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Political analyst speaks to the Longboat Key Democratic Club

Professor Susan MacManus
Professor Susan MacManus
Photo by Petra Rivera
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Longboat Key Democratic Club had its last luncheon of the season April 2 at the Sarasota Yacht Club. 

President Lucie Lapovsky introduced Professor Susan MacManus, the speaker for the luncheon. She is a political analyst and a distinguished professor of political science at the University of South Florida.

With the presidential election this year, MacManus focused on how the Florida electorate is changing in her speech. She shared multiple studies with statistics on the changes of registered voters depending on race, ethnicity, generation and gender. She also covered how these changes impact candidates and election efforts for all parties. 

MacManus stated that the most registered voters are women and in the three youngest generations. These are split between the Democratic and Republican parties. She said that because Florida has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the country, it is important to understand how minorities are voting. 

She emphasized the importance of connecting to younger voters through communication techniques that that are effective with them, such as social media, and inspiring them by speaking on issues that affect them directly. 

For this upcoming election, MacManus said that 63% of voters expected to be misinformed by social media and news outlets. She called the 2024 election the “Misinformation and Litigation election" because of these statistics. 

“This is the hardest election I have ever covered my entire life,” said MacManus. “The mood of the public is dreadful and so negative. Also, media habits are a tremendous change since social media platforms are where most people go for news these days. You can clearly see it is a different world.”

Lucie Lapovsky, Diane Shoemaker, Tom Edwards, Derek Reich, George Davis and Liz Barker
Photo by Petra Rivera

Five candidates who are running in August came to address the club as well. This included Liz Barker and Tom Edwards for Sarasota County School Board, George Davis for Hospital Board, Derek Reich for District 73 State Representative, Diane Shoemaker for Manatee County Commission and Manny Lopez for Congress in Florida District 17.

Club member Francine Achbar said that she found MacManus’ data was fascinating and important to understand before voting in the upcoming election. 



Petra Rivera

Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.

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