Editor’s Note: Chris King was the 2018 Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor of Florida, a race decided by 0.4% of over 8 million votes. He is the CEO of Elevation Financial Group, an affordable housing provider based in Orlando, Florida. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKingFL. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his. Read more opinion articles on CNN.

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“Florida, Florida, Florida,” said the late Tim Russert on election night in 2000, a prescient observation on what would become the nation’s most important electoral battleground. Two decades and five presidential campaigns later, Florida’s status as the perennial swingiest of swing states remains unchallenged, and this year we will once again cast the deciding votes on whether to end or extend the presidency of Donald Trump.

Chris King

Here’s the good news for Trump: Florida likes incumbents. Florida has not voted against an incumbent in 40 years, delivering our electoral votes to the sitting President of both parties for the past four decades straight. Trump is also a Floridian himself now, gaining the home field advantage after he switched his residency to Palm Beach County.

Here’s the bad news for Trump: everything else.

The state is in free fall. Hotels and theme parks have laid off tens of thousands of people. Food distribution lines are hundreds of cars deep. Nearly 100,000 small businesses have been permanently shuttered, wiping out a generation of entrepreneurs. Abandoned hotels line the streets of Kissimmee, in the shadow of the state’s most famous mouse, serving as dilapidated last resorts of suffering for so many. Our beaches are eroding, and our cities are sinking – the latest victims of unchecked climate change. We have an affordable housing crisis in the midst of the worst public health disaster in modern times, and Florida – which did not embrace the Affordable Care Act under GOP leadership – has left millions of people uninsured and unprotected from this deadly virus.

Between March and August, 3.5 million Floridians filed for unemployment benefits, and the state’s inadequate system has left residents of all stripes high and dry, unable to even access the online platform. Those who receive benefits suffer under brutally low rates, with families expected to survive on a couple of hundred dollars each week, an amount so paltry that our Trump-endorsed governor had to turn down the Federal government’s match for failure to meet the minimum requirements. Things are not sunny in the sunshine state.

We need hope. We need leadership. We need a government that can keep people safe and create an atmosphere where everyone – not just the rich – can thrive. As a lifelong entrepreneur and small business owner, I know firsthand how the economy in Florida is leaving our essential workers behind. Our service industry employees are often the lowest paid, least secure, and first laid off when trouble strikes. Our tradesmen and teachers aren’t asking for more than a fair wage, they just want the fair pay they deserve. Millions of Floridians can’t afford housing or proper medical care, and they want a President who doesn’t just see their plight, but actually empathizes with them and wants to help. This is where Joe Biden excels; he oozes compassion at a time when voters want it most.

After defeating the virus, the next president will have the monumental task of rebuilding our economy. As daunting as that sounds, a competent and strategic leader can use this opportunity to share a vision for a new economy with better paying jobs, more attention to the needs of workers, and a commitment to advancements in renewable energy. Florida’s economy has always been more vulnerable for its reliance on tourism. We learned that lesson hard in the Great Recession, and successive Republican state administrations have failed to address the issue or properly prepare our state for the economic downturn we now face.

Mickey Mouse, cruise ships, and sandy beaches may beckon visitors the world over, but when the music stops and the ships can’t sail, it’s Florida who suffers more than most. We don’t need the government to solve all our problems for us; we just need the tools, incentives, and access to capital so the next generation of entrepreneurs can find the creative solutions we’ve been waiting for. A new era of clean energy jobs in Florida will bring the stability and economic diversification we desperately need.

The new administration must also ensure that this is not a “K-shaped” recovery, where those on the top of society prosper while the middle and lower classes fall further behind. We can do that by reducing the expense burden for the average family – through affordable housing, higher education, and healthcare – while promoting economic policies that support the folks who can’t afford a $200,000 membership to Mar-A-Lago.

Florida needs our new president to bring us together. It is not enough to begrudgingly say you oppose white supremacy – our president must be an unapologetic champion for communities of color. Florida is rich in its diversity and our new president must have an equitable vision for how he will lift Black and brown communities, eliminate racist policies, and create opportunities that allow each person to pursue their God-given purpose.

In other words, we need the next president to Build Back Better, and there’s only one person prepared to do that.

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    The campaign of 2018 gave me a palpable respect for how President Trump can run up the score in places like Southwest Florida and the Panhandle, so we cannot take polls for granted – I know better than most.

    In a state where elections are often decided by just a few thousand votes, Trump can’t afford to lose a single supporter. Yet his economic failures, incompetence in managing this pandemic, and cruel indifference to those suffering has been felt far and wide – and he won’t be able to escape it.

    If Joe Biden continues to share a clear and compassionate message of economic and public health, the state that will send him to the White House is the same one Donald Trump now calls home: Florida, Florida, Florida.