Perhaps this is an all too predictable posting coming from me. But at a time when many Florida Democratic insiders are stating that the party needs to shift to the right in order to achieve electoral success, President Obama has taken a completely different tact. The result has been the highest Presidential approval ratings since early 2013 and ratings on par with President Reagan in 1987. Reagan of course remained popular enough to virtually hand the Presidency to the Republicans for another four year term, after George H.W. Bush was nominated in the summer of 1988.
Unlike Reagan, Obama doesn’t have a scandal like Iran-Contra to derail him. Using the bully pulpit of last night’s State of the Union address to lay down the gauntlet to the nation, the President laid out a vision for America that reconnects with the best this nation can offer and was a stirring rebuke to the business-oriented drift of the nation since the 1980’s. This direction has left the income inequality gap larger than anytime in modern American history, creating essentially a classist society like Britain with little social mobility. The American Dream is for all intents and purposes dead, but President Obama seeks to revive it and that messaging is connecting with the people of this great nation.
After attempting to move to the middle in order to placate the selfish electoral considerations of some in the party, Obama has reconnected with the base and seen his approval ratings rise rapidly. Hopefully the lessons are heard loud and clear here in Florida where a narrative had developed claiming that the Democrats are too liberal and out-of-touch with “mainstream Floridians,” to compete electorally.
This is simply the latest example of Democratic operatives and consultants in Florida making excuses and trying to shift blame without really doing the proper research or analysis to explain why the party loses. Living a vacuum as many of these operatives do, it becomes convenient to assign blame and also drift back into a comfort zone where business interests and other industries pay operatives who double as lobbyists for access to Democratic elected officials.
Often this is the motivation for claiming the party must become more “moderate” than any real empirical data. It is important that activists and other concerned parties in the state understand this and remember it come election time when candidates are told to “run to the middle,” and check any progressive beliefs at the door.