Florida Democrats Wandering in Wasteland of Identity Politics

by | Dec 7, 2016

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It didn’t work all that well during the 2016 election cycle, but Florida’s House Minority Leader, Democrat Janet Cruz, isn’t giving up on identity politics. Earlier today, Cruz announced her leadership team, which she selected, in large measure, based on diversity. Cruz made no mention of any specific issues or policies that she would pursue.  Here’s her statement:

“In order to build consensus on how to confront the difficult issues facing our state, we must take into account the many varying stakeholders whose futures will be affected by the decisions we make in the Legislature. That’s why I’m proud that the leadership team that we’ve assembled represents such a wide cross-section of viewpoints and experiences that mirror the vibrant diversity of Florida. This team is in tune with the needs of working Floridians and ready to get to work on their behalf.”

If you needed more evidence that the election outcome has completely gutted the Democratic Party, look no further than Florida. Not only is there upheaval at the county and state level, but Cruz’s statement proves that Democrats are a party wandering in the political desert in desperate search of leadership and direction. And without any sense of how to pick up the pieces of the 2016 disaster, Cruz defaulted to Page One of the Democrat playbook: identity politics. Even Bernie Sanders, God bless him, knows that ship has sailed.

In her defense, Cruz did highlight three issues when she won the leadership post last month, but one of them was again related specifically to discrimination, a.k.a. “identity politics:”

“We believe it is time to give Floridians a raise, to protect Floridians from discrimination, to preserve our environment for generations to come,” Cruz said. “On these core values, our principles are not negotiable.”

Florida voters showed up in force last month in large part because they are sick and tired of being pitted against one another for the sake of scoring cheap political points. Panhandle Democrats specifically crossed over and voted for Donald Trump in large numbers, rejecting Hillary Clinton’s campaign messaging highlighting her gender and Donald Trump’s views on illegal immigration. Given that Democrats generally have a harder time in off-year election cycles, someone is going to have to step up and right the Florida Democratic Party’s ship, or they’re going to find themselves sailing in a sea of despair for another cycle.

Oh, and while I’m at it, Florida House Democrats need to fix their communications operation, too. While I don’t expect to be on Rep. Cruz’s priority email list, I do think it’s a good idea to post press releases and use social media channels to communicate announcements like this. But not only are the House Dem’s Facebook and Twitter links broken, when I manually typed the links myself, there was nothing at all posted about her announcement. See for yourself: Facebook here, Twitter here.

If you want to read about the vibrant diversity of Cruz’s directionless team, zip on over to FloridaPolitics.com.


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