Monday Musings: Why Democrats need competitive primaries, UKIP emerging as a force, Jeb Bush and Republican nominating history, How the RPOF spends money differently than the FDP

While we are all are wondering who is going to run for Senate in 2016 and 2018, there is one thing that Democrats need to remember: we need a competitive primary process in order to build up field. While it will no doubt be expensive for each campaign (both in ’16 and ’18), the one big lesson of modern politics is that a field program for a modern candidate cannot happen in the two months between the end of August and the first week of November. An extensive field program needs to be in place in the summer beforehand and a contentious primary allows this. Any candidate is going to need help with name recognition around the state, as we will have to look at some big name mayors because of lack of other candidates and many of these are simply known regionally. Looking back to 2008 and the heated Presidential primary between Clinton and Obama, this primary allowed Obama to build a field program months ahead of the Democratic Convention. While Democrats are never realistically going to win the money game in the foreseeable future, they have to build in the field and field needs time. (Also, a year-round field presence of the FDP could also help here, but that has been thoroughly discussed over the last few weeks). Field, field, field and people who know how to run field are the future of the party.   –   KB@BurnettKaty 

Less than two months ago, Mark Reckless resigned his seat in the British Parliament and left the governing Conservative (Tory) Party to join the growing UK Independence Party (UKIP). Reckless ran for his constituency again in last week’s bi-election (Special Election in US terms) and won defeating both the Tory and Labour candidates as well as candidates from the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, the Tories governing partner in the shotgun coalition that has struggled with running the UK since 2010. This gives UKIP and its controversial leader Nigel Farage another boost. Earlier this year, Farage and UKIP won the most British seats in the European Parliament and now with Reckless’ party switch and victory following a similar process with former Tory MP Douglas Carswell in October they have two seats now in Westminster.

The Green Party also polled higher than the Liberal Democrats in this election, a sure sign that the LibDems coalition Government with the Tories and the failed leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has disaffected those on the left, particularly environmentalists who have supported the party since the 1980s.  The LibDems recorded their worst showing in the party’s history in this constituency and it was the best result for any Green Party candidate since the 2010 General Election.

Labour is also undergoing a leadership crisis. Even though YouGov polls have consistently given the left-wing party an edge in the 2015 elections, Ed Miliband’s uninspiring and completely ineffectual leadership threatens to throw it all away. Furthermore, while UKIP was assumed to be a bigger threat to the right-leaning Tories (who have become less conservative through the years) but now it appears UKIP in typically populist fashion is taking working-class voters in the north away from Labour AND Eurosceptics, those opposed to immigration and the few old fashioned racists left in the UK away from the Tories (or the smaller British Nationalist Party).

The 2015 General Election could be the most interesting in the UK since 1979.  – KK @kkfla737

Jeb Bush has a tightrope to walk on immigration and if you believe some in the media, his Presidential ambitions are a non-starter. Despite trying to appear like the “adult in the room” (A departure from Bush’s arrogant and caustic behavior when he was Governor of Florida) the national media seems determined to make him less viable a GOP Presidential candidate because of the immigration issue. But Bush might find some real favor among party elders who still have a great deal of sway over the nominating process and who might see his mix of social conservatism, education “reform,” and moderation of issues like immigration which challenge the GOP. Through the years going back to 1968, Republicans have always nominated the next guy in line but is it really Bush? Or is the mood in the GOP similar to 1964 when Barry Goldwater’s nomination spelled electoral disaster for the Republicans that year but a long-term realignment beginning in 1966 that lasted until the 1990s with the exception of the post-Watergate 1974 and 1976 elections. – KK@kkfla737

Pouring over the expenditure accounts for the 2014 campaigns for a class project, I cannot help but notice how different the ways that Republicans spend money to Democrats. The ways that they run campaigns are very very different and that is shown clearly in where the money goes. Close to one-third of the in-kind support for Pam Bondi’s campaign came from the Republican Party of Florida – George Sheldon did not list one donation from the FDP. All up and down the ballot, the RPOF is playing in almost all races of their candidates, along with a slew of consultants and fundraisers. With Democrats mostly relying on volunteer labor and small donations, there are stark differences not only in the amount of money, but how it is spent. It seems like there are many lessons to be learned just studying where the money is spent, considering how important money has become.  –   KB@BurnettKaty 



  1. Tom Bryson · ·

    Charlie Crist may well have won if he had used the primary process to engage the Democratic/Progressive base of the party. His arrogance turned many voters off.


    1. You Tom, are so right as always. His arrogance was as much a reason for his loss as anything. If you want people to vote you need to engage them. Primaries need to be used to not only attract media but to discuss issues and show the voters that our issues are what is important. I hope Hillary has an opponent so that she is forced to explain her goals and stances. If she tries to skate the same way Charley did, I am afraid she will suffer the same fate.


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