On a night where Republicans were supposed to have the most hotly contested races — and were prepared for shocking, upset victories — it was Democrats who stole the show, nominating an actual socialist over a more moderate candidate to compete in the Florida gubernatorial election.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who won Bernie Sanders’ coveted seal of approval, triumphed over Gwen Graham, the daughter of a senator and former Florida governor (and a centrist Democrat), New York Magazine reports. Graham was expected to win handily, and then expected to win the gubernatorial race over Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis.
Now, the outcome of November’s election isn’t as obvious to Florida Democrats.
The progressive left has hailed Gillum as a “hero”: he’s staunchly and unabashedly in favor of enacting single-payer health care, raising the minimum wage to more than $15 per hour, hiking Florida’s corporate income tax, abolishing ICE (the immigration and customs enforcement branch of the Department of Justice), and impeaching President Donald Trump.
In fact, Gillum considers himself a socialist, as do Democratic mega-donors like impeachment hawk and radical environmentalist Tom Steyer and global paragon of leftism George Soros (both donated to Gillum’s campaign).
Gillum is only 39, and up until Tuesday night was running fourth among potential Democratic contenders in most polls. He quite literally came out of nowhere to snag the Democratic nomination.
Progressives were noticeably thrilled with Gillum’s achievement, and most marked it as a significant step forward for “Democratic socialists” and evidence of progressive cache within the Democratic Party, but there are concerns. As with many “Tea Party” candidates who snagged unexpected nominations in Republican primaries back in the early 2010’s, more radical candidates seldom fare well in a general election, and Gillum’s win puts Democrats in a difficult position going into Florida’s November election.