SEVERE WX : Air Quality Alert View Alerts

5 major lessons from Andrew Gillum's shocking win in Florida

The last major primary night before the November election packed a major surprise: ...

Posted: Aug 29, 2018 5:10 PM
Updated: Aug 29, 2018 5:10 PM

The last major primary night before the November election packed a major surprise: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum edged out former Rep. Gwen Graham to capture the Florida Democratic gubernatorial nomination, taking a major step toward being Florida's first black governor.

Gillum's victory -- particularly in a state as crucial to the presidential primary and general election process -- has lessons in it for any ambitious Democrat trying to understand the mentality and beliefs of the party base heading into 2020. Here are five.

Continents and regions

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Florida

Government and public administration

North America

Politics

Primaries and caucuses

Southeastern United States

The Americas

United States

Bob Graham

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

US Democratic Party

US political parties

1. You can't be too liberal

Gillum was, without question, the choice of liberals in this race. Wealthy California businessman Tom Steyer, who has run ads nationally calling for President Donald Trump to be impeached, was an early supporter of Gillum's. So, too, were George Soros and Vermont democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. Gillum ran as an unapologetic progressive, advocating for single-payer health insurance and calling for Trump's impeachment.

Gillum's win proved -- in truth it re-proved -- that the energy within the Democratic Party is all on its left. Graham, the daughter of Florida political legend Bob Graham, ran as a sensible centrist who gave the party the best chance to hold the seat in the fall. That "head" message couldn't come close to competing with Gillum's "heart" one.

2. Younger is better

The Democratic Party base badly wants fresh faces. Its top three House leaders are all in their mid- to late-70s. The two most recognizable names in the 2020 sweepstakes at the moment -- Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden -- are 76 and 75, respectively. At 39, Gillum represents a younger generation of leaders, willing to go bold rather than bland on policy and unbound by the conventional wisdom of "how to win" that hold back many older politicians. While the 2020 top tier may begin as Biden, Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (age 69), there appears to be significant room for younger candidates to emerge.

3. Black candidates are winning

Gillum's victory is the third major victory for a black Democrat in a Democratic gubernatorial primary field in 2018, following on the heels of wins by former NAACP president Ben Jealous in Maryland earlier this year and state Rep. Stacey Abrams in Georgia. Gillum and Jealous both emerged from crowded primaries, while Abrams crushed fellow state legislator Stacey Evans, a white woman, in a one-on-one primary race.

None of that winning trio ran expressly as the "black" candidate in the field. (In Jealous' case, his leading opponent -- Rushern Baker -- was also black.) And all three demonstrated an ability to win votes outside of the African-American base within the Democratic Party. But their victories serve as a reminder of how potent the black vote is within the current incarnation of the Democratic Party. And how the likes of Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) or former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick could benefit from that fact come 2020.

4. Voters still love a powerful personal story

Gillum's background was compelling to voters, and he spoke of it often on the campaign trail. Here's the New Yorker's Benjamin Wallace-Wells on Gillum's life story:

"Last Sunday, Gillum spoke at St. Ruth Missionary Baptist Church, in Dania Beach, Florida. I was in a pew near the back. Over six feet tall, with a shaved head and handsome, Gillum took the pulpit and told the congregation about his life. He was born poor, in Miami. His mother was a school-bus driver and his father was a construction laborer. He was the fifth of seven children, and the first to graduate from high school."

In one of his only campaign ads, Gillum turns to the camera and asks: "What's impossible? The son of a bus driver becoming mayor of the capital city? Is it impossible to come from nothing, be outspent 10-to-1 and win?" (In a longer digital-only ad, Gillum tells his personal story in a deeply compelling way.)

Time after time after time, voters remind us that they reward candidates who have powerful personal narratives that they tell in ways that touch people. Voters vote for a person much more than they vote for a series of policy positions.

5. Money matters less than you think

One of the last vestiges of the old way of thinking about and analyzing politics is that fundraising power is determinative. It isn't. Gillum was drastically outspent by not only Graham but several self-funded candidates in the Florida race -- and still won. (Worth noting: Gillum did have financial support from both Steyer and Soros, which helped narrow the campaign spending gap somewhat.)

Money doesn't make up for message. Money isn't a stand-in for genuine grassroots energy -- and can't purchase it either. There remains a fundraising threshold below which a candidate can't possibly hope to be competitive -- people need to know who you are before they go into the voting booth -- but that threshold is far lower than many establishment types believe it to be.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 612701

Reported Deaths: 7761
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1270801803
Ramsey53350911
Dakota47466477
Anoka43482465
Washington27810296
Stearns22764227
St. Louis18353320
Scott17763139
Wright16615153
Olmsted13587104
Sherburne1218596
Carver1080349
Clay830792
Rice8300112
Blue Earth772844
Crow Wing691799
Kandiyohi673185
Chisago629955
Otter Tail592687
Benton588298
Goodhue487674
Douglas480881
Mower478834
Winona466452
Itasca463968
Isanti447567
McLeod436661
Morrison429562
Beltrami411863
Nobles411750
Steele401819
Polk391372
Becker390057
Lyon366454
Carlton357158
Freeborn353634
Pine338123
Nicollet335145
Mille Lacs316856
Brown309340
Le Sueur301228
Todd289633
Cass289133
Meeker267644
Waseca241823
Martin237633
Roseau212921
Wabasha20883
Hubbard198941
Dodge19173
Renville184246
Redwood178941
Houston176516
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165323
Fillmore160510
Faribault157820
Chippewa154438
Pennington154120
Kanabec148128
Sibley147710
Aitkin140237
Watonwan13629
Rock129919
Jackson123212
Pipestone117326
Yellow Medicine115620
Pope11416
Murray107710
Swift107718
Koochiching96919
Stevens92711
Clearwater89517
Marshall89017
Lake85121
Wilkin84613
Lac qui Parle76222
Big Stone6134
Grant5958
Lincoln5873
Mahnomen5669
Norman5519
Kittson49222
Unassigned49093
Red Lake4037
Traverse3835
Lake of the Woods3504
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
Buchanan197834
Page195722
Cedar194323
Hardin192544
Wright191240
Hamilton189251
Fayette188943
Harrison182873
Clayton173258
Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
Winnebago147031
Calhoun144813
Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
Jefferson135535
Sac133320
Shelby132238
Louisa130749
Union129535
Franklin129223
Appanoose128749
Mitchell127343
Chickasaw126017
Humboldt126026
Guthrie125332
Palo Alto115224
Montgomery106938
Howard105522
Clarke102624
Monroe101533
Keokuk100432
Ida93735
Adair90132
Davis88525
Pocahontas87022
Monona86731
Greene80011
Osceola79517
Lucas78323
Worth7648
Taylor67112
Decatur6649
Fremont64910
Van Buren57318
Ringgold57124
Wayne56623
Audubon53613
Adams3504
Unassigned80
Rochester
Partly Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 58°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 54°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 61°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 57°
Charles City
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 61°
Gradually warming back into the 80s
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

RPU to resume disconnections for customers with outstanding balances

Image

COVID-19 recession was the shortest in history

Image

Sean's Weather 8/2

Image

Demolition Derby at the Olmsted County Fair

Image

KAATS Gymnastics owner weighs in on coaching high level competition

Image

Preventing fights at the fair

Image

Ryan's Evening Forecast (8/1/21)

Image

Autocross at the Olmsted County Fair

Image

American Legion ride for PTSD

Image

Cresco celebrates 100 years of wrestling

Community Events