Sunday, November 01, 2020

Message To The Florida Democratic Party: You Can't Win If You Don't Play, Bozos



So what happened with the $780,000 in PPP money the FDP grabbed? 

Maybe you saw the comparison between the competent Texas Democratic Party and the incompetent Florida Democratic Party that we ran yesterday. Dr. Fergie Reid, who ran the 90For90 effort to recruit state legislative candidates in every district had some thoughts he expressed to me that I asked him to jot down.

"You can’t win," he reminded me (again), "if you don’t play."
That sounds like a trite, obvious, throw away phrase; but, in politics, it’s very controversial. Between late March 2020, and the Florida state legislative filing deadline on June 12, Janelle Christensen and I made this argument to many Florida Democratic officials and prospective candidates. It’s a logical argument. However, in some political circles, the "smart" play is to NOT run a candidate in any district that is perceived to be "unwinnable."

"It’s a waste of money, we can’t afford it."

"We’ll be able to run more candidates in more districts when we start winning more."

"Running Democrats here in this part of Florida, just makes Republicans mad."

"We can’t find a good enough candidate."

"We like the Republican incumbent; he’s very friendly; we know him personally."

"You just don’t understand the way it works around here." [Yes, the fatal embrace of toxic dysfunction, a ruling principle of the FDP.]

"Why is someone from Los Angeles, so interested in Florida?"

"You are a toxic influence, and an 'outside agitator.'"

"You are a net negative to the candidate you’re trying to help; you should stop helping her, and let us handle her."

"What’s the use in running a candidate if you can’t finance them adequately to win?"

So many excuses NOT to run a Democratic candidate, from people whose job it is to run Democratic candidates! Oy Vey!!
Fergie, Janelle Christensen, Margie Stein and a whole lot of very helpful folks, ended up getting it done; a Democratic candidate running in each and every one of the 141 state legislative races on the Florida ballot in 2020; they recruited 36 of these 141, and facilitated ballot access for at least that many. That’s fully one quarter of the state legislative contests... absolutely amazing !

They asked the Florida state party for help, either in recruiting or financing ballot access; they declined, but said "good luck." They were introduced to their assigned overseer of "down-ballot” races, who had a separate budget specifically for “down-ballot" projects. We asked for help from this group; they declined, but said, "good luck."

"Janelle and Margie," Fergie told me, "made sure each candidate had basic care and nurturing; in many instances, including candidates that we did not recruit, but who needed, asked for, or would otherwise benefit from a little love and attention. Janelle and Margie did what the party would not do... talk to the candidates. 'Are you alright? Do you need anything that we can get for you? Call us if you need us.' That is basic human kindness and appreciation in action. Janelle and Margie did that. Bob Lynch helped more than a few of these candidates with early financial support and advice; Matt Rogers of Politidope provided much appreciated political experience and help to many; scores of grassroots activists gave their time and sweat to make these heroic candidates understand how appreciated their personal sacrifice truly was." Reid continued:
Some of the state party officials understood the importance of this effort and joined in with gusto. Others resisted; and continue to resist. With an opportunity to achieve parity in the Florida state Senate totally within his grasp, the Dem Caucus Chair, Senator Gary Farmer, still hasn’t endorsed Kathy Lewis in FL SD 20, a crucial seat that could give Gary Farmer shared power with his Republican counterpart, Wilton Simpson. The Dem Senate Caucus hasn’t yet called the 9 Democratic Senate candidates who are running in the perceived, "unwinnable" districts. (Do these candidates have "cooties?" Do phones not connect into their Republican districts? Do good form and manners cease to exist at the doorway to the Senate Caucus offices?) Yet, the candidates persist. They carry on. Because, if they don’t play, they can’t win. They probably define winning differently than the old guard party apparatchiks. By running and persisting, they’re winning marginal votes for Joe Biden in their districts; they’re winning hearts and minds of disaffected and previously disrespected voters who have been neglected cycle after cycle; they’re winning the argument within these disregarded communities about the environment, the economy, civil rights, voting rights, and COVID; they’re in the game, sweating, putting in the work.

That’s cool. That’s heroic. That’s high level citizenship.
Are they all going to win? Absolutely not. Some-- and remember, these are all districts the state party decided to not compete in-- are getting tantalizingly close and actually may win. And all of them are turning out votes for the Biden/Harris ticket which is perhaps even more important than Gary Farmer's and his cronies' careers of systemic corruption.

No one ever said all these candidates are going to win. Some of them are running in beet red districts where Democrats haven't run in years. Of course, that's part of the reason they may be so beet red. Rachel Brown is running for the state Senate in Lee County, which the FDP always seems too eager to write-off as "unwinnable." If she wins, the Senate flips from red to blue. But Gary Farmer was dating a Republican running in that district and he literally demanded Rachel drop out. (His GOP girlfriend lost her primary-- in a massive landslide-- and, thank goodness, Rachel didn't drop out. Today she's busy helping turn out Democratic and independent voters for Biden-Harris and she's educating voters about what Democrats stand for. "Always trying is the key," she told me this afternoon. "The second we give up any state, we lose momentum. For those who don't like the party, change it. For those who like the party and think sacrificing battle grounds with no fight... bad strategy. Even if you think you will lose, continuing to talk about medicaid expansion, Rights of Nature, a Green New Deal, will all add to the momentum that our party is lacking and shoot us into the right direction. The only thing we are doing by not having progressives run is creating intellectual deserts."

Before he became a candidate in a swing district state legislative seat in Miami-Dade where the Florida Democratic Party didn't want to run anyone (which would upset GOP powerhouse Daniel Perez), Bob Lynch had a career in Structured Products Trading on Wall Street. That included mortgages, auto, student loans, and also SBA loans. He has an intimate knowledge of loan documentation. "I can tell you with 100% certainty," he said, "that there has never been a single loan that walked into a bank and applied for itself. The Florida Democratic Party created a shell company in order to apply for this loan because political organizations were ineligible for obtaining a PPP loan. The stated purpose of this loan was to save 100 jobs, despite the fact that this entity had no payroll."

In short, Terri Rizzo, the party chair, and Juan Peñalosa, the party executive director, were committing fraud. Lynch:
Why is it that when the Florida Democratic Party was shamed into returning the loan, no jobs were cut? In fact, they hired more people... including third party consultants and contractors with multi million dollar budgets that were never accounted for.

Campaigns like Ricky Junquera’s in HD-118 were funded by this money. Subsequent donors contributions were essentially used to backfill this fraud. That’s a big deal.

When I called for Juan Peñalosa to be fired, I was attacked by the party and accused of being a racist. None of this money went to black or brown women.

Leading Florida Dem “strategists” told me that I should not kick the hornets nest and that because of Juan Peñalosa, Latino strategists such as Rosy Gonzales Spears, Luisana Pérez and many others finally had a place at the table.

All of this was a cash grab. It came down to the people who blew the election for Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson. Now they’re going to blow it again because that’s what these people do for a living.

Nobody cares about actually winning. It’s just about who can get the biggest piece of the wallet share. The Florida Dems spent over $14mm this cycle and $2mm of that went to an independent contractor to focus on only 19 races.

Following the money is extremely straight forward. Why can’t anyone tell me how any of this adds up?
On Wednesday morning, if you wake up and see that Rachel Brown won her Florida state Senate race in "red" Lee County, it means more than just the state Senate flipping blue; it will mean a whole new day dawning in Florida politics. "I think if I don't like something I should fix it," Rachel told me a few minutes ago. "There were many things the Florida Democratic party could have done to help us, requiring no money. In the future, the party should have an orientation in June, telling candidates about the 0.03 cents texting that they told us about two weeks to election day at the point where we were too busy to give them our money and they were too busy to give us the service, about robocalls, about 'data tickets,' about the hundreds of volunteer callers from around the U.S., they had the whole time, who wanted to help flip Florida. They should have one person whose job it is to call through those lists and assign them to campaigns."

She continued, explaining that she didn't want to just sit and complain about how the FDP does its business. "I know how frustrating that attitude must be to party leadership. I'm going to make sure future candidates know about these things and actually help get them started. I'm happy about the positive improvements in the party I've seen locally. For example Lee County Democrats made slate cards for the first time and distributed them to all the Democrats in the county. That's work. We all had many sleepless nights, making ads, printing, cutting and stapling flyers... and days of lit drops and phone calls and texts, and interruptions from media, emails and, of course, questionnaires that never amounted to anything. Anselm [Weber, candidates for the state House in the same area] and I had a volunteer who did 20 hours of phone calling a week. We had a couple join us, calling, making graphics, social media posts, running errands, and lit drops. I found comrades in the Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking communities who did translations for me. I had a 15 year old volunteer who couldn't vote because of her age but wanted to help and learn from us. Local donors in the vegan community, friends sharing posts and helping make events. We had someone donate huge signs for us to paint, and then put them up for us! There's a man in Bonita Springs, just going house to house registering Democrats to vote and making sure they do... There's so much being done here. I plan on keeping up that positivity and making comrades in Lee County."

Janelle Christensen from the state environmental caucus reiterated tome today that "Running for office, especially when you know the odds are not in your favor, takes incredible dedication to the democratic system. I see the biggest barriers as the antiquated system that the State of Florida has set up for candidates to register to run, the barriers put up to keep people from qualifying and the challenges in finance reporting. Margie and I tried (and at times failed) to help candidates navigate the system designed to keep out the average person. Despite those barriers each candidate has made connections in their communities, educated about climate change, and ensured that entrenched Republicans did not get to set the narrative without challenge. I am happy Margie and I could help candidates in any way we could. I hope we can do it again." She asked me to acknowledge the incredible difference the Blue Wave Coalition has made in some critical areas... they helped register voters and get out the vote in deep red Lee (DEC Chair Gabe Spukes) and Collier (DEC Chair Annisa Karim) Counties and the DEC Chair of Sarasota County, Joanne DeVries has been an amazing advocate and support system also. Some of the best voter turnout is happening in red districts." This is a spreadsheet Janelle updates several times a day.

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At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still think taking the Party over from within is a good idea?

Send them to the Whigs and be done with them.

At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plantlife don't know what 'whigs' are.

If you do only a cursory look at the FL democrap party since 2000, you must conclude that they play NOT TO WIN. DWT even concluded that DWS regularly ignored districts so that a nazi friend of hers could win easily.

It's up to the lefty voters of FL to make that shit go away. But they never, ever do.

thus the shithole.


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