Florida Showdown: Dems Bank on Abortion Vote, GOP Holds Aces

In a recent Florida court decision, liberals are getting all jazzed up about their chances of scoring a big win in the “Sunshine State” due to a measure to guarantee abortion access being added to the November ballot. But let’s not pop the champagne just yet, because Republicans in Florida have got some major structural advantages that are tougher to crack than a walnut.

The Florida Supreme Court decided to give the green light to a vote on an abortion rights amendment that’s basically a copycat of Roe v. Wade, but at the same time, those judges also cleared the runway for a six-week abortion ban signed by Governor Ron DeSantis to take off on May 1. So it’s like they’re playing both sides of the field here.

Now, the whole abortion issue is back in the spotlight, and Democrats are hoping that the ballot measure, along with another one on recreational marijuana, will pump up their voter turnout, which has been about as exciting as watching paint dry lately.

“These very key amendments are going to be on the ballot, and that drives out a different constituency and are going to put Republicans at odds with a broad electorate,” said Christian Ulvert, a Democratic strategist in Miami-Dade. But hold your horses, Christian, because the group that pushed for the abortion ballot initiative, Floridians Protecting Freedom, says they collected over 1 million signatures, and a bunch of them came from registered Republican voters. So it’s no guarantee that this is going to be a slam dunk for the Dems.

The Biden campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, wrote in a memo that abortion “will help mobilize and expand the electorate in the state, given the overwhelming majority of Floridians support abortion rights.” Sounds like she’s trying to rally the troops, but let’s not forget that Florida Republicans have been holding onto the reins pretty tightly in recent years.

Sure, Florida has been leaning more to the right, but Ulvert thinks this election could be a game-changer for the Democrats. He claims that it’s not because Republicans have been doing anything right, but because Democrats have dropped the ball. He’s pointing to 2022 when DeSantis won over a populous county that used to be a big Democratic stronghold. Ulvert says it’s all because the turnout for Democratic voters wasn’t exactly stellar. But hey, that’s politics for ya. Can’t win ’em all.

After the court ruling, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee made sure to point out that Senator Rick Scott said he would have signed a six-week ban in the past. They’re really gunning for him, huh? Meanwhile, DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban and then went and added the six-week law while he was running for president. Some Republicans are worried that this move might come back to bite them in the rear when it’s time to hit the polls.

But hold the phone, folks. Some Republicans aren’t breaking a sweat about all this. They’re pointing out that they have the political power in the state and have been beefing up their voter registration numbers like they’re trying to win a contest. They’ve also brought up past ballot measures that Floridians have voted for, like raising the minimum wage, legalizing medical marijuana, and restoring felons’ voting rights. So who’s to say they won’t shoot down these new proposals?

In addition to the abortion measure, the Florida Supreme Court also gave thumbs up to a proposed constitutional amendment that would give the green light to lighting up some Mary Jane for recreational use. Democrats are eyeing this as another chance to pull in more voters.

Ulvert says he expects to see a flood of money pouring into the state as a result of these ballot measures, and he’s urging Democrats to jump in with both feet, even though there aren’t a ton of races that could sway the balance of power in Washington. Looks like they’re ready to go all in on Florida.

So, will the Biden campaign decide to throw down some chips in Florida or take their chances on other battlegrounds? It’s like a high-stakes game of poker, and all the chips are on the table. Only time will tell if Florida becomes the ultimate political battleground.

Written by Staff Reports

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