Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum — endorsed by Bernie Sanders and funded heavily by far-left bankroller George Soros — scored a narrow-but-decisive upset over moderate Democrat and former Rep. Gwen Graham in the latest step in a trek the Democratic Party has been taking leftward.
In defeating the daughter of popular former Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham, Gillum becomes the first black in Sunshine State history to be nominated for governor by a major party.
Barely 20 years after self-styled New Democrats such as Bill Clinton and Connecticut Senator and 2000 vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman were demonstrating that eschewing liberalism and embracing the middle road was a formula for electoral success, the Democratic Party is making a dash to the hard-left symbolized by 2016 presidential hopeful and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Earlier this year, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Joe Crowley of New York went down to a landslide primary defeat to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a community organizer and Sanders supporter.
In Michigan, former state legislator Gretchen Whitmer, unabashed backer of tax increases, won the nomination for governor and shares a ticket of three statewide candidates committed to causes from suing the Trump administration to disobeying what it considers bad law passed by the legislature.
Texas Democrats chose the far-left, openly gay former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez for governor over businessman Andrew White, son of the late moderate Gov. Mark White.
Florida Democrats had expected to nominate Graham, who had near-universal name recognition from her father's quarter-century in statewide office and good ties to the state's business community.
Gillum unabashedly backed universal Medicare and a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Along with Soros, the Tallahassee mayor could count on environmentalist multi-millionaire Tom Steyer and actress Jane Fonda for financial support.
He now goes into a fall campaign against Trump-backed Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis that is inarguably a contest of polar opposites. DeSantis, who benefited from the president's early endorsement and campaign appearances on his behalf, rolled up 56-to-37 percent of the vote against the more moderate State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
But whether he wins in the fall or not, Gillum for now is the latest case-in-point the Democratic Party is increasingly becoming the party of Sanders-aligned candidates, leaving moderates to seek major nominations at their own risk.
"There are no longer any New Democrats left from the '90's," concluded veteran North Carolina GOP consultant Marc Rotterman. "What is clear is that the energy and the message of the Democratic Party in the midterms is being driven by Bernie Sanders and his acolytes who embrace socialism and reject the orthodoxy of the Democratic Party of the recent past.
"Left is all the rage in the Democratic Party and my view is they will be rejected by blue-collar Democrats and others in the middle in November."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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