‘This one big thing’

Orlando Sentinel (Sunday) - - PEOPLE & ARTS -

The next ques­tion is how those new vot­ers will vote.

The 2018 elec­tion only so­lid­i­fied Florida’s rep­u­ta­tion for ra­zor-thin mar­gins, with races for U.S. Se­nate, gov­er­nor and agri­cul­ture com­mis­sioner de­ter­mined by less than a per­cent­age point com­bined.

In the time af­ter Elec­tion Day, as Florida Democrats’ dreams of a blue wave of new Puerto Ri­can vot­ers failed to ap­pear, many turned to a new hope in the vot­ers en­fran­chised by Amend­ment 4.

But Demo­cratic strate­gist Steve Schale said it’s un­likely the new vot­ers will au­to­mat­i­cally start to swing elec­tions in the Democrats’ fa­vor.

“Peo­ple who live in Florida — just as we saw af­ter [Hur­ri­cane] Maria — think, ‘This one big thing is go­ing to dra­mat­i­cally re­shape the state,’” he said. “I don’t be­lieve that.”

Schale said the Democrats’ reg­is­tra­tion mar­gin over Repub­li­cans in Florida has dipped from about 670,000 in 2008 to 260,000 in 2018.

“My party has to show up and reg­is­ter vot­ers,” Schale said. “Could that po­ten­tial pool of a mil­lion and a half peo­ple have an im­pact on pol­i­tics? Ab­so­lutely. But none of this mat­ters if par­ties can’t reach out.”

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