Democrats highlight impact of “MAGA extremism” on Florida ahead of GOP debate

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By Giselle Balido

November 8, 2023

Ahead of Wednesday’s third and final 2024 GOP presidential primary debate, President Joe Biden’s campaign zeroes in on Trump and DeSantis’ “Florida Blueprint” and its devastating effects across the Sunshine State.

On Tuesday, one day before Republicans were scheduled to take the stage in Miami-Dade County for the final presidential primary debate, the Biden-Harris campaign held a news conference with Florida Democrats to call out “extremism” in GOP policies and their effects on everyday Floridians.

Although former President Donald Trump won’t be on the debate stage Wednesday—he is expected to hold a competing rally in neighboring Hialeah at the same time—Democratic campaign officials focused their message on his policies, as well as those of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Biden campaign has nicknamed their agenda the “Florida blueprint,” and sought to create a stark contrast between the president and his “MAGA Republican” opponents.

“Tomorrow night in Florida, MAGA Republican extremism will be on full display, and we will continue to shine a light — a bright spotlight — on the vision that the president and vice president continue to build for our country, because we know that their vision couldn’t be more dramatically different than what you’ll see tomorrow night,” Julie Chávez Rodriguez, the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign manager, said at the SEIU Miami office Tuesday afternoon.

RELATED: Just the Facts: Florida Ranks 45th in Tax Fairness, 41st in Access to Health Care, 2nd in Mass Shootings.

Chávez Rodriguez was joined by Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried, US Senate Democratic primary candidate Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, local SEIU President Vicki Gonzalez, state Sen. Shevrin Jones, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The four key issues

The Democratic delegation took turns contrasting the Biden administration’s position on key issues with Trump and DeSantis’ stances on those same issues that impact Floridians across the state. These included:

  • Unaffordable housing costs and property insurance prices“Property insurance premiums, if you can find property insurance, are the most expensive in the country,” Fried said, as Chávez Rodriguez pointed out that the Biden administration announced a Housing Supply Action Plan in May 2022 and continues to take action “to boost housing supply, to lower costs, to cut dangerous climate pollution, to promote homeownership, to protect renters and to promote fair housing.”
  • Gun violence – Democrats criticized DeSantis for signing a measure that allows people to carry a concealed weapon without training or a permit. “They oppose any sort of common-sense gun legislation,” said Mucarsel-Powell, a senior adviser at Giffords, a gun safety organization. “It is the greatest moral failure by these politicians to allow gun violence to kill our children at the rate that we’re seeing every single day.” Florida ranks #2 in the nation in mass shootings. Guns are also the third-leading cause of death for Florida children ages 1–17, according to data provided by Giffords Law Center.
  • Health insurance – Democrats blasted DeSantis’ refusal of federal money to expand Medicaid. “The Florida blueprint means three things: higher costs for families, an economy rigged for the most powerful and less freedom,” Pritzker said. “It means you’re facing lower wages and higher costs for health care, for rent, for insurance and everyday goods.” In contrast, Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act included provisions to lower out-of-pocket drug costs, like capping the cost of insulin at $35 per month for people with Medicare.
  • Reproductive Freedom – Chávez Rodriguez blasted DeSantis for signing extreme anti abortion bans as the Florida Supreme Court is currently deliberating on whether to uphold or strike down the state’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks. If the court upholds the ban, a more recent six-week ban would go into effect 30 days later. “MAGA Republicans took away a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions with the most extreme abortion ban,” Chávez Rodriguez said.

RELATED: ‘Worse Than Trump’: Rep. Maxwell Frost Speaks Out About Ron DeSantis in a One-on-One Interview

The candidates in the third debate are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, businessperson Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Former Vice President Mike Pence suspended his campaign last month, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum did not meet the polling requirement to participate.

The debate is scheduled to run from 8 to 10 p.m. Eastern at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami and will be hosted by NBC News.


  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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