Why the Florida Democratic Party is Losing – Update Flor

People often imagine their lives outside of their own reality. What would they do if they had a million dollars. What kind of person would they be in another time period. Conditions can change, but there’s a good chance that whoever you are, you would be then. You don’t have to guess what position you would have taken on a political issue during the 1930s. Many of the same struggles are still being fought today. If injustice keeps you up at night, then you would have lost a lot of sleep after the events of Bloody Thursday.

Ricardo Williams is the host of Nerd Nite Orlando

While the fighting continues, the political landscape around us has evolved significantly. Political commentators often suggest that our society has become more polarized and that hyper-partisanship is the problem. With the 2022 midterm elections behind us, party leaders, podcasters and pundits have already been scrambling to “analyze” the surprises and setbacks. The reasons for election results are often quite simple. What we hear in political commentary is rarely analysis, but rather a way of framing and constructing events into a predetermined worldview.

The problem here in Florida is low wages and high rents have contributed to the growing homeless population. The allure of no state income tax can no longer overshadow inadequate public transportation, high utility bills, rising home insurance premiums and, of course, the train that is never late: hurricane season. No one really believes that any politician will solve all the problems of our state. Most people understand that good public policy can often take time to have a substantial impact on everyday life. But there is a belief that material conditions can (and should) improve when the right people are in charge.

For two decades, Florida Republicans have held the majority and steered the direction of our state. They’re certainly celebrating now that the midterms have given them a supermajority in the state legislature. The Republican narrative of historic victories in Florida conveniently omits political suppression. Governor DeSantis pushed hard to redistribute this diminished black power using one of the most aggressively gerrymandered maps in the United States. As MP Anna Eskamani said, “we are in a highly conservative state when you look at the legislation [but] that doesn’t necessarily reflect the values ​​in our neighborhoods.”

In 2018, Floridians voted to restore voting rights to returning citizens. In 2020, Floridians voted to raise the minimum wage. Despite outperforming all candidates nationally, both issues continue to draw Republicans back. The ruling party reigns in unpopular positions using repressive tactics to maintain power; and with (what appears to be) very little opposition from the so-called opposition party, Republicans continue to consolidate their grip on Florida politics. Where is the Democratic Party in all of this? Are Florida Democrats fighting for popular positions to win statewide? Are they following up on the almost victorious coalition of 2018?

Four years ago, Andrew Gillum lost the gubernatorial race by 0.4%, and now DeSantis has won re-election in a landslide over Charlie Crist by 19.4%, the state’s largest in 40 years. Florida’s Democratic leadership has consistently failed to mount a proper opposition, but this year’s election results are the most devastating and embarrassing in a generation. Florida’s Democratic Party chairman blamed voter loss on absenteeism, but failed to acknowledge the simple reasons why voters don’t show up. Despite the frustrations of many within the party, FDP chairman Manny Diaz has resisted calls to step down. Acting like a Republican should not be how you lead Democrats. The problem is not polarization. The problem is power, who has it and who can constantly act with impunity because of it.

Many people are angry, broken, demoralized and are being priced out of their homes. Nothing can change until people believe that government can work for them, until they believe that their participation will actually make a difference. In order for people to envision a future in Florida, their faith must be restored and faith earned in politics.

Ricardo Williams is the host of Nerd Nite Orlando.

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