Florida, it seems, didn't feel the Bern. Sure, young voters aged 18 to 29 turned out in large numbers (they made up 16 percent of primary voters, compared to only 9 percent in 2008) and largely voted for Bernie Sanders. But Hillary Clinton won, well, almost everyone else across the board on her way to a major victory in Florida last night. Let's take a look at why.
South Florida Was Hillary's Best Urban Performance Yet
Hillary Clinton has been racking up wins in part thanks to
Sanders won in only six precincts in all of Miami-Dade County, including the University of Miami's on-campus precinct, where he won by just 15 votes.
So, Yeah, Maybe Bernie's Socialism Probably Didn't Help
Can Hillary's major win in Miami be partially attributed to Bernie's identity as a socialist and his past flirtations with Fidel Castro? That might explain why this was her best big county to date, but clearly there's more to it.
Too Many Floridians Thought Bernie's Policy Proposals Were Unrealistic
Forty-eight percent of Democratic voters thought Sanders' policies were "not realistic," compared to just 46 percent who did, according to exit polls. On the flip side, 77 percent thought Hillary's proposals were achievable and realistic, compared to only 17 percent who didn't.
Florida Democrats Wanted Someone Experienced, Electable, and Able to Beat Trump
Thirty-five percent of Florida Dems said "experience" was the top quality they look for in a candidate (88 percent voted for Clinton). Another 13 percent said "electability," and Clinton won that group by 86 percent.
Meanwhile, 75 percent of voters thought Clinton had the better chance of beating Trump in November.
Bernie Might Have Been Seen as Too Anti-Business
Twenty-seven percent of voters thought Bernie's views were too anti-business, compared to just 5 percent who said the same of Clinton.
Perhaps related, a plurality (36 percent) said the economy and jobs were the top issues of the election, and those voters split 67-29 for Clinton.
Women Turned Out Huge
Fifty-nine percent of Democrats who voted were women, and they split for Hillary 68-30. Clinton still won men 61-38 (though Sanders won among white men), but the strong showing of women put her over the top.
Sanders Just Never Spent Much Time Here or Customized His Message for Florida
As we noted, both candidates missed major opportunities to talk about housing as they came to Florida. Sanders has a strong record on affordable housing, yet he never bothered to tell Florida much about it. He didn't do enough to paint himself as the better choice on climate change either. In fact, the campaign didn't do much at all to try to win Florida.
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SHOW ME HOW
Trade Talk Doesn't Work Much Here
Heading into Michigan last week, Sanders started hitting Clinton hard on her past support for trade agreements. Of course, trade and trade agreements are complicated issues that boil down to voters asking, "What does that mean to my job?" In Florida, there aren't tons of manufacturing jobs. International trade, however, is big business in several cities. Separating himself from Clinton on trade may help Sanders in a lot of Rust Belt states, but it certainly didn't help in Florida.
Frankly, This Is Just How Florida Democrats Vote in Primaries
The establishment chooses a candidate, and Florida Democratic voters in primaries go, "OK." C'mon, they selected Charlie Crist as their last gubernatorial candidate.
Primary voters know Florida is always a close swing state, and on the Democratic side, they usually just end up voting for the person they think has the better chance of getting elected, not necessarily who they think best represents their own political ideals (and to be certain, 56 percent of voters in the election described themselves as "liberal").
Left-wing idealism is fun if you can afford it in blue states, but Florida voters decided to pick who they thought was the safer choice.