Inside the Hillary Campaign in Florida


ORLANDO, Florida.  A state with a rich political history, of hanging chads and contested election results back in 2000. A vital state in the primary calendar for the American Presidential election, given its winner takes all rules for delegates.  The perfect place to campaign for Hillary on International Women’s Day.

The Democratic race is fairly straightforward here. Hillary is going to beat Bernie in Florida, and Bernie knows it.  However, perception is everything in the US media, and so Bernie is campaigning to close the gap.  The Democratic debate here is on Wednesday 9th March. Barring a mishap, Clinton will be fine.  Canvassing 100 advance ballot voters (sorry, postal voters), Hillary is clearly ahead, but the talk is all elsewhere.

It’s red on red (*) Republican warfare in Florida.

This starts in my hotel room when I’m trying to relax after a long fight.  Attack ads are banned here in the UK, something myself and Mark Pack have both observed is a good thing. Not so in the USA. “Trump employed illegal immigrants,” explains the voiceover in a sinister, Orwellian voice. “Conservatives can’t trust trump on immigration.”

The Republican war has spilt over onto the streets.   Complaints come into the Hillary HQ about too many posters for one candidate outside a polling station, breaking normal campaign etiquette here. “For Bernie.” “No, for Rubio.”

It’s make or break time for the new Republican establishment favourite, now that Jeb has dropped out.  As the junior Senator from Florida, he has to win his home state.   Last week he was 16 points behind Trump, this week that had fallen to 8.  Rubio has momentum here, but it may be too little, too late.  Cruz is now campaigning hard here, seeing an opportunity to knock Rubio out of the race nationwide.

From our point of view it’s clear what Hillary would prefer: if Rubio wins Florida and Kasich can win Ohio (the latter is likely) then Trump would need to win 67% of the remaining delegates to avoid a contested convention.  That won’t happen, ensuring Republican chaos when they get to Cleveland. Watch the West Wing where this happens fictionally to the Democrats and you’ll get the idea.

All of this would suit Hillary down to the ground. It looks like it will be Hillary versus Trump, with Hillary being able to solidify her hold on the Democratic nomination as early as next Tuesday in the Florida Primary.   However, a wounded Trump would suit her much better than a strong one.

* – the colours are backwards here. I helpfully explain this would never have happened if they’d just paid their taxes on their tea and stayed part of the British a Empire…

* Simon Foster is a lecturer in Politics and Economics, and has published twenty-five books on Politics, PSHE and Citizenship.

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This entry was posted in Campaign Corner.


  • Paul Murray 9th Mar '16 - 4:16pm

    Yay! Shillary!

    This article has the smell of something that was written before Sanders won Michigan last night.

    Michigan poll March 6 (Fox 2 Detroit): Clinton 66% Sanders 29%
    Actual result in Michigan on March 8 : Sanders 50% Clinton 48%

    Florida poll March 8 (News 13 Orlando): Clinton 61% Sanders 30%
    Actual result in Florida on March 15 after debate???

    In the current circumstances I think it is somewhat premature to talk about Hillary being “fine”. This thing is not over.

    Go Bernie!

  • Tsar Nicholas 9th Mar '16 - 5:44pm

    I don’t believe that Hillary is going to be the Democratic candidate.

    My reason for this is my firm belief that she is going to be indicted over the emails. The staffer who set up her State Department emails on her private server has been granted immunity from prosecution – the Feds don’t do a thing like that unless they are serious about going forward with the case.

  • Paul Murray 9th Mar '16 - 9:13pm

    @John Marriott – all recent polling shows that Sanders comfortably beats Trump, Cruz and Rubio in head-to-head contests. More interestingly, he does so by a larger margin than Clinton manages against any of them.

  • Simon Foster 9th Mar '16 - 9:45pm

    Yes Paul I wrote the article before the Michigan result (which I had called before the networks last night 🙂 ). I think the Michigan result was a shock for Hillary’s campaign. However, you’re missing several key facts:

    1) Michigan delegates were distributed proportionally, so Bernie didn’t make much headway on the delegate count.

    2) By contrast Hillary thrashed Bernie in Mississippi last night, so overall Hillary extended her delegate count lead, by around 22 although I haven’t checked the numbers today.

    3) Michigan then has 17 superdelegates in a system which is less democratic than Labours old electoral college. The majority of such delegates have been backing Hillary. Its not fair but that’s what’s been happening.

    4) To compare Michigan and Florida as you have done shows a lack of understanding of geography (Hillary is polling much better in the south than Bernie) and demographics (far more latinos in Florida).

  • Just two observations, really,
    First, Hillary winning amongst democrats in the South is nice, but pretty pointless electorally when it comes to a general election. Sadly more worrying is that Bernie can’t even win amongst democrats in the South. (Hence why Obama was right to write the south off altogether. .. but that’s another story).
    Second, the party colours do look reversed to us today, but the Republicans haven’t always been the most conservative (as defined by us today) in the states.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 9th Mar '16 - 10:35pm


    Well said, Go Bernie is a call for a third candidate , if he is the challenger to Trump, and in fact , Trump and him is an invitation to two more, a moderate Democrat , and Republican!

  • Simon Foster 9th Mar '16 - 11:42pm

    Thanks for the 538 Nick, ain’t nobody better than Nate Silver in the polling business on this side of the pond. Bears out exactly what I’ve been saying.

    Of more interest next week will be Ohio where I’d expect Bernie to be stronger than in Florida.

    Off to a debate party now to watch Bernie and Hillary. Certainly it will be better than the Republican what size is your willy speaking contest? (No seriously this came up).

    On party and state colours I remember red being used for Republican and Blue for Democrat both statewide in MA and nationwide when I was helping John Kerry hold his Senate seat in 1996.

  • Conor McGovern 10th Mar '16 - 12:19am

    Come on Bernie Sanders.

  • Simon Foster 10th Mar '16 - 2:02am

    Florida democratic debate now starting. Media asking whether Bernie will concentrate on Ohio or Illinois next week. Hillary camp in Florida taking nothing for granted in Michigan.

    Oh, and plenty of cake going round this debate party I find myself embedded in 😊

  • Simon Foster 10th Mar '16 - 2:04am

    That should say in Florida, after Michigan above (can you tell I’m in a bar on a phone??? 🙂 ).

  • Simon Foster 10th Mar '16 - 2:21am

    Tsar Nicholas: Hillary when questioned on indictment at the Miami debate just now: “It isn’t going to happen. I’m not even going to answer the question.”

    Colin Powell was cited on the whole issue of retroactive classification in the debate.

  • “The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.” – Stalin

    Stalin’s cynical comment is shockingly true of the US today as the link below proves. That no-one from the top drawer of either main party wants to make it an issue strongly suggests that they see vote fraud as little more than an extension of the endemic gerrymandering, just another ‘useful’ way of securing the bankrupt electoral duopoly in perpetuity.

    No wonder the US is in a mess, in thrall to Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex and their ceaseless (but very profitable wars) while tens of millions have no medical cover and jobs are moving overseas. That’s why the establishment is getting a run for its money from both sides. Good luck to the insurgents I say.

  • Simon Foster 16th Mar '16 - 12:07am

    Hillary around 65%, Bernie 35%. Hillary ahead by around 500,000 votes in Florida. We didnt just win down here as I predicted, we stormed it!

    At the victory party in Orlando. A LOT of very useful Connect data gathered today for the General in the fall.

  • Simon Foster 16th Mar '16 - 2:00pm
  • Simon Foster 18th Mar '16 - 6:10am

    Latest article with yesterday’s developments in the Democratic nomination race:

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