The Florida Democratic Party itself has improved in recent years in terms of the role of consultants and outside vendors. Allison Tant’s time as Chair without question eliminated some of the more malign forces that have influenced the party through the years. But with Tant now leaving, some of those consultants are lining up behind candidates for state chair or trying to play kingmakers in the race. Tant’s work of freezing out some of these characters could very easily be undone based on what happens in the current race for FDP chair.
For many years, the Democrats have been in the wilderness leading ambitious politicos that are registered as Democrats to begin lobbying careers in front of a largely Republican legislature. These individuals have chosen financial gain over the welfare of their party – that’s a fair choice when it comes to feeding your family and maintaining a high standard of living. However, these types of individuals should not continue to have influence over the decision making of the Democratic Party or over the perception of Democrats in the media. Progressive activists who have a very different world view than these professional guns-for-hire need to make it clear that these sorts of charecters need not have prominent roles under a new state chair.
Lobbyists who are involved with the telecommunications industry, power companies, sugar corporations and Disney all have ties to potential candidates for Democratic Party chair. While many progressives and true believers have thrown behind potential candidates of their choice and are working social media aggressively, lobbyists and political consultants have begun flirting with some of the potential candidates themselves, in the hopes of maintaining some control over the party apparatus for the coming election cycle.
Some of these lobbyists depend on the credibility as “Democratic insiders” or “Democratic operatives” afforded to them by major media outlets, especially those on the national level. Others have deep ties to media at the state level which allows them push narratives that at times are counterproductive to the welfare of the party.
The consultant-lobbyist driven Florida Democratic Party model has failed voters in the state and the grassroots level of the party. Allison Tant tried in some respects to root out this culture, but further action must be taken. However a fear must be aired that the early days of this chairs race has seen a reengaging of some consultants with ties to the types of industries and corporations that progressives loathe with the express purpose of controlling the party apparatus.