Sunday, November 18, 2012

On the unsettled future for Democrats and Republicans, Myriam Marquez is right ... by gimleteye

"Democrats are gloating over Florida wins but not so fast" writes Myriam Marquez, and she is 100 percent right. Well 99 percent.

I don't know any Florida Democrats who are "gloating". If they are they must be in North Florida -- the part of the state we Southern Democrats would happily offer to Georgia.

Notwithstanding Democratic gains, like breaking the supermajority hold of the GOP in Florida, there are still big problems in Florida and nationally for the Democrats.

The GOP is much more successful in supporting its grand theme -- let's make money! -- with its powerful message machine trumpeting itself as the party of values.

If the recent election was a referendum on anything, it proved voters rebelling against the radical right that wraps itself in the American flag, American exceptionalism, Paternalism, and social values to the right of Attila The Hun. Still, only a few hundred thousand votes in the key battleground states separated President Obama from his challenger.

If Democrats are the party of values, why do they have such a difficult time recruiting candidates who can articulate the differences from what bubbles like a witches' brew on Fox News?

It is clear that campaign finance rules -- that dedicate candidates and incumbents to a ceaseless search for money -- have turned Democrats into Republicans-Lite. That is especially true in Florida.

The net effect is to shift the nation far to the right of center.

Where are Democrats willing to articulate these views in Miami? Senator Bill Nelson? I don't think so. The truth is that Florida Democrats have been scared to death of Cuban American politics ever since the power shifted out of their hands in the 1960's.

Instead of penetrating to the hearts of Latino voters, in Miami-Dade they ceded the direction of the party to our own peculiar culture of Republican-Lite. Bob Graham and Alex Penelas, anyone?

No question there are opportunities. With only a little support, the newcomer, Anglo candidate for state legislature Ross Hancock very nearly defeated Miami-Dade GOP party chair, Erik Fresen. Fresen is the poster boy for GOP "values": from gambling to charter schools. Hancock raised only five percent of what Fresen garnered through every big business lobby in the state of Florida. He lost by scarcely three percentage points.

There is a further problem for Dems. Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama built formidable campaign machinery but left no candidate / party infrastructure for the moment they stepped off the stage.

In effect, there were no minor league feeders and the case can be made they didn't even have a team behind their stellar campaign performances.

So here is the Democrats' problem: the GOP "let's make money!" is a proven organizing tool. Just ask Jeb! Bush. The GOP views its task as chipping away at those few hundred thousand voters. They obviously will take issue with any claims of structural changes in voter demographics or "values".

What will the Democrats make out of their recent victories? We will see, two short years from now.


Anonymous said...

It might surprise you to learn that a fair number of Independents of consequence have plans to now register as Democrats in order to create an infrastructure to progressively destroy the Florida GOP. It is our intention to discredit this miserable party that doesn't deserve to exist and for that, we are willing to do whatever it takes.

Geniusofdespair said...

What? You are going to destroy the party that I am registered in? Let me know when the rebellion starts and I will register as a Democrat in solidarity.