Donald Trump has, it seems, been president now for 33 years. Election Night 2016 (shudder) feels like a century ago. So much is different now: Our politics have become even more diseased than usual. Corruption and racism no longer disqualify someone from holding office. An accused rapist sits on the Supreme Court. Fox News comes closer each day to just reciting the white-nationalist Fourteen Words on-air.
In Florida's case, an admitted Medicare fraudster and a very angry-seeming and probably racist white dude want to be senator and governor, respectively. Given the history of the Florida Republican Party, those two candidates aren't exactly surprising. But what is surprising is that Florida Democrats have, so far, avoided tripping over themselves like they always do. Time will tell if Andrew Gillum can actually win Florida, but it's fair to say he's the most popular Democratic gubernatorial candidate in recent state history. He even, dare we say it, has a coherent economic platform. Plus, Florida might also begin the process of returning the right to more than 1 million mostly African American residents who have been disenfranchised.
So, sure, maybe voting for Democratic candidates won't reverse decades of capitalist plunder or lead to the impeachment of the Big Soggy Man occupying the White House. But tonight could be a start toward something better for Florida's working-class residents, who have demonstrably suffered under two decades of Republican-rule. Or, on the flipside, maybe everyone cool will lose because life is bleak and nothing matters. Only a few hours till we find out!
LIVE UPDATES (SCROLL TO BOTTOM FOR FULL LIST OF CANDIDATES/RACES):
11:45 p.m.: Lot of updates here: Most obviously, Republicans have now won every statewide seat in Florida. Ron DeSantis will be the next governor. Rick Scott is going to be a senator for the next six years. Democrats lost the state attorney general race. They lost the agricultural commissioner and CFO races. The state government is almost entirely in the hands of Republicans. DeSantis barely even had a platform. Scott is on TV right now declaring himself senator. It's been a bad night for the Dems. But, perhaps more notably, it's been a weird night: Polls were, by and large, wrong, and some folks who seemed likely to win — Gillum, Curbelo, et al — wound up getting blown out. Election polling in Florida has been consistently wrong for quite some time now.
Democrats did, however, pick up a few House seats. And, moreover, a slew of progressive amendments did pass: Amendment Four will restore voting rights to more than 1 million people. Dog racing will be outlawed by 2020. Miami's Strong Mayor initiative — which would have given the Miami mayor a ton of extra hiring and firing power — died
Overall, it's been an extremely weird night: Republicans won on absolutely razor-thin margins that might not exist in 2020 when the state's re-enfranchised former felons are allowed to vote again. But Republicans also scored their own, lasting change to the state constitution: An amendment that passed tonight will require a supermajority of votes in order to raise any new taxes at the state level. Even if Democrats or progressives take back the legislature, the state constitution will hamstring their efforts from here on out.
The night can be best summed up with this tweet:
how is Florida voting for the amendments backed by Gillum but not voting for Gillum make it make sense ?????? pic.twitter.com/e0Jlhm8GdG— francheckona (@francheezit) November 7, 2018
9:45 p.m.: Carlos Curbelo, Miami's whiniest congressman, has lost. He has conceded.
8:30 p.m.: Florida can't make anything easy. Nearly 80 percent of Miami-Dade County votes are in. Statewide, DeSantis and Scott (gulp) each has a painfully narrow lead. Results from the deep-red Panhandle are coming in now, which explains the surge of GOP votes. There's still time for that lead to flip, but the window there is small.
Things actually look good for Democrats lower down the ballot: Donna Shalala has won her congressional race in what should have been, and was, one of the easiest Democratic pickups in America. She ran what can only be described as a botched, lackadaisical campaign and polled poorly. In the end, the district itself was just too blue for her to lose.
It also looks like every single constitutional amendment, both good and bad, will pass with flying color. The good: Amendment Four, which restores felon's voting rights, will almost certainly become law and give more than 1 million more people the right to vote. Floridians will likely make dog-racing illegal.
The bad: An insane right-wing proposal from Rick Scott that would require a supermajority of legislative votes to raise taxes or create new social programs is also on track to pass.
7:30 p.m.: Early-voting and vote-by-mail results in Miami-Dade County are in. Democrats cleaned up in early votes, which is somewhat typical for most elections. But what is remarkable is the margin so far: Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson both took roughly 60 percent of Miami-Dade's early votes, as did many of the Democrats running lower on the ballot. Early votes tend to go blue, but it's pretty remarkable to see the early results swing that blue in Miami-Dade. (And Broward is even bluer.) Could be a good sign for Democrats tonight.
With more than 50 percent of the vote in, it is looking good for Democrats, but they are still voting on the panhandle.
As for the down-ballot races: Controversy magnet, Trump-fan, grumpy-guy, and shady-money-taker Anthony
7:15 p.m.: Dare we say it — the first results are starting to pour in. For now, the only counties that have reported have mostly been right-leaning ones — no need to really prognosticate too much here for another 30 to 45 minutes or so until we get a clearer picture of the voting results. But, oddly, a few counties seem to be showing that a subset of Bill Nelson/Ron Desantis voters existing?
Nelson out-performing Andrew Gillum in Pinellas County. Bill Nelson-Ron DeSantis voters exist. https://t.co/nLVI14etnH— Steve Contorno (@scontorno) November 7, 2018
6:40 p.m.: With 20 minutes until polls close in most of the state, it is pouring rain on Andrew Gillum's huge outdoor election-night event in Tallahassee. The media tent has sprung a Biblical-level leak:
The media tent has sprung a leak pic.twitter.com/Jv1dT3mtab— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) November 6, 2018
There will be actually interesting news soon, we promise.
6:15 p.m.: Turnout is very high so far! As it turns out, the complete melting and cratering of our national political ecosystem
Miami-Dade added about 30,000 voters to its 6 p.m. tally, with 220,000 people voting on Election Day. That brings turnout up to 55%. (Election Dept had forecast 60%, which campaign people seemed to think was high...Getting close)— Doug Hanks (@doug_hanks) November 6, 2018
make a ton of money off some basically free public land build a Miami Major-League Soccer soccer stadium have been hit with an election complaint. As it turns out, the folks pushing for Miami Freedom Park's referendum approval tonight were caught straight-up giving away free merch to push people to vote in favor of the proposal, which, if approved, would allow the construction of a soccer stadium and also a ton of office and retail space on what is now the Melreese Golf Course. Turns out, giving out merch in exchange for votes may, in fact, be bribery:
Miami law firm files complaint with @MDCElections, says Beckham and Mas are violating Florida bribery laws by giving out soccer gifts at polling places because Miami (pic via @crespogram) pic.twitter.com/hyvGqtxZXO— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) November 6, 2018
And, despite the fact that Miami is generally a non-functioning hell-place 12 months out of the year, there have been oddly few reports of voter-intimidation or suppression so far tonight. There's that at least!
Andrew Gillum (D)
Ron DeSantis (R) WINNER
Bill Nelson (D)
Rick Scott (R) WINNER
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) WINNER
Joe Kaufman (R)
Tim Canova (NPA)
Frederica Wilson (D) Ran Unopposed
Mary Barzee Flores (D)
Mario Diaz-Balart (R) WINNER
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) WINNER
Carlos Curbelo (R)
Donna Shalala (D) WINNER
Maria Elvira Salazar (R)
Mayra Joli (NPA)
Sean Shaw (D)
Ashley Moody (R) WINNER
Nikki Fried (D)
Matt Caldwell (R) WINNER
Chief Financial Officer:
Jeremy Ring (D)
Jimmy Patronis (R) WINNER
David Perez (D)
Manny Diaz Jr. (R) WINNER
Annette Taddeo (D) WINNER
Marili Cancio (R)
Cindy Polo (D)
Frank Mingo (R) WINNER
Javier Estevez (D)
Ana Maria Rodriguez (R) WINNER
Dotie Joseph (D) WINNER
Riquet Caballero (LPF)
Rizwan Ahmed (D)
Bryan Avila (R) WINNER
Nicholas X. Duran (D) WINNER
Rosy Palomino (R)
Michael Grieco (D) WINNER
J.P. Parker (R)
Javier Fernandez (D) WINNER
Javier Enriquez (R)
Jeffrey Solomon (D)
Vance Aloupis (R) WINNER
James A. Harden (D)
Daniel Anthony Perez (R) WINNER
Robert Ascencio (D)
Anthony Rodriguez (R) WINNER
Heath Rassner (D)
Jean Fernandez-Barquin (R) WINNER
Daniel E. Sotelo (NPA)
Steve Friedman (D) WINNER
Holly Raschein (R)
Supreme Court Justice:
Does Al Lawson get to keep his job? YUP
Amendment 1: Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption FAILED
Amendment 2: Limitations on Property Tax Assessments PASSED
Amendment 3: Voter Control of Gambling PASSED
Amendment 4: Felon Voting Restoration PASSED
Amendment 5: Supermajority Required to Raise Taxes PASSED
Amendment 6: Victim's Rights, AKA Marsy's Law PASSED
Amendment 7: First Responder Benefits but Also College Fee Regulation? PASSED
Amendment 9: Prohibiting Offshore Oil Drilling and Indoor Vaping PASSED
Amendment 10: State and Local Government Structure PASSED
Amendment 11: Property Rights PASSED
Amendment 12: Lobbying and Abuse by Public Officials PASSED
Amendment 13: Ending Dog Racing PASSED
Referendum 1: Making Clerk of Court A Nonpartisan Race PASSED
Referendum 2: Limiting Resignation Requirements for Some Officials PASSED
Referendum 3: Reviewing County Petitions For Legal Sufficiency PASSED
Referendum 4: Not Counting Votes for Dead or Withdrawn Candidates PASSED
Referendum 5: Prohibiting Paying Signature Gatherers Per-Signature PASSED
Referendum 6: New Municipality in Northeast Miami-Dade FAILED
School Board: Raising Taxes to Pay Teachers More PASSED
City of Miami Referenda:
Freedom Park/ Soccer Stadium: PASSED
Strong Mayor: FAILED
Miami Beach Referenda:
Creating an Inspector General: PASSED
Convention-Center Hotel: PASSED
Multiple G.O. Bonds: PASSED
Cutler Bay Mayor: TIM MEERBOK
Key Biscayne Mayor: MICHAEL W. DAVEY
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North Bay Village Mayor: BRENT LATHAM
North Miami Beach Mayor: ANTHONY
Palmetto Bay Mayor: KARYN CUNNINGHAM