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Florida is the Key to the Presidency

Florida became a state in 1845. Since that time, the voters of Florida have voted in 43 Presidential elections (they only missed voting in the 1864 election). The candidate who won in Florida became the President 75 percent of the time. In those elections, Floridians selected a Democrat 25 times, a Republican 17 times, and once selected a Whig.

Out of those elections, only 10 men became President without winning Florida (McKinley did it twice). Interestingly enough, the eight times when the person who became President after losing in Florida from 1848 to 1924 were Republicans. Since 1924, the President has been selected by Florida in all but three contests, with two of those three being Republicans who won Florida, but lost the election.

It breaks down like this:

  • In 1860, Lincoln was not even on Florida’s ballot.
  • Florida was not part of the Union in 1864 and did not send electors to the college.
  • In 1880, the Democrat won Florida but was defeated in the election when Garfield was elected to the Presidency.
  • Republican Harrison in 1888 won the electoral college while losing the popular vote. That would not happen again until Al Gore lost to GW Bush in 2000. Florida had 4 of the 401 electoral votes at the time.
  • In 1896, Republican McKinley defeated Bryan to win Florida’s 4 votes in the electoral college.
  • In a rematch of the 1896 election, in 1900 McKinley again won the election after losing in Florida to Bryan.
  • When Teddy Roosevelt beat the Democrat to become President in 1904.
  • In 1908 when Taft, the Republican nominee, defeated Bryan.
  • Then in 1924, Coolidge beat out Davis to become President after winning Florida’s 6 electoral votes.
  • In 1960, Florida voters selected Richard Nixon, but JFK won the election.
  • In 1992, Bush won Florida’s 25 electoral votes but still lost the election to Bill Clinton.
  • Trump won Florida in 2020, but lost to Joe Biden.

Since 1952, Florida has been a pretty reliable vote for the Republicans, going red in 14 of the last 21 elections. From 1880 to 1948, Florida voters were reliably Democrat, having voted Blue in 17 out of the 18 Presidential elections during that period. I find that interesting, and I wonder if that has anything to do with the fundamental change of the Democrats becoming leftist.

5 replies on “Florida is the Key to the Presidency”

“and I wonder if that has anything to do with the fundamental change of the Democrats becoming leftist.” You can bet on it.

I’d say Florida going Red along with much of the South wasn’t due to Nixon’s Southern Strategy but due to Conservative Yankees moving South for better jobs and lower taxes and cost of living. Now the Yankee radicals are trying to escape their self induced shitholes and are trying to turn the South Purple.

As someone who lived thru the tail end of it, most of the Southern democrats were actually very conservative, religious, loved guns, babies and Jesus, and the Dem party had a prominent spot for them. Until the 60’s and 70’s, when that spot disappeared with Vietnam protests, racial divide, and growing liberal extremism sponsored from both coasts. The Southerners are still very conservative, religious, love guns, babies and Jesus, but the only party that (grudgingly) accepts them now are the R’s. And even then, most of the R’s only pay lip service to conservatism. Think back to the graphic Elon Musk tweeted for why he switched to the R party and that’s the Southern experience as a whole. Yankees moving down here didn’t really change things (except for the worse).

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