Bernie’s old Castro crush won’t hurt him much in the Democratic primaries, and nothing can help him win Florida on Tuesday anyway. Florida is a closed primary, which mean only registered Democrats can vote, and Bernie doesn’t do well without independent voters, especially as so many of his fervent Millennial supporters are registered as independents. But if he were the nominee he could now certainly kiss Florida off, and the last time a Democrat was elected president without Florida was 1992, and before that you have to back all the way back to 1960 with JFK. But in 1960 Florida had maybe a third of the population it does now, even Iowa was bigger. Florida was not a must win for either side back then, it was just another ten electoral votes to be worked into various possible combinations to get to 270 electoral votes. By 1992 Florida was much bigger, with 25 electoral votes, and though Bill Clinton lost the state to the first President Bush, Clinton was a southerner and took enough southern states to make up for Florida. But Bernie is not a southerner.
The U.S. embargo of Cuba is pretty inexplicable. We have close relations with Viet Nam. We may have more direct connections with North Korea than we do with Cuba. Why have we continued this ridiculous embargo and non-recognition so long? Fidel tossed Batista (and the Mob) out in 1959. That was 55 years ago.
Because of Florida, that’s why. Specifically because of Florida on two days every four years. One of those days is the Republican presidential primary. The other is the day we vote for president. By an accident of political geography, it’s been impossible for a presidential candidate to say that as president he would lift the embargo and exchange ambassadors with Cuba without committing political suicide. Continue reading