Lifelong Democrats in Florida are rejecting their party’s woke politics and supporting Governor Ron DeSantis instead, according to one report from Bari Weiss’s new media outlet, The Free Press (“FP”).
“DeSantis Democrats,” described various reasons, from rising inflation and COVID lockdowns to their party’s intolerance for different viewpoints and embrace of identity politics, as reasons for voting for the Republican in their state’s November red wave.
These ex-Democrats felt “condescended to” and “abandoned” by their party’s embrace of progressive politics, the report found.
“You have to have a big tent that’s actually diverse, and you don’t do that by calling people with different viewpoints evil,” former Democrat Daren Dillinger, 54, an IT specialist from Jacksonville, said.
Dillinger felt “nostalgic for the days when you could disagree with your party on an issue or two and still call it home,” the report said. While standing with his party on some issues, he disagreed with Democrats’ language policing.
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“He’s gotten three doses of the Covid vaccine, and he’s all for transgender rights, but he’s tired of other progressives looking for all the ways he’s not perfect, the wrong words that slip out of his mouth, the incorrect opinions he’s voiced,” the report stated.
Dillinger described how he no longer has a political party but connects with other “disaffected Democrats” like him in a Facebook group he started.
Another ex-Democrat, Colombian immigrant Carolina Castillo told the FP she was formerly a “progressive activist,” who was the Democrat Party’s “biggest advocate.”
Castillo was “angry” after progressives in a group she volunteered for told her to “check her privilege” because she appeared White. Not only that, she didn’t come from an affluent upbringing; her parents were waiters.
“I thought, ‘Wait a minute, I’m Latina—what are you talking about?’” she told the outlet.
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Castillo was also upset when the Biden administration chose to remove Colombian rebel group FARC from its list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2021.
When Governor DeSantis blasted the White House over the move, it was “like music to Colombians across Florida who thought the world had gone mad.”
“Did the White House really not know these were Marxist guerillas?” she vented to the FP. That decision really “opened” her mind, she acknowledged.
“I was just like, ‘No, I am aligned with Ron DeSantis. I’m aligned with him against these socialist dictators. I’m aligned with him with Covid,'” Castillo said.
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But loyal Democrats in Florida blamed poor turnout from their base for Republicans flipping liberal strongholds in the state.
In the midterm election, Republicans flipped blue counties Biden won in 2020, such as Miami-Dade County.
Democrat consultant Even Pérez-Verdia bristled that anyone “with principles” would never defect to the Republican Party. However, she admitted that it wasn’t just Democrats who voted for DeSantis who were disappointed with their party.
“There’s a lot of denial, and they act like it’s only MAGA people,” she told the FP. “There are a lot of people who feel like this.”