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Florida - A Changing Political Climate

By Editorial Staff
Published May 1, 2008

In less than a decade, Republicans have added 1 million voters to their rolls in the state of Florida, while the Democrats have added just 300,000. In 1994, for the first time, more Florida voters took part in the GOP primary for governor than the Democratic.

Florida has voted Republican in nine of the past 11 presidential elections, but is fast becoming a GOP stronghold at all levels of government. The Florida Senate went Republican in 1994 for the first time since Reconstruction, and the GOP is just four seats shy of a majority in the state House. Florida Republicans have a 15-8 majority in the U.S. House.

Florida is not an easy state to campaign in. It is populous – 14 million residents and growing at a rate of nearly 250,000 per year. It is diverse, stretching from the “cracker country” in the northern Panhandle to the retirees on the west coast beaches of the Caribbean, from the Cuban population of Miami-Fort Lauderdale to urban Jacksonville. Florida spans two time zones and takes about 16 hours to drive from the tip of the Florida Keys to Pensacola. Therefore, it is expensive to campaign in. Campaigning must be done on television, and reaching the whole state requires buying myriad media markets.

Many of the issues that are on the front burner in California are also prominent at the other end of the Sun Belt. Crime, taxes and immigration policy are all big issues in Florida, although its large Cuban population (estimated to be about 10 percent of the GOP vote) requires a more nuanced approach to immigration than the anti-immigrant line that has played well in California. And Florida’s large retiree population ensures that the fate of Medicare and other issues of importance to the elderly are of prime concern.

Republican strength has been growing in all parts of Florida. But when GOP candidates go looking for votes they focus on a horseshoe-shaped area that extends up the Gulf Coast to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, cuts through the central part of the state to Daytona Beach, then stretches south along the Atlantic Coast to the Miami area, where most of Florida’s Cuban population lives.

There, it helps to have a friend or family member who speaks Spanish. George Bush used Jeb, who was chairman of the Dade County GOP in the mid-1980s. Jeb helped his father carry the county in the 1988 GOP primary with three-quarters of the vote; Bush ran even better in Dade in 1992. Statewide, Bush won easily both times.

While the Republican Party is rapidly expanding these days, Democrats are trying to hold together a fraying coalition that extends from conservative, small-town whites in the panhandle to Jewish and minority voters in south Florida. It is an ethnic stew that has given Florida politics an anomaly. Northern Florida is Southern and southern Florida is Northern, the saying goes.

Southern Democrats have done best at the presidential level by bridging the two ends of the state. Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter have been the only Democrats since 1950 to win Florida, and Bill Clinton has been the narrowest loser, trailing Bush by less than 2 percentage points in 1992.

Southern Democrats have also done well in the party’s presidential primary. George C. Wallace of Alabama capitalized on anti-busing sentiment to overwhelm a large Democratic field in 1972. Georgia’s Carter won crucial Florida primaries in 1976 and 1980, beating Wallace and Edward M. Kennedy, respectively. And Arkansas’ Clinton readily won in 1992.

Florida at a Glance …

Population: 14 million
Percentage of U.S. population: 5.36%
White 84%
Black 15%
Hispanic 14%

Growth rate:
Since 1980: 43.2%
Since 1990: 7.8%

GOP presidential wins since 1968:
6 out of 7

1992 presidential vote:
Bush: 41% Clinton: 39% Perot: 20%

Registration:
Democrats: 3,525,344 (48%)
Republicans: 3,052,711 (42%)
Other: 753,209 (10%)


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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“Here I stand … I can do no other!”

With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

Running time: 105 minutes

Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.

Watch a clip from Martin Luther.

$9.95 — ORDER NOW!

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God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!

Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.

Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!

Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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