Sunday, September 20, 2020

Is Gary Farmer's Abject Fear Of Winning Going To Cost Biden The State Of Florida?



Florida is the ultimate 50-50 swing state. After FDR died-- and Florida had given him over 70% of its votes in each of his 4 runs-- Florida became a purple state. Truman won and then Eisenhower won there twice. After that, it went like this:
1960- Nixon 51.51% to JFK 48.49%
1964- LBJ 51.15% to Goldwater 48.85%
1968- Nixon 40.53% to Humphrey 30.93% to Wallace 28.53%
1972- Nixon 71.91% to McGovern 27.80%
1976- Carter 51.93% to Ford 46.64%
1980- Reagan 55.52% to Carter 38.50%
1984- Reagan 65.32 to Mondale 34.66%
1988- Bush I 60.87% to Dukakis 38.51%
1992- Bush I 40.89% to Clinton 39.00% to Perot 19.82%
1996- Clinton 48.02% to Dole 42.32% to Perot 9.12%
2000- Bush II 48.85% to Gore 48.84%
2004- Bush II 52.10% to Kerry 47.09%
2008- Obama 51.03% to McCain 48.22%
2012- Obama 50.01% to Romney 49.13%
2016- Trump 48.60% to Clinton 47.41%
Very few votes-- just a handful anywhere in the state-- can tip a statewide election, and often does. And there are 29 electoral votes at stake-- same as New York and more than any other states other than Texas (38) and California (55). Trump can't win a second term without and it's such a major target for Biden because of that more than because he needs it himself. In Politico yesterday, Matt Dixon noted that Florida Democrats have built a vote-by-mail lead. But there is more than that at stake: control of the state legislature and at least 3 or 4 congressional seats. Dixon pointed out that Florida Democrats "have requested roughly 730,000 more election ballots ahead of the general election than Republicans, who have seen their traditional vote-by-mail dominance eroded by the president’s efforts to brand it as a vehicle for widespread fraud."
As of Thursday morning, Democrats in the nation’s largest swing state had requested 2.3 million mail ballots, compared with 1.5 million requests from registered Republican voters. That’s a departure from four years ago, when a million Republicans requested ballots compared to fewer than 882,000 Democrats.

It’s a good-- but not conclusive-- early sign for Democrats less than six weeks from Election Day in a state where every vote counts. Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are all but deadlocked in the state, where Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by just 166,911 votes.

...[But a] request for a mail ballot does not equate to a ballot cast.

During Florida primaries last month, Democrats failed to return nearly 800,000 mail ballots. Republicans, by contrast, had fewer than 562,300 requested ballots unaccounted for. Florida voters in all mailed 4.2 million ballots in the primary.

...Florida Republicans also tend to turn out in much larger numbers on Election Day, which can swamp Democrats’ mailed ballots and early in-person voting advantages. During the August primary, 576,875 Republicans voted on Election Day, compared with 325,961 Democrats, an advantage that the GOP expects to maintain in November.

...Trump this year has made mailed-ballots a partisan bogeyman with baseless accusations that have hurt his own chances in the battleground state. While on a tirade about remote voting, Trump appeared to encourage North Carolina residents to illegally cast two ballots-- by mail and in person-- prompting a fresh spate of worries among his allies. But Republicans close to the president so far have been unable to persuade him to stop equating vote by mail to fraud.

The persistent attacks already have hurt Republican voter turnout in Florida, where the party long has had an edge in vote by mail. During the August primaries, 1.9 million people cast ballots by mail. Of those, nearly 60 percent were Democrats, a shift from past performance.

In the 2016 primary, for instance, of the 1.1 million vote-by-mail ballots cast, 57 percent came from Republicans.

“Republican numbers are tanking for sure, due almost exclusively to Trump’s false claims of rampant fraud,” said incoming state Senate Leader Gary Farmer, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat running his caucus’ 2020 campaigns. “Historically, the Republicans have kicked our butts with vote by mail. Not this year.”
Republicans may lose the state because of Trump... Democrats may lose because of Farmer, whose ambition is to be Senate Minority leader. The Florida state Senate consists of 40 members. Right now, 23 are Republicans and 17 are Democrats. If the Republicans lose 4 seats (net), the Democrats get a say in state government. Farmer is so panicked about the idea of a Democratic majority that he has worked-- not something he is known to do much-- to sabotage Democratic candidates running for the Senate! Joan Walsh, reporting for The Nation last week, told the story elegantly yesterday of how Farmer has undermined Kathy Lewis' campaign. Just as bad, Farmer demanded that progressive Democrat Rachel Brown drop out of her race and cede her district to the GOP without a fight, a move that could cause Biden to lose enough votes to lose the state and perhaps the presidency. That's who Gary Farmer is-- the worst of the Democratic Party anywhere.

The Rachel Brown story is an interesting one. Farmer was eager to see his girlfriend, Heather Fitzenhagen, a Republican state Rep, win the Lee County-based Senate seat (Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel). GOP incumbent Lizbeth Benacquisto is termed-out of office and Fitzenhagen is a vaguely mainstream Republican compared to another state House member, neo-fascist Ray Rodrigues, who was also running for the Republican nomination. Farmer demanded-- on several bullying phone calls-- that Brown drop out, insisting that somehow that would help his lover. Brown demurred and is now the Democratic nominee-- who Farmer-- in control of all institutional state Senate campaign funds-- adamantly refuses to back. The Trumpist neo-fascist Rodrigues slaughtered Farmer's girlfriend in the GOP primary, 47,935 (74.8%) to 16,115 (25.2%).

A couple of days ago, Brown told me that "Compromise is something I am familiar with. My university (Florida Gulf Coast University) has sanctions on the percentage of university owned land they can develop on, so every year they buy more land so they can build on more of it and still remain in the required percentage agreement. This is exactly what we are doing when we bend the knee to people who don't think healthcare, clean air and clean water should be a basic human right. When we accept compromise, we lose land we will never regain. Farmer and friends handed the nomination to a Republican who, like Gary Farmer, voted against allowing folks to purchase prescription drugs at lower prices from Canada. They saw Heather having a heart once because she voted against parental consent for abortions because "in many cases the parent is the cause of the pregnancy" (Heather's words). She has a level of personhood but under pressure from her party she will always vote against the needs of working people." She continued, bending over backwards to be "fair" to Farmer. Please read her whole statement and consider contributing to her campaign by clicking on the 2020 Florida thermometer below.
Goal ThermometerIt can be easy to feel defeated, which is why I sympathized with Gary when he called. He sounded scared. The Republicans are the party of the rich, and to win an election you need to buy ads. The person with the most money usually wins because they can buy the most ads. I'm sure Gary has lost plenty of times, and he is forced into a rigid way of thinking... how can I do my job... who can I get in who can help me do my job... So he starts to empathize with the enemy and graciously accept any crumb they give him.

I am on the outside and I see the big picture. If we leave vacant seats uncontested across Florida, we are handing over democracy to the Republicans in exchange for 40 lashes instead of 41. We have to fight because our entire nation depends on the way Florida votes this year. Yes, I have a personal fear of Ray Rodriguez winning and destroying Florida but the heart of the matter is what the public knows. If the public knows that an awful man is in control, and they don't like him and they revolt, great. If the public thinks everything is fine when in reality it is not, well that's even more dangerous.

Also, when you don't support a candidate financially you are sending them into battle with nothing. Yes I can get creative, but I'm going to need at least $20,000 to reach all the voters I need to reach and that's still incredibly low for a Senate race.

The fact that Gary at this point cannot work with Heather to join me, the way he joined her to take me down is pretty nasty. I offered a hand of unity to Heather when she lost. I asked her to join me in my fight against Ray. Surely she cares about beating him a little bit (even though she never showed up to forums with the two of us, I cannot imagine she gave up her congressional race to go after the party's chosen future governor for nothing) I thought surely a good political move for her even would be to join a young emerging female in politics, but no. She and Gary and the rest of the state Senate Dems chose to shun me like an Amish community. I have never felt more unwelcome. I, someone who is putting my life on hold to save Florida from a tyrant... the Trump of the Florida Senate.

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At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The brave people running for office under the Democratic brand are the ones the Party does all in their power to block from victory. Those without courage are the ones who are completely dependent upon a corrupt party to put them in office.


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