Palm Beach County Results Worrying For Democrats

While the rest of urban Florida is clearly trending towards the Democrats, Palm Beach County, long the second strongest large Democratic county in the state is going in the other direction. In the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections Palm Beach was the second best large county in the state for Democrats behind Broward. In 2012, it was passed by both Orange and Miami-Dade, continuing a downward trend that began with the 2004 election.

In 1998, Palm Beach County was one of just six Florida counties to support Buddy MacKay for Governor, and in 2000 was the scene of the theft of the century, when Al Gore lost the Presidency due to a flawed ballot design and other voter errors. Still Palm Beach delivered 63% of  COUNTED votes for the Gore/Lieberman ticket, not including mistaken Buchanan votes, over votes, under votes and countless other ballot spoilage errors. As someone who worked with the Democratic Party locally in those days, it seemed like the potential for local Democratic success was limitless.

But the party was always fragmented locally between north and south county factions, although some in the north align with the south and vise-versa.  The north county faction has traditionally been  closer with organized labor and liberal activists while the south is dominated by “condo commandos” whose ideology seems to be both inconsistent and  at times aligned with development/polluter interests. In fact, in southern Palm Beach County a responsible vote  has at times in the past been against a local Democrat and for a  local Republican. This reality has made it difficult for Democrats to coalesce as a unified party, while many “activists” have actually attempted to keep the party structure chaotic in order to keep power diffused and provide the sugar industry, developers and other polluters with an ability to control local politics. This alliance of some local Democrats with business interests alienate many Democratic activists and disgust many principled and true conservatives as well.

This dichotomy creates a strange conundrum come time for national elections. While partisans are expected to line up in their respective camps, leaders in Palm Beach are often conflicted, and this has in previous elections produced an under-performance for both parties. Palm Beach was the only urban county in the state where Sink’s performance was at the same level as Buddy MacKay’s in the 1998  election when Jeb Bush won. In every other urban county Sink ran several percentage points higher than MacKay had in 1998, and the only urban county where Kerry’s 2004 performance was better than Obama’s 2012 (by contrast, Obama ran  at least 9 points higher in Orange BOTH in 08′ and 12′ than Kerry).

During the few months prior to this November’s election, Palm Beach Democrats were rocked by multiple scandals involving leaders of the local party as well as the continuing drama around State Attorney candidate Dave Aronberg, who has been repeatedly attacked by the otherwise left leaning editorial board of the Palm Beach Post, and has faced numerous allegations of campaign impropriety. Additionally, several contentious primaries in August opened wounds that have yet to be healed within the party, partly because of the DEC scandals and ensuing leadership vacuum. While Tampa Bay area, Orange/Osceola, Broward and Miami-Dade Democrats and left leaning interest groups were uniting behind a single purpose and cause, Palm Beach Democrats were fighting amongst themselves in addition to dealing with disloyal activists aiding Romney’s local cause.

Local Republicans are not particularly well organized and if anything the Democrats have caught a break by the inability of the Palm Beach REC to fully take advantage of the numerous opportunities afforded them. Sooner or later the PBREC will be more aggressive and proactive putting the local Democrats in a worse position.

Obama won the county by less than a 100,000 votes, far less than hoped for. Thankfully, Broward delivered its end of the bargain delivering a 250,000 plus vote surplus and Miami-Dade exceeded expectations giving Obama a 200,000 plus vote margin. As a point of historical reference, in 2000, when Al Gore was denied the Presidency by Palm Beach’s faulty ballot design and a partisan Secretary of State, Palm Beach County gave the Democratic ticket a 120,000 vote cushion (which would have been substantially higher without all of the ballot issues) while Miami-Dade was won by only 38,000 votes. Times certainly are changing in southeast Florida.


43 thoughts on “Palm Beach County Results Worrying For Democrats

  1. You’re veiled shot at Dinerstein here :

    “Local Republicans are not particularly well organized and if anything the Democrats have caught a break by the inability of the Palm Beach REC to fully take advantage of the numerous opportunities afforded them. Sooner or later the PBREC will be more aggressive and proactive putting the local Democrats in a worse position.”

    He’s said he is not running again for REC Chair. Say goodbye to the Democrats secret weapon. Now we must actually organize properly up there because the new REC Chair is sure to be more competent.

  2. blah blah blah. Siegal should take a look at Dinerstein since Siegal has yet to resign. The guy sucks. The reason why PBC DEC is so poorly run is because you have Siegal there. They threw him out of NY and now US (since the local “fake” leaders there won’t) need to throw him out. Most people had nothing to do with DEC. The DEC has not been good since Monty was there.

  3. I lived in PBC for many years. IMO, the Boca/ rest of county split is not limited to the party. Boca has it’s own view of the world, ever since it began growing rapidly in the 80’s. Don’t forget that back then, Delray and Boynton were sleepy retirement communities, with relatively few residents. In terms of the vote, I’m also not sure it’s fair to characterize their results as inadequate. PBC Dems had an average presidential vote, compared to the state average – 81%. PBC Reps had a lower than average presidential vote – 88%, compared to 93%. I’m using all voters here, including moved and inactive (which favors Reps)

  4. The issues were plain and simple from what I understand.

    Palm Beach County had a lot of money spent by Republican Jews trying to marginalize Obama on the Israel issue.

    This tact was taken with the small Jewish population in Sarasota also. Most Jews from what I read and have observed do not vote on Israel, but a few do.

    My feeling is that we all support Israel but you need to put thew welfare of the country you actually, live, work and depend on first. I never understood the Cuban voters in Miami also who have long voted against the economic interest of themselves because of Cuba policy. It’s raw and emotional, I get that but I never understood how people could ignore the issues that really impact them daily on something that does not.

  5. This is the topic of discussion far and wide. The local Jewish-American leadership has been split on Obama. Congressman Robert Wexler and Congressman Ted Deutch are great proponents of the President’s Israel policy. If you are objective about it, Obama has been the best friend Israel has had in the White House. Bush destabilized the region, recognized Gaddafi putting an embassy there and emboldened Jihadists whose ultimate aim is to destroy Israel. Yet Obama’s name and race made it possible for some religious Jews to go after the President. Let us not beat around bush, Kartik. Race was an issue here. Not that Obama is black but that his name is Obama and his middle name is Hussien. Some Jews just did not trust him. I find it appalling they would defect and ruin an otherwise perfect election night. In fact it is a personal betrayal. When you do a further analysis Kartik, because we all know good you are at numbers and how well you know county, you will Obama’s dropoff was particularly in south county where some leaders and “activists” as you call them have a disproportionate amount of influence. These “leaders” have not only thrown in against Obama but with the GOP down the line, backing Adam Hasner against Lois Frankel and also helping to raise money for Dean Cannon and your good buddy Chris Dorworth. Since you have made it your mission with this website to defeat Chris Dorworth and are on the cusp of doing so, why don’t you expose the ties between these guys and Dorwoth-Cannon and furthermore oberlay the precincts and show how these “Democrats” have sold the party out.

    It is the only way.

  6. Obama sold out our Israeli friends for Arab oil and because of his own Muslim sympathies. These Democrats are heroes for bucking a party which has now become pro terrorist and led by another Stalin.

    He’s a rock star who cultivated gays and the abortion on demand crowd. A sad statement on American voters.

  7. Dear hater – hey, you and your ilk are growing fewer in numbers every year…. I hope you guys will rethink your caveman hatred for people you think are outsiders, but I don’t think it will happen. It would be good for the country and your party, tho. After the civil war, the REPs had ~80 years of presidential elections; I suspect that something similar will happen now, because I don’t see how the party can go back on it’s cherished ideals.

  8. Concerned Democrat, PBC does not trust Wexler or the DEC with their antijewish rants. PBC turnout was not low because of the Jewish population (which is only 8-10%). But if you want to go there let’s do so.

    Obama was wrong with many of the issues regarding Israel but mostly because he put his foot in his mouth. Wexler made is worse with the issue with the DNC & the platform. For those you describe that are helping Cannon, Dorworth and Hasner are the same people you point towards as good leaders for Israel Wexler, Deutch, Andre, Eric Johnson and Aaronson.

    This is not about the Jewish community. This is about those they say one thing and do the other. Leaders for who? Obama has not been Israel’s best friend nor the worst. The problem are those local ones who pretend to be something they are not.

    I hope Crist runs!

  9. Delray Democrat,

    Explain how exactly Obama has been bad for Israel? He unilaterally blocked a Palestinian State and has passed the toughest sanctions EVER against Iran. Unlike Bush he hasn’t coddled Arab dictators than fund terrorism. Please elaborate WTF you are talking about.

  10. Lewis….believe is or not his foreign policy is very similiar to Bush’s policy. He needs better PR people and he does not understand the MIddle East. He actually keeps learning by his own mistakes. We are all lucky that we have a balanced government. He can not do anything on his own.

  11. Give me some examples of instead of vague rhetoric please. I strongly support Israel and think people who say he is bad on Israel are DEAD WRONG. DEAD WRONG.

  12. So much here to take issue with. First off I can see both points of view. We believe in social justice and secularism and Obama represents that. On the other hand, Obama is the type of leader and I use that term lightly with him that would let his friends be nuked, coddle terrorists, and sell out our friends. He is so busy apologizing for America that he has let the Arabs get away with murder. The Arabs are developing a bomb and he will not do anything. How would you feel Kartik if India the only Hindu country which like Israel is surrounded by Muslim countries was being threatened and ended up being nuked because the US did nothing? You too would consider voting for Romney.

    Obama took the Jewish vote for granted. He started reaching out to Arabs and wanting to cultivate the Israel haters on the left. He was more interested in being popular among the readers of the Nation than those who actually got him elected. The failure of the Jewish community to act with one voice against him ensured Obama’s reelection. We need to use our votes more wisely and gain leverage from BOTH parties in the future.

    I am a loyal Democrat and won’t discuss my Presidential vote. But Obama is the worst President ever for Israel which is the most important issue for us.

  13. I am far from an Obama fan but this thread is making me wish I voted for him. Honestly I applaud him for standing up to the bullly Netanyahu. It is a sheer disgrace and mark of disrespect towards our nation and our institutions that bibi as you call him comes to this country and behaves the way he does trying to turn our people against our foreign policy. It is a total mark of disrespect that a foreign head of state can do or say the things he has and some of you follow his lead rather than defending our policy and out interests. George W. Bush coddled this piece of cow manure. I am glad Obama has put him in his place. We must defend our interests and not those of some foreign leader and his political party. I voted against Obama for a host of reasons but his foreign policy has been far better than Bush’s. He actually cares about America not just Israeli Likudniks.

  14. Morning, you say that “I am a loyal Democrat”, BUT… “I use that term (leader) lightly”, he lets our “friends be nuked, coddle terrorists, and sell out our friends”, he is “apologizing for America”, “has let the Arabs get away with murder”, and “cultivate the Israel haters”. You don’t cite any facts, you merely repeat Republican rhetoric – and you think that makes you a Democrat????? I REALLY don’t get that.

    You talk about the Arabs making a bomb – by that, I assume you are talking about Iran and their alleged plans to develop nuclear weapons. Ummm, did you know that Iran is NOT an Arab country? Or are you too busy hating Arabs to learn basic geography. Just because one country is next to another one do not make them the same religion or ethnicity.

    We need better thinking in this country, and knee-jerk reactionism like this isn’t helping, no matter what the person’s party registration says

  15. They are all Muslims who are anti semitic. Obama has proven he coddles terrorists and listens to
    Europeans and Palestinians about foreign policy.

    We Jews said nothing when Hitler came to power and then they came for us. With Obama’s attitude towards Iran and lack of empathy for Jews or our homeland we could face another holucoust but this time be exterminated as a race. We are all children of Israel. Non Jews generally cannot relate except some Christian conservatives who have fought for Israel.

  16. You north Florida rednecks are in no position to talk. You love guns and live in an isolated bubble where the USA is the only country on the planet. Are you Anti-Semitic? Why do you hate Netanyahu whose sin is to call out Obama for his abandonment of Israel?

  17. I am pro gun, pro life, pro free market and pro America. I support Israel but not to an extent where it hurts America.

    Netanyahu does not make AMERICAN policy. Obama does. I am so sick of AIPAC and these neocons using American lives to protect Israel. Iraq was a mistake pushed by pro Israeli neocons. We have lost thousands of Americans when Israel the largest recipient of US aid has plenty of money, weapons and troops to defend itself. Iraq was not about oil as liberals claim. It was about Israel. I support Israel but not when it hurts the USA.

    Do you support the USA or Israel?

  18. The Apocalypse has arrived!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Blue Dog making sense on here. I cannot believe I am with him/her on this!

  19. Blue Dog you know nothing. Your ignorance displayed in a blog proves there is a problem with education on foreign policy. Of course Bibi does not set American policy and if you really think Iraq was about Israel you are just as nuts as those other conspiracy theorist.

    Get a brain.

  20. “They are all Muslims who are anti semitic” See, this is exactly what I’m talking about racism is racism; it can affect majority persons and minority persons, alike. The things you are saying stereotype whole classes of people, yet you complain about others doing it. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…..

  21. I know nothing? I’ve been around the game longer than you I guarantee. I know people down in Palm Beach and Broward that Jew-bait all the time claiming anyone who opposes them is anti-Semitic. And Iraq was touted by DEMOCRATS IN SOUTH FLORIDA as a war for Israel.

    Let me give you some examples.
    1- Robert Wexler talked repeatedly when he voted to support the war that he was doing so for Israel.
    2- Peter Deutch came out strongly for the war and attacked anyone who opposed it as being against Israel. In the 2004 Senate Primary he and his buddy Bernie Friedman linked Sami Al-Aryan to Berry Castor in a clear attempt to race bait. Your “liberals” from South Florida keep calling ME A RACIST because I am conservative. You guys are the ones always race baiting.
    3- Ron Gunzberger, a consultant in Broward started a website to attack anyone who opposed the Iraq war as anti-Semitic.
    4- Dr. Andre Fladell, the leader of Palm Beach County’s Democrats gave a speech to the DEC down there where he talked about a pro-American Iraqi government being needed to relieve pressure on Israel and said all local Jews should support the war.

    Who the heck are you Brandon? Do you know ANYTHING about the history down there???

    As for Bibi, he is using AIPAC to force Obama to change his policy. These AIPAC guys are treasonous, denouncing America for the benefit of Israel, trying to bully and intimidate our President in order to benefit a foreign power at great cost to our country.

    I applaud Obama for his standing up to them. I had planned to vote for Romney but his articulation of his views on the Middle East, Israel and Palestine and alliance with neocon advisers changed my vote to Goode even though I agree with Romney on every domestic issue. Had this thread shown up two weeks ago, I am almost certain I would have voted for Obama.

    My feeling now is I am relieved Obama got elected. It is obvious Romeney is a tool of AIPAC, Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrams et al. If Romney had won we would have attacked Iran and lost 10,000 lives. Obama at least will keep us out of that even if he bankrupts our country with his socialist policies.

  22. Blue Dog you have no clue what you are talking about. I dont know what you are saying is true or not about some of those people you describe but do you believe that they can be wrong?

    Peter Deutch and Wexler still don’t know what they are talking about.
    Andre knows more than the elected officials.
    I don’t know who Ron is.

    Obama supports AIPAC’s policy so sorry buddy you are wrong on all accounts and so are the majority you describe.

    Trey you are right Ds do not support Romney for one issue…not even Republicand do lol.

  23. How would you feel Kartik if India the only Hindu country which like Israel is surrounded by Muslim countries was being threatened and ended up being nuked because the US did nothing? You too would consider voting for Romney.

    I am willing to bet I have been to India far more times than you have been to Israel. I’ve been to India 18 different times in my life. Yet if India were attacked by Pakistan (as they have been before) and the subject to Al Qaeda terrorism (as they have been frequently) I would urge the US to find a balanced policy that protects US interests, economic above all. I STRONGLY OPPOSED George W. Bush’s exemption of India from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty even though many Indian-Americans supported it. Bush was the best President for India, boasting higher approval ratings in India than any other place on the planet. His neocon advisers, reflexively anti-Muslim threw in with India’s the Hindu Fundamentalist Government that had compromised India’s tradition as a secular republic.

    My motivation is how does it impact America. How does it impact our economy, our culture, our young men and women who put on the uniform. No foreign power should have a veto power over our policy and no American citizens should ever support a foreign power’s view over that of our country when national security is at stake. Our soldiers should not be sent to fight other people’s wars and solve other people’s problems. We have plenty of issues here at home.

    I could care less if India was attacked honestly (despite my having lots of family still there) and would urge the USA to avoid entanglement in such matters. Much of India’s problems they have brought on themselves by hailing Democracy in every other state but not allowing the Muslim majority in Kashmir to exercise their free will which would likely be to join Pakistan or declare independence. That is what motivated Bin Laden to repeatedly attack India, including the Mumbai train bombings, the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar and the bombing of the Taj hotel. Bin Laden was wrong of course and a terrorist, but the elements for this situation were created by the election of a Hindu Fundamentalist Government in 1998 that backed the Afghan rebels (backed also by the US and ironically enough Iran) and got Bin Laden in the mood for revenge. All of this terrorism could have been avoided with a little humility and common sense, so I have no sympathy for India and don’t want American boys and girls dying for mistakes made by bigoted war mongers.

    But because India is an emerging economic power the US does have some interest there, but not enough to go to war should it ever come to that.

    I would never ever consider voting for Romney or a similarly anti-environment, anti-union, anti-federal spending Republican.

  24. I’m in support of Obama’s position on Israel. But as long as the debate over East Jerusalem continues (which it will never go away), the debate is pointless.

  25. So you would sell out your own people because of your warped loyalty to American policy? I’ve lost all respect for you.

  26. Yes we supported the Iraq war. Good intentions but ineptly run by Bush. We feel the US should protect Israel our one ally in the Middle East the one country who shares our value.

  27. MS,

    I am an American and the people of the USA are my concern. India, Israel, etc, etc can fend for themselves. Foreign adventurism under Bush and now Obama has cost us thousands of lives, led to a sky rocketing debt AND not made us safer. My feeling is we should withdraw from all commitments abroad that don’t directly impact us. Pull American troops out of Germany, the Korean Peninsula and Okinawa. Close bases abroad, save money and stop creating so many enemies. Reinvest those savings here at home on infrastructure and education.

  28. I wonder for how many years will the Israelis hold on to the ‘we are persecuted / the Arabs just want to kill us all’ worldview? Will it last for 100 years? 1000? Israel is currently more successful than any Arab nation, yet this view persists; how successful must it become until Israelis are comfortable enough to cooperate with their neighbors? Will it take world domination?

  29. Support for Israel should come from Israel. Why should American parties have to worry about Israel? That’s Israel ‘s problem not America’s.

    Voting for President based on some foreign country and the failure of Obama to cow tow to a psycho like Netanyahu is quite honestly unAmerican and borders on unpatriotic.

  30. Taking it even further if you are concerned about foreign policy you should like Obama’s Israel policy. Our European allies fell out with Bush because of his lack of balance on this issue and his neocon crusade against any Muslim state that Israel felt threatened by. This constant levying of sanctions and divestment hurts American and Florida companies. Same as Apartheid in South Africa. Sanctions hurt Americans. By the way these Israel first Americans like the disgraced jailed Bush buddy Jack Abramhoff worked with the racist South African government as did Israel itself who armed South Africa. That’s part of why many in the west are pro-Palestinian. Know your history before spouting off your keyboard protected mouth.

  31. I keep hearing from locals that Obama did not go to Israel or meet Netanyahu in person in DC. Beyond that I have heard no real critiques of the policy and am disappointed that some of our friends could be so easily manipulated into voting against their entire value system,

  32. It comes from a lack of clear thinking, concerned. It is all too easy for human beings to view others as separate from “us”. For some people, even Democrats, they start with a bias against Arab peoples; when you couple that with a hlaf-black president whose middle name is Hussain, they are willing to be opposed to anything that he is for. For such people, he could be giving out lottery winnings, and they would call him out for hating Israel.

  33. Pingback: Palm Beach Democratic Party Looking to Rebound: A Look at SE Florida DECs « The Political Hurricane – Florida Political Blog.

  34. Pingback: Palm Beach Democrats Scandal Back in the News « The Political Hurricane – Florida Political Blog.

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