When it comes to high-profile, media-magnet, generational progressives, the Democrats are hardly short-changed right now. From Georgian Stacey Abrams and Texan Beto O’Rourke to the House triplets: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. But let’s not forget Andrew Gillum, who came tantalizingly close to being elected Florida’s first African-American governor last fall and has been part of the speculative conversation about Dems with possible presidential ambitions. And, yes, he’s already appeared on Bill Maher’s show.
Be that as it may; presidential buzz about energizing new blood is part of the high-octane, proactive, anti-Trump era we are now living through–and confronting–in various ways. But the personable, charismatic Gillum has just done something that’s more important than just upping his profile. Last week in Miami, Gillum, 39, introduced an initiative to register a million new voters before we get to 2020. Moreover, the Florida Democratic Party is spending $2 million to register 200,000 new voters.
As we know, a handful of votes in a few key states, such as Florida, cost this country dearly in 2016. The Trump base is still a minority, but a loud, raucous and effective one that channels its faux-populist, cult leader. It’s also sizable enough to bring about another Trump term if the opposition doesn’t do more than affix bumper stickers, cheer on the Betos and AOCs and then pout if their candidate doesn’t make the ticket. The party–and the country–need more registered Democrats and ever-higher numbers actually showing up to vote out all that Trump stands for–and against.
Florida is the swing state that matters most in a presidential election. Barack Obama carried it twice. It can be done again, and Andrew Gillum, who’s making it a priority to actively court Hispanic and black voters, is on the energizing case to “Bring It Home, Florida.”