"Florida is now a Mecca for MAGA". This was the opinion of democratic pollster, Fernand Amandi in a recent article from The Hill. He's not alone in that thought. There is a general feeling of frustration and disappointment among liberals in the Sunshine state right now. It started before the 2020 presidential election, but has since intensified.
Between 51% of voters checking the box for Donald Trump, the republican super majority in legislature, and Governor Ron DeSantis' landslide victory over his democratic opponent (winning by over 19%), it's rough being liberal in Florida. Some would even say dangerous.
DeSantis has signed into law conservative policies like:
- "Don't say gay" law, which prohibits public school teachers from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation
- Regulations regarding books in public school libraries
- A 6-week ban on abortion
- Voting laws that many say are unfair (and the NAACP is suing the state over)
- Restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors, bathroom usage, and drag shows
While the governor says he is "keeping the state a refuge for sanity and normalcy ", many people say it's an attack on their freedom.
Even though on the surface it would seem Florida is a bastion of conservatism, there are many places where liberal leaning folks reside, and flourish. This blog is for anyone in search of one of these towns.
Below, we've listed the most liberal towns in Florida. The rankings were based each of the towns overall profile, which includes:
- Environmental activity
- Support of the LGBTQ community
- Diversity of the population
- Access to higher education
- Arts scene
- Access to social services
- Cultural and ethnic celebration
Here Are The 11 Most Liberal Cities In Florida You Should Consider Living In
11. Coral Springs
Coral Springs was a planned community in southern Florida that strived for the perfect combination of urban convenience and suburban comfort. The community is chock-full of green space, from nature preserves, parks, and even a wildlife hospital.
There's also a large arts community with several museums, galleries, and a performing arts center, that attracts people from all backgrounds.
The community is culturally diverse with 38% of the population being white, 29% being black, 22% Hispanic, and 5% Asian. These demographics make for a great community with many choices and experiences to be had.
The town is supportive of their LGBTQ residents, hosting many events and providing resources specifically geared toward the community.
At 64%, Coral Springs also has the most registered Democrats than any other town in Florida.
10. Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is a beach town known for its restaurants and bars. People also rave about the inclusive culture and commitment to diversity.
The city has a dedicated area for arts and entertainment. The 22 block long Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District has tons of museums, galleries, performing arts centers, and vendors.
Fort Lauderdale has a large LGBTQ population as well, with many people from the community owning businesses in the area.
There's always something going on in town whether it's a festival, parade, craft fair, or farmers market. Community involvement and amplification of its diverse population is of the upmost importance to the leaders of Fort Lauderdale.
Orlando is home to the "happiest place on earth", Disney World. Therefore, it attracts a lot of younger people in search of jobs with the company. Younger people tend to be more liberal leaning, especially the various performers who work at the theme park.
Overall, Orlando is a liberal city with over 60% voting democrat in the last presidential election. The city politics include many grassroots campaigns to control access to guns, improve healthcare for those in need, and support economic development and job opportunities.
Policies also include supporting equality and diversity, like the passage of a non-discrimination ordinance by city council. The city has a diverse population with 38% being white, 29% being Hispanic, 25% being black, and 4% being Asian. The city celebrates this diversity with a vast array of cultural festivals and celebrations.
Orlando is also very supportive of the LGBTQ community and holds regular events like GayDays Orlando. The arts scene in Orlando is also huge with many art galleries, and music, film, and fine arts festivals and fairs.
Miami is a diverse city, rich in culture and the arts, heavily influenced by the Caribbean and Latin people that have lived there for decades. In fact, Miami has the 3rd largest Spanish-speaking population in the United States.
With over 17 colleges and universities, Miami attracts many people (both students and professionals) that have progressive, liberal views. It's one of the most liberal areas of Florida.
The city also has one of the largest and active LGBTQ communities in the United States. In fact, the community has their own chamber of commerce that helps to welcome over 1 million people from the LGBTQ community each year. The organization hosts several events throughout the year to celebrate, including The Outshine Film Festival and Winter Party.All events are inclusive, welcoming all to celebrate and learn with their neighbors.
In the last presidential election 53% of Miami residents voted Democrat.
7. St. Petersburg
If you're looking for a liberal leaning city with a vibrant, inclusive downtown, and diverse neighborhoods, St. Petersburg is definitely worth looking at. The relaxed community is welcoming and supportive of all cultures.
There are several art districts in the city, with art galleries, museums, and unique shops. There are a range of regular activities that support all residents including cultural heritage festivals and the annual Pride Parade in June.
Each Saturday the town hosts Saturday Morning Market, that aims to bring everyone in the community together to share in festivities and activities with their neighbors.
Though it's evenly split politically, St. Petersburg is a welcoming place that respects and welcomes diversity.
6. Key West
Known for its laid back, relaxing atmosphere, Key West has historically been a haven for creative, well-rounded people. From poets, authors, and cigar makers, to artists, performers, and culinary professionals, the area has been a welcoming place to all.
They were the first place in Florida to have an openly gay mayor, and have a strong LGBTQ community.
The town stresses environmental protection of the keys and sustainable tourism initiatives. The community is very civic minded and has a senior citizen plaza to keep older people engaged and ensure their needs are met. There's also a community service team that works to help keep the community clean, attractive, and safe.
Though it may have started as a haven for liberal-minded individuals long ago because of its remote location, it is now a destination for those who want to feel welcomed and allowed to be themselves.
Located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Tampa is a large city that is home to many industries that offer employment to people of varying skill and education backgrounds.
The city is committed to environmental protection and programs that reduce carbon emissions and improve water quality and sustainability. They have a thriving arts scene that attracts many free thinkers.
The town hosts several annual events that celebrate the diverse population of Tampa, including Pride month activities, Hispanic heritage month celebrations, and others. Tampa has shown its commitment to progressive values in electing an openly gay, female mayor.
This area stresses the importance of a strong education system and works on providing affordable healthcare to all its residents.
4. Coral Gables
With a population of just over 48,000, Coral Gables has a large arts scene, beautiful historic architecture, and a lot of green space. Located just outside of Miami, they pride themselves on environmental preservation and energy conservation.
So much so that the town has a Green Task Force, that works to keep the many parks and waterways clean, provide resources for sustainable living, and eduction on protecting the environment.
It's also home to the main campus of The University of Miami which focuses on progressive issues and employs many people who have liberal ideals. Coral Gables is also home to over 200 regional headquarters for businesses from Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
This not only creates a culturally diverse community, but offers many job opportunities to residents. Coral Gables is also considered one of the most LGBTQ friendly communities in the state of Florida.
With 9 universities (including Florida State), it's no wonder the state capital is near the top of the most liberal areas in Florida. A large faction of the population are young college students and professors that work at the colleges.
Both of these groups tend to lean liberal. In addition, the population is fairly diverse with 34% of the population being black, 5% Hispanic, and 4% Asian. They received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign equality index, due in large part to their initiatives to welcome members of the LGBTQ community.
Each spring Tallahassee hosts a week long Pridefest, to celebrate residents and visitors. The town council promotes civic involvement and youth leadership. Railroad Square is a 10 acre site in the town dedicated to the arts.
Many cultural events and art fairs are held throughout the year. In the 2020 presidential election, 63% of residents voted democrat.
2. Delray Beach
Though always a picturesque beach town, with beautiful beaches and ocean views, Delray was not always a beacon of open thought. After a rocky past, Delray Beach is fast becoming one of the most progressively liberal areas in Florida. At one point, employees that were gay were denied benefits by a city commissioner.
Thankfully, with the hard work of a determined community, that ended. The celebration included the painting of a huge Pride flag on the street of The Pineapple Grove Arts district.
The beachfront community also emphasizes environmental protection and sustainability. They even have an office of sustainability that offers education and awareness on conservation, energy efficiency, and clean waters.
The town also supports people looking to recover from substance use disorder. While many towns shun them, Delray has welcomed several rehab centers and sober homes to their town.
In the last presidential election, 56% of residents voted democrat.
1. Winter Park
Surprisingly, this small, quaint town of only 30,000 tops the list, because though they are small in population, they are huge on heart, culture, and inclusivity.
The town is home to Rollins College, one of the best private colleges in the country. They have a large liberal population of students and faculty, which helps to spread awareness and alternative perspectives on social issues.
Winter Park is home to 4 world-class museums and annual art festivals. The LGBTQ community thrives in this small town, organizing events through the towns Pride Month Project.
Most residents come together to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for everyone that lives there, and visits.
Over 60% of Winter Park residents voted blue in the 2020 election.
As you can see, Florida offers many choices in which liberal-minded individuals can make their home. Whether you want the excitement of a city like Miami, or prefer the small town vibe of Winter Park. You can find progressive places in Florida that celebrate diversity and value inclusion.
FAQs On The Most Liberal Cities In Florida
Looking strictly at voting statistics, the most politically liberal city in Florida is the states capital of Tallahassee. Over 60% of the town's residents voted Democrat in the 2020 presidential election. Tallahassee has favored democratically in every presidential election since 2000.
Florida is typically a Republican state. Though there are towns where the Democratic Party hold the majority in politics, the vast overall majority of the state is run by the Republican Party. This includes the state legislature and governor's office. The majority of Florida's voters are also registered Republicans.
According to the Florida Division of Elections, there are 5.2 million registered Republicans in Florida. The party represented over 51% of total voters in the 2020 election.
The most liberal coastal town in Florida is Delray Beach. This is based on the town's commitment to environmental protection, their vibrant arts scene, communities based programs, and celebration of diversity.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee