Florida is known for its unique political landscape, characterized by its large and diverse population, a history of influential political figures and its significant influence on national politics.
Yasmin Davis of Miami mentions that it is important to analyze some key aspects of Florida’s politics that are worth noting in order to understand the state’s political climate.
Included here are a few factors to consider when analyzing Florida’s politics as well as their impact.
Florida Demographics and Diversity
Florida is often considered a swing state in national elections, meaning it doesn’t consistently vote for one political party. It is home to a heterogeneous population with varying political views. Florida’s population is diverse, encompassing a wide range of cultures, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The state has a sizable population of both conservative and liberal voters, and Florida’s voting patterns and demographics have a significant impact on national politics. In recent years, it has seen close contests between Democrats and Republicans in various elections. Its electoral votes are highly coveted and , as a result, Florida’s political dynamics receive significant attention during national campaigns.
Florida is one of the most populous states in the United States, with a rapidly growing population that is both diverse and politically influential. The state has a mix of urban areas, such as Miami, Tampa, and Orlando, and rural regions, which contribute to its distinct political assortment. Florida has a significant Cuban-American and Latino population; in fact, according to the 2022 US Census Bureau on Florida, out of a state population of 22.2 million, 27.1% (6 million people) are Hispanic.
Seventy percent of Cubans living in the United States reside in South Florida, particularly Miami-Dade and Monroe County. Tampa is also home to a large Latin community but unlike Miami, it is predominantly Mexican and Puerto Rican. There is also a large Puerto Rican community in Orlando and its surrounding area. The Latin demographic group has a distinct influence on the state’s politics, often advocating for policies related to Cuba and other Latin American countries.
Florida has a significant number of congressional representatives (28 delegates) in the U.S. House of Representatives due to the size of its population. The state’s political representation often reflects the overall swing nature of the state.
Florida is led by a Republican-controlled state government, and Ron DeSantis, a Republican, serves as the Governor of Florida. This one-party control has had a significant impact on the state’s policies and legislation. Elected in 2018, DeSantis has been a prominent figure in the national political landscape, often making headlines for his policies and approach to governing, especially in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also captured national attention by waging culture wars and picking fights with major corporations such as Disney, Bud Light, Norwegian Cruise Line, the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball Team, and the Special Olympics.
Governor DeSantis recently passed the following controversial legislation:
The Parental Rights in Education Bill, also known as the Don’t Say Gay Bill, was passed in July 2022 and expanded in May 2023. It forbids any classroom instruction regarding sexual orientation or gender identity in all grades k-12.
The Six-Week Abortion Ban was passed into law on April 2023. It bans abortions after six weeks unless necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life. Abortions from pregnancies resulting from rape or incest would be allowed until 15 weeks of gestation only if the woman can provide proof of documentation such as a restraining order or police report.
Critical Race Theory Bill was passed in May 2023 eliminating funding for DEI (Diversity Equity Inclusion) and CRT (Critical Race Theory) programs from public universities and general education classes. Governor DeSantis called them “woke ideology that is racially divisive and discriminatory and state-sanctioned racism that teaches kids to hate our country or to hate each other”.
In April 2023, Governor DeSantis signed the Constitutional Carry-HB53 Bill into law which allows Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a permit. The law also eliminates the requirement for gun owners to complete a firearm safety and training course or pay a licensing fee to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Public Sector Union Law Bill 256 passed in May 2023 in an attempt to restrict public-sector workers (excluding public safety workers such as law-enforcement officers and firefighters) from creating or joining unions in order to bargain for better pay, better insurance etc.
In addition, Florida has passed several voting-related laws in recent years, including changes to mail-in voting, voter ID requirements, and restrictions on early voting. These laws have generated controversy and legal challenges. Furthermore, like many states, Florida has faced issues related to gerrymandering, where political boundaries are redrawn to favor one party. This has been a topic of debate and legal challenges in the state.
Florida is susceptible to climate change and environmental dilapidation due to its extensive coastline. Florida faces several critical issues, including ecological concerns such as managing water resources, addressing climate conditions and sea-level rise, as well as the conservation of its diverse ecosystem and wildlife. Thus, policies related to addressing sea-level rise, protecting natural resources, and mitigating environmental damage are important in Florida politics.
Additionally, healthcare, education, immigration, and the economy are pivotal topics in Florida’s political discourse. Crime rates and public safety matters, especially in urban areas, are also topics of political debate in Florida, with discussions about law enforcement, gun control, and criminal justice reform.
Yasmin Davis finds that the state’s diverse population ensures a wide range of perspectives on all these issues. Florida’s political landscape is complex, and it is a state that often reflects the broader political trends and divisions seen at the national level.