Will Felons and Puerto Ricans turn Florida Blue?

There are two demographic trends in Florida which may turn the state Democratic: Puerto Ricans moving to the state, and felons possibly being given the right to vote.

As many as 300,000 people have fled to Florida from Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. And a ballot initiative this November could return the vote to the state’s estimated 1.5 million discharged felons. At first glance, either tally of these two Democratic-leaning groups would seem to dwarf Donald J. Trump’s 113,000-vote margin of victory in the state in 2016.

The article claims that voting by felons is the bigger concern:

According to Daniel Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Florida, about 62 percent of Florida’s registered Puerto Ricans voted in 2016, a lower percentage than that of other Hispanic groups in Florida. That would mean around 80,000 votes, and not all of those voters will support Democrats. Even if Democrats won them by a big margin, 75 percent to 25 percent, for example, they would still net only around 40,000 votes.

The re-enfranchisement of most former felons in the state is potentially much more significant. And while there’s considerable evidence that ex-convicts have a low turnout rate, they don’t need to have a very high turnout rate to make a difference if there’s roughly 1.5 million of them.

But in a countervailing trend, the article suggests that white people could be an important factor in the next elections:

Florida has long been a retirement destination, and its above-average number of high-turnout older white voters have both trended toward the Republicans and helped counter other demographic shifts.

The Villages, Fla., was the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States in 2016; it voted for Mr. Trump by 39 points. Over all, 10 of the 25 fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States were in Florida in 2016, and all except Orlando-Kissimmee — where there has been considerable Puerto Rican immigration — supported Mr. Trump in 2016.

It's very sad that Puerto Ricans are such reliable Democratic voters. But at the same time it is understandable. Puerto Rico is part of America but culturally it is more like Central America, with a socialist orientation and little respect for private property rights and entrepreneurship. Puerto Ricans have also fallen for the Democratic propaganda line that Republicans hate Hispanics because they oppose illegal immigration, which is not nearly the same thing. Republicans can oppose illegal immigrants, and many illegal immigrants are Hispanic, but that says nothing about Republican views of legal Hispanics of any kind.

If Florida turns Democratic, a Republican can never be elected president. Trump won it by slightly over 1%. Do you think Democrat's "Escape from New York" strategy will turn Florida blue?

Ed Straker is the senior writer at Newsmachete.com.

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