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Friday, March 10, 2006

The Florida Mainstream Democrats and Party Building

The Tallahassee Democrat recently did a peice on the Florida Mainstream Democrats' efforts to revitalize the Democratic Party in rural North Florida.

As you'll notice, I've posted the Florida Mainstream Democrats' website in the Reccomended Links section.

To be honest, I don't exactly agree fully with the Florida Mainstream Democrats purpose. As the article says, "The four-year-old organization is scouring small counties in an effort to tug the state party to the right and reclaim some issues from the Republicans."

I agree to a very small extent that the state party is out of touch (in terms of voters anyways; in terms of actual structure and party buildling - that's a different story.) However, this kind of statement (though not directly from the FMD) leads readers to believe that those in the FDP and its existing county parties are a bunch of whacko Che-Guevara loving leftists. And as we all know, this is absolutely not true. The folks who are involved in the Democratic Party are hard working and passionate people with genuine, deep concerns for their communities and country.

The reason why I've posted FMD in the Reccomended Links section is because I agree with them 110% that county parties need to be rebuilt and existing ones reformed so they are effective again. This is how we will reverse the downward spiral of the Democratic Party in Florida - not by becoming Republican lite. We should reclaim issues that are considered "Republican" - as the article implies is on the purposes of FMD, however this doesn't mean we need to be like them and "jerk the party to the right." Progressives have genuine and thoughtful ideas that aren't radical and far out, which can completely disarm Republicans on their so-called issues. And the facts are behind us. Are Republicans fiscally conservative (an exploding national defecit and growing trade defecit)? Not really. Are they better able to protect America? No (Dubai Port Deal, the 9/11 Commission Report, the Katrina response, et cetera, et cetera.) The challenge for the Democratic Party and the progressive movement is not how far to the right we need to move, but which policies combined with an overall hopeful and optimistic message do we need to put forward? I'm already starting this conversation over at Florida Public Policy.

So, rapping all of this up. FMD has noble intentions - and we are joined at the hip when it comes to rebuilding county parties, which have been neglected and not helped by the state party. However, we disagree when it comes to policy. FMD believes that we need to embrace more conservative policies in order to win back conservative Democratic voters. I say we need a better organization coupled with a strong progressive message that speaks to conservative Democrats and that successfully and intelligently rebuts Republican criticisms and lies and gives an image of the Democratic party that is hopeful about our future and is ready to solve our problems.

And to be fair, FMD has been very kind to me and has a link to this website through their website because of our common cause in rebuilding this party. And Justin, should you read this, think of this as constructive criticism, not a tirade (I'm not that kind of guy anyways.)


DownWithTyranny said...

Ray, I left this same comment over at your MyDD post. I'm doing some writing about Florida's congressional races and I'm interested in your opinion about my read on the oldline DEC members being under the sway of the DC power elites.

This was the comment I left:

You wrote that many of the old line DEC stalwarts believe that "The tactics that worked in the past will work again." Wouldn't it be reasonable to point out-- as you suggest, politely-- that the tactics that have been failing in the past will fail again?

When I've talked to the Florida candidates who have been and are being pressured by Rahm Emanuel and the Inside-the-Beltway power-mongers to abandon grassroots campaigns to make way for more corporately sanctioned candidates, it always seems to be these old-time DEC hold-overs who are ready to act as DC's catspaws against grassroots and progressive candidates.

Ray Seaman said...

As many said on myDD, DECs are not in ANY position whatsoever to take active positions in a primary. I believe it is against state bylaws. Even the state party cannot choose sides.

Any DEC which actively support someone in a primary is violating bylaws and a general unspoken code of conduct which all of us precinct captains tend to follow (not all the time to be honest, but this is strongly promoted.)

Vince Flango said...

Our county dems are in the heart of red Seminole, where Rs outnumber Ds almost 2 to 1. We need to reclaim the values taken from us from the so-called
Christian Right, which, by the way, is neither.

Please read the March 02, 2006 blog on entitled
Reclaim Victory by Reclaiming Our Values on getting our voters back