It’s already been a week after midterm elections, but last weekend the secretary of Florida State announced a series of recounts for three races, including the U.S. Senate race between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott and the race for governor between Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis. The automatic recounts will take place because all of these races are within the narrow margin of 0.5 percent.
Meanwhile, MIREMS’ consultants collected some important stories from various ethnic media sources regarding the election outcomes, before the governor’s race recount became official.
While reporting DeSantis’ alleged victory over Gillum, Fort Lauderdale based weekly Spanish language newspaper El Sentinel named the Florida governor’s race “one of the most active electoral contests in the State of Florida.” The newspaper reported that voters in Florida decided to keep the state under Republican control, specifically under a close ally of President Donald Trump. The article focused a lot on the controversy in DeSantis' campaign, which featured racist comments, an FBI investigation and Trump as an ever-present force throughout. The Republicans' hard-line immigration policies, which include separating children from parents who crossed into the country illegally, helped galvanize liberal groups, but they also galvanized the Republican Party base.
Another Hispanic daily newspaper based in Miami, El Nuevo Herald, also mentioned that the Florida governor’s race was one of the most controversial and disputed this year and received national attention. Beyond the controversy over racism, DeSantis' campaign ads suggested that Gillum would destroy Florida's economy, turning the state into another Venezuela. The article stated that the triumph of DeSantis keeps the Republican Party at the head of one of the most important swing states in the country and endorses the campaign style of Trump as DeSantis, 40 years old and a former US Navy prosecutor, conducted a campaign based on his loyalty to the President. The newspaper suggested that after the victory of DeSantis, the Florida Democratic Party will probably have to reconsider its strategies, since they hoped that the election for the governorship would be a referendum on Trump's rhetoric.
The Russian language weekly newspaper based in New York, Russian Bazaar, reported that the midterm elections greatly strengthened the position of Democrats in Congress and regional authorities, taking a majority in the House of Representatives but predictably losing to the Republicans in the battle for the Senate and in the gubernatorial race. The article states that many Floridians wanted to vote in the gubernatorial elections for anyone but the representative of the Republican Party: they were very tired of eight years of Rick Scott and the false promises of Senator Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. However, DeSantis still won thanks to “the biggest populist” in the last election, the “unrecoverable socialist” Andrew Gillum. The newspaper stated that Gillum frankly lied on live broadcasts on federal channels, promoting “his fantastic” Medicare-for-All plan and other left-wing extremist ideas. In general, the newspaper named the elections “the logical answer” of voters to the question of trust and distrust in Donald Trump. Nearly two years after Trump took office, the majority of Americans made it clear that they did not agree with his political course.
African American weekly The Miami Times, named Gillum’s loss a “heartbreak” for Florida Democrats. Though, it mentioned how they flipped two Republican seats in Congress while losing none they currently hold, helping their party’s push to reclaim a majority in the House. It reported that DeSantis defeated Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to win one of the most-watched governor races in the country. The former congressman had trailed in almost every poll leading up to Election Day, but he parlayed President Donald Trump’s strong endorsement in both August’s Republican primary and the general election to pull off an upset. The article explained that Rick Scott could not seek re-election because of term limits and stated that Gillum had been trying to become the state’s first Black governor and the first Democrat elected to the office since 1994.
South Asian English language monthly newspaper based in Los Angeles, Siliconeer, also said that the Florida governor’s race was among the most watched in the U.S. midterms, with Trump throwing his weight behind DeSantis and Gillum endorsed by former Democratic President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Just like Hispanic ethnic media, this newspaper also focused on the controversy that surrounded the race. It said that in the dying days of the campaign, Trump branded Gillum a “thief” and accused him of running a corrupt city, without presenting evidence for his attack. The FBI has been conducting a probe of alleged public corruption in Tallahassee, and while Gillum has said he has been told he is not the target, Republicans used the investigation as a cudgel against him. DeSantis himself has been widely criticized for urging Florida voters not to “monkey this up” by electing Gillum, a comment denounced as racist.
Daily Somali radio station in Washington D.C., VOA Somali, discussed how American minorities voted to change the political situation. Somali-Americans, in particular, were interested in going to polling stations because it makes a big difference in their lives. Recent events affect many people’s lives due to polarization, marginalization and discrimination, which is showing up more, and the rights of some people are being completely denied. Because the 2016 election resulted in religious discrimination and polarization of a large portion of American society, for many immigrants voting in the midterms was especially important this time and helped elect Somali-American Ilhan Omar to Congress for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district. Omar is also the first Muslim woman elected to Congress alongside Rashida Tlaib.
World Journal, Chinese language online newspaper based in New York, summarized the outcomes of the midterm elections very well, saying that a record number of minority candidates have won, which symbolizes a more diverse American society. It mentioned that a CNN exit poll pointed out that nearly three out of every four respondents felt that it was important to elect minority candidates.
Florida recount results might be a relief for many, but no matter what they are, one major 2018 midterm election outcome is clear: the set of candidates to run and win in the United States this year was among the most diverse ever, and now it’s especially important to pay attention to ethnic media. MIREMS monitors ethnic media sources and provides valuable insight into the dominant opinions of different cultural communities.
Written by Lina Katrin