After doing my research, and doing my four-part series on the Democratic Party, I have been able to come up with some conclusions. While many of these ideas are my own, I did talk to a number of people in the Democratic Party on the state and local level, as well as rank-and-file Democrats.
After doing some research, I was able to get a little bit better of a picture of what the future of the Florida Democratic Party might be. So, here we go…
The Florida Democratic Party is an alcoholic.
I am sure many of us are familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous. And I am sure that we have all heard the first step of their 12-step recovery plan, or at least a paraphrase of it. Here is that common paraphrase:
Step 1: The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.
After losing more seats in the State House, more in the State Senate, all the Constitutional Offices, a number of Congressional seat, and performing poorly at the county and local levels, I am absolutely amazed how many people either aren’t pointing fingers (at a time we need to be pointing fingers) or not admitting there has been a problem with the Democratic Party since 1992.
I have some members of my family who are alcoholics. We have sent them to rehab, and we have done what we can to get them to quit. Still, 30 years later, they still do what they do. Why? Because they don’t think that they have a “problem”. That is the exact same thing happening with the Florida Democratic Party.
The big losses last week are fresh in our minds and extremely obvious. But with our past results and the lack of commitment for change in the Party, we almost come up with excuses instead of looking at problems, much like alcoholics.
Lets take the last few election cycles. In 2006 and 2008, we were patting ourselves on the back because we were able to get a whopping 35% of the seats in the Florida House. In the Senate, it is getting worse. Not only have we not made any gains, but the amount of Democratic Senators in the State Senate is the lowest it has been for decades, maybe ever. I really don’t know how many Republican State Senators there were during Reconstruction.
Anytime you put the word “Democrat” or “Republican” and “since Reconstruction” in the same sentence, that is very, very bad news for Democrats.
And, currently, the Republicans have veto-proof majorities in both chambers. Still, the Republicans have had over 67% in the State House before, so this isn’t new.
On the Constitutional Officer level, since 1999 we have only had two Democratic Constitutional Officers…Bob Butterworth (who I am convinced could still easily win today) and Alex Sink. Besides those two elections, only the Attorney General’s races have been close. The others have been blowouts.
As far as Congress, Senate and President, you really can’t relate those victories to the Florida Democratic Party. In fact, if there was one Presidential campaign that didn’t work as close to the local Democratic Parties, and kind of did their own thing, it was the Obama campaign. And look how they did.
As far as the Congressional and Senatorial races, that is much more the doing of the DNC, DCCC and the DSCC, not the FDP. And, in the case of Alan Grayson, it doesn’t hurt when you are a multi-millionaire and can buy the entire district tote bags with your name on them. Again, you can give the FDP very little credit for Congressional wins. But, on the bright side for the Party, you can give them very little hell for the losses either.
Ever since the election on November 2nd, we have heard a lot of people say that President Obama needs start fighting and quit being a President of compromise (which I knew he would be, that is why I voted for Nader). And when Obama came out after the election and started talking about “working with the GOP”, we all threw our hands up in the air.
The same analogy can be used with the FDP and its supporters. We complain about the election results. But, instead of saying that we want to fight and give the Republicans hell, we say that the FDP leadership is “doing alright for a tidal wave year.” This is the kind of denial that, if continued, will make the FDP the most obsolete Democratic Party in the United States.
It is just very sad, after last week’s results, that only a handful of people have asked for change in the party. The rest of the people continue to walk by the burning building, with people inside screaming, and do nothing.
After years of intervention, we finally gave up on my family members that were alcoholics. Time after time, we brought them to rehab. Time after time, they left after two days. And, to this day, they continue to drink and even do worse. Eventually, if the person doesn’t even try, you eventually just give up, which is what we have now done with our family members.
And if the Democratic Party doesn’t realize it has problems, and doesn’t realize that they need to change, Democrats across the state might just do that…give up.