As I have mentioned in the past, I used to be the National Committeeman for the Young Democrats of Utah. And when I held that position, I felt there were more people charging into the fire, running as Democrats, with no chance of winning. But every one of those candidates thought they had a chance of winning. And in some cases, they did win. But, of course, it is Utah and most campaigns crashed and burned.
I come back to Florida and I see the opposite happening. In seats that Democrats can win, nobody is being fielded. There is a total lack of anyone trying to recruit candidates to run for State House or State Senate. Basically, when a “toss up state” is rivaling Utah as far competitive candidates running for the state legislature, it is kind of sad.
But wait, it is actually worse than you think!
In Florida, we have given the Republican Party 48 seats in the State house. Basically, we handed the Republicans 40% of the House. We just handed it to them without even putting up a fight! Yes, this is a state where Obama won in 2008, Clinton won in 1996, with Gore and Kerry coming very close to winning it.
But in Utah, it is a little different. President Obama did “good” in Utah with 34% of the vote. But even with that, out of the 75 seats in the Utah House, the Utah Democratic Party fielded candidates in 65 of the seats for the 2012 election.
So, let’s recap….Florida, a so-called “swing state”, hands over 40% of their state house to the GOP. In Utah, the most Republican state in the nation, the Democrats fielded candidates in all but 13% of races. Does anyone else see anything wrong here? I guess the Utah Democratic Party hasn’t figured out the art of coming up with excuses yet.
Just pointing out the difference between Utah and Florida should make Democrats outraged. Democrats should be asking questions of their party here in the State of Florida. We should be asking why we have leadership that isn’t doing their job. We should ask how come Utah can field more state house candidates than Florida. Basically, we should ask the Florida Democratic Party “what the hell is going on.”
Apparently, my rants and disappointment in the Democratic Party has upset the establishment. A few weeks ago, I would get press releases all the time from the Florida Democratic Party. Now, it seems like my email address has fallen off the face of the earth and I don’t get anything anymore.
I think this points out a very, very important point…”if a political party and the leaders of that political party cannot take criticism in times where the party is highly under-performing, are they worthy of holding those positions anymore?” To be removed from the press release list just because I have legitimate reasons for being upset kind of shows me that the party isn’t worried about winning elections.
Therefore, here are the questions that I pose…”what is the goal of the Florida Democratic Party right now? What is Rod Smith doing as the Democratic Party Chair?” After the lack of candidates running for the legislature, the argument of “using the state chair position as a holdover until a statewide campaign opportunity arises” sounds more likely.
As Democrats, we have the right to know the answers to these questions. We have the right to know why, in southwest Orange County, I don’t have a Democrat to vote for in either the State House or State Senate. Just like we have the right to know what is happening in our government, as Florida Democrats, we have the right to know what is happening in our party as well.
Therefore, it is time to exercise your right! Contact the Florida Democratic Party. Ask them why we weren’t able to field enough candidates for Florida House. Ask them why we handed the Republican 48 state house seats. Ask them why we didn’t field candidates in races where Democrats can win. Ask them the tough questions. You have the RIGHT to ask these questions.
I can no longer ask these questions. Being on the “outs” doesn’t help. And if I did ask, as a member of the press, I will not get the answers. But to those of you who are precinct committee people, registered Democrats and concerned citizens who are tired of our state passing right-wing craziness because Democrats can’t field candidates, you can get the answers. You can make the change. And while I thought the changes should have happened on November 9th, I truly think they should happen now.
Be active…ask the FDP the questions.