Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Florida Should Be Sending A Lot More Democrats To Congress Than It Does-- Thank #DebtTrapDebbie


Florida is a swing state. Sometimes Democrats win and sometimes Republicans win-- but it's always close. Here are the Florida results in the last half dozen presidential elections for some context to the point I'm trying to make:
1992 Bush 2,173,310 (40.89%), Clinton 2,072,698 (39.00%)
1996- Clinton 2,546,870 (48.1%), Dole 2,244,536 (42.3%)
2000- Bush 2,912,790 (48.85%), Gore 2,912,253 (48.84%)
2004- Bush 3,964,522 (52.10%), Kerry 3,583,544 (47.09%)
2008- Obama 4,282,074 (51.03%), McCain 4,045,624 (48.22%)
2012- Obama 4,237,756 (50.01%), Romney 4,163,447 (49.13%)
No blowouts, just one close election after another-- the ultimate purple state. And, yet, largely due to the grotesque incompetence of the state's Democratic Party establishment, the state's congressional delegations haven't reflected this even split. In 1992, for example, while Democratic Senator Bob Graham was significantly outpolling George W. Bush statewide and winning 3,245,585 votes (65.4%), Florida elected 12 Democrats and 13 Republicans, the last time congressional races would reflect Florida's swingy status. Two years later, a midterm, the Republicans elected 15 members and the Democrats only 8. (Ominously, 9 of the Republicans ran unopposed). Then came 1996 with Clinton beating Dole statewide but with the same congressional line-up-- 15 Republicans, 8 Democrats. Two years later every Republican and every Democrat was reelected, functioning exactly the way the system was designed to work. In fact, of the 23 Florida congressmembers, 17 ran unopposed.

In 2000... no changes to the ratio and 3 retired Republicans were replaced by 3 other Republicans. The midterm in 2002 was important because it created 2 new districts. Both went to Republicans and a Republican defeated a Democratic incumbent so that the ratio was significantly altered in the congressional delegation: 18 Republicans and 7 Democrats. The party establishments were both fine with the arrangement. 2004 rolled around without any changes to the ratio.

Then came 2006, a year when the Bush presidency was falling apart and the Democrats picked up 31 seats nationally and replaced Speaker Hastert with Speaker Pelosi. Florida had a special situation because just days before the election long-time child molester Mark Foley (R) was caught and forced to resign. A Republican masquerading as a Blue Dog Democrat, Tim Mahoney, took the seat (although voted with the GOP on virtually every crucial roll call for his one miserable term, after which he was defeated in his own sex scandal. One more Republican lost, neighboring Clay Shaw, in a district that had been trending blue. That gave the 50/50 state 16 Republicans and 9 Democrats.

Two years later, in 2008, Obama had his big win over McCain and the Democrats picked up another 21 seats nationally. In Florida 3 incumbents lost their seat-- the aforementioned Blue Dog, sex-obsessed Tim Mahoney, another criminal Republican, Tom Feeney, and then something no one was counting on. The Democratic establishment backed a good old boy conservative in Orlando, Charlie Stuart, to run against Ric Keller in a recently gerrymandered district that was made to be a safe home for a Republican, as they had in 2006. But Alan Grayson basically told the establishment to take Charlie Stuart and shove it and he ran anyway, defeating Stuart 49%-28% in a 5 person race, and then going on to beat Keller in his safe Republican seat, 52-48%. The Democratic establishment has hated Grayson ever since. The state's congressional delegation was now 15 Republicans to 10. That wouldn't last long.

2010 was a bad year for the Democrats. They managed to lose a staggering 63 House seats nationally, including 4 in Florida, almost entirely due to DCCC incompetence. The delegation was now 19 Republicans to just 6 Democrats, each one in fortress-like gerrymandered seats with far too many Democratic voters, making neighboring swing districts easier for Republicans. In a catastrophic year for Democrats like 2010, laughably gerrymandered incumbent-protection seats gave massive wins to incredibly bad or, at best, mediocre, members:
Corrine Brown- 63.0%
Kathy Castor- 59.6%
Frederica Wilson- 86.2%
Ted Deutch- 62.6%
Debbie Wasserman Schultz- 60.2%
Alcee Hastings- 79.1%
[Bolded names of Members indicate utter unsuitability for public office.]

2012 was another Obama win but DCCC incompetence nationally held the wins down to just 8 in the House. Florida picked up two new seats and one went to Alan Grayson, despite the Florida establishment attempting to force him not to run, and the other went to tea party Republican Ron DeSantis. Meanwhile a far right extremist, Allen West, was beaten by another right-wing Republican masquerading as a Democrat, Patrick Murphy and Murphy went on to vote with the Republicans on most important issues. The balance in the delegation shifted slightly to 17 Republicans and 10 Democrats. The 2014 midterms were bad for the Dems nationally (down 13 seats) and in Florida a corrupt New Dem, Joe Garcia, lost his seat to Republican lobbyist Carlos Curbelo, and a far right Blue Dog-- basically a Republican on policy, Gwen Graham-- beat a hapless Republican undertaker, Steve Southernland. The delegation makeup remained unchanged.

Goal Thermometer The Democratic establishment, largely under the thumb of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is, if anything, worse than ever-- fiercely protective of it's ever-shrinking turf while leaving most of the state as a playground to the Republican predators. If Tim Canova manages to beat her in the August 30th primary, a new day will dawn for Florida Democratic politics, particularly if Grayson manages to pull off another anti-establishment win for the Rubio Senate seat. Wins by Grayson and Canova would make the end of the throwback conservative Democratic Party of Florida and mark the beginning of a truly progressive, working family-oriented party. Please consider supporting both of them-- as well as Alina Valdes-- by tapping on the thermometer on the right. Meanwhile, this is the letter Grayson sent his supporters today about what the establishment is doing to sabotage his Senate run. Just so you know what we're up against...
For the past few months, I’ve been attacked for coming out against the corruption that I see in our party, starting with “Please-Ignore-the-Fact-That-I’m-Under-Criminal-Investigation” Sen. Harry Reid. But despite what the Lie Factory at the top may want you to believe, I love the Democratic Party. I just hate what these Mafia accountants with Napoleonic complexes have done to it. In fact, it’s because I love the party that I so much hate what they have done.

I have listened to so many Democratic activists, as you have reached out to express your anger, your frustration, and your worries. You have felt ignored, belittled, and betrayed. So have I.

The disenfranchisement of Democratic voters in choosing our candidates has been largely ignored by the complicit national media. Leaders have been replaced or squelched by corporate bag men. We have been directed to sit down, shut up, and do what we are told. Or, as Archie Bunker used to say to Edith, “Stifle!”

Up for grabs, right now, is the very notion that candidates matter, that programs matter, that government matters, and that democracy even exists. Any candidate who shows the slightest commitment to Democratic principles is condemned by the party overlords and their media stenographers as “unelectable,” or “ideological,” or “unrealistic.” In fact, the one last thing that the Democratic Politburo is good at is defeating progressive Democratic candidates. Lord knows that they don’t have a clue about how to beat Republicans. In Florida, a very purple state, party bosses have delivered the nomination in statewide races to right-wing Democrats virtually every time this century. And we have lost 14 of those 15 races.

I will not sit down. I will not shut up. I will not do as I am told. And because of that, malicious party hacks are bent on ending this campaign. Help me fight back against the D.C. Establishment’s attacks, and show them you won’t settle either -- by chipping in to our insurgent campaign now.

I cannot with good conscience stand by and watch our party abandon the progressive principles and grassroots activists who have built the party we know and love today. I cannot stand by and watch our party recruit and promote candidates who betray the very people our party is supposed to serve, by eschewing the progressive values that working families so desperately need.

Once upon a time, our party was about so much more than the color blue. This party was about recognizing that many working families and seniors are struggling, and about making things better for them. It was about recognizing the injustice and inequality in our society, and then DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

When I was growing up, my parents were Democrats, not because it was trendy, but because they counted on the Democratic Party to improve their lives. They counted on the Democrats to fight for the healthcare benefits I needed to stay alive as a sick child. They counted on the Democrats to fight for the public housing we lived in, instead of the slum my father grew up in. They counted on the Democrats to protect their right to organize, and fair compensation to them as public employees.

What our corrupt, decrepit, and power-mad Democratic Establishment seems to have forgotten is the people like my parents today, the people who would like to vote for Democrats, feel that way because they need our help. Every time our self-appointed “leaders” ram through the nomination of a sellout corporate Democrat, another angel in heaven dies, and (perhaps more importantly) another 100,000 more Democrats flee the un-Democratic Party. Yes, the lobbyists are pleased, and they will keep those PAC checks coming, but our soul is gone. As Walt Kelly used to say in Pogo, “we have met the enemy, and he is us.”

I’m trying to change that. I’m trying to remind our party that we don’t have to be Republican to beat a Republican-- that never works-- and that we can still be champions for the People. But there’s only so much I can do alone.

Today, I’m asking you to stand with me, and speak out against what our party has become. Chip in $30, whatever you can afford now, to help us send a powerful message to our party’s rotten, unscrupulous Establishment.

Despite what our party Politburo may think, there’s a lot more at stake this year than which party gets to kowtow best to the 1 percent. This election season, we will decide what kind of party we want to be from here on out. We're fighting for the soul of the Democratic Party. I hope you’ll join us.

UPDATE: Bernie To Campaign In Florida

Michael Sainato reported in the Observer this morning that Bernie will be down in Miami-Dade campaigning for Tim Canova and against #DebtTrapDebbie Wasserman Schultz.

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At 10:26 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Bravo Bernie!


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