Thousands of Democratic political consultants, campaign staff, and big-dollar donors have arrived in South Florida for the party’s first presidential primary debates, held Wednesday and Thursday. They’ve scheduled dozens of debate-watch parties and fundraisers — everywhere from union halls to country clubs to Irish pubs.
Also on tap: a few party crashers.
On Wednesday evening, at least three protests are planned outside the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami, where Democratic presidential nominees will debate one another for the first time on the national stage. Protesters include Trump supporters denouncing socialism and New York City cops who are mad at Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Here are the groups of protesters you might see yelling on cable news this week:
Trump supporters on a train
A group of Trump supporters is planning a train ride/protest to the debate hall in Miami. The group, based in Broward County, just north of Miami-Dade County, plans to take the light-rail train from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale to Miami on Wednesday evening at 5:30, arriving at 6:45. A return train of protesters will depart at 9:45.
The 75-minute ride is dubbed All Aboard the Trump Train, part of a “quest to tell the national television audience that South Florida is Trump country.” So there’s a good chance you’ll hear them on TV.
Trump supporters in South Florida love to get rowdy in front of the television cameras. Last time they clashed with Democratic activists in South Florida, it wasn’t pretty. Trump supporters surrounded and harassed Democratic voters outside the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office.
Angry NYPD cops
Current and former NYPD officers are in Miami to protest one specific candidate: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Police Benevolent Association, a labor union that represents 50,000 police officers and retirees, says de Blasio is pretending to be a working-class champion.
PBA President Pat Lynch told the New York Daily News that de Blasio in recent years has offered city workers low raises and cut health benefits for employees and retirees while boosting his own pay by 15 percent.
“From labor to mental health to homelessness, @BilldeBlasio’s abysmal record while running New York City should disqualify him from running the country. Voters — and de Blasio’s opponents on the debate stage — deserve to know the truth,” the union wrote on its Twitter account.
Here’s the ad it bought in the Miami Herald this week.
Check out the @NYCPBA’s ad on the backpage of the @MiamiHerald letting the people of Florida know that @BilldeBlasio puts “Working People Last” as he cuts city workers healthcare, offers below inflation raises, and gives himself a 15% raise #DemocraticDebates pic.twitter.com/3gkogIXiGY— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) June 26, 2019
The Republican women against socialism
A group called the Federated Republican Women of North Dade is organizing a demonstration “opposing socialism” outside the concert hall during both debate nights.
“Please join us as we remind the Socialist [sic] that we are a Free Nation and don’t accept their Tyranny in our own backyard,” the group wrote on its event page.
A flyer for the event described it as a stand against the “socialist coup.”
The group, whose logo features a high-heeled shoe in the shape of Florida, will likely run into the left-wing Democrats it wants to denounce. That’s because many of them will be rallying there, too.
A group of environmental activists is planning to demonstrate outside the concert hall in support of a Green New Deal, the ambitious climate-change policy agenda championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
“We’ll be rallying, playing music, and having intermittent speakers to counter the Trump protesters!” the environmental organizers wrote on the event’s Facebook page.
One of the groups organizing the rally staged a protest outside the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. They called out DNC Chair Tom Perez for refusing to host a primary debate focused exclusively on climate change, which has become a central issue in the 2020 elections.