Monday Musings: Democrats & Economic Issues, 100 Years Since World War I, Ted Yoho, Curt Clawson, All Aboard Florida and High Speed Rail

The economy is broken. Working middle class Americans are suffering greatly thanks to rising prices, stagnant wages, a dumbed down education system, and a horrendous job market anchored by the service sector, which makes up 80% of the jobs created in that recovery. Our tax code is littered with goodies for the top 1% thanks to the extension of the Bush Tax cuts and the cutting of the pay roll tax cut by the Obama Administration. 6 million Americans ages 18-24 are now either unemployed or not enrolled in school and our labor participation rate is at an all time low, while stock prices seemingly hit new highs everyday and banking firms like Citigroup are making settlements with the federal government for their role in wrecking the economy. So I ask my fellow Democrats, why are we spending all of our time and political capital on social issues when our people are hurting the most? I along with a growing majority of Americans support marriage equality but in these trying times, our economy its come first. This issue will be addressed by the judiciary rather than the legislative branch. Making progress in our recovery, takes policy change through the legislative process The majority of Americans are now worse off than they were before the recession. We need to build coalitions on economic issues that will undoubtedly progress our economic recovery- raising the minimum wage, reforming the Earned Income Tax Credit, immigration reform, leveling the taxation playing field by removing some of the burden off the middle class, reforming our student loan industry and most importantly, investing in education and infrastructure. The top down economic policy of the last three decades has been proven false in this modern globalizing society thus Democrats can and must own the issue with the proven solutions that are currently rotting on the shelves thanks to Congressional inaction.   - JS @JustinSnyderFL

100 years ago today the deadliest and most brutal conflict in the history of the European continent began. Places that are no synonymous with bloodshed like Ypres, The Somme, Gallipoli and so many more were placid tranquil places on the morning July 28th, 1914. Most naively believed the conflict between Austria and Serbia would not spill over into the rest of Europe. By August 3rd, Russia, Germany, France and Britain were all drawn into the conflict and by the end of the year Turkey was in the war and by the middle of 1915, Italy, Bulgaria and Greece were also at war. My hope is as we hit the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Great War a new emphasis is placed on learning the lessons of World War I. While World War II is deified in Anglo-American imagination, the British actually lost far more lives during World War I. France lost about 40% of its adult male population and the centuries old Russian, Austrian and Ottoman (Turkish) empires collapsed due to the war. The vindictiveness of the victorious British and French in the postwar period led directly to the rise of Hitler and Mussolini as well as the militarism of Japan. -  KK @kkfla737

I have the wonderful pleasure of living in Ted Yoho’s district. While I actually worked hard to unseat Cliff Stearns, I do not think any of us in good ole Congressional district 3 were prepared for Yoho. Arrogant, ignorant, and absolutely unwilling to accept any bit of logic, Yoho has been comic fodder for late-night comedians ever since he was elected. My personal favorite is when he called the tax on tanning beds ‘racist’ because only white people had to pay it, but there is also his questioning of the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act, his adamant support of the shut-down because it would ‘fix the world economy’, and of course the bit about immigrant children are ‘lazy’ and unworthy of instate tuition. However, his flubs have gotten so much publicity that he is being called out by republicans now. His staff has been complaining that Rick Scott’s staffers and the RPOF have told them to keep a lid on it until election day. With an easy primary and easier election (as much as I adore Marihelen Wheeler, it’s a long shot), Yoho can’t seem to be shakable even with his flubs, but his fellow Republicans are worried about his bad press. The rumor is that part of the District 5 re-drawing will include making his district more D in the hope that Republicans can get rid of him. It is pretty bad when even your own party wants you gone. I wonder what they have in store for Clawson after his epic flub this week. -   KB@BurnettKaty 

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TFS Hits 750,000 Page Views

The Florida Squeeze hit 750,000 total page views today. We launched in late February 2013 and have enjoyed a gradually consistent upsurge in readership since then. Thank you for your continued patronage and support of TFS.

Poll: How Will Nan Rich Fare in the Democratic Primary?

Nan Rich has decided to continue her candidate for Governor despite what appear to outsiders to be incredibly long odds. Her persistence is admirable but in the minds of most futile. The poll question below asks what percentage of the Democratic Primary vote will Rich receive in her race against Governor Charlie Crist. Leave comments and thoughts in the thread below.

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2014 Primary Endorsements

This week TFS will reveal candidate endorsements selected by our Editorial Board for State Senate and State House races throughout Florida. We will be endorsing in both Democratic and Republican primaries throughout the state. While we do not have an endorsement form, our editors seek out information from interested parties throughout Florida and make a determination collectively on who to formally back.

Readers who seek to give us some thoughts on specific candidates please email us directly at

Thank you.

Staff News From TFS

We have a couple of announcements to make. Earlier this month, Ryan Ray, our Deputy Editor and Tallahassee Correspondent took a leave from the website to serve as a staffer on the Gwen Graham Congressional campaign based in Marianna. The Graham-Southerland race is probably the hottest US House race in the southeast at least at this moment and we are very proud of Ryan for all his work on this race. Neither candidate has a primary and this will be a November election. Ryan will return to TFS after the November election.

Kartik Krishnaiyer, our Editor-in-Chief will be limiting his writing to historical, national and international topics with occasional commentary on Florida until at least the primary election. This past week he assumed a role with the George Sheldon for Attorney General Campaign as Deputy Campaign Manager and will be based in Tallahassee.  Should House Minority Leader Perry Thurston win the Democratic Primary, Krishnaiyer will return to his previous role with the website in September. If former Deputy Attorney General Sheldon wins the August 26th primary, Krishnaiyer will be limited in his role with TFS until November.

TFS  is actively soliciting more guest columns and perspectives from  activists and others  throughout the state of Florida.  We have a run a number of guest columns the past few weeks and welcome all perspectives (even those of conservatives) to offer opinion on this website. Anyone interested in contributing an opinion please contact Kartik Krishnaiyer directly via email at or email the Florida Squeeze at

Katy Burnett and Justin Snyder will continue the excellent work they have provided for this website. Going forward we also hope to add more writers.

Thank You for your continued patronage of TFS!

Nan Rich’s Math Problem

A discussion on the Annette Taddeo piece I wrote the other day quickly turned into a Nan Rich debate about her poll numbers. In the comments, there was a fairly heated discussion about Rich’s popularity numbers over time. As if on cue, Wednesday morning a new Quinnipiac poll was released, showing almost exactly what I predicted in the comments.

There is a lot of academic study behind the study of polls. There are whole college courses, a library of books, and entire academic journals that all center on public opinion polling. Quinnipiac is one of the best and is one of the most significant because they take the same questions and poll it over time, so that changing demographics can be documented. It is one of the most respected polls out there in academia.  The reason for this respect is that they poll issues over a long time period by repeatedly studying the issue.  They ask the same questions in the exact same order in the exact same way, so there is little room for variation. If you would like to learn more, you may read here and here.

There were many interesting tidbits in the polls: Rick Scott’s highest ‘favorable’ rating yet, Crist continues to yo-yo, and the flat approval ratings of the Florida legislature. While there were quite a few headlines about the lack of trust in Scott and Crist (and we can just table the discussion of Scott beating Rich in every demographic in question #3), the part that dealt with our debate is question #6.

6. Is your opinion of Nan Rich favorable, unfavorable or haven’t you heard enough about her?
                                                               AGE IN YRS…………..
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
Favorable             8%  1%    15%   9%     8%     8%    14%     8%      8%    6%
Unfavorable           5    9      2         5       7         4      7           7        5       3
Hvn’t hrd enough    85  90   83       86     84       87     78          84     87     89
REFUSED               1      –     1       1      1          1      1              1      –        1


TREND: Is your opinion of Nan Rich favorable, unfavorable or haven’t you heard enough about her?
                     Apr 30  Jan 30  Nov 21  Jun 18  Dec 19
                     2014    2014    2013    2013    2012
Favorable              8       7       8       7       6
Unfavorable           5       6       5       6       4
Hvn’t hrd enough   85      86     86      84    90
REFUSED               1       1       1        2       1

As of June, 85% of people polled did not have enough information about Nan Rich to have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of her. The problem with this number is simply that the trend has not moved significantly since she started campaigning. In other words, this means that she simply is not getting her name, message, or political identify out to the voters of Florida. She is unable to get higher than 8 percent of people with a “favorable opinion,” meaning she has moved 2 points in 18 months since she started 2012 with 6 points.

Nothing adds up to good news for Rich.

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Wednesday Open Thread

You know the drill. Leave comments, questions, observations, etc here.

Ten Dollar Tuesday – B Grassell for House District 31

And yes, she is a Republican.   But you should still keep reading.

House District 31 is completely up for grabs with Nelson term limited  – an open seat with 4 Republicans in the race, so there is an open primary where Republican and Democrats can vote.  All current polling indicates that the race is a toss up with no candidate pulling ahead.   A most curious situation, especially for Democrats in the district.

It is clear that a Republican is going to win, however, there are many different kinds of Republicans in the race.  Democrats may as well put forth a little bit of effort and try to get one that is at least knowledgeable on some of the progressive issues.  As a school teacher endorsed by the FEA, Grassell is at least aware of the problems facing education (which is more than many in Tallahassee) and she’s a former union organizer.    Yes, you read that right – a moderate Republican who ran the Lake County teachers union for years.   She is also a frequent critic of Scott.   Her other issues are environment, education, economy, and health care.  While she does like to talk about fiscal conservatives, she calls out Republicans as well.

It is an interesting race, to say the least.

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Annette Taddeo, Charlie Crist, Nan Rich, and the Democratic Base

This week Charlie Crist announced Annette Taddeo as his pick for Lieutenant Governor and running mate. Now, it has been clear for a while that Taddeo was a logical choice for Crist. While everyone was aware of his desire to appoint Dan Gelber to the position, the changing demographics of voters has come to mean that if a white guy is running, he must pick a minority to run with in order to attract additional voters. Candidates all over the country are realizing that you cannot run two older white males and win – diversity is the new key to winning.  As soon as Rick Scott caught up in the polls, it became clear that Crist had to choose a minority. While many were floating the idea of Val Demings, that simply was not ever politically viable. The reality that that African-American voters cannot be counted on in a midterm election to turn out (see data from 2010) and while Demings is more experienced, Orange is not as important as Miami-Dade.  Of course, the choice of both candidates of South Floridian Hispanic running mates shows how important the Hispanic vote. However, with both candidates picking south Florida Hispanics, it will be interesting to see how the data falls and who the moderate Hispanics vote for – or if they stay home.

Taddeo brings many things to the table. An accomplished organizer, a wonderful speaker, a Latina, and a woman, she brings wonderful energy and vitality to the campaign and is genuinely respected by those that work with her. However, there is a catch: Annette Taddeo has absolutely no experience in elected office. If she were to win, she would be the only Lieutenant Governor to have never served elected office. Granted, Crist is the most politically experienced candidate ever to run for Governor in the state of Florida and his experience more than balances the ticket, and at 57, there is little fear that Crist is going anywhere anytime soon.  Yet to put someone with no experience in government a heartbeat away from leading the state of Florida makes everyone a little nervous. -

There is also problem in that Taddeo does absolutely nothing for the traditional Democratic base, most of whom have no idea who she is. It is not as if the Democratic base is going to go out and vote for Rick Scott, but there is a genuine possibility that they will stay hope. While Taddeo could help motivate Hispanic voters in South Florida, will her lack of name recognition and experience hurt in the rest of the state? This is especially a worry in Tampa and Orlando, who have few connections to the Miami county leader.  By placing this heavy emphasis on South Florida, the rest of the state will have to increase their GOTV efforts.  While there was definitely limited choices for Crist, his campaign will have to address these issues.

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Monday Musings: Carole Crist, Flying over a War Zone, Money in the Governor’s Race, Rick Scott Fundraising at GEO Group Chief Executive Home, How Safe are Florida’s Roads & Bridges?

Where is Carole Crist? Her husband is running for Govenor and she’s no where to be seen. Granted, the RPOF seems to be asking for her tax returns in a ridiculous call for transparency, but it still seems like she could come out and campaign more actively. Even though family members are supposed to be off limits for political attacks, they are still expected to campaign and her absence may cause whispers. A family matters on the campaign trail and the absence of Carole is noted. Even Ann Scott is doing her part – she even has her own little Twitter feed. Will she come out after the primary? Where is she hiding? Crist has no kids to send out on the campaign trail, so he will need her to go out and rally the masses. Let’s hope she comes around – Crist is going to need all the help he can get to beat Scott. -  KB @BurnettKaty 

In May 2008 after visiting family in India I flew to London on British Airways to cover the England-USA soccer friendly match that was taking place at Wembley Stadium in West London. I recall being stunned that the flight path from Chennai to London’s Heathrow Airport put us right over the destabilized northwest frontier of Pakistan and over Kandahar in Afghanistan. I seldom get scared on airplane flights as a veteran of lots of transatlantic and domestic flying, but once turbulence happened to get really bad over the very area I was surprised we were flying over I was really scared. I could not understand why BA was routing a flight over a war zone which included British troops. That’s why sadly I wasn’t shocked when MH 17 was shot down over rebel held Donetsk on Thursday. Given my long-held views of Vladimir Putin’s Russia as the greatest geopolitical threat to the global order, the shoot down of a civilian aircraft even if accidental sadly did not create the shock in me that it did among the vast majority of the world’s citizens.  - KK @kkfla737

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