That Democrat Annette Taddeo won the special election for Miami-Dade’s state Senate District 40 is not so big a deal when you consider the competitive nature of that seat. But let’s not kid ourselves.
A Democrat won a low-turnout special election in a non-presidential year, the kind of contest that Democrats normally lose. She did it despite Republicans fielding a good candidate. And despite Republicans having cast more votes prior to election day than Democrats (and usually casting more on election day). And despite Republicans always enjoying a big financial advantage and almost always doing the basic blocking and tackling and vote capturing better in state elections.
That is a very big deal.
Annette Taddeo’s flipping a GOP seat to Democratic says a great deal about today’s Republican Party under Donald Trump, who clearly dragged down State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz like an anvil.
Miami-Dade is hardly a mirror of Florida as a whole, but all you have to do is look at the Republican gubernatorial prospects Adam Putnam and Richard Corcoran genuflecting before Trump to see how much the president still holds sway in GOP primaries.
Putnam once distanced himself from Trump, while Corcoran publicly blasted him as an ignorant and phony cancer on conservatism. Those days are long gone. Now both lavish praise on the president. Gov. Scott, the likely Republican nominee for U.S. Senate at least has been consistent in his Trump crush.
Standing by the president against his many detractors may indeed prove to be the ticket to winning a primary in the Republican Party of 2017 and 2018. But Taddeo’s win is Exhibit A for how those early Trump embraces can play in the general election.
“Trump is the poison candy Republicans will gorge on in primaries and die from in competitive general elections. Write it down,” Republican strategist and Trump loather J.M. Mac Stipanovich tweeted Tuesday.