When it comes to the issue of Crimea, I have always been torn. Of course, many in the international community argue that Russia invaded Ukraine, thus violating Ukrainian sovereignty, which is absolutely correct. However, governments are legitimate because of the consent of the governed. In the case of Crimea, most of the ethnic Russians (which is an overwhelming majority in Crimea) reject the Ukrainian government, thus Ukraine does not receive the consent to govern in the region. Basically, the overwhelming majority of the Crimean people rejected the legitimacy of being governed by Kiev and favor the government in Moscow. Even if Crimea would have had a fair referendum, I still think the result would have been overwhelming support for Putin’s government.
So, when looking at Crimea, who is correct? Is Ukraine and the international community correct because Russia annexed part of Ukraine, thus violating Ukraine’s legal sovereign territory? Or is Russia correct, because it has received the consent of the governed as the legitimate government of Crimea? Cases could be made for either situation.
If we look at the Florida Democratic Party, there is a similar situation taking place.
In my opinion, I think that The Florida Squeeze does have a good finger on the pulse of Florida Democratic activism in the state. Basically, I feel that rank-and-file Florida Democrats read the blog and interact with the blog. With that being said, the recent poll that Kartik Krishnaiyer posted on his blog is quite interesting. While it is not scientific, it does show that 90% of those responding support a candidate other than the Bill Nelson Establishment-backed candidate, Stephen Bittel. And in the end, Bittel might win the Florida Democratic Party chair race because he legally won the majority of state committee members.
This is where the Crimea analogy come into play.
If Stephen Bittel does win the FDP chair position, does he have the consent of the governed? Remember, the Florida Democratic Party is supposed to represent all who are registered as a Democrat in Florida, not just those who are state committee members. If rank-and-file Democrats have overwhelmingly opposed Stephen Bittel, which seems to be the case, can he claim legitimacy as the leader of the nearly 5 million Democrats in Florida because of a victory given to him by a handful of state committee members?
When looking at this situation, the question of legitimacy really needs to be examined. Should legal definitions give a Florida Democratic Party chair his or her legitimacy, or should the consent of the govern? Thus, we have our Crimean paradox.
In the end, those who are governed are usually the victors. In this case, if the consent of the governed is not respected, then Florida Democrats might seek an alternative to the Florida Democratic Party. In the end, this will lead to more in-fighting in the Florida Democratic Party, as well as bitter primary battles. Is this a bad thing? Maybe not, as the in-fighting might eventually lead to the consent of the governed being the order of the day. However, if Florida Democrats want to provide a stable political party, their rules must start respecting the consent of the governed. Otherwise, the party will be seen as illegitimate, thus never being productive again.