States like Florida invented the term “purple” states. Florida is the epitome of a paradox wrapped up in an enigma. Every layer of Florida politics is a different color. All in the background of Democrats outnumbering Republicans by 1 million registered voters. This seems to be an equilibrium Republicans are good with because the republican Party of Florida has done little or nothing to take advantage of it’s success at the state level of government.
The state party remains pretty much silent, while local parties spend much of their time fighting within themselves in a search for the pseudo-power that comes with being in charge of a local executive committee. One would think with the Republicans owning the Governor’s mansion and the entire cabinet for at least four more years they would be using that inertia to at least close the gap in registered voter in Florida but instead, they seem to be searching for a fall-back position in 2016. Something that will explain why Florida goes blue.
Democrats however have taken to the Alinsky thought, that “power is not what you have, but what your enemy thinks you have.” Democrats have managed to run out any candidates that have any chance to pull Democrats together in Florida. While Republicans are known for eating their young, Democrats in Florida let them die of neglect. In the two most important races of the 2014 election season there was not mention of one new Democrat face. They dragged poor Alex Sink out of retirement to run, and lose to a first time Republican candidate to replace Bill Young after his death. In fact Kathleen Peters stepped aside to make it easier for Sink to lose to David Jolly in the general election.
But it got worse for Florida Democrats in 2014. The Governor’s race encapsulated what a failure Florida Democrat leadership really is. Like using up your only relief pitcher, Florida Democrats did not have Alex Sink to run against Republican Rick Scott for governor. Remember Sink gave Scott a tough battle in 2010, But in the ultimate exercise of over-thinking an obvious situation Florida Democrats chose former Republican Governor , newly converted Democrat Charlie Crist as their standard bearer in the 2014 campaign for governor, while ignoring life-long Democrat, Nan Rich. It was too easy from that point on. The political commercials and posters wrote themselves as Crist’s own words were used against him. What a nightmare for Florida Democrats.
2015 should prove to be an interesting year for both major political parties. Not only must they find their own direction again, they have to be on guard for a growing independent and Libertarian voice in Florida.