Quite frankly, I’m disappointed so far in many of the types of conversations I have seen around the Florida Democrats Chair race.
Rinse, repeat and cover one’s backside/blame others mode is once in full swing, as usual.
This after an eye-popping 19 point statewide ass-whooping loss in the Governor’s Race?
I feel compelled to remind folks that Florida is the only state east of the Mississippi that has not had a Democratic Governor this millennium. But many Florida Democrats are comfortable with where things are because they personally are not hurt by losses. That’s a problem.
We currently have a situation where people are so comfortable with losses, and so comfortable with GOP power in the state, that they have no real personal stake in whether Democrats win or lose. It’s all a game for them. Life goes on merrily for them regardless of election results. In most other walks of life, when you repeatedly fail, you are held accountable, and structural changes are made. But not in Florida Democratic Party politics.
When you lose, you should suffer, and feel the emotional pain. When you lose, you should understand the negative impact it has on ordinary Floridians. But here in Florida, we have too many Democratic operatives & leaders with power who don’t feel any of that. This is why we keep repeating the same cycle, and the usual suspects find work with outside entities (as retiring Chairman Manny Diaz correctly articulated, these entities are problems) , or lobbying shops or incumbent party-leader lawmakers from safe seats.
We have a party where a network of gatekeepers, be they political consultants, lobbyists, or former elected officials seek to preserve a small fiefdom they control, rather than grow the party and turn losses into wins.
Without serious changes, the situation is untenable.
A big part of the problem is the anti-democratic rules that govern the Democratic Party in Florida that enable a small group to control party decisions.
Let’s make a change. Here are two key ideas:
- Break up the control of the State Committee and Elected Officials to choose a Chair of the party. Open up the voting to ALL DEMOCRATIC PRECINCT PEOPLE who are seated on county DEC’s. Eliminate the weighted vote. Think this is logistically impossible? The Labour and Tory parties in the UK have both opened up the vote on leadership questions to its members, a relatively new development (party leaders used to be selected by MP’s ) . In other states, the Democratic Party actually is in compliance with DNC rules by not having a weighted vote and a system where elected officials have a disproportionate amount of influence over the selection of a Chair. Party Chair selections and other critical decisions do not need to be made exclusively in expensive hotel meeting rooms with a cadre of power brokers making these decisions based on personal interest. Let’s open things up to all stakeholders.
- As DNC Member Thomas Kennedy has repeatedly proposed, Democrats should open their party primaries to NPA’s. This would give Democratic candidates more exposure to the overall electorate, which means you need to build broader coalitions to win party nominations AND the same Democratic operatives and power brokers who rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic every two years and spin conveniently after every election cycle will have their power minimized. This will also produce nominees with a broader view on public policy, more exposure to the working class and ultimately a better chance of winning a General Election. Democrats have lost 24 of the last 26 statewide races for Governor and Cabinet, which is a worse record than that of Montana, Kansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and West Virginia, places we tend to think of as deep red states.
An obvious retort would be, “if we do these things, won’t the outside entities you are so concerned about grow stronger?”
My reply, is no they wouldn’t, because new energy and leadership would emerge within the Democratic Party – the consultant/insider-driven model that has weakened the party for the benefit of a few would be broken. Forever.
Let’s have the discussion about rules reform- it’s past time to get this done.