Jacksonville –– Florida has learned to wear its new responsibilities lightly. The other 49 states may be encouraged to stage rallies, drag parades down Main Street, befoul the air with campaign spots, and simulate the tension of last-minute GOTV drives, but when it comes to really deciding elections, Florida is prepared to do the heavy lifting. Over the last four presidential cycles, it’s been Clinton, Bush, Bush, and Obama, with Florida voters serving in each case as proxies for the rest of the country. The old saw should thus be retrofitted: As goes Florida, so goes the nation.
Well then, how goes Florida these days? Just as it was elsewhere, Florida in 2010 was an annus mirabilis for Republicans. Almost everything that could go right went right. Last year was different — much different.
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