Andrew Gillum was on a runaway train to be elected Florida governor.
Making history as the state’s first black gubernatorial nominee, record-breaking black turnout should have catapulted him to victory.
Instead, he lost by a razor-thin margin to Republican Ron DeSantis, an arch conservative, after getting fewer votes statewide than other Democrats on the ballot.
With voters casting their votes for white Democrats, but refusing to vote for the black Democrat, this is a clear case of racism, right?
Exit polling conducted in the race showed him getting fewer votes than fellow Democrats like U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.
But the drop off in support was most significant among blacks, notably black women.
Nelson got 90 percent of the black vote.
Gillum got 86 percent of the black vote.
Among black men, the two were apart by only three points, with 88 person for Nelson and 91 person for Gillum.
Among black women, the two were apart by a gaping 8 percent, with 91 percent for Nelson and only 82 percent for Gillum.
Yes, with his strong performance among other voters, had black women voted for Gillum in the same numbers for which they voted for Nelson, he may have won.
Democrats rarely get less than 90 percent of the black vote, so why would black voters abandon a black Democrat?
It may have been Gillum’s vocal opposition to school choice, which was a hot-button issue in the race.
William Mattox, director of the Marshall Center for Educational Options and member of the Tallahassee Civil Rights Landmark Committee, writing in The Wall Street Journal, notes:
Of the roughly 650,000 black women who voted in Florida, 18% chose Mr. DeSantis, according to CNN’s exit poll of 3,108 voters. This exceeded their support for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott (9%), Mr. DeSantis’s performance among black men (8%) and the GOP’s national average among black women (7%)…
… More than 100,000 low-income students in Florida participate in the Step Up For Students program, which grants tax-credit funded scholarships to attend private schools. Even more students are currently enrolled in the state’s 650 charter schools.
Most Step Up students are minorities whose mothers are registered Democrats. Yet many of these “school-choice moms” vote for gubernatorial candidates committed to protecting their ability to choose where their child goes to school.
Four years ago, Gov. Scott narrowly won re-election thanks to a spike in support from school-choice moms. In 2016 more than 10,000 scholarship recipients joined Martin Luther King III in Tallahassee to protest a lawsuit filed by the teachers union in America’s largest-ever school choice rally.