Guest Post – The case for progressive candidates

By Mario Piscatella

As we consider the candidates we (as Democrats and Progressives) want and will have on the ballot in 2016, I want to put this out there, as it came up in a discussion about the Florida Senate seat.

Some activists question “litmus tests” or an aversion to less progressive, or untrusted candidates, and in some cases that it is those activists that demand better that are hurting the party/outcomes by not voting for those candidates should they win the primary.

The problem isn’t that nearly all of us in the “activist” sector won’t vote for a mediocre (corrupt, blue dog, wall street hack…insert your disappointment here) D in the general election, we vote nearly 100% of the time — it’s that the next tier of potential Democratic voters, and the tier beyond them, are far less likely to turnout and vote D.

And it makes the tier of voters that haven’t yet established their own identity as voter to either not “become voters” or to vote for the other side. We need the engaging candidates that are beacons of energy and passion, that gives something to fight for, something to motivate us to hurl our bodies into gusting winds…men and women that stand up and say [metaphorically], “I’m going to fight for the thing you care about most, for the people you care about, and for the communities you live in.”

Those candidates cause you, me, and the rest of the activist and “base” tiers to become beacons of energy ourselves, inspiring our friends, neighbors and communities to become more engaged, and thus more likely to vote (and volunteer, and donate).


  1. Wendy Sejour · ·

    Very well said Mario!


  2. Florida State Representative Katie Edwards without a doubt!!!!


  3. Ron Baldwin · ·

    You have described Elizabeth Warren (the best Senator money can’t buy). If Hillary Clinton is nominated I will vote for her, but I will hold my nose as I do so. Unfortunately I see no “Elizabeth Warren” here in Florida.


  4. Mario, It really is that simple. ENTHUSIASM is what got Obama elected. If we want to win elections, we have to put forth candidates that speak truth to power. We need more Alan Graysons and less Charlie Crists.


  5. We need updated terminology to fit the times. Unfortunately, some conservative/centrist and corporate-sponsored Democrats are calling themselves progressives.


  6. Dorothee Custer · ·

    Turnout will come when people are excited by the person running & her/ his ideas. And activists will help get that vote out. I’m tired of holding my nose when I vote.


  7. Mario is exactly right, but the numbers generated by enthusiasm aren’t enough. Any generic Dem can get 30%. Someone who fires up the base can get another 6-9%, maybe a point or two more depending on higher-level coattails. To get to the 50% +1 takes money, pure and simple, and money doesn’t flow to the enthusiastic, rabble-rousing base pleaser. It goes to the candidate who is willing to suck up to the big-moneyed interests, which then dampens the enthusiasm of the base faithful. It’s a vicious cycle, which will only be alleviated when we have publicly funded elections. Of course, we can’t win that fight, unless we raise a bunch of money. Again, it’s a vicious cycle. Just my two cents. Peace.


  8. […] (This originated as a Facebook post and was cross-posted at The Florida Squeeze.) […]


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