The Florida Democratic Party sent out a press release this morning following the breakdown of the Legislature’s Special Session. It was sharply worded and would make perfect sense if history wasn’t so contradictory to what was said. Since 1999, the Republicans running the legislature have made a mockery of the process and have governed with a sense of entitlement. Yet far more often than not they have been not been made to pay. Democrats have lost 17 of the last 18 elections for state office and have lost close to 70% of truly competitive legislative seats since 1998 (the number is closer to 80% if you take out the successful 2006 and 2008 cycles).
FDP Chairwoman Allis0n Tant said:
“If Florida Republican leaders were capable of feeling shame, they would be feeling it now. After spending millions of dollars to fight the Fair District amendments over three sessions in three years, the GOP has given up on their efforts to produce a constitutional Congressional map. There are no excuses for this obscene and unprecedented waste of taxpayer resources, and for the illegal actions that got us here.“Floridians will not forget that when Republicans were asked to govern constitutionally in the sunshine, they simply refused.”
Most Floridians have ZERO clue about what goes on in the legislature. They don’t pay attention during session let alone during the dog days of summer to an issue like reapportionment which the vast majority of voters have no idea about. If Floridians are even going to be made aware of what transpired regarding reapportionment, violations to the sunshine law and any number of legislative excesses it is incumbent on the FDP and Democratic candidates to educate them. But all too often Democrats who are active throughout Florida live in an echo chamber consisting of Tallahassee cocktail parties, political gatherings, DEC events on the weekends in large counties and conference calls with consultants.
Most Democrats in Florida have no confidence that the FDP will come through this time because after all they have failed time and again when presented opportunities of note in the past. In fairness, we have a different chair and different staff now, but the pattern and culture around the party appears crystal clear. The names and face might change, but the circumstances, reactions and results stay the same. The outcome here sadly is all too predictable.
Let us hope something has changed on Bronough Street and in the leadership of the DEC’s in the most critical counties in the state. But excuse myself and many others for being skeptical. We just have too many data points that tell us otherwise to be optimistic.