I woke up (late) this morning to find that indeed I wasn’t dreaming, or delirious from 3 days of whirlwind media excitement at the 30 Rock mothership, analyzing the Democrats’ national doom… and that in fact Florida, the state I was duty bound to come back to last night, had indeed elected Gollum to be its governor [sorry Skeletor, Freddy Krueger and the Smoke Monster; for now, you've been replaced in the TRR snarkofile...] Who would have thought the tricky bastard would get so far in life?
And what’s a good, honest hobbit to do, now that Smeagel has the one ring to control the 75 Pleadings of the Fifth? I mean we know what he’s going to do with it. He and his new friends, the orcs who are now in veto-proof control of the state legislature, are going to make war on us — be we teachers or women who don’t want to give birth under government order, or suspiciously Hispanic-seeming immigrants.
You do realize the gravity of our situation, right? Florida schools are about to get the Texas treatment, as SB6 is served right back at the teachers and students who were so gleeful when our faithful hobbit Charlie, killed it with his blue-glowing sword. Look for good educators to leave this state, where starting in January, PhDs are no longer welcome, and mercenary journeymen on temp contracts to take their place.
State workers are going to be laid off in mass quantities thanks to Mr. 666 … I mean “777″ … and He Who Will Not Release the Depo is likely to exact swift revenge on the police unions who rejected him in the election … because he’s a crook … and endorsed his opponent, the unsinkable Titanic known as Alex. So mind your pensions, boys! And don’t think Gollum’s “minority friend” Jennifer is gonna help you. She’s just there to entertain the black Republicans.
To the media: good luck getting this guy to answer questions or “release the depo” now that the Dullards of Sunshine have handed him the scepter. But all is not lost for you: Tricky Ricky’s latest Medicare fraud case is coming, and guess who’s appointing the inquisitor??? He is!
Folks, let’s just start erecting the Charlie Crist “miss me yet?” signs now, cause it’s gonna be a long four years.
So back to my original question. What now? What do Democrats, trapped in what is now a ruby red state, do next? Surprisingly, there are a few things our ragtag band of elves, dwarves, hobbits (but not yet a wizard — sorry, Steve Schale) can do.
1. Move the hell out of Florida. Yes, I have considered this option. Don’t get me wrong, the weather here is wonderful, and I like a fair amount of the people. But I’m not sure I want to subject my kids to the school system we’re about to get, courtesy of Tricky Ricky and his pal John Thrasher. And with apologies to Jeb Bush, I’m not interested in having the wee ones shoveled into private schools, and I certainly don’t have the patience to home school them. So getting out of Dodge is a real option, assuming I can sell my house in this market. In fact, if the blue folk were to leave this state en masse, taking our intellectual capital and effete “college degrees” with us, thereby allowing Florida to become the Alabama of its dreams, the blow to the economy would be real. But in the end, the Chamber of Secrets would win, because Florida would then become the cauldron of unskilled, non-union workers with flattened wages and desperation for any work at all — but good, clean, Christian conservative values! — that the business lobby has in mind for the country as a whole. Advantage: bad guys.
2. Wait for a better playing field. The one glimmer of hope in an otherwise dismal election this year was the passage of Amendments 5 and 6, the Fair Districts amendments to the Florida constitution. Now the orcs of Tallahassee won’t be able to do as much long term damage by solidifying their iron grip on the state for ten more years by gerrymandering an even bigger Republican majority. If redistricting (which is already being challenged by the two most desperate politicians I think I’ve ever seen, Mario Diaz Balart and Corinne Brown) even slightly alters the state and congressional playing field for 2012, when the lazy-ass Obamacorps get back with the program and actually vote, we have a shot at fixing whatever damage Smeagel and his veto proof majority do — and make no mistake, there will be damage.
Related: Kirk Wagar is ticked off
But to have any chance at fixing things, we’re going to have to do one more thing:
3. Scrap the Florida Democratic Party and start over. Whatever forces you want to blame Tuesday’s drubbing on — the tea party movement, the economy, dumb voters, the Devil … whatever … it should be clear to any sentient being that this state needs a new Democratic Party. Why? Where to begin. Start with candidate selection. As Gary Fineout points out, the only thing consistent about the candidates the FDP puts forward cycle after cycle is that they are completely uninspiring to the base. Now that they have fielded husband and wife losers for governor, and finally tested their unified theory of Dan Gelber’s statewide electability, can we get with the candidate selection program from the 21st century, please? The party need only look at Marco Rubio, chosen by Jeb Bush, or telegenic Pam Bondi, to see what I mean. Pick younger, pick ethnic, pick someone who can be marketed. Rubio is a lot less than he appears to be, believe me, but he’s marketable. Second: message. What was the Democratic Party’s message in Florida this year? “Campaign for accountability?” What does that mean? And as Peter Schorsch points out, even the party’s slogan makes no sense.
And while no one person can be blamed for the kind of losses Florida Democrats sustained this cycle, you can’t simply write off what happened in terms of national mood — not when Harry Reid, with 40 percent approval ratings, won in Nevada, against a person no less odious than Rick Scott. And not when Democrats managed to pull off improbable wins in West Virginia and Colorado, another state that is as purple as Florida used to be. The mood matters, but so does the quality of the state party. No one in their right mind believes that Karen Thurman’s state party is a high caliber operation.
And there are already rumblings that Ms. Thurman should take full responbility for Tuesday and resign. See this must-read article at the other half of the TRR-SPB blogging bureau for more.
So let’s get to wo… god, I can’t even use that phrase anymore (though it’s damned good marketing — simple and to the point, and hits on what most voters care about: jobs …) let’s buck up, Florida Democrats. Gollum may have the ring, but we can still shove him into the fires of Mordor. At least I hope we can.