Patrick Murphy seems to have a lot of money for his U.S. Senate bid, but he’s also dead wrong on the important issues that matter most to Floridians. So, how exactly is he Democrats’ “logical” choice to replace Marco Rubio?
In his 2012 race against Allen West, Murphy pledged to be more conservative on economic matters than the rest of the Democratic Party. That’s a promise he kept.
At a time when Senate Democrats are calling for expanding Social Security, Murphy insists Social Security benefit cuts should be on the table. He supports Bowles-Simpson. He has voted to delay implementation of a key provision of Dodd-Frank and supported deregulation of Wall Street. He supports the Keystone pipeline voted against clean energy and supported undermining Clean Air Act protections. He even supported extending the Bush tax cuts.
As a matter of fact, he’s sided with the GOP on key votes twice as often as he sided with Democrats. According to Progressive Punch, he’s the 4th worst Democrat in the House.
When Murphy ran for reelection in 2014, the former Republican was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2014, a group that hardly ever endorses “real” Democrats.
The other day, Sean Phillippi urged Florida Democrats to “think logically” about the upcoming senate race by taking the thoroughly senseless position that Patrick Murphy is a good as we can do. To his credit, Phillippi didn’t twist himself into knots trying to explain why Democrats should vote for Murphy. Instead his point was simply that Murphy is our best chance of elected a new senator with a D after his name because of his money connections, and a record conservatives will love.
The evidence shows us that this is nonsense. Florida voters who want to vote for a conservative prefer the actual Republican candidate over the Republican-lite one. Just ask former Governor Charlie Crist about Phillippi’s argument. Remember when Florida Democrats just had to rally around Crist because he was the only “viable” candidate? And that he’d sail into office? Charlie Crist can raise a lot of money and he appeals to moderates, the Sean Phillippi’s of the world told us prior to the disastrous 2014 election.
And what happened to Crist? Voters looked at him and his opponent and couldn’t tell the difference. In a race against a real Republican, the same fate will befall Patrick Murphy. You win elections by giving voters an authentic choice, not by pretending to be something you aren’t.
Patrick Murphy has done everything he can to send the message that he’s actually not one of us. The most dangerous place in Washington is between Patrick Murphy and the next rotten “bipartisan” deal floating around. He would rather be one of a handful of Democrats supporting a Republican-backed deal than stand up for the economic populist ideals that bind the Democratic party together.
Really though, aside from his ability to reel in boatloads of cash from his father and his father’s rich developer friends, Patrick Murphy doesn’t have a lot going for him. Floridians have historically responded to bold leaders. Patrick Murphy is neither bold, nor a leader. And running alongside a bold progressive presidential candidate, his tendency to embrace the middling mediocre miasma of false bipartisanship will be even more pronounced.
In terms of viability a bold progressive such as Alan Grayson, which the Florida Democratic Progressive Caucus recently embraced as our preferred choice, could match Murphy’s fundraising and far outpace him in passion, boldness and policy acumen. Grayson has national fundraising base. In fact, he’s the largest small donor fundraiser in Congress. Unlike Murphy, Grayson’s campaign cash won’t come with strings attached from Wall Street, Big Oil or Big Sugar.
So, Florida Democrats, here’s the question: Do you want to work your hearts out of the next 18 months to replace Marco Rubio with someone who will vote like him on so many important issues to you, or would you rather spend those hours making calls, knocking on doors and stuffing envelopes to elect someone who will stand with Elizabeth Warren and the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party?
It’s just that simple.
Brook Hines is a marketing consultant providing communications strategy for partisan and policy campaigns, and former Director of Community Business Association. She’s member of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, a member of Organize Now, a board member of New Leaders Council – Orlando, and PR/Communication Chair for the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee. Views expressed here are her own and do not reflect the opinion of any affiliation.