UM Political Expert Looks at Future of South Florida Lawmakers Who Supported Trump

The South Florida Republicans in Congress — Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez, and Maria Salazar - each voted against impeachment

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The fallout from the riot at the United States Capitol and the impeachment of President Trump is at the forefront right now, but will it change the political landscape regarding who the leaders are who South Florida sends to D.C.? That may hinge on just how long President Trump’s influence lasts when he's no longer Commander in Chief.

The Trump factor, Democrats say, is his power over his followers that's so great he energized them into rioting at the Capitol.

Democrats also say just the threat of him saying something bad about Republicans in Congress intimidates them.

"This Donald Trump puts so much fear in the hearts and minds of Republican legislators, Republican elected officials, that he will primary them, that his base will throw them out of office and they are scared of Donald Trump," longtime Democratic South Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson said.

The South Florida Republicans in Congress — Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez, and Maria Salazar - each voted against impeachment.

"It’s not good to put any more salt in the wound," Salazar said.

"Look, it's pretty evident that it's for strictly partisan political reasons," Diaz-Balart said.

Gimenez in a statement called for unity and an end to the division between the two political parties.

So what’s going to happen with the Congressional Republicans going forward? Professor George Gonzalez, a political expert at the University of Miami, said it depends.

"A lot of it depends on the future if the Democrats chose to try to make it an issue," he said.

Gonzalez said the political careers of those who stuck with Trump through the turmoil, the riot, and the impeachment leaves Democrats an open door should they choose to use it.

"So, two years from now the question is, are Democrats going to run on what happened in 2020, January 6th, 2021?" he said.

Gonzalez believes Democrats, though, will chose to look ahead, not back.

"I think they are not going to pay a price. What we are hearing from Biden, the leader of the Democratic Party, is 'let's put this behind us. Let's move on. Let’s not dwell in the past,'" Gonzalez said.

With his twitter account gone for good, citizen Trump will need to find a new way to communicate with his base. Gonzalez says even without the title, President Trump supporters, those Gonzalez labels insurgent Republicans, won’t forget who is on his side when he’s living at Mar-a-lago full time and plotting for 2024.

"What appears to be happening is that there's enough of a critical mass amongst these insurgent Republicans that they are having a definite effect," Gonzalez said. "So, we could see a a number of very well-established Republicans lose primaries due to their unwillingness to support Trump."

Each of the Republicans in Congress from South Florida is saying they want to work with Democrats going forward. The question is can they politically do that without crossing Donald Trump's view of what it means to be a loyal Republican.

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