Florida’s Democratic Party elite are exceptionally good at winning primaries and controlling the internal narrative yet exceptionally bad at winning general elections and understanding the electorate .
When you predict the first election accurately over the “experts”,you pat yourself on the back knowing that you were able to accurately predict the election and beat those who are in the know. When you accurately predict the election a second time and the “experts” get it wrong, you start to think that you might actually be good at this. When the third time comes around, and the same thing happens, you feel confident in your approach, but start to question whether the “experts” really know what they are talking about. And when the fourth time comes and goes, and you accurately prediction the election while the “experts” get it wrong yet again, reality sets in. What is that reality? It is that the so-called “experts” really have no idea what they are doing.
Now, am I a little harsh on those whom have been classifiedby the political elites in Florida as “experts”? Maybe. But election after election, these so-called “experts” in Democratic circles constantly make incorrect predictions. This might be excusable if everyone also made the same incorrect assumptions. But here at The Florida Squeeze (and previously at The Political Hurricane), we have accurately predicted elections for four election cycles. It started in 2012, when we accurately predicted Mike Clelland’s win over Chris Dorworth. Yes, we did get a few state house seats wrong from time to time (notably for me, it was Joe Saunders’s race in 2014), but most of the time we get the elections spot on. In 2016, the model used for that election prediction showed a slight Republican edge in Florida, though I let me emotions get in the way, thinking that the numbers couldn’t be accurate and Trump could never win. He won, and the data was correct. This election cycle, when Steve Schale stated that Andrew Gillum would win by about 2%, and other Democrats also saying that both Gillum and Nelson were going to win on Election Night, I tweeted the following two minutes after the polls closed:
I will admit, it was a nowcast model, but the model still required Election Day forecasting from counties that didn’t report Election Day turnout number, the most notable of which were Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Orange. Thus, the accuracy of this model does rely on forecasting by predicting overall turnout by party variance in each of these non-reporting counties. And in the end, Miami-Dade would need a record turnout in order Democrats to pull ahead. Not seeing that come to pass, the prediction was that the GOP was going to be the favorites. The prediction was correct, and the model was only .36% off of the mean Democratic vote for competitive statewide candidates (and easily within one standard deviation of all statewide candidates).
Why was the model so accurate? Because with each passing year, you learn a little more about the electorate. Going back to the HD 49 race in 2014, when I inaccurately predicted Joe Saunders the winner, I learned a little more about the electorate, and how Hispanic voters in that district determined their vote choice. As a result new models were made and new variables were created. Forecasting and now casting models are based on political science which, like medicine, always sees new advances and provides new approaches to measure the vote choice of the electorate. Democratic “number crunchers” in Florida do not do that. They simply look at a map or come up with some basic mathematical assumptions that can be put on an Excel spreadsheet.They rarely create new variables that can explain vote choice, and almost never come up with new models to predict how the electorate is going to vote.However, the so-called “experts”, who inaccurately predict election after election, still get the business in Florida. That is the problem!
In Florida politics, the political consultant class has remained a small circle of insiders who make money off of the system. Results don’t matter to them. It is only the bottom line that matters. They never truly face the consequences of their failures. And if these consultants continue to lose election after election, and inaccurately predict election after election, then why are they still getting business in the State of Florida? Good question.
While the Florida Democratic consultant class in Florida is not good at their job (again, they lose all the damn time), the fact that they live in this “consultancy bubble” means that they know little about the electorate and culture in Florida, much less about the real world outside of their political circle. It is this type of shut-in lifestyle that not only allows the bacterium to breed, but also makes it impossible for them to receive treatment.It also makes it impossible for qualified and accurate consultants to penetrate the Florida Democratic consultancy market.
If this shut-in lifestyle does one thing, it is that the Democratic consultancy class has no concept of culture outside of their own consultancy circle. Instead, they feel that the electorate reflects their own elitist lifestyle, which is usually some form of a latte-sipping hipster from Winter Park whose Saturday consists of getting on their Peloton every morning,then watching a Manchester United match because, you know, “American” pro football is “not sophisticated”*, and then goes out to lunch (usually with a friend who has a man bun) and bitches that the Thai food that they are eating is “not authentic enough” and doesn’t taste like the food in Chiang Mai.
On the flip side, they look down at anyone that likes some sort of “boring” American sport, like pro football or baseball, who drinks Coors Light and likes to eat at McDonalds. These “barbarians” drive pickup trucks,and have no interest in visiting other countries. They own a gun and they like to hunt. They might not have attended a college or university. Hell, they might not have even finished high school. I guess this lack of education is why they are ignorant…or sexist…or racist…
And that is how it all starts.
Every cycle, the “we lost because everyone is a racist,sexist, or (insert identity politics label here)ist” begins immediately after it is apparent that a Democratic candidate lost. And while some of these might have played a factor, in many cases it does not. For example, in Gadsden County, which has the highest percentage of black voters in the state, Bill Nelson outperformed Andrew Gillum. So, there goes that theory right out the window. As my colleague Kartik Krishnaiyer pointed out, exit polling the most reliable post election data we get showed Nelson ran several points ahead of Gillum statewide among African-Americans. His post was followed by angry comments either accusing him of racism or challenging the accuracy and methodology of exit polling.
Eventually, people get tired of the identity politics. You can only call someone a racist or a sexist for so long, impugning their motives before they say “screw the Democrats”, and either vote Republican or not at all. But still, this eventually becomes the scapegoat for Democratic consultants and media who are easily spinned by identity . As long as the Florida Democratic consultancy class remains elitist, identity politics-driven liberals, they will never change. They are unable to change because they refuse to allow anyone into their circle that provides another solution. It starts as a mutual admiration society and turns into a circular firing squad when the results trickle in on Election Night.
But the problem in Florida is actually not identity politics, but the monopoly that the consultant class has on Democratic politics. To explain this further, let’s look at Utah. When all the numbers are in, Utah might have had a larger Democratic swing than Florida during the 2018 election.Still, identity politics is huge in Utah! Florida Democrats don’t even hold a candle to the far-left ideology of the identity politics in Utah’s Democratic circles. But in these Democratic circles, there is no monopoly when it comes to Democratic consultancy business. Therefore, someone like Ben McAdams can pick his own staff and consultants, and run on issues that do not reflect the values of the typical Utah Democrat. Back in the day, Jim Matheson was the same way.But the only reason that this is allowed is because there is actually competition in Utah Democratic (and Republican) politics that allows for diverse viewpoints and for campaigns to decide which approach to take. Simply put, there is no monopoly.
In Florida, this is nonexistent. Because of the monopoly that the Democratic consultancy class has on the nomination process, candidates and their campaign managers just default to the position of the Democratic consultants. In many cases, these consultants are either incorrect (as I mentioned with the “number crunchers”) or are pushing an identity politics campaign that reflects the personal viewpoints of the consultants more than it does the candidates themselves. In Florida, a candidate like Ben McAdams would not survive, because he would have to kiss the ring of the Florida Democratic Cosa Nostra or be defeated in the primary. That is just a fact. Florida’s Democratic elite are exceptionally good at winning primaries and exceptionally bad at winning general elections.
While identity politics was discussed in some detail in this article, that wasn’t the point of the article. The point of this article is to show that the Democratic consultancy class in Florida has failed. Election after election, they force their candidates to push their own personal political agendas (personal or otherwise), many of which center on identity politics, which is a losing fight in the State of Florida. If these consultants are not pushing their own agenda, they are just bad at their job. Either way,the Tammany Hall patronage systems of doling out consultancy business in Florida Democratic politics is a total failure, than the record reflects the quality of their service.
*Sorry Kartik. In all fairness, we were soccer fans way before the hipster wave invaded the sport.
Dave and Kartik, Both you guys are spot on and I wholeheartedly agree with you 100 percent!!! The “consultant class” made very few gains when they had the opportunity to move mountains! The House Victory and Senate Victory consultant team who barely visited any Democrats running unless they had a 100% chance of winning are as useless as tits on a bull!! That’s not how you win and take back the majority. 5 wins in the House and 1 in the Senare combined with loosing the Governor’s and Senate race make me want to puke! Don’t leave out “The Progressives” who finally ñ had their “Dream (but very flawed) Candidate” in Gillum but failed to deliver shit! As we discovered in Kartik’s post election county by county chart: in small redneck Republican counties where we were loosing by 60-40 with Davis, McBride and Sink we now lost 80-20 with our African American Liberal Socialist Progressive candidate that drove out those white Trump voters in droves…and all those little counties added up big when you only depend on Hillsborough, Central Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward and Leon to carry the whole state of Florida since our candidate scared the wits (see FBI investigation) out of the slim majority of Trumpsters who put the unknown DeSantis over the top. Hell the stupid Hillsborough Progressive slate cared had Gillum and no Nelson, no cabinet members, no Hispanics running for State House or Senate (no Janet Cruz) or School Board either. And we wonder why we loose!!!
Thought you accurately called it the whole way as a very slight R advantage, which as it turns out, was dead on. But the polling was very very different.