up by Labor Day if Sanders is the nominee. If that were the case, resources could easily be shifted from Florida to the real battleground states of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Sanders’ folly in Florida is a boon for Trump everywhere else.