Guest Editorial: Shouldn’t 100% be good enough?

By Sean Phillippi

No one can be an expert in absolutely everything.  The world is too big, too complex, and evolves too quickly for any single person to keep up with every major issue that affects society.  So, in order to create a comprehensive platform, any cause or entity needs a space where a diverse group of leaders can come together.  A group called Florida Progressives, a proudly progressive group of organizers, operatives, and activists of which I am a member, has provided such a space for several years now.  One of the things I like most about the work this group does is that they provide a tangible bill or proposal, and not just an idea, to advocate for and/or judge people on.  At their January 2015 conference the group that attended collectively came up with the following federal platform planks:




EDUCATION – IN FAVOR OF – Weekends Without Hunger (HR1395)


ENVIRONMENT – IN FAVOR OF – Protect Our Public Lands Act (HR5844 of 2014)


JUSTICE – IN FAVOR OF – We The People Act (HRJ29)


LABOR – IN FAVOR OF – Minimum Wage (HR122)


MINORITY – IN FAVOR OF – Comprehensive Immigration Reform (HR15 of 2014)


WOMEN – AGAINST – Tax Payer Funding of Abortions (HR7)


I sent the above list to the Patrick Murphy Campaign and asked where he stands on the platform created by Florida Progressives, and it turns out that Murphy is 100% in agreement with it.  Not only does he support every issue in the platform, he co-sponsored the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill and has co-sponsored legislation to increase the minimum wage.  One of the most consequential votes since the conference has been on the Trans Pacific Partnership, where Murphy stood with Floridians and opposed giving President Obama fast-track authority on the trade deal.  Patrick Murphy has always said where he stands on the issues, and has remained consistent with the core values that have always driven him.  Murphy’s core values, such as being an environmentalist and standing up for women’s rights, are Democratic values.

It is worth pointing out that Patrick Murphy is only 32 years old.  He could be a Democratic US Senator for a generation.  By the time Murphy reaches the current AVERAGE age of a US Senator (61) he will accrue so much seniority (28 years) that he would be in the top 5 among the current Democratic caucus in seniority, which is what gives most Senators their power.  That means that three decades down the road he could be one of the most powerful US Senators, chairman of an important committee, and use that power to advocate for Florida’s priorities.  In the meantime, as a statewide elected Democrat, he could help Democrats in Florida build a bench of young elected leaders who will one day (hopefully soon) help Democrats take control of this state so we can put it back on track.

The winner of every Presidential Election since 1980 has been the winner of the question of who would you rather have a beer with, which proves likability matters in elections.  So far, four of Alan Grayson’s colleagues have endorsed Patrick Murphy even though they all know that Grayson is considering a bid.  It is rare when elected officials overwhelmingly endorse one of their colleagues over another.  It is telling that three of the four (Deutch, Frankel, and Wilson) each served with Nan Rich in the Florida Legislature, yet none of the four endorsed Charlie Crist over Nan Rich despite the fact that Rich had a tougher race than Grayson potentially faces.  Just this week, Politico wrote about Grayson’s problems with the Congressional Progressive Caucus (Check out the full article here).  I have written before on why progressive Democrats should embrace Patrick Murphy (See Here), and how Alan Grayson has been his own worst enemy (Read Here).

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to their1 own opinion, but not their1 own facts.”  The fact is that you can’t do better than agreeing 100% with a platform.  This platform was created before anyone announced that they were running for US Senate, and independent of any legislator, campaign, or candidate.  So, it is the fairest and most objective way to judge candidates running for federal office.  A few Grayson supporters have made some wild claims about Patrick Murphy, PolitiFact rated one of the claims and determined it to be Mostly False (See for yourself here).  Some have even made some odd and totally untrue assertions about me, but it doesn’t bother me.  I am always happy to let the facts speak for themselves as 100% is good enough for me.

Sean Phillippi is a Democratic strategist based in Broward County and is the founder of the political data firm TLE Analytics.

(Author’s Note: I was not at the conference in January where the platform was created due to a scheduling conflict.  The only contact I had with the Murphy Campaign in connection with this article is verifying where Patrick Murphy stood on the platform planks.  No one asked me to write this article, and no one outside of myself has seen it before I submitted it for publication.)

1: I changed “his” to “their” because the sexism made me cringe


  1. Of course you are aware that PAT MURPHY was a Republican for longer than he has been a Democrat – and, if my memory serves me right (always a question at my age) he was one of the Democrats who supported fast track for the b.s. Trade Bill – like most progressives , I will support and work for whomever the Party nominates – Forgive me if my memory is incorrect –


    1. Naoya6161 · ·

      Murphy opposes fast-track.


    2. Sean Phillippi · ·

      Murphy voted against giving fast track authority on the trade deal. He has never run for office as anything but a Democrat.


  2. Joanne Oyen · ·

    I have reservations about Patrick Murphy as he supported the Keystone XL Pipeline, if I am not mistaken.


  3. Kartik: Please call or e-mail to me your phone – Trying to get an response into your Florida Squeeze and having trouble logging in. Chester Just Tel 954-971-1998 Cel 954-464-1022 _LegalMr@aol.com_ ( .


  4. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, especially when it is based on a personal question and answer response straight from the horse’s mouth. Did you ask him about his vote on the Keystone pipeline?


    1. Naoya6161 · ·

      “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, especially when it is based on a personal question and answer response straight from the horse’s mouth.” You say that as if it’s a bad thing.
      As for the Keystone vote? Murphy’s also voted to support environment as well. You should never be a single issue voter.


      1. I’m still waiting for an explanation of the Keystone vote.


  5. Mea Culpa – a thousand apologies – you guys are CORRECT, he did vote against the Fast Track but it was the Keystone Pipeline that he supported – But like I said earlier, as a PROGRESSIVE, I will support whomever the party nominates – I’ve held my nose and voted for lotsa candidate who I thought were plain jerks – It’s good to be a Democrat – Larry Babitts


  6. Hillary Keyes · ·

    Where does he stand in reference to the platform of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida? While I fully support Florida Progressives and the important bills we have worked on there (yes, I am involved in both), the platform of the Progressive Caucus is a much more comprehensive representation of progressive values and policy positions.


  7. As I recall, Politifact bent over backwards to find a technical objection to the way that article expressed the fact that Patrick Murphy votes with Republicans more than any other Florida Democrat.

    They seized on a narrow assertion sourced from another political blog somewhere that Murphy voted with Republicans “twice as often” to criticize on the basis the sample was too small. But then they ended up admitting Murphy actually has the lowest “party unity score” because he votes with Republicans the most of any politician in Florida. But hey, technically it might not be quite “twice as often,” maybe. So … hooray?

    That’s maybe not a great angle for people trying to convince everyone that Murphy is with the Dems, rather than the party he was with when he supported Mitt Romney for President.

    Politifact, you’ll recall, contorts itself like this fairly often for Republicans. When they wanted to replace Medicare with a voucher system to subsidize private insurance, Politifact declared it 2011’s “Lie of the Year” when Democrats said the move would end Medicare. Because, you know, vouchers and private insurance could be Medicare, if we got rid of Medicare and replaced it with vouchers and private insurance. Or something.

    When Martina Navratilova said you could be fired in 29 states for being gay, Politifact called it “half true” because of a handful of protections for government workers despite the fact that you could actually be fired for being gay in 29 states. Nice.

    When President Obama referenced private sector job growth in his State of the Union Speec in 2012, and cited a drop in imported fuel, Politifact called those statements “Half True” because even though both things *were* true, it felt Obama was claiming it was all due to him.


    Murphy’s “signature plan” showcasing his “bipartisanship” and characterized consistently by his supporter here as trying to “save” Social Security, promised only to protect benefits for “current recipients.” Which sounds like asking people to support keeping younger taxpayers on the hook to pay current recipients’ benefits, but then maybe cutting their benefits later. That’s ugly.

    Murphy’s drawing his support from operatives and the donor class, because he’s good at fundraising and a couple of the “right” donors are behind him. That isn’t good enough. At the very least, the apparatchiks should settle down until we have a real primary and see if there isn’t a more Democratic-friendly “Democrat” out there somewhere.


    1. Naoya6161 · ·

      It seems like all you’re doing is attacking the source itself… Is it only because it’s not a truth you yourself find convenient? It seems like you’re utterly convinced that Murphy is a 100% Republican when he isn’t.
      And for insisting on a primary… It’s meaningless if you can’t provide a candidate who can beat the Republicans. Since control of the Senate could hinge on this state, this race has no room for failure. Condider that as you keep on pandering for whomever your already-chosen candidate is.


      1. I have no respect for anyone who runs from debates. i.e. Charlie Christ. If you are running for a reason, I want to hear it. It is also how you energize the electorate and people get to know you. I’ve met Patrick Murphy and I consider him a fine young man. That’s not enough to get me energized. Show us who you are and why we should vote for you.


      2. Naoya6161 · ·

        Fair enough. I do admit that could have come out better… But I’ve yet to meet someone who fits the requirements you mention while I feel comfortable about letting them run for office.


      3. Naoya6161 · ·

        In terms of possible alternatives, that is.


  8. Janet Burnett · ·

    By reading this, one would think that there is only one person running for this office. Here we go again. Just like the snubbing of one of Broward’s finest, Sen. Nan Rich we ignore Pam Keith, a lifelong Democrat who filed first. A comparison of candidates just doesn’t fit into the new party that is evolving. Some of us are feeling very left out. Keep it up and we all lose.


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