TFS Editorial: Is the new FDP President the right person for the job?

Florida Squeeze Pod: FDP President says poor (white) folks don’t vote issues

By now you have heard about the reprehensible comments made by Florida Democratic Party President Sally Boynton Brown where she argued that people who are struggling to make ends meet do not vote on “issues.” Instead they vote because they are emotional beings. Unable to perceive the obvious inconsistency, she added that these same folks also sometimes skip voting because they’ve forgotten the “the power of democracy.”

One might ask, “Power to do what,” given that issues aren’t important.  

We at the Florida Squeeze were appalled by this statement, but at the same time not surprised. This commentary represents decades old failed messaging of the Florida Democratic Party and the Democratic Party as a whole.

Dividing the party along racial and ethnic fault lines achieves the opposite of advocating for tolerance. It’s a vapid argument about race dangling to avoid a more difficult discussions that require money to solve. This Marie Antoinette, Let Them Eat Identity Cake, approach has lost our party more than 1000 seats across the board in the last decade. This leaves the party at its weakest state in terms of officeholders nationally since the 1920’s. No intelligent person opposes this failed approach because we care less about civil rights—we oppose it because it doesn’t win, and the problems we face require turning this Failure Cruise around.

Donald Trump’s insanity has stalled the Republican agenda. Unable to pass any meaningful legislation since Trump’s inauguration, Congress is now facing hearings questioning the administration’s patriotism. This presents a supreme opportunity for the party to offer a clear alternative policy platform as we march toward the 2018 midterm elections. The time is now to unite under an economic policy platform that offers real equity and equality for all voters.

Voters need to know how we will help them. They deserve straight talk on pocketbook issues, the lack of which caused Hillary Clinton to lose Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin. Retail identity politics, delivered by celebrities attending Clinton fundraisers, while compelling to professional- and creative-class members, had the effect of turning off downwardly mobile heartlanders, and seemed inauthentic to many of the same identity groups they pandered to.

Sally Boynton Brown’s tone deaf comments are typical of out-of-state operatives intimidated by Florida’s history, economics and diversity. Hailing from mono-cultural Idaho, she might just be a bad fit for Florida. But there seems to be another problem. We expect the President of an organization to be able to speak cogently and passionately about our issues. That she skipped providing a compelling statement of our current political narrative in favor of stumble-bumming over inside-baseball messaging tactics show that she hasn’t mastered those tactics. If she knew the slightest bit of she spoke—George Lakoff, “Don’t Think of an Elephant”—she would have known that she was doing it wrong. If she cares about “emotional messaging,” she’d be able to say, without skipping a beat, “It’s is immoral that we let people die for lack of healthcare.”

Instead we learned the party would be doing data analysis to test scripts.

This performance makes you wonder if she’s ready for primetime. If the party is indeed focused on party growth; fixing whats broken, and putting ourselves on a path to majority rule, then they would reconsider the decision of her hiring.

Over the next week, our Justin Snyder will be proposing reforms to the party structure that will decentralize power and allow the grassroots to regain control of a party so controlled by the out of touch elitists that have done nothing by enrich themselves while losing countless numbers of seats all over the state.


New Miami Times:

TFS Story #1: Florida Democratic Party President: Poor people don’t care about “issues” and vote based on emotions:

TFS Story #2: Democrats elitism and obsession with identity could kill the party’s chances for revival.



    Tant, Arceneaux, Wasserman Schultz, and their supporters were the problem. Stephen Bittel and Sally Boynton Brown are the solution. I was there, you and the Miami Times weren’t. Maybe you and they should interview me.


    1. So much of this seems personality driven for you Joe. Is your opposition to Gillum because Tant & Arceneaux are on his team? Do you like Bittel and Boynton Brown because by all indications thus far they tilt Graham? Just curious. Also it’s worth noting Boynton Brown made equally controversial comments BEFORE she was hired which calls into question a) the judgement of those doing the hiring and/or b) what is the message of this party? Is it really an establishment-driven elitist plan to malign and ridicule white working class voters and show no compassion for our fellow Americans who cast a vote for our opponent? I don’t want to speak for my colleagues who co-wrote this editorial but to me that is the MUCH more serious offense and it’s not about SBB personally but the party and its elitism/arrogance in general.


      1. JOSEPH KREPS · ·

        Kartik, I’m glad you asked. I do support Bittel and Brown. Not because they tilt towards Graham but because they promised fair primaries and no anointing unlike the previous administration. Bittel is putting his money where his mouth is. He isn’t in this for fame or money. He is a Progressive Democrat who is sick of the malfeasance and tired of losing. Thank God he brought in a competent organizer who will work with all candidates and help them. Dr. Alina Valdes couldn’t get the time of day from the FDP and they black balled her because she had the nerve to challenge DWS’s friend and partner in gerrymandering Mario Diaz Balart. What was the message of Tant, Arceneaux, and Wasserman Schultz. Talk about the elitist establishment. Yes it bothers me that they recruited Gillum to run and pose as a Progressive. He campaigned for Hillary and she chose him to speak at her coronation. His entire political career he has been a product of the establishment. I like Gillum and in the future when he gets rid of the leeches he may be a formidable candidate for Governor at the ripe old age of 45. This party has one final chance to get this right. I support Graham because she has the brains and compassion to reach all the people. She will undo as much damage as she can and veto anything that hurts education, the environment and the corporate greed. She has the integrity that we need to help get other Democrats elected and lead. She is a true public servant and can’t be bought or bossed by the establishment. One more thing. If you want to elect Progressives interview Alina who is once again going after Diaz-Balart and also Steven Machat who is going after Curbelo. They can and will, lead the party with Progressive issues.


      2. Fair points and I personally don’t think Gillum will make the best nominee and he has as the Tallahassee Democrat investigation yielded some serious judgement issues he needs to clear up. I appreciate the response because I wasn’t sure if your support for Graham was just a counter-reaction to Gillum being the FDP candidate, or at least the candidate of the pre 2017-FDP. In fairness to Gillum, he’s from Tallahassee and was once an FDP staffer so the loyalty of Tallahassee-oriented FDP staff and officers might just naturally fall toward him versus other candidates.


  2. Given everything that has happened in the party — at all levels — from the DNC, how the FL Chair was elected, and the feckless cheer-leading of our DEC’s, the most important points made by 2 women at that meeting were about trust and issues. People DO care about issues. They just want to know that Democrats care (and can demonstrate) that same care. We cannot canvass and poll — asking people to join us without addressing the issues of honesty and fairness. She was right. People see Democrats as a “dirty church” and have no interest in participating in a system that is not transparent and appears rigged.
    What is important mentioned in this piece: “Instead we learned the party would be doing data analysis to test scripts.” Every election cycle, two things are consistently repeated. We lose and the DEC leads the way in celebrating “we hit our numbers” and our “data sucks”. How are we going to even test scripts? Analyzing bad data? One thing has been fundamentally clear for a very long time and that is we have crappy voter data. I HATE data. But I’m smart enough to know you are only as successful and good as your data. She talked a whole lot. But she said nothing about infrastructure from that standpoint.
    All this before we can even discuss engaging communities of color before the eleventh hour of the election cycle…


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