Florida newspaper calls state ‘crimson hellscape’ after historic GOP victories, later stealth edits

Sun Sentinel editorial board bemoaned 'epic Democratic collapse' in Florida

The Sun Sentinel denounced the state of Florida as a "crimson hellscape" Wednesday in the wake of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP's decisive midterm victories there before quietly walking its condemnation back.

"Nice knowing you, Florida," the Sun Sentinel editorial board wrote the day after the midterm elections. The newspaper is the most circulated one in south Florida.

"After Tuesday’s stunning election results, the state’s political transformation is now nearly complete, from deep purple battleground to crimson hellscape, an ideal launch pad for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential aspirations," the newspaper said, later replacing the word "hellscape" with "landscape" without any explanation or notice. The Sun Sentinel has not responded to request for comment as of publication.

The editorial went on, "We now await a second-term agenda that may feature an open-carry gun law, tighter abortion restrictions, new strategies to suppress the vote and more charter flights for out-of-state migrants, presented with even more of the governor’s trademark hubris."

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit held at the Tampa Convention Center on July 22, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit held at the Tampa Convention Center on July 22, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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The outlet followed by giving due credit to DeSantis for a "19-point blowout victory" that was "historic and nothing short of astounding." The governor "carried 62 of 67 counties," establishing "a sea of red reflecting an epic Democratic collapse" in Florida. 

DeSantis easily beat former Gov. Charlie Crist, earning 1.5 million more votes than his opponent. In 2018, DeSantis won by just 33,000 votes over Andrew Gillum. 

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also cruised to a double-digit win over Democratic challenger Val Demings on Tuesday. 

The editors accused DeSantis of "racial gerrymandering" and warned it would be "impossible for Democrats to slow down an extremist GOP agenda for the next couple of years."

The editorial board noted how the Florida GOP has not only kept its territory, but expanded it to historic levels. "For the first time since after the Civil War, not a single Democrat holds a statewide office," the board warned, saying Florida Democrats face an uphill battle to regain "relevance" in the state.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his family pose after he was re-elected on Tuesday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his family pose after he was re-elected on Tuesday. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

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"After this midterm meltdown, Florida Democrats have dug themselves such a deep hole that it’s impossible to see a path to relevance," the board wrote before urging the party "not to point fingers or seek scapegoats," but instead develop "a long-term strategy to engage young people and Hispanics, register voters and recruit stronger candidates."

DeSantis campaign staffer Christina Pushaw posted a screenshot of the Sentinel's article on Twitter, highlighting the use of the phrase "crimson hellscape," before it was erased. 

She later taunted the newspaper with a picture of Florida's "beautiful map."

Twitter users reacted to her post by mocking the Sentinel's dramatic hyperbole. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign rally in Hialeah, Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign rally in Hialeah, Florida. (AP)

"Crimson hellscape!! Hahahahahahaha!" columnist Rita Panahi tweeted.

Florida State Board of Education member Ryan Petty tweeted, "Crimson hellscape. That’s a strange way to spell freedom."

Claremont Institute Fellow and commentator David Reaboi commented, "Libs call it a ‘Crimson Hellscape’; I call it @GovRonDeSantis’ Florida."

Author and commentator Josh Steimle offered what appeared to be a sarcastic appraisal of the Sentinel's writing, "Seems objective and professional."

Heritage Foundation research fellow Jason Bedrick commented, "They’re insufferable."

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