Trump knows Florida’s ‘golden girdle’ is key to 2020 win

A recent article called it the “golden girdle.” It sounds weird, and constraining. But it is the key to winning Florida in 2020.

The “girdle” is Florida’s I-4 corridor, the highway that connects Orlando and Tampa and divides Florida’s north and south, and is composed of 14 counties that are a microcosm of what this country’s changing demographics look like. Every vote won there next year is political gold, and a step closer to securing victory. 

Yes, the 2020 presidential race has officially started. It did so this week in Florida. The Sunshine State, with its 29 electoral votes, was chosen by both Parties because it should be decisive next year. Experts predict that whomever carries Florida wins the election.

It is therefore not surprising that President Donald Trump kicked off his bid for reelection in Orlando on Tuesday. It is old news that Democrats will carry the south, starting from Palm Beach County down the east coast of the state where the largest concentration of Democrats reside. The northern areas of the state —in the past not so kiddingly called lower Alabama— will be won by Trump and his often racist, xenophobic MAGA crowd. The election will then be decided by which candidate convinces the middle of the state — the “golden girdle” — to vote for them. 

As reported by the Miami Herald, in 2016, “Trump won the I-4 corridor by 217,000 votes and lost the rest of the state by about 100,000.” Hillary Clinton lost to Trump in Florida by just over one percent, or 112,911 votes.

Cuban Republicans in Miami will boast that they are the reason for a Trump victory in Florida (if it happens). And surely they are important to any Republican victory (but their vote is expected). The real key is to convince a majority in that purple area of Florida, that melange of blue and red, Puerto Ricans and rednecks, and everyone else that makes up the I-4, to vote for him. And for those convinced that Florida has tired of Trump… he did win in 2016, and last year, in 2018, a Republican governor was elected (with Trump’s help), and an incumbent Democratic senator was defeated by a terrible former Republican governor.

No matter the polls, then, at this very early stage, Trump must be favored. And his game plan demonstrates that he’s taking no chances. 

He kicked off in Orlando and the following day he traveled to Miami, where he held a fundraiser at his hotel in Doral — that sits in an area known as Doralzuela because of the large number of Venezuelans who now live there. The small municipality has become the 21st century’s Little Havana, politically speaking, but made up of Venezuelans fleeing their homeland. And most who live here are thankful for the Trump administration’s intervention in their country. An intervention designed and conceived by neoconservatives and New American Century types, along with hard-right Cubans. Eerily, it follows the same pattern used against Cuba more than half a century before. The results, so far, just as bad… 

The Democrats are not sitting idly by, though. Their first debate will be held in Miami over a two-night period next week (June 26-27). Two nights so that they may accommodate the 20 candidates who qualified for it.  

Although Trump is favored, he seems rattled. Just last week he fired his own pollsters calling their polls “fake” in spite of the fact that they are his own campaign’s polls. They were tossed after leaking information that showed Trump trailing several Democratic hopefuls in the race for the White House.

Giving credence to Trump’s own “fake” poll was one released just this week by Quinnipiac which has Trump trailing in Florida to Joe Biden 50 to 41 percent, to Bernie Sanders 48 to 42 percent, to Elizabeth Warren 47 to 42, and also losing to Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg.

Again, it’s way too early. There’s almost a year and a half before Election Day. And lest we forget, polls were not kind to Trump during the 2016 election. And look at what happened. 

But it’s obvious that Trump’s strategy involves Florida. He is the type of candidate who must win the Electoral College. Like 2016, he won’t win the straight out vote count. Trump, in fact, in his almost three years as president, has never reached an approval rating of even 50 percent among voters — a first for a sitting president. And it’s another reason why Florida’s 29 electoral votes are so important.