With the upcoming Republican National Convention being held in Tampa, the party is dreaming of turning the state back to red as far as the Presidential election is concerned. In 2008 Florida went with Barack Obama. But will Florida turn that around and go for Mitt Romney in 2012?
Maybe. Then again, maybe not so fast.
One might assume that by hosting the convention, it could lead to a bump in votes for the Republicans, but that won't necessarily be the case if history repeats itself.
On July 31, PPP polling showed this:
If the candidates for President this year were
Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt
Romney, who would you vote for?
Barack Obama................................................ 48%
Mitt Romney.................................................... 47%
This was, of course, before Romney announced his running mate Paul Ryan. I'll get back to that in a moment.
Today The Tampa Tribune asked how likely it would be that Floridians would embrace the candidate it propels into the race by hosting his nomination, and the results may surprise you.
History, revealed through a study by political scientist David Schultz of Hamline University in Minnesota suggests the answer is no.
Hamline reviewed post-World War II Presidential elections and has concluded that a major party convention has little impact on a states leanings.
He found that in 32 national conventions since 1948, there have been only five examples of a state flipping it's vote toward the party of a convention host-for example, Republican-leaning Colorado going for Obama after the Democrats held their convention in Denver in 2008.
However, there were another five examples of the exact opposite happening - states hosting a "friendly" political convention and then flipping to the opposite party. THat was the case in New York in 1980, when Manhattan hosted the Democrats - and the state went for Ronald Reagan.
"For the most part, it's a wash," Schultz said. "There seems to be no evidence of a convention bump whatsoever."
Of the 32 conventions, Schultz looked at, there was no change in how the host state leaned in 22 of those meetings.
Further, the Tribune notes things that could affect the race this year in Florida, which include the selection of a Vice Presidential nominee, the Presidential debates, and those political issues that get big play between now and November.
Those factors just got more interesting with Saturday's announcement that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate. Much more interesting.
How will voters in Florida feel about Paul Ryan? Well, there are a lot of factors they may want to take a long hard look at before the election, because the choices between Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan could not be more stark and voters will benefit from paying close attention and educating themselves about what the real impact the Ryan choice could have on them. Romney has already shown himself to be "loose with the truth" to put it mildly, and this will only get worse. On the day of his announcement alone, he already flip-flopped on his previously eager endorsement of Ryan's toxic budget. That seems an odd stance considering he just picked that budget's author as a running mate. It's pretty hard to believe he'll run away from that budget now, but he's asking voters to wait until after the election to find out.
Voters need to be able to sift through the lies that will be thrown their way, because this is the most radical the right has gone for a VP nomination in the history of this country.
Some things to consider about Paul Ryan are these:
- Budget Axe and Tax Cuts For Millionaires: The Paul Ryan budget is toxic and the math doesn't add up. Ryan, along with Romney, supports trillions in budget killing tax cuts for millionaires that will have to come from somewhere. That means tax hikes for the middle class, cuts to education and investments. These deep cuts for the wealthy, would weaken the recovery even more and cost the economy jobs. Romney and Ryan are both very rich men. Landing in the White House is the sweet spot for enriching themselves with more of those tax breaks at the expense of the middle class and seniors. There's a very good reason that Romney doesn't want voters to see his tax returns, and this is one of them. How many would vote for him if it meant they had to pay his share of taxes? Tax cuts for the wealthy means gutting other programs critical to middle class security like Pell Grants for students, grants for medical and scientific research, and cutting clean energy investments by 19%.
- Women's Health Meets the Stone Age: While Romney may claim he's "severly conservative" (at least, the last we heard) Paul Ryan is the real deal. He's about as "severly" conservative as it gets. Ryan cosponsored a bill that could ban in-vitro fertilization, as well as many common forms of birth control, including the pill. It could also ban all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. He supported letting states prosecute women who have abortions and doctors who perform them.
- Equal Pay For Women? How Quaint: Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps women fight for equal pay for equal work.
- Supports Gay Discrimination: Ryan voted against repealing the discriminatory policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and supports writing discrimination into the Constitution by amending it to ban gay marriage.
- Medicare and Social Security? Gone: That leaves us with the big issues among Florida's huge percentage of voters who are 50 and over: Medicare, Social Security, and health care. Paul Ryan's main objective has been, and will be to end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program which would increase seniors’ health costs by $6,350 a year. Ryan has also proposed a plan that would have privatized Social Security, subjecting seniors’ retirement security to the whims of the stock market, something even Bush couldn't get. After the crash of 2008, the huge swing to the right in Congress combined with big donors on Wall Street make it a near certainty that the second time could well be the charm.
- Say Goodbye To Your Health Care Too: Last, but by no means least, both Romney and Ryan have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or as they call it "ObamaCare." Voters are already seeing the advantages from what's been implemented so far, like lower costs for seniors and preventive health care for women. Add to that the Romney claim of the phantom "War on Religion" which is just another way of saying he'll block contraception for women. He's also said he'll end funding of Planned Parenthood which also provides so much preventive care for women.
Swing states will of course be a big issue in this year's election, and Florida already has a few things the GOP hope will swing it back to them. The 2000 election that led to the mess we're in with the Supreme Court handing the election to George W. Bush is no longer a distant memory, if it ever was.
In 2010, Florida caused collective whiplash across the country by handing the state over to a millionaire businessman best known for his company's history with Medicare fraud. He spent millions of his own to in effect "buy" the office. All this in a state with a large senior population. Many foresaw disaster, and as predicted, that disaster is already well under way, and we're barely two years out. (Forget governing, Scott's already raising money and campaigning for 2014 and has been for quite some time.) Needless to say people are hurting under Scott, and buyer's remorse is raw and palatable. Scott has been largely shunned even among the GOP.
Florida went to President Obama in 2008, and Republicans here are well aware of that, which brings us to Scott's voter purge. Recently the former chair of the Republican Party in Florida told of meetings where voter suppression, mainly against minorities, was openly discussed. Just this past Friday he said that Rick Scott and Republicans are using "voter fraud" as a marketing tool to suppress the minority vote, because they want to "make sure that what happened in 2008 never happens again." This is a surprise to no one, but Scott and the GOP have recently shown they'll do anything to make sure this happens. For that reason, voting is more important now than ever before.
What seemed to be a swing state just days ago may no longer be. While Romney may have been just a less than ideal candidate for many in the Republican Party, he's turned into a nightmare for Floridians by picking Paul Ryan.
For those already living a nightmare of their own with Rick Scott, what are the chances they'll take the risk of getting burned a second time over?
The GOP in Florida may have won the battle with Rick Scott, and the limelight with the convention in Tampa, only to lose the war in November.
(Screen shot from MSNBC)