Steve Schale is correct about the role of FDP chair (image from Twitter)
I supported Bernie Sanders in the primary. In fact, I had advocated for Bernie to run for president two years before he made the decision to run. When I saw Bernie speak in June of 2014, in a packed pub in Evanston, IL, more than a year before he was addressing thousands of supporters in packed stadiums, I was hoping that I was seeing the future president. Yes, I supported Bernie to the end, but I was also one of those people who agreed with Sarah Silverman’s assessment of the Bernie or Bust people at the DNC Convention that “they were being ridiculous”.
That being said, I am not a supporter of Keith Ellison for DNC Chair. No, this does not have to do with the fact that he supported Stephen Bittel. I questioned Ellison’s candidacy before the election. As for the DNC Chair position, I support Jaime Harrison, the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Why? Well, let me have Steve Schale explain the reasoning:
This isn’t a race about who has the best ideology, or who supported who in the primary. it is about basic management.
You are hiring a CEO. Find someone who is realistic about the job, capable of putting together the resources, and laser focused on the things they can actually control, namely candidate recruitment and organizing. There is nothing symbolic about who holds the job — no regular voter actually casts a vote based on who sits in the party chair, or has any idea who chairs their state party.
I have seen many contests for Florida Democratic Party chair come and go. From the days of Simon Ferro to the current chair Allison Tant, the way in which the Florida Democratic Party chair was selected was a secretive process, where backroom deals determined who would win. Even so, not much has changed from the days when the Florida Democrats were located in the historic Towle House. Places have change, and faces have changed, but the process is still the same.
Even with this process still in place, Lisa King has provided a new approach toward campaigning for the position. While I am sure she perfectly knows that it is the backroom deals that will determine whether her candidacy sinks or swims, her candidacy has provided the most public-friendly campaign that we have ever seen for the chair position. On nearly a daily basis, King is interacting with Facebook members and openly discussing the issues that face the Florida Democratic Party. Other candidates have attended public forums, such as the one held by the Orange County DEC last week, but King has been extremely proactive in keeping people engaged, answering questions, and providing access to a candidate at a level unseen in Florida Democratic politics. It is quite a refreshing change from prolonged status quo. Continue reading
Bay Hill: No longer a “Republican Only” area.
For years, Windermere was known as the place that would always vote Republican in Orange County. During the 2000 Presidential election, Windermere voted 73% for George W. Bush. In 2012, Romney won 80.2% in Windermere. However, in 2016, something happened. And yes, that something was Donald Trump.
As someone who has lived most of my life in southwest Orange County, I had a gut feeling that the people in the area were not going to be big fans of Trump. Still, over four years ago I wrote this about southwest Orange County.
The other large concentration of white voters is in southwest Orange County, along Apopka-Vineland Road and down into Walt Disney World, commonly known as the neighborhoods of Bay Hill, Windermere and Dr. Phillips. Unlike Winter Park, these voters are much more conservative, making church connections a top priority for many residents. This is an area where money is important as well as status. While Winter Park has more of a passe and individual style of living, southwest Orange County is very clannish. Most of the voters in this area are already locked up because of the church connection. Commonly known as “Church Row” by the locals, the churches along Apopka-Vineland Road take as much of a political stance as they do a religious one. Even with more people moving into the area even today, the grasp of Christian conservatism still holds a majority of votes. Those who are moving into Dr. Phillips and Bay Hill today seem to be more liberal and very similar to the type of voters we see in Winter Park. But will these liberal voters ever be able to compete with the the conservative, Christian Republican machine? Only time will tell.
Dwight Bullard lost by 9.9% in a district that Hillary Clinton won by 16.2%.
Last week, I looked at the Florida House districts to see how the presidential candidates performed. While the Republicans still had a decent advantage, we did see that Democrats under-performed in State House races compared to the top of the ticket. After the State Senate redistricting, Democrats were handed a favorable map. However, would the Democrats have performed as well in this political climate where Trump won the election? The answer is yes.
As was mentioned previously, there are some notes that need to be added when looking at this spreadsheet. So, I will just mention them again (cut and paste):
It should be noted that many of the districts are estimates. The reason for this is that one precinct might share multiple districts. Therefore, it is hard to determine how a presidential election vote exactly splits. On the worksheet provided here, the “Est Diff” shows how much of the vote overlaps between one district and another. In the overall scheme of things, this overlap probably did not impact the overall “winner-loser” scenario, as those with high overlap usually voted heavily for Clinton or Trump. However, some precincts were removed if they overlapped but had no population (example: precinct over water). Continue reading
If there is one thing positive about this year’s Florida Democratic Party chair’s race, it is that we are really seeing each candidate’s vision for Florida. DECs are taking the extra step to not only inform themselves about the candidates, but are sharing their forums with others. With that being said, the Orange County DEC has provided a valuable service by posting their interviews with all the FDP chair candidates online. Because of this, this site will not be sending out any questionnaires because the information being provided is already at a much higher level than it had been in previous elections for this position.
With that being said, the interviews held by the Orange County DEC showed us that Florida Democrats have vastly different candidates when it comes to this year’s chair race. In the past, it had always been “establishment vs. anti-establishment”. This year, we see real solutions and discussions about the future of the party. Luckily, we don’t hear the same talking points by all candidates, but have an olio of different viewpoints. Some performed quite well, and some not so well. So, here is a “grade” for each performance. Continue reading
Hillary Clinton won Eric Eisnaugle’s House District by 7.8%. #ToldYouSo
Over the last few weeks, I have been putting together precinct-level data so that I can do some number crunching. But before I get into testing hypotheses that I have formulated, I wanted to see how well Hillary Clinton did in Florida State House and State Senate Districts. Today, I have finished (sort of) my state house evaluation.
Before I get into it, it should be noted that many of the state house districts are estimates. The reason for this is that one precinct might share two, or even three, state house districts. Therefore, it is hard to determine how a presidential election vote exactly splits. On the worksheet provided here, the “Est Diff” shows how much of the vote overlaps between one district and another. In the overall scheme of things, this overlap probably did not impact the overall “winner-loser” scenario, as those with high overlap usually voted heavily for Clinton or Trump. However, some precincts were removed if they overlapped but had no population (example: precinct over water). Continue reading
Democrats, particularly in Florida, pride themselves on the fact that they have a great early and vote-by-mail system. And regardless of what you think about the Democratic Party structure, they actually do. Prior to votes being cast on Election Day, more Democrats had turned out to vote than Republicans in Florida. However, Election Day changed everything.
I decided to look at the votes that were cast before Election Day in every county except three, Escambia, Jefferson, DeSoto, because did not have data for them at all (though I will try to get the data in the coming days). Looking at all of the votes that were cast before Election Day, Hillary Clinton had 50.4% of the vote in Florida, with Trump only having 46.1%. That is a healthy 4.3% lead, with Clinton leading in Pinellas, St. Lucie, Duval, and even Seminole County. Here are the maps that show the breakdown of the vote. Continue reading
A few sources close to both Stephen Bittel and Susannah Randolph, who wish to remain anonymous, have contacted me and stated that there is a “strong likelihood” that activist and failed congressional candidate Susannah Randolph would have a spot in a Bittel-run Florida Democratic Party. Both sources hinted that Randolph could hold the position of the party’s executive director, but even they said that his was speculative.
Not only should Randolph’s questionable treatment toward women be a concern, but her campaign tactics as well. Randolph was part of the campaign team of Alan Grayson which released the Taliban Dan commercial in 2010. She was also part of the team when Grayson denied any wrongdoing.
I will have more on this as soon as more information comes in (as I am kind of surprised that I received these emails this morning). Watch this space.
Just a few minutes ago, Democratic insider Stephen Bittel won his election for the Miami-Dade State Committeeman position. Of course, he represents the past when it comes to the Florida Democratic Party. He will be the next Allison Tant, or Rod Smith, or Karen Thurman. Basically, he will not be beneficial to the FDP whatsoever. We have seen this dog and pony show before, a FDP Chair candidate telling us that they will move the sun and the earth because they have great fundraising abilities. And, or course, it always ends up the same. If anything, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders shows that money isn’t everything.
As of right now, there are
two three alternatives to Bittel on the ballot. Alan Clendenin is running for the position again (and a note, this blog actively supported Clendenin in his last bid for FDP Chair). Here is his website. We also have Osceola County DEC Chair Leah Carius running for the position. Here is her website. Lisa King of Duval County, a longtime Democrat who I knew back in my Florida Young Democrat days, is also vying for the post.
Over the course of the next few weeks, there will be bitter back-and-forth debate about the direction of the party. And yes, it will get nasty. Clendenin will probably question Carius and King, and vice versa. But in the end, all Democrats supporting these
two three candidates need to realize that it is Bittel who is the real threat to the Florida Democratic Party.
Therefore, I recommend that those who support candidates other than Bittel work together so that they have the best chance when the ballots are cast. Outsiders and progressives need to be united against Bittel, and need to put their differences aside to promote the best candidate that has the most votes. This is imperative to moving forward in 2018 and beyond.
For quite a while, people have been wondering if Florida Democrats should create a “shadow Florida Democratic Party”? With Stephen Bittel moving closer to winning the FDP Chair position, the question becomes even more salient. Both progressives and those outside of the Tallahassee Bubble feel that they have been left out in the cold. As a result, Democrats continue to lose throughout the state. Even The Florida Squeeze is asking if this should be an option.
Well, over four years ago, I thought this might be the case. While sitting at a Buffalo Wild Wings near UCF, I put together a possible organizational structure of what a shadow Florida Democratic Party would look like. For years I have shared this with only a few people. Now, screw it, it is time that everyone should see so that we can get the conversation going, especially if we have another Tant-like person becoming the next FDP Chair.
So here is the plan. This is how disenfranchised Democrats in Florida can start a shadow party and returning to winning again. Enjoy.