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:
ECONOMY – IN FAVOR OF – CHIP Renewal
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