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Who Gets to Vote in Florida?

The New Yorker

Betty Riddle grew up in Sarasota, Florida, in a segregated neighborhood that people back in the nineteen-sixties called Black Bottom. She was raised by her mother, Idella, in a wooden house on Central Avenue. When she was twelve, Idella was murdered—“killed by a woman over a man,” Riddle recalled—and so she moved in with her aunt. Riddle learned early how to fight. When she was fifteen years old and seven months pregnant, she stabbed a taunting rival in the eye with a hooked knife.


By late summer, most polls showed Trump trailing Biden in the state. As DeSantis’s approval rating plummeted, too, he tried to distance himself from the President. A lawyer who speaks regularly with both men told me that DeSantis had decided to provide as little help as possible. He stopped appearing with Trump, stopped visiting the Oval Office, and dragged his feet on raising money for him. DeSantis even tried to undermine efforts to stage the Republican Convention in Jacksonville, which Trump ultimately cancelled. “Ron will tell you he’s doing everything he can for the President, and he’ll sound believable,” the lawyer told me. “But there’s zero evidence for that, and the President notices.” Alan Rubin, a lobbyist who works in both Washington and Florida, told me that DeSantis was increasingly worried that Trump could lose Florida, and was positioning himself to be able to work with a Biden Administration. People around DeSantis believe that he intends to run for President in 2024 and isn’t convinced that having Trump in the White House improves his chances. “He’s a very smart operator,” Rubin said. “Ron’s going to do what he needs to do.”

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“Who Gets to Vote in Florida?” by Dexter Filkins was published in The New Yorker on August 31, 2020.