Posts tagged Conventional Wisdom
As the American media focuses on the circus that is the Republican Presidential Primary, people all over the spectrum are commenting. Near all of the people commenting from the center to the left want the primary to go all the way to the end, bloodying the eventual nominee as much as possible. Many on the right are calling for an end to the process for the same reason. Some on the right can remember way back in history, in a galaxy far far away, way back in the late…4 years ago. They remember that Obama v Clinton all the way to the end of the primary calendar generated additional data, money, excitement, volunteers, a huge chunk of energy. They remember that the Republican primary contest in 2008 had the same potential, but was resolved quickly producing a flat general election campaign. In the end, Obama had nearly 270 electoral votes locked up by the time he addressed the crowd at the DNC. The contest was all but over, and he was just moments out of one of the most brutally contested primaries in history. The “3AM” Clinton ad that was supposed to be a devastating attack on Obama? Well, he didn’t win West Virginia, but he was never going to win West Virginia. He cleared 270 by a huge margin. Republican strategists remember this, and I suspect some are wondering if President Obama can repeat the feat without the intra-party foreplay and associated energy for change. They remember and hope that an extended primary will do the same for them it did for Democrats in 2008.
Primaries aren’t bad. Challenger campaigns can and should benefit from competitive primaries.
The un-wisdom is that primaries burn resources (money) needed for the general election, that it is a zero-sum situation and only xyz dollars can possibly be raised by pdq candidate. The un-wisdom asserts that the competition of a primary will expose the flaws/weaknesses of the eventual nominee diminishing their chance to win the general significantly.
All of this is of course stupid. I’d be more delicate, but that wouldn’t penetrate the level of stubbornness within which this particular un-wisdom is sealed. Bad primaries are bad, of course they are. When two (or more) candidates forget what their message is, lose all sense of discipline, and generally demonstrate how much they suck as candidate and campaigns, it certainly does make it likely they will lose the general election. But not MORE likely, they were already likely to get waxed, they just got exposed themselves a few months earlier than they would have otherwise. Even in this scenario, the primary is positive, because it provides the nominee the chance to evaluate where things got so off track and implement corrections before the general election campaign is at full throttle.
In a good primary, two (or more) competing candidates get to articulate their values, present their vision of how the district/state/nation would be better if they were to be elected, they get to promote the party’s values for however long the primary lasts. The process of the primary campaign will generate energy, enthusiasm and DATA. Data about donors, volunteers, the concerns of the district, all sorts of information that can help win the general election.
The money? It isn’t Zero Sum. Howard Dean proved that with his 50-state strategy and the overwhelming success it provided. Success that laid the groundwork for Obama’s 2008 victory. Done well, the primary will dramatically increase the fundraising capacity of both candidates during the primary period, and in the aftermath they will have broader reach to bring in as much or more for the general election than they would have without a primary. More good candidates and good campaigns means more money, not less.
Candidates that benefited from competitive primaries in the process of ascending to high offices? We already discussed Barack Obama, who had a competitive primary for President, most don’t know that he broke in to the Federal Campaign scene with a failed primary challenge in 2000 of US House Member Bobby Rush, and then faced a multi-candidate primary for US Senate in 2004. Today he is the 44th President of the United States, those primaries really hindered his success. Other candidates to have benefited from primaries include Florida US Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Lawton Chiles (against each other for Governor), California Governor Jerry Brown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator John McCain, Senator John Tester, Senator Mark Warner (won primary, lost general for US Senate in 96, won Governor of VA in 2001)…and Governor Rick Scott who stole a billion dollars from medicare and was trashed by his eventual running mate during the primary. This is just a small sample.
I would encourage the Democratic Party to embrace primaries, not play favorites in the process and instead do everything they can to make sure ALL candidates running under the Democratic banner and supporting the (bulk of the) Democratic Platform run the highest quality campaign possible. Doing so would improve the strength of the Democratic brand, grow fund raising, improve candidate recruitment and of course, elect more and better Democrats. Personally, I only help the liberal/progressive candidates. If you aren’t for equality, election reform and women’s rights, call someone else.
As for that Republican Presidential Primary? Let’s end it right now, let’s give Mitt Romney the nomination and start the general election festivities right now. Since we can’t do that, how about the Democrats stay out of it and focus our attention and energy on recruiting more and better Democrats to run sea to shining sea and then do everything we can to provide them with the resources and training they need to succeed. I’m looking at you DNC, AFSCME, etc, spend that money recruiting, promoting and supporting candidates that support your values instead of trashing a potential Republican nominee 8 months before persuadable general election voters are paying attention.
I got up early this morning to appear on WJCT’s First Coast Connect, hosted by Melissa Ross. I was joined by Republican political consultant Jim Varian and Abel Harding of the Jacksonville Times-Union, we discussed Jacksonville’s Mayoral election results featuring Alvin Brown, Audrey Moran, Mike Hogan and Rick Mullaney.
Here is the link to the audio via MPA Political’s Media Archive: 3/23/2011 WJCT with Melissa Ross: Jax Mayor’s Race
For your conveinence, here are all the Conventional Un-Wisdom, Unconventional Wisdom, and other posts that pertain to better campaigning sorted by what aspect of the campaign they primarily pertain to. You will also now find this list as a big button on the bar above and in the menu to the right. Please visit our Services page or Contact Us if you have any questions or desire more specific and intensive training.
Organizing – The Foundation of Progress – The basic rules of organizing
Tools for a Better Organized Campaign – Basic Fund Raising Spreadsheet
Events / Advance:
Tools for a Better Organized Campaign – Event Request Form
In honor of the FDP’s dentist endorsed sugar coated retrospective of the 2010 election season, a look at how candidates and campaigns should handle the aftermath of a campaign in preparation for a future campaign.
First, despite amusing quotes projected by some of 2010′s candidates, no campaign is perfect, no campaign is without mistakes, no campaign is without missed opportunities. If you can’t locate your mistakes and missed opportunities, you need to seek help with the process from actual campaign professionals, not sycophants or cronies with titles of professionals, actual professionals.
Second, admitting weaknesses is the only path to correction and (continued or future) success. Often the notion of “protecting morale” is put ahead of admitting weakness, thereby causing the use of excuses. The biggest problem with excuses used to protect morale is that the people projecting them, begin to believe them. Those that are ignorant of the reality of history, including their own, are doomed to screw the constituents of their district again. Please spare us from that – we have too much experience with that already.
In the later stages of a campaign, there is value to morale and the general projection of a positive attitude, in this retrospective time, preceding the next campaign cycle, there is only value in honest assessments that result in improvements for the campaigns to come. However, even in those late stages of campaigns, while projecting confidence and positive attitudes, you must be able to assess your weaknesses as a candidate/campaign and take action to correct those weaknesses or mitigate the impact of those weaknesses on the outcome of the election. This is something that Republicans traditionally do very well and that Democrats typically do terribly, particularly in states of “inbred talent”.
If you ran in 2010 and are considering running again, in 2012 or some other future date, how do you proceed? First you need to start from the beginning, what were the goals set at the start of the campaign, where they the correct goals? Were those goals achieved, where did the campaign come up short? How does the landscape assessment from the start of the campaign match with the reality of what happened during the campaign? Were key factors ignored in the setting of goals or drafting of the landscape memo? What additional goals should have been set and tracked? What goals were set but never measured? Can we go back and measure them now?
Second, look for the most obvious mistakes, identify them and follow the trail thereafter to how many later missteps were caused by that “big mistake”. Identify each individual component of the mistake and think about how you/the campaign could have better handled the situation. Look at both the near and long term effects thereof…such as supporters you had that were lost and the potential future supporters that were lost before they could even be found. Utilizing timelines of different aspects of the campaign can be very helpful, charting fundraising, volunteer hours, voter commitments, event attendance and other measurable aspects of the campaign and then being able to overlay those timelines with the “missteps” as well as the “shining moments.”
Given a thorough assessment of the campaigns goals, mistakes and a complete timeline of the larger events/actions of the campaign, now we can drill down to more specific time usage. In campaigns there are three primary resources:
While many (novice) advisors will focus on the first two, as they are easily measured and leave a direct impression on observers, the most important and the only non-renewable resource is time. You cannot get back time wasted, you can recruit more volunteers and raise more money, but you can’t go back to the beginning and apply those volunteers and money to the campaign retroactively. The easiest time to gain money and volunteers is in the last stage of the campaign, the final 15-90 days preceding election day, they are both infinitely more valuable 91 to 300 days prior to the election.
Look at the candidates time expenditures in the first stage of the campaign, how were the hours of the day consumed in the first weeks and months of the campaign? Was there a staffer or volunteer assisting with the management of time and ensuring that time was utilized efficiently and effectively? Are there notes and reporting of productivity? Did the candidate have tangible goals throughout this early stage or were they flailing around trying to generate support haphazardly? Were long term relationships being built and did those relationships bear fruit later or was time invested that never paid off? Why? Was money being spent in this early stage wastefully?
In most “blow out” campaigns, you will find that the biggest problems occurred in the early part of the process, candidates were not provided with the proper training, knowledge and/or staffing to adequately build an effective campaign — or the candidates rejected that training/knowledge in belief they could do it different. If you as the candidate still believe you can win your race by having a million dollars fall in to your lap from some miracle online action, I can’t help you. If you expect the party (local, state or national) to carry you, raise the money for you, convince people you are worthy of their votes, I can’t help you. If you are ready and willing to do the work, the work starts now.
Through this process one must assess every staff person, from candidate on down to super-volunteers, and assess whether the person was in the right position, up to the tasks and responsibilities they had or would have in an alternate position and whether or not that person should be a significant part of any future campaign involving this candidate or district. Often we are quick to promote people in Democratic campaigns strictly based on the “top line” of their experience, the title they had — we need to look deeper and assess actual competence, talent and whether or not they learned and grew through the experience. Were they provided mentor-ship for moving to the next level? Expecting someone to magically attain the knowledge, training and understanding to do a very intense job through enthusiasm and desire is foolish, and yet common in Democratic campaigns. There are a number of great organizations that provide training like Democracy for America, the New Organizing Institute (new toolbox here), Emily’s List, Wellstone, and of course… MPA Political.
Many of the “powers that be” in the Florida Democratic Party and 2010 statewide campaigns are pushing out the notion that “national messaging” and “factors outside of Florida” doomed the 2010 campaigns in Florida. This is ridiculous. Was National Democratic messaging bad? Yes. Did it have an impact on Florida in 2010? Yes. Was that the most significant reason Florida Democratic candidates got smoked up and down the state and lost the Governorship to an unlikable crook? Hell no. Florida Democrats failed to project any quality messaging while the opposition worked unified effective messaging from early 2009 and through election day 2010. Florida Democrats campaigned for just a portion of the state while Florida Republicans went after the whole state. Fun fact: had every minimally financially viable Democrat running for state house and state senate won, we would still be in the minority in both bodies. In nearly all of the counties Alex Sink lost by 10% or more, we failed to field a candidate at either State House or State Senate. This failure to recruit and even try to compete was extremely costly, we also failed to effectively compete at the Congressional level, even in districts where we fielded quality candidates. Further costly was Democratic candidates being ashamed of Democratic values and attacking Democratic achievements. You didn’t see Republicans, even Tea Party super conservatives, trashing Republican achievements or distancing themselves from the GOP brand. They found ways to provide contrast without projecting embarrassment. If you are running as a Democrat, here’s a newsflash, the Republicans are going to portray you as a raging liberal, whether you are or not. The people who buy that aren’t ever going to vote for you, you can’t win them over by taking stabs at the left or adopting anti-progressive positions on key issues. All you will do is fracture your base and reduce the quantity and quality of volunteer support you will receive. Project strength and confidence in your values, whatever they may be.
None of our statewide Democratic nominees had good messaging post-primary, the first demonstration of effective unified messaging by the slate was 1/8/2011, with the projection of the message that the FDP committed no crimes and endured no investigations under the reign of Chairwoman Karen Thurman. Congratulations on unification, now lets find messaging that doesn’t suck. Being proud to have not (been found to have) committed crimes is the epitome of aiming low.
Nearly all of the emphasis at the 1/8/2011 meeting was put on improving performance in the later stages of campaigning, GOTV, Vote by Mail, etc, where yes, improving systems and strategies for those aspects of campaigning is always good, but problems in those areas can also be a symptom of greater problems in the early stages of campaigning, for which late stage process improvements cannot help. The greatest problems we face are in recruitment and training of candidates AND STAFF and message development and dissemination. Those problems won’t go away because we came up with a killer method of signing people up to vote by mail or a great database for managing volunteers on election day.
Maybe the projections and posturing of the 1/8/2011 meeting was just that – not the realities of the focus of the FDP, just a projection to maintain and improve morale while real changes are being made behind the scenes and honest assessments of mistakes have been made and significant changes are being made to correct those flaws/weaknesses in 2012. But, I’m not optimistic. I’ll wait for my phone to ring, I’m sure the FDP will call me to help train candidates and/or staff any day now…
Conventional Un-Wisdom: If a candidate has a strong profile, the correct issue positions and public speaking ability, they will attain institutional and establishment support. Donations and support will flow from party organizations, unions and traditional donors.
As I look for candidates to help and support around the nation, vet potential clients, and generally try to support the progressive movement, this is one of the fallacies that stifles any chance of success dead in its tracks. Many candidates belief is that if they take on an incumbent or an incumbent party on an issue they see as greatly important to the district, the support will come to them in the form of dollars, donors and volunteers. These candidates believe this because no one has given them a proper education on how candidate fund raising works, just slammed the door in their face after saying “come back after you’ve raised $xxx,xxx.” No clue is provided on how or where that money should come from, the proper techniques to attain it or where to find quality staffing. That is the reality of the Democratic Party in most of this country.
The reality is, those door slamming establishment figures aren’t wrong, but they aren’t helping themselves by not providing more information or explanation. To be a serious contender for a US Congressional seat anywhere in the country, you need to be able to raise roughly $200,000 from your own network in the first 90 days of your candidacy, assuming you started on the first day of a financial reporting period, subtract a day from the time frame for every day in to the period you start. What does “from your network” mean? Your friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, college classmates, high school classmates, kindergarten classmates and every member of your Little League team. Yes, even the kid you used to beat up in high school…or the one who beat you up. No, it doesn’t matter what their personal ideology is. They will contribute in support of having someone they know in Congress, they will contribute based on knowing someone with the same experience (attending X school, living in Y town, or enduring the same miserable boss at a job ten years ago), they will contribute because you asked them. That is the key, you have to ask. You have to reach out and make the effort to talk to them, in direct communication, not through an email or a letter, but face to face or over the phone.
What those door slammers are thinking as they slam the door is, “this guy/gal can’t get his own family to support his campaign, why should anyone else?” I can’t count how many candidates have complained to me about their struggles fund raising that I have pulled their disclosure reports to find they have less than one hundred unique donors. Their friends and family have not given even $20 to their campaign. Before approaching traditional donors, you should have a minimum of three hundred unique contributors, ideally more. This is how you demonstrate that your candidacy and campaign are a worthwhile investment to donors who don’t have any personal knowledge or understanding of you or your experience. This is where the resources come from to build your campaign staff, purchase your first materials (NOT YARD SIGNS), and begin developing a more complete campaign. During the process of collecting from these initial donors from your own network you don’t need fancy literature or precise messaging, it is a personal outreach from you to someone with a preexisting relationship or shared experience. It isn’t about your position on issues, it isn’t about your party affiliation, its about what you share – there is absolutely no benefit to lying.
To get started, there is a basic exercise. Sit down and write it down. This is a common practice in campaigns, one of the basic rules of organizing is “If it isn’t written down, it doesn’t exist.” The easiest way to do this is using a spreadsheet application, start just by listing the people you know will contribute and a conservative estimate of what they will give in the first 90 days. Build out the list using multiple columns for contributions and relational identification columns.
Here is an example (Click to enlarge):
At this point we are just looking to get the names of everyone you expect to contribute in the first 90 days “on paper.” The first run through might just be the names themselves, with the additional information added in later passes. Eventually the list will be expanded to included phone numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses, etc. It is very important to be honest (and conservative) with the dollar amounts assigned on this sheet. If you are over-confident in this exercise, all subsequent events in the process will fail. Column E is the amount you expect this specific donor to give in the 1st 90 days (first filing period), Column F is some mid campaign date, in a 15 month or longer campaign, I would use the end of the first calendar year, ie 12/31 as in the sample. Column G, “Potential”, is the maximum knowledge or research suggests the donor could give, or the maximum they have committed to giving over the entire length of the campaign. Remember that money not yet in the bank, isn’t anything you can count on. Until it is in your hands, it doesn’t exist.
A dollar raised 15 months prior to election day is worth significantly more than a dollar raised one month prior to election day, I estimate it to be around a factor of 25 to 1, but typically, campaigns bring in 1/3 to 1/2 of their total fund raising in the last 30 to 90 days. If that same money was harvested six months out, it would deliver far more impact. Money raised a year or more out is used to build a foundation, bring in higher caliber staffing, and build a complete and thorough campaign plan. It further helps to expand outreach to widen the base, develop larger fund raising networks and help to establish the narrative and define the candidate in the manner the campaign sets forth rather than the definition the opposing campaign prefers.
Start early and do the work before you start the campaign. Make your list, have someone you trust go through it with you, allow them to ask questions and expand the list through them. In this process you can also begin creating a timeline of your entire life experience, which you will need (on paper) later in the campaign building process. At this point you should also attend a DFA Training Academy, or similar program – really this is a step you should take when you start considering you might run “some day”, or if you just want to be a more effective activist and/or campaign supporter.
After you’ve brought in your contributions from your personal network and filed your first quarterly report showing 300, 400, 500, 1000 donors contributing $200,000+, you can begin outreach to those traditional donors, you can begin asking the party and other organizations for support, you have demonstrated you are willing and capable of doing the work. Make no mistake, running for Congress is a full time job and then some…if you think you are special and you can get away with 8 or 10 hour workdays, that you can be home to kiss your kids goodnight every night, you are very wrong. There is no forgiveness in this process, it is brutal and I have a great deal of respect for the men and women that sign up to endure it knowingly. The ones who sign up because they don’t know any better, that’s a problem we as a party need to be held responsible for, particularly when they become the nominee and still run low quality campaigns. That hurts the party in a long term fashion. We must run real challengers for every seat every cycle.
Conventional Un-Wisdom: To win this district, you need yard signs.
You want to make me cry on election night? Let me find out that a good candidate lost by a slim margin, but had a ton of yard signs. The answer is always no. NO YARD SIGNS. They don’t vote, they never will. Had the time and money been spent on virtually anything else, the candidate would likely have won by a slim margin instead of losing by a slim margin.
Each yard sign the campaign purchases, at costs ranging from seventy cents to upwards of four dollars a each, has a larger, hidden cost. For each yard sign you campaign purchases, it will drain an average of three hours from the campaign. Time organizing the signs in the office, managing inventory, arranging for pick ups, deliveries, and the worst part – handling the inevitable issues of lost/stolen/destroyed yard signs. So yard signs manage to drain from all three of the most precious resources on a campaign, time, treasure and talent, while producing zero votes.
Every cycle, at least one, if not several campaigns (regardless of party affiliation) get wrapped up in spats over allegations of stolen, destroyed or vandalized campaign signs. Don’t ever do it. Don’t put out a press release or an email alleging the opponent stole your signs, altered them, used them for a bonfire…doing so will NEVER help your campaign. You will look like a whiner and really, you are. Yard signs don’t vote. Yard signs don’t matter. Focus on what matters. Stick to your message and disseminating your narrative. The objective is to be seen as a strong leader, not the kid who got picked last for kickball.
But this district is special, in this one yard signs really work! No, they don’t. There is no special magic in one district versus another that adds effective message delivery, narrative, emotion, or other persuasive capacity to yard signs. If you can find a way to teach yard signs to vote, you will be very wealthy, until then, focus on things that actually do impact elections – canvassing, phone calling, fund raising, and other forms of good old fashioned organizing.
While there is some “feel good value” attributable to yard signs, the costs far outweigh the benefits and similar feel good value can be achieved through much more efficient means. Start with treating your volunteers, supporters, donors and the rest of your constituents with respect and utilize positive reinforcement. Give them alternate feelings of “ownership” of the campaign by giving them specific goals for winning their own neighborhood. Show them the real data, how many votes you need to win from their street. Teach them to organize, to bring their friends and neighbors together to meet the candidate, surrogates or campaign staffers, show them they can make a big difference.
There is a benefit to some (non-yard) signs, four foot by eight foot signs and banners can be useful for major traffic flow sites and use in parades and events. I recommend campaigns purchase roughly two 4×8 signs/banners per 25k potential voters. Buy them all at once to reduce per unit costs, and make them consistent to the campaign″s branding. Mix corrugated plastic signs with durable banners, get them all two sided, and make sure they are union printed with bugs and proper legal disclaimer per the laws of your election. For those doing the math, that means if you are running for Council in a district of 20k voters, two 4×8″s max. If you are running for mayor in a city of 150k voters, 12 4×8″s, for Congress in a district of 500k voters, 40 4×8″s maximum. Mixing that with 25 signs and 15 banners to get your forty should suit you well through a typical Congressional campaign.
Yard signs don’t vote. They become a part of the landscape after a relatively short period of time, and typically have a very limited viewership anyway. It is always amusing to hear an irate supporter complaining about their missing yard sign on the end of a cul-de-sac where the candidate has locked up all of their neighbors as well. Or their complaint is that their neighbors on both sides have the opponents signs up…it isn’t impacting the outcome of the election, focus your energy on getting out your votes and winning persuadable voters with effective organizing techniques.
There is data, produced by reputable Political Scientists, that shows that yard signs can increase “name recognition” – which some argue is a needed first step to introducing a candidate to the public. The flaw in this logic is that it is an empty introduction. You have provided me a name, but no narrative, no message, no emotional feelings (unless the sign is amazingly ugly or beautiful to the viewer). What have you gained? You haven’t influenced a persons propensity to vote, or altered who they may vote for should they vote. The data is clear on that as well. Spend the money on organizing and persuading voters to show up AND vote for your candidate. Introduce the candidate to the public with effective introductory ads on tv, radio and by utilizing earned media, in the earliest stages, rely on good organizers and appearances at events to present your candidate to their potential supporters. Yard signs don’t vote.
Even worse, most yard signs are purchased and/or distributed over the final weeks of the campaign, after the point which a candidate should have attained sufficient name recognition. Right now, in late October, just 13 days from the general election, at least three (top tier) candidates have emails in my inbox promoting yard signs. There is no math that has a candidate with low/no name identification overcoming that deficit via yard signs. Yard signs don’t vote.
At the highest level of campaigning, there are vendors that will provide your supporters with the opportunity to buy yard signs direct, meaning the campaign never has to touch them, and all questions regarding the signs can be referred to the vendor. The Obama for America campaign in 2008 did this effectively, allowing supporters to purchase yard signs, t-shirts, canvass bags, mugs, car magnets, bumper stickers and even baby clothing with the campaign logo on it through their website, with the items shipped directly to the supporter’s home.
There is one other function of yard signs, really the primary function and most significant positive capacity they have, candidate ego. In a Congressional Special election there was a huge list of candidates with a number of multi-millionaires. All of these self-funders bought thousands upon thousands of yard signs and had paid “volunteers” distribute them to every median, sidewalk, right-of-way, abandoned lot, shopping center, fence, lamp post, street sign and even a homeless people who weren’t moving fast enough. The candidate who won had less than 400 signs, all of them from previous campaigns, modified with spray paint as needed. They were distributed daily along the route the candidate would travel, giving him the impression that everywhere he went, he was loved. No reason for him to know the signs he saw on the north side of the district yesterday are the same signs he’s looking at on the south side of the district today…he felt great and it invigorated him going in to every event. On the other hand, you can accomplish this by having a candidate people actually do love… Far less costly and you eliminate the 4 man hours per day relocating the signs. Yard signs don’t vote.
I should provide additional information, it is not legal to place yard signs anywhere but private property where permitted by the owner of said property. Businesses who lease property typically have clauses in their lease about signs, requiring the owners permission for any additions or changes. State, County and local ordinances may apply, but all of them are subject to Constitutional review as violations of free speech, choose those battles wisely, they aren’t likely to net you many votes. All of the signs you see in public spaces, such as medians and along the sidewalk/curb are illegal in most of America. They are subject to being picked up by the county/city/state/etc and in some communities fines for littering or similar ordinance may apply. Yet another reason not to bother with yard signs. Yard Signs don’t vote.
ps. If you ignore everything else above, don’t ignore this…DON’T PUT YOUR FACE ON YOUR DAMN SIGNS.
…not that anyone will listen.
The media, the rumor mills, the pundits have been pushing the notion that Kendrick Meek should drop out of the Florida US Senate race and support Charlie Crist – this is a giant pile of Un-Wisdom.
For roughly twelve years, Charlie Crist has been terrible to teachers, students, parents, schools and communities. He has been no friend to women, seniors or state employees. He supported oil drilling and over development. He brandished his conservative credentials proudly and loudly. Now he professes to have changed his mind, standing up for teachers, women and against off shore drilling. He is admitting for twelve years he did the wrong things and now he wants to do the right things.
The right thing is easy. Kendrick Meek has been a friend of teachers, students and women. He has held the positions Crist now believes are “right” since he was first elected. What Crist should do to make good on his commitment to those beliefs is step aside and endorse Mr. Meek. He should use every ounce of energy he has supporting Meek and attacking Rubio’s destructive values and corruption between now and Election Day. He should fiercely attack the RPOF for all of their corruption and scandal. He believes that there is a problem with the party system, but Florida only has one party. Controlling strong majorities in the State House, Senate and the Cabinet, they have been the architects of the State of Florida’s current economic situation. They have had the power to do things differently. It is time for Charlie Crist to admit his own responsibility in that process and direct the blame to ALL of the responsible parties, led by former Speaker Rubio.
As for Mr. Meek – his campaign should take advantage of all of this “he’s going to drop out” hype and play the media. He should allow them to believe at a schedule press conference he will be dropping out, but instead march out a line of respected endorses from around the state reminding people why they support Kendrick Meek and why they will never support Charlie Crist. Local electeds, State Senators, Congressmen, and members of the Democratic Caucus of the US Senate and House. The Meek campaign needs an explosive kick start and an event of this magnitude, if executed correctly, could do the job.
Stop trying to convince me Charlie Crist is an acceptable option, electing the most morally bankrupt and self centered person in the state with the Democratic Party’s seal of approval is just plain stupid. If we lose, so be it, I’d rather win, but making the situation even worse isn’t going to help us at all. The Florida Democratic Party needs a top to bottom culture change. We need more confident and aggressive attitudes, we need to not be afraid of primaries and debates of our values. We need to stand up for our values. We need leaders that will take on the tough issues, speak with confidence and passion.