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Florida recount state of play: Postgame edition

Thirteen days after the election, and the recount in Florida has come to an end.After the results came in on Election Day, a recount was triggered in...

Posted: Nov 19, 2018 6:57 AM

Thirteen days after the election, and the recount in Florida has come to an end.

After the results came in on Election Day, a recount was triggered in three races with razor-thin margins. Gov. Rick Scott came out victorious in the race for US Senate. Former Rep. Ron DeSantis will be Florida's next governor, and Nikki Fried will be the next agriculture commissioner.

It is finally over

The 2018 Florida recount drama, a story told against the backdrop of the 2000 presidential recount, turned out to be like most sequels -- a story with a lot of hype that ultimately ended not with a bang, but a faint whimper.

In the race for governor and US Senate, the ultimate results that we saw on election night ending up being the same results we saw after two exhaustive recounts and several expensive and intense lawsuits. With each passing day, Sen. Bill Nelson's opportunity to flip the results dwindled. The apparent end of his political career came with a simple phone call to his successor and a pretaped video statement. Neither the call nor the statement were a surprise and they came long after everyone, except seemingly his high-priced election lawyers, knew the outcome of the race.

How much damage was done?

The true story of this election may have very little to do with the politicians who won or lost. It may have much more to do with the damage this process did to the democratic system.

As the recount played out, Republicans at the highest level went to great lengths to suggest that fraudulent votes were being cast or added to the vote total. The most absurd claim of all was leveled by the President of the United States who suggested that Democrats in Florida were changing outfits in cars so that they could vote multiple times.

While there are plenty of examples of elections supervisors doing a less than admirable job of counting the votes efficiently -- and there are certainly some questions that need to be answered by Florida Democratic Party leaders about how they conducted their vote-counting process -- none of that had any impact on who won the election.

On the other end of things, Democrats consistently suggested that Republicans were using their positions of power to willfully set aside legally cast votes to win the election, a theory that was the backbone of their multiple legal challenges. Marc Elias, the lead Democratic lawyer, suggested that perhaps "many thousands" of constitutionally legal votes were being tossed out, but a federal judge, who is no fan of Scott, consistently ruled against Elias' legal arguments.

At the end of this back and forth, there are a significant number of Republicans who truly believe that fraudulent votes were cast, and a significant number of Democrats who believe that lawfully cast votes were tossed aside. There is simply no evidence to support either claim. The democratic process works based on a peaceful transition of power that is based on a faith in our voting system. It worked in Florida -- but not without serious, largely baseless, attacks against its foundation.

Rick Scott is a force to be reckoned with

It may be time to give Scott, the politician, the recognition he deserves.

When he broke onto the political scene as an unknown multimillionaire willing to invest significant sums of his own personal fortune, even Republicans were skeptical of his first run for governor in 2010. When I met him for the first time during that campaign, he made sure I knew that the Republican Governor's Association did not initially support his candidacy.

Close to a decade after that initial rejection from the RGA, Scott has won three races in the largest competitive state in America. Along the way, he has beaten major Democratic stars despite being the underdog in every single race. Scott does not have natural political skills, but what he does have is a relentless work ethic and millions of dollars. National Democrats spent roughly $50 million to protect Nelson's seat -- money that could've easily gone to winnable races in other states. Scott's personal bank account meant that national Republicans did not have to spend a dime. Not only is Rick Scott going to be a US Senator, but simply entering the race went a long way to helping Republicans keep the majority in the Senate in 2018.

2020 impact

The night before the election, I had a lengthy background call with a prominent Florida Democratic leader who was very optimistic about the party's chances but did say what "keeps me up at night" was the possibility they could lose, and that a loss could lead national Democrats to wonder if Florida should be written off as a swing state.

Florida is no easy investment. It costs millions to shower the state with ads and the human capital necessary to win elections. Even though it is most certainly a 50-50 state, Democrats can win the presidency without Florida. If they keep losing there, is it worth it to keep spending millions that could be spent somewhere else?

Chances are the answer is yes, for a couple of reasons.

First, Florida voters passed a measure that allows felons who have served their time the opportunity to get their voting rights back. That introduces a significant pool of voters that have never been in play. Second, while the change is slow, the demographics in Florida are changing. The state is getting younger and more diverse. Democrats expected that to make the difference in 2018. They didn't quite get there, but maybe 2020 is the year they push over the top.

New York

Confirmed Cases: 452847

Reported Deaths: 33095
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens719787246
Kings677177321
Bronx527564944
Nassau464342201
Suffolk462412011
Westchester379481454
New York332373174
Richmond158231085
Rockland14998675
Orange11890498
Erie11201689
Monroe5970289
Dutchess5105153
Onondaga4300205
Albany3053134
Oneida2388123
Ulster225495
Niagara1756101
Putnam158963
Sullivan158048
Broome149669
Schenectady139548
Saratoga101717
Rensselaer90342
Columbia58637
Chautauqua5549
Madison49217
Oswego4703
Ontario46735
Tompkins4060
Chemung3873
Steuben37642
Warren36933
Otsego3355
Fulton33324
Herkimer32910
Orleans32754
St. Lawrence3224
Greene32118
Genesee3175
Wayne3145
Washington29414
Cattaraugus2586
Chenango2487
Montgomery2324
Tioga22925
Cayuga2052
Livingston2058
Cortland1670
Jefferson1650
Essex1640
Clinton1575
Wyoming1345
Delaware1334
Seneca1053
Allegany1011
Schoharie830
Franklin660
Yates627
Lewis500
Schuyler400
Hamilton150
Unassigned015

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 799516

Reported Deaths: 15393
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2644146455
Riverside578831179
San Bernardino53359918
Orange526221182
San Diego45596773
Kern31712360
Fresno28019362
Sacramento21872399
Alameda20951397
Santa Clara20756304
San Joaquin20126437
Stanislaus16436345
Contra Costa16238204
Tulare15829259
Ventura12591146
Imperial11741317
San Francisco1094699
San Mateo9714144
Monterey970170
Santa Barbara8973113
Merced8828140
Kings756977
Sonoma7262120
Marin6641114
Solano627863
Madera445865
Placer353544
San Luis Obispo347929
Butte279043
Yolo278255
Santa Cruz22949
Sutter168911
Napa165313
San Benito132111
Yuba11367
El Dorado10884
Mendocino89418
Shasta75916
Lassen7360
Glenn5713
Tehama5334
Lake53011
Nevada5286
Colusa5246
Humboldt4967
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1630
Del Norte1381
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc250
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31865

Reported Deaths: 539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7022136
Marion456992
Washington441759
Umatilla293941
Clackamas234661
Malheur158926
Jackson11094
Lane109616
Deschutes79312
Yamhill75013
Jefferson5218
Polk51515
Linn49513
Morrow4946
Lincoln47613
Union4392
Benton2946
Klamath2792
Wasco2793
Hood River2490
Douglas2244
Josephine1952
Columbia1551
Coos1490
Clatsop1310
Baker922
Crook621
Tillamook510
Curry310
Lake290
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00