A few days ago, Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant finally admitted that her team lost. After an election night filled with congratulatory tweets, Tant said in a radio interview with WFSU in Tallahassee that she takes responsibility.
“Do I take responsibility for this outcome? Of course”, Tant told WFSU.
However, it is the rest of her interview that deserves a second look. Here is the rest of Tant’s statement, according the WFSU:
“Well, obviously we got beat. We got beat across the nation. We got beat in Florida. But, I’m proud of the race we ran. I mean, do I want a different outcome. Yes! Do I take a responsibility for this outcome? Of course! I mean, we built a really good machine. We built a really good race car and we’re going to keep it going. We’re going to deep dive into what happened and who didn’t show up to vote and take corrective measures.”
Of course, the first comment that deserves attention is that “we got beat across the nation”. As I mentioned last week, the Florida Democrats would more than likely use the “national wave” as a reason for failure, though the wave cannot explain the Saunders loss and Graham win. Still, even though Tant does mention “the wave”, she also takes responsibility in her statement, which is more important. Therefore, it seems Tant has employed a “buck stops here” approach to this manner, even if she feels that the race was a “wave” and beyond her control.
Even though Tant took responsibility, it is the second part of that statement that is troublesome for Florida Democrats. Tant says “I mean, we built a really good machine. We built a really good race car and we’re going to keep going”. As someone who is a racing enthusiast and has actually raced at Sebring, a race car that finishes dead last is not a good race car. And the fact that the main components of the race car, such has the engine and transmission, failed miserably and have a history of failing is also not a good sign. In the case of the Florida Democratic Party, Allison Tant is the chassis, which holds all of the bits of the car together, but the engine is Scott Arceneaux and the transmission is Christian Ulvert. And, as a race car driver, or even an everyday car owner, can tell you, once the engine and transmission fails, they need to be replace, without exception. However, the chassis can remain.
As I said in my earlier article about this subject, I think removing Allison Tant from the Florida Democratic Party chair position is not productive, especially now that she has admitted that the buck stops at her door. If you are a race car team and you have an engine and gearbox that fails, you do not throw out the entire car, but you replace the bad components. That is what Allison Tant needs to do. Also, there is some problem with the electrical components that Tant might want to look at as well (ie…the communications team).
Rebuilding the Florida Democratic Party is important for there to be a vibrant two-party system in what is considered a “purple state” nationally. But rebuilding the party, and looking at the issue in a systemic way, is the most productive way to go about this change. Unfortunately, the Nan Rich supporters have made this an issue about the Rich-Crist primary. The rebuilding of the FDP has nothing to do with Nan Rich, nothing the do with the gubernatorial primary, and is just an excuse to continue complaining about an issue that was settled months ago. People need to move on.
While Allison Tant said the buck stops at her door, her next moves are vital to the success or failure of the Florida Democratic Party. If she keeps the same top staffers, the Florida Democratic Party is doomed to fail yet again. Not only will the party be unable to operate, but rank-and-file Democrats, who provide the local blood, sweat and tears for Democratic candidates, will lose faith in the Florida Democratic Party. As a result, the central Democratic Party apparatus will be weak, and individual candidates will have to not only fend for themselves, but form unorganized coalitions for electoral support. Therefore, the Florida Democratic Party needs to regain credibility with the party faithful with a strong, centralized party.
As for the aforementioned staffers for the party, Arceneaux and Ulvert, the pressure for them to be relieve of their duties is increasing daily. Of course, those who have been vocal about Tant in the past have mentioned that these two individuals should be removed. But even allies of Allison Tant, such as Kartik Krishnaiyer’s website The Florida Squeeze, are offering poll questions regarding Arceneaux’s and Ulvert’s future. Once Tant allies are asking this question, the answer should be obvious to the Florida Democratic Party chair.