ADVICE FOR JANUARY 29: LEAVE THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PART OF THE BALLOT BLANK!!!
So, the train wreck has taken it's next step. The battle between the Florida Democratic Party and National Democratic Committee has gone forward like a virtual game of chicken following last weekend's expected announcement that the FDP would not change plans to hold it's presidential preference primary vote from the January 29 date approved earlier this year by the overwhelmingly Republican legislature.
What's done is done, so we have to be prepared for whatever consequences regarding the seating of our state's delegation to the national party convention next summer.
My anger now is directed toward the Democratic candidates for president. With the lone exception of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), they have surrendered to pressure from the four early primary/caucus states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada) by signing a pledge saying they would not campaign in Florida (or any other state which leapfrogs the accepted calendar - Michigan has recently done so). However, in a move that I can only consider highly hypocritical, they and their surrogates continue to trek to the Sunshine State to raise money. In effect, the candidates are figuratively giving Florida's four million-plus Democrats the finger...thus sending the message that they don't give a rat's ass about our state and it's people, unless, of course, you have a fat checkbook.
Florida is an important state for our candidates, regardless of wheather our delegates are seated at the national convention next summer. Whoever wins in the January 29 voting will have huge bragging rights heading into the following week's "Sunumai Tuesday", where 15 states will hold primaries or caucuses. Florida will be vital to any candidate who truly wants to win next November. So it is important that our candidates know that their attitude toward our state through their agreement to sign the pledge is totally unacceptable.
So, what do we do? Simply take it up the backside and say all is forgiven? Certainly, we are loyal Democrats, and we will fully support our nominee in the general election. However, IMHO a bit more than talk needs to take place to let the candidates know they screwed up big time by giving Florida short shrift.
Therefore, I am strongly urging my fellow Florida Democrats to do two things:
First, it is important for all of us to participate in the January 29 election...show up and vote! There are simply two many local and statewide issues to be decided that day to use the current controversy as an excuse not to cast your ballot. However, I encourage you to leave the presidential preference portion of the ballot blank. Do not vote for ANY of the presidential candidates. If the DNC has it's way, which I fully believe that it will to escape looking weak and unable to maintain discipline withing the ranks, the vote will not count, anyway. But mainly, if enough Florida Democrats withhold their votes from the presidential preference primary, it will send a profound message to all the campaigns that our state should be respected and simply not taken for granted.
Secondly, all Florida Democrats should withhold all donations to any of the presidential candidates during the primary season. This would show the campaigns that our state will not serve as a virtual ATM while they refuse to come and state their cases to Floridians face-to-face as they are doing everywhere else. Instead, I would encourage my fellow Democrats to give that money to their local Democratic Party organization. We need to rebuild our party from the grass roots up, not from the top down. That means finding candidates for local offices and getting them elected, eventually building the base to where we can take back the state legislature. So instead of giving money to the presidential campaigns which will simply be used elsewhere, let's put it to better use here at home!
It's time to act, friends!