Florida’s 2014 Gubernatorial Election has become one of the most expensive and ugly campaigns in its history. Rick Scott is the incumbent. He is a man of wealth who is supported by the TEA Party. Charlie Crist is a former Governor. When he was in office he was a Republican; he is now a Democrat. That is the worst thing to be said about Crist. Scott, on the other hand has not been good for the working class. The race is dead even; Rick Scott is benefitting from uninformed voters.
First we must go back to 2010. Scott was elected although it was widely known that when he was the CEO of a huge hospital chain, it was convicted of extensive Medicare fraud and was fined 1.7 billion dollars.
After his election Scott proceeded to reduce the budget and taxes resulting in the loss of 12,000 jobs in the public sector. He privatized every entity he could; he refused federal funds to build a high-speed rail system in the state as well as Medicaid expansion; Scott sued the federal government over Obamacare, same-sex marriage, and new clean water rules.
After all of that, he is neck and neck with Crist. What did Crist do as Florida’s Governor? He was well liked and when the economy collapsed in 2008, he gladly accepted federal funds which kept state programs alive.
Crist ran for the Senate in 2010 as an Independent. The Democratic candidate, who barely registered in the polls, refused to pull out of the race. All indicators prove that Crist would have won; instead Republican Marco Rubio won the seat.
Where does all of this leave Florida in 2014? No one can predict the outcome. In a state where ‘unusual’ voting results occur, and the fact that neither candidate has a predictable margin on the last day before the election, only a fool would forecast what Florida will do.
To exemplify the strange attitudes of Floridians in elections, Crist had a healthy lead at the beginning of the campaign. Criticism of his switching parties, labeling him a ‘flip-flopper,’ and playing the Republican attack card, Scott has pulled even with his opponent.
Where do they stand on the issues of importance to Florida? Scott denies climate change, although thousands of miles of Florida’s coastline could be affected by the rising ocean. Crist wants additional emphasis placed on education, both in funding and practical application. Under Scott, Florida ranks in the bottom of dollars per child spending. Scott opposes an increase in the minimum wage; Crist has repeatedly said that no one should live at the poverty level.
Most voters are disgusted with advertisements which are entirely negative. The fear for Democrats is that the voter turnout will result in a record low. If that is a reality, Scott will most likely be reelected.
Traditionally midterms produce a far smaller percentage of voter turnout. The polls are indicative of this fact. Fewer women and minorities are showing up at the polls. With a broken and useless Congress, many Americans ask a simple question; ‘why vote? It doesn’t matter who wins, I lose.’
By James Turnage