Bernie Sanders Archives - Page 3 of 62 - Florida Politics

Alan Grayson: Florida Democrats need someone with a message

Imagine a populist Democrat who not only bucks the party but has to battle against it, funded only by small donations and passionate followers lured to a message about what’s in it for THEM.

Bernie Sanders? Alan Grayson? The party’s only hope in Florida if it wants to elect someone statewide, other than Bill Nelson? Or just another dreamer who mistakes popularity for electability, and goes down in flames in a party primary? Or Donald Trump, had he been a Democrat this time?

Grayson is wrapping up his third and, for now, final term as a Democratic congressman from Orlando, a never apologetic liberal lion with perhaps as much name recognition in California and New York as he does in Florida.

While looking ahead to his announced plans to run a legal or Florida constitutional amendment campaign to restore civil rights for felons, Grayson also  reflected on his own accomplishments, his collapsed campaign for the U.S. Senate, and his opinions for what it would take for the Florida Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee,and other Democratic establishments to win.

Grayson got crushed in the Aug. 30 primary, losing to U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy by more than 40 points,. That was just a few weeks after many polls had the race fairly tight and an occasional survey even found Grayson ahead.

A lot contributed to Grayson’s pummeling, including renewed, ugly reports about his personal life, and his stubborn refusal to ever acknowledge that either his personal or business controversies were anybody’s damned business, or that he ought to address them. But so, too, did a late advertising blitz by Murphy and by various Democratic groups in support of Murphy or nasty opposition of Grayson, which the small-donors-only Grayson campaign couldn’t dream of matching.

Yet the lesson Grayson seemed to take from it was the one he’d expressed all along, that the Democratic Party wanted to back a safe, moderate, mainstream and, if possible, self-funded, candidate; and that such a candidate would surely lose big in Florida’s general election, like almost all the similar safe, moderate, mainstream, self-funded candidates the party had backed for a couple of decades. And Murphy did.

And so once again Grayson is calling, really wishing, for a new approach.

“Unless there is substantial structural change, the Blue Dogs will continue to make the argument that a populist Democrat, or for that matter a progressive Democrat, which is not exactly the same thing, has no chance of winning – because that’s the way they continue to dominate the statewide machinery,” Grayson said. “Even though they’ve been proved wrong in every single race except for Alex Sink’s race for CFO, every single race for a quarter century.”

Grayson said the party needs to stop relying on identity coaltion-building politics – black, Hispanic, gay etc. – and focus clearly on basic issues people can believe will improve their lives, and which can be delivered. In the senate campaign, his was “seniors deserve a raise,” which referred to his plans to expand Social Security and Medicare. Trump and Gov. Rick Scott won populist campaigns on bringing back jobs.

“There are populist issues that would actually bring the whole state together and galvanize the groups that we did extremely poorly with in the national election, for instance high school dropouts, where the Democratic Party got wiped out,” Grayson said. “The polls showed Bernie did 40 points better than Clinton with high school dropouts. 40.”

A populist campaign, he argued, that focuses on those issues as Sanders did, while paying little attention to issues that have only regional support in Florida, could win.

“There are a number of issues that play just as well in the Panhandle as they would play in South Florida and the polls show it. For instance, increasing the minimum wage. There’s basically majority support all around the state except for Fort Myers,” Grayson said. “There are certain issues, actually, that you do see regional differences like for instance gun control, like abortion, and not the way you might think. Abortion is not that popular in South Florida.”

He also railed against what he called “the commentariate and the political industrial complex” for writing off attempts to appeal to certain segments of voters, like much of the working class, because they don’t vote. This year they voted, for Trump.

“I think if the Democratic party stopped ignoring them, they might vote,” he said.

Tim Canova considering another run against Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Despite losing his first bid for Congress to Debbie Wasserman Schultz by 14 percentage points last August, Democrat Tim Canova is considering taking another shot at the former DNC chair in 2018.

“I’m seriously considering it. An awful lot of folks are putting that bug in my ear and urging me to do so,” Canova told this reporter on WMNF radio’s MidPoint program on Thursday afternoon.

Canova says a lot has happened since his first ever bid for elected office ended on August 30, when his effort to defeat Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, fell short.

The biggest change, of course, since Canova’s loss was Donald Trump’s stunning election victory on November 8, a defeat that the ever-combative Nova Southeastern University law professor doesn’t give his former opponent a pass on.

“Just the weekend before the election she was on HBO’s Vice News doing an interview in which she played the victim,” he recounts.

“She complained about how Bernie Sanders supporters had demonized her for her role at the DNC. Even if there was validity to that argument, and I don’t think there is – I think she earned all the criticism that she got – but even if there was validity to it, why would somebody in her position, go on the air, three days before the presidential election, to alienate Bernie Sanders supporters who Hillary Clinton needs to get elected?”

“It showed the typical arrogance and overconfidence and really stupidity to be doing something like that,” he said, adding, “So yes, I am thinking of running against her again.”

Wasserman Schultz did not return our request for comment.

Just weeks after he lost to Wasserman Schultz, Canova announced the creation of a political and community action group last month called “Progress For All,” that he said would “will harness the power of our movement.”

In October, Canova announced the group would be working on a series of five different referendums to attempt to get on the November 2018 ballot, some of which other activists in the state have been working for years on.

Canova has been meeting with some of the organizations that have been working on some of those initial five proposals, such as those working on making Florida an open primary state and on getting ex-felons automatic restoration of their voting rights.

“We’re trying to create those coalitions that can work together on that,” he says.

And he’s looking forward to getting to know more about the candidates running for both the Florida Democratic Party chairman position and the Democratic National Committee. In both cases, though, Canova says that the Democratic Party makes it difficult to feel part of the process.

“I feel some frustration we’re talking at the state level, the local level and the national level, these choices are made in what seems like a dark room,” he says. “We don’t know enough about the candidates. They’re not in public forums in which we can hear their views, their experiences and their vision, and I think that’s very unfortunate. It was what we were up against in my primary.”

Canova’s choice for DNC chair is someone who isn’t running (at least yet).

That’s Zephyr Teachout, the Fordham law school professor who lost a bid for Congress last month in New York.

While many Democrats remain in depression more than a month after Trump’s victory, Canova sounds more enthusiastic about making change within the Democratic party.

This is not the time for Democrats or anyone to be putting up the white flag.

“This country is in a dangerous spot right now,” Canova says. “We had two of most unpopular candidates in history. The Democrats complain about the FBI, James Comey, and the Russians and on and on.

“They really need to look in the mirror and say: what is it about our process and the candidates that we offered up that was not compelling to the American people. I think Democrats have unfortunately missed the boat on where the country is at.”

 

Mitch Perry Report for 12.8.16 – Al Gore gets punk’d

For the #NeverTrumper Republicans out there, this Trump presidency might work out pretty well, after all.

Jeb Bush was seen doing cartwheels after Trump selected Betty DeVos to become his Secretary of Education.

“I’m so excited,” Bush said last week at the National Summit on Education Reform, sponsored by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which Bush founded and chairs and on which DeVos serves as a board member.

“President-elect Trump made an extraordinary choice with Betsy DeVos,” he added.

Similar hosannas are being thrown out today from the business community and Jim Inhofe’s of the world regarding The Donald’s choice of noted climate change denialist Scott Pruitt to serve as his EPA secretary.

Pruitt, the Attorney General of Oklahoma, wrote in National Review in May that “the debate is far from settled” over whether human activity has contributed to the warming of the earth.
I’m wondering how Al Gore is feeling today about that?

On Monday, the former Vice President traveled to Trump Tower to discuss climate change with Ivanka Trump, but instead got face time with the soon to be most powerful man in the world.

“I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect,” he told reporters afterward, describing the meeting as “a sincere search for areas of common ground.

“I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued. And I’m just going to leave it at that,” he added.

He didn’t quite leave it at that, going on MSNBC later today that Ivanka “is very committed to having a climate policy that makes sense for our country and for our world, and that was certainly evident in the conversation that I had with her.”

There have been other clues that Trump’s team will lean closer towards Pruitt’s view of the world that Ivanka’s.

The head of his EPA transition team is Myron Ebell, who has never believed in the idea of global warming.

Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders are talking tough about Pruitt when it comes to his confirmation pick.

As Gore would say, to be continued.

In other news…

The blowback has been intense in some quarters regarding Monday night’s Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee meeting. Hillsborough County School Board head April Griffin now says that DEC Chair Ione Townsend blocked her path to challenging her for the chair position a year ago. Townsend says she was just following the rules.

Following the Florida House of Representatives vote last month, Hillsborough County Commissioners may pass their own version of a no texting while lobbying bill.

And that idea that Les Miller had last month to rotate who gets to serve as the chairman of the Board of County Commissioners? Forget all that, please.

Mitch Perry Report for 12.6.16 – “Run, Joe, Run” was so 2015, wasn’t it?

One of my favorite sections of Bernie Sanders interview with Matt Taibbi in the current Rolling Stone is when the curmudgeonly Vermont Senator bitches about the corporate establishment media.

“They live in a bubble, talk about their world, worry about who’s going to be running 18 years from now for office,” he says. “Meanwhile, people can’t feed their kids. That’s something I knew.”

I write that as a prelude to the stories that floated yesterday that Joe Biden made some offhanded remark about perhaps running for president in 2020.

Really?

“I’m going to run in 2020. For president. So, uh, what the hell, man,” the departing vice president told reporters Monday with only a slight smile on his face. He then took it back. Slightly.

Asked if he was joking, he said: “I’m not committing not to run. I’m not committing to anything. I learned a long time ago, fate has a strange way of intervening.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that, “based on those remarks, Jon Cooper, who was national finance chairman for last year’s Draft Biden effort to coax the vice president into the 2016 presidential campaign, purchased a series of web domains including draftbiden2020.com, biden2020.net and runjoerun2020.com.”

Is this the time we mention that the 74-year-old VP will be 78 in 2020?

The obsession in this country with who will be president is so complete that when Donald J. Trump actually takes the oath of office in January 20, there will be some (maybe even the President) who are bored with the fact that there will be at least a year’s moratorium on speculating on who is running in 2020 – unless issues of impeachment come up.

We can’t forget that, since there were certainly Republicans hinting that they would go after Hillary Clinton if she were elected in the ugliest presidential election of our lifetime.

Look, from all the reports, Biden though hard of running for office as last as September of last year. There was considerable concern in Democratic circles that the FBI investigation into Clinton could result in an indictment, and then who’s your backup? But not only was Barack Obama firmly “with her,” but so was the entire Democratic Party establishment -embodied by the leadership of Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the DNC. There was no path for Biden, as much as he wanted to pursue the presidency for a third time.

So we should let Biden spout off – it’s something he’s done a lot in his professional career, which spans 46 years. But let’s not take it too seriously. There’s enough going on in the world today.

Meanwhile, Democrats at a local level are having their issues. We were at last night’s Hillsborough Democratic Executive Committee meeting – and our story on that event will be up by 8:30 a.m. today. Check it out.

In other news..

Rick Scott is staying mum about the proposal that would repeal the law he signed in 2014 that allows for undocumented immigrant students qualify for in-state tuition for Florida colleges and universities.

The Governor was in Tampa on Monday, championing the men and women who work in state law enforcement and hyping his proposal to give them a raise.

Early and voting by mail totals favors Democrats in the Tampa City Council District 7 race taking place tonight.

North Carolina GOP Governor Pat McCrory finally gave up his month-long quest to save his job, and Equality Florida couldn’t be happier.

Bob Buckhorn disappointed that TPP is dead

Donald Trump made it official earlier this week: The Trans-Pacific Partnership is DOA in his upcoming administration.

“On trade, I am going to issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country,” Trump said on Monday in a brief video outlying his first 100 days that was posted on YouTube. Instead, he said, he said he would “negotiate fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back”.

The TPP, a 12-country Pacific Rim trade agreement signed in 2015 but not ratified, did not have a lot of support in Congress, at least not while Barack Obama remained in power. It certainly had its supporters in the U.S., including farmers and ranchers. The TPP had promised to slash tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods in large markets such as Japan and Vietnam, as well as eliminate agricultural subsidies that gave competitors in the trade bloc an edge.

Several world leaders say without U.S. participation, the deal is completely dead.

Among those disappointed by the decision is Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who was chair of the TTP task force with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. His unbridled support entitled him to an invitation to a White House State Dinner in August when the Prime Minister of Singapore came to Washington. Singapore was one of the signatories to the pact.

Speaking to FloridaPolitics last week, Buckhorn said he was disappointed that Trump would not commit to the agreement, largely because he says the U.S. can’t retreat from competing in a global environment.

“We have relationships, we have alliances we want to reduce barriers, we want to reduce tariffs we want to engage and produce made in America products all over the globe. That’s good for America, that’s good for American jobs,” he said.

The TPP was opposed by labor group groups in the U.S. and their champions in Congress like Bernie Sanders. But Buckhorn says it’s wrong to think that trade agreements cause the economic dislocation that has so negatively hurt American workers.

“It’s the technology that is changing the way that American workers are working,  and so to hear the demogogery on both sides of the aisle over trade, was disappointing, because I don’t think that’s  reflection of American values and the way that America has competed around the globe,” Buckhorn said. “We need to be the leader, because if we don’t, then other people will, and if certainly in the case about TPP. The void by our absence will befilled by China, and the TPP criteria, whether it was on intellectual capital,whther it was on labor, whether it was on unions, the environment,  will not be nearly to the standard that the TPP would have been. So yeah, for me that’s disappointing and I hope it’s only a temporary condition in America.”

Donald Trump auditions Cabinet prospects high above Manhattan

Donald Trump held court from his perch high above Manhattan on Monday, receiving a line of former rivals, longtime allies and TV executives while overseeing a presidential transition that at times resembles a reality show like the one he once hosted.

Trump met with nearly a dozen prospective hires, all of whom were paraded in front of the cameras set up in the Trump Tower lobby as they entered an elevator to see the president-elect. Out of public view himself, he fell back on his TV star roots by filming a video that touted his legislative goals once he takes office.

Trump; did not immediately announce any appointments after the meetings, which came on the heels of a two-day whirlwind of interviews at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Unlike his predecessors, who often spoke with Cabinet candidates under a cloud of secrecy, Trump has turned the search into a very public audition process. The extraordinary exercise took on a routine feel on Monday: First, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown stepped off the gold-plated elevator into the marble-coated lobby after his meeting to declare to waiting reporters that he was “the best person” to become Veterans Affairs secretary.

Next, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a candidate for interior secretary, did much the same, striding off the lift to say she had “a wonderful discussion” with Trump. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry declined to speak to reporters, but he did take time for a photo with the Naked Cowboy, the underwear-sporting, guitar-strumming New York institution who is normally a fixture at Times Square but has spent recent days camped out at Trump Tower singing about the president-elect.

Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who resigned her post on the Democratic National Committee after endorsing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, also met with Trump but entered and exited out of sight. She later defended crossing party lines to meet with Trump about U.S. involvement in Syria, saying in a statement she would never “play politics with American and Syrian lives.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a longtime Trump ally, also arrived with his wife, Callista, and told reporters that he indicated to Trump that he was interested in being a “senior planner” to coordinate long-term political efforts among the Republicans in control of all three branches of government.

Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said of the visitors, “Not all of them will be in his Cabinet and his federal government, but they are all incredibly important in offering their points of views, their experience and certainly their vision of the country.”

No one was saying whether Trump would announce more appointments before heading to Florida for Thanksgiving. He was planning to leave Tuesday or Wednesday to spend the holiday at his Mar-a-Lago estate, while Vice President-elect Mike Pence will spend Thanksgiving in Mississippi, where his Marine son is stationed.

Trump has largely remained out of sight since winning the election, save for a flurry of brief public appearances over the weekend, often with Pence at his side, to flash thumbs-ups and provide quick updates on his progress in building a government. He remained in the upper floors of his skyscraper Monday, seeking counsel on the phone and interviewing candidates all while keeping an eye on the cable news coverage of the day’s events.

He appeared in a two-and-a-half minute video released late Monday in which he pledged to the American people that he was appointing “patriots” to his administration and reiterated a number of his campaign promises, including plans to renegotiate trade deals, scrap excessive regulations and institute a five-year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists.

The video — which made no mention of key pledges to build a border wall with Mexico or repeal the Affordable Care Act — continues the president-elect’s practice of trying to go over the heads of the media and take his case directly to the American public. Since Election Day, he has twice ditched the group of reporters designated to follow his movements and has so far eschewed the traditional news conference held by the president-elect in the days after winning.

Trump has not held a full-fledged news conference since July.

But the media were clearly on his mind as he met with executives and on-air personalities from TV networks. He frequently singled out the media — declaring them “so dishonest” — for criticism during the campaign, but it’s not unusual for presidents to hold off-the-record meetings with journalists when trying to promote policies or programs.

Among the attendees were NBC anchor Lester Holt and “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, ABC’s “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos and anchor David Muir, CBS’ “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and several executives at the networks.

None of the attendees would discuss the meeting with reporters in the lobby, though Conway said it was “very cordial, very productive, very congenial.”

Those Trump met with over the weekend included former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a former critic now being considered for secretary of state; retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who Trump dubbed an “impressive” prospect for defense secretary, and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who is under consideration for Commerce secretary.

“We’ve made a couple of deals,” Trump said Sunday. He gave assurances that “incredible meetings” would be bringing “incredible people” into the government.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Mitch Perry Report for 11.20.16 — Bill de Blasio’s big moment?

In New York City today, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to give a “major speech” on the presidential election’s impact on the city. De Blasio wants help from the feds to pay for the additional security costs in dealing with the fact that the president-elect’s home is literally in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

The NYPD has already put about an additional 50 officers on each shift during daytime hours to manage the flow of traffic in the immediate area of Trump Tower, de Blasio said Friday, and he wants Washington to help pay for overtime costs.

Although being mayor of New York already presents a huge national platform, de Blasio’s profile could grow larger as a dominant liberal voice in opposition to the new Donald Trump administration, along with the usual suspects (Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, etc.)

“The mayor has an enormous opportunity to stand up on behalf of New Yorkers and our values. Lots of New Yorkers are afraid of Trump and the mayor can be their voice,” political consultant Howard Wolfson, who advised Michael Bloomberg and served on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign team, told the NY Post on Sunday.

It also may help him as he begins his quest to be re-elected in 2017.

If you’ve followed de Blasio’s tenure to date so far, you know it’s been somewhat checkered, to say the least, following 12 years under Bloomberg. Scorned by conservatives, he hasn’t exactly fired up his own liberal base, and his poll numbers have been pretty average throughout his first three years.

A Quinnipiac poll released last week shows the populace split in half as he received a 47/47 percent approval rating. However, that was his BEST rating since January and up from a negative 42/51 percent approval rating in August.

However, that same poll shows that by a  49-39 percent margin, NYC voters say they don’t support his re-election. To date, no major players have surfaced to challenge the mayor, but there’s still nearly a year for a serious opponent to surface.

Another big mayoral election will take place a year from now in St. Petersburg, where Rick Kriseman’s poll numbers have been solid, though he could be vulnerable if a strong challenger emerges.

In other news …

Local reporters/pundits discussed the 2016 presidential election at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club on Friday.

Donald Trump has been busy nominating men for his Cabinet, including Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Bill Nelson says he’s withholding judgement on his Senate colleague.

Eckerd College president Donald Eastman is one of 110 college presidents to pen a letter to president-elect Trump on the need to speak out against violence being committed in his name.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel call on Donald Trump to withdraw appointment of Steve Bannon

Calling the appointment over the weekend of former Breitbart news executive Steve Bannon to serve as White House senior counselor “an incendiary decision,” South Florida Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel are calling on president-elect Trump to withdraw the selection.

“President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as White House senior counselor is an incendiary decision that shows the president-elect is not committed to healing our nation after a hard-fought and divisive election,” the two legislators said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

In the week since his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton for president, no single action by Trump has caused as much uproar from Democrats, the media, and even some Republicans as has been the selection of Bannon to move into the White House after Trump is inaugurated in January.

Bannon’s defenders say he is getting a bad rap: that he is a former Goldman Sachs banker who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and has produced several documentaries.

Critics highlight his role at Breitbart, which he called “the platform for the alt-right” in July, referring to the online movement that sometimes traffics in racism and anti-Semitism.

In August, Trump hired Bannon to be the CEO of his campaign on the same day he chose Kellyanne Conway to be his new campaign manager.

Other high-profile legislators also are calling on Trump to withdraw the selection of Bannon, such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who called him “a racist individual.”

“We do not simply disagree with Bannon’s legislative or political agenda and philosophy; we have grave misgivings about his professional career history, in which he provided a megaphone for intolerance and hatred of the diversity that makes our nation truly great,” write Wasserman Schultz and Frankel.

“Bannon’s allies include the American Nazi Party, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and a variety of other white nationalist groups. As Jewish-American leaders and policymakers, we cannot stand silently by while Steve Bannon assumes a senior position at the highest level of our government. We call on president-elect Trump, in the interest of all Americans, to withdraw his choice because rewarding anti-Semitism, bigotry, and misogyny with such a position of power and influence is tantamount to embracing it.”

 

At second day of Republican Governors Conference, innovation and free-market are the key words

At the second day of the Republican Governors Association Annual Conference in Orlando, a slew of governors from across the nation talked in detail about the policies that led their states to prosperity — among them free market entrepreneurship, education in practical fields, innovation, and more.

The panel included Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia, Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, and Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah.

According to them, their states all are doing very well because of less regulation and less burdensome rules from the federal government — both of which they hoped would happen even more under a Donald Trump administration.

Ducey, who served as CEO of Cold Stone Creamery before becoming governor, said they had expanded it to multiple other states and even other countries — and that couldn’t have been done with government overreach that “criminalized risk-taking,” as he put it.

Martinez said as a prosecutor, she based her decisions off reason, science, and evidence — and, then, if regulations were only hurting businesses, why have them?

“What do you get from it?” she asked. “If it makes things more expensive, and is harder to apply for — get rid of it. We’ve done that. We’ve been very successful in getting rid of a lot of them.”

Deal talked about Georgia’s booming infrastructure and prosperous airport, and Abbott said Texas was fast-becoming a hub for naked technological innovation. Innovation was touched on by many of the speakers, usually in the context of “releasing the power” of American entrepreneurs, unleashing them from the proverbial shackles of government regulation.

They also talked about the “clouds on the horizon” America still faces, even with a Trump administration they hope can fix all their woes of the past eight years. Those clouds included kids who had embraced Bernie Sanders‘ ideology of Democratic socialism and drugs.

“What we saw with Bernie Sanders, with some of our young people feeling the Bern,” said Herbert. “They reject capitalism, and embraced a self-proclaimed socialist. We need to educate our young people, put a section in our schools that talks about free market capitalism, and how it’s the best service to the most people at the lowest prices. I’m very concerned about our young people. They need to know economics.”

“The amount of citizens addicted to drugs, abusing drugs, is very troubling,” Ducey said. “They’ve made themselves unemployable. I got involved with politics because I wanted to give people a better opportunity, a better chance. But with drug legalization, and the number of people addicted, checked out, it’s unprecedented. Governors need to understand what you need in terms of education and industriousness. I know people see it as a social issue; I see it as an economic issue.”

He said leaders have a responsibility to push for better education so young people and their parents can make the right choices.

Bob Buckhorn says it’s a time for soul searching in the Democratic Party

Lifelong Democrat Bob Buckhorn admits it’s been rough adapting to a world where Hillary Clinton won’t be the next president. The Tampa mayor went all-out for the party’s presidential nominee, including a weekend winter trip to New Hampshire just days before the first primary in the nation last February. And while Clinton did take Hillsborough County (along with the other major metropolitan areas of Florida), she lost the exurban and rural areas big time in ultimately losing to Donald Trump by just 1.2 percent in the Sunshine State last week.

Both the national and state Democratic party are in crisis, with the Democratic National Committee and Florida Democratic Party to decide on new leadership in the coming months. Like so many other Florida Democrats, Buckhorn has been here before.

“Obviously anytime you have a loss like this, there’s going to be a lot of teeth gnashing and soul searching,” the mayor said Tuesday.

“There will be a debate at the national level as to whether or not you move to a more progressive agenda, with people like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders; or do you try to come back to the center a la Bill Clinton in 1991 and 1992 to drive a message that the middle class mattered, that those rural white working class folks that he could talk to so well have got to be included in the discussion, that it’s not just driving up minority participation but have a message that resonates with everybody.”

Although he didn’t tip his hand as to where he comes down to the different approaches that will no doubt be debated by Democrats going into the holiday season, the mayor historically has come down on the centrist side, and has previously argued that is the only way to win statewide in Florida.

Buckhorn says the conversation needs to begins now among party members in Florida if they’re going to successfully defend Bill Nelson’s Senate seat (Rick Scott admitted on Wednesday what everyone has assumed is a given — he’s looking at running for Nelson’s seat). There’s also the potential to pick up a cabinet seat (or more) with with all four state office positions — governor, attorney general, chief financial officer, and agriculture commissioner — all open seats in 2018. “We need a message that resonates, not just in the cities, but everywhere in the state of Florida,” he said.

Inevitably, any conversation with Buckhorn about politics leads to his own potential participation for one of those seats in 2018 — specifically governor.

Although one-term Congresswoman Gwen Graham has virtually declared her candidacy and there’s a movement afoot to draft Orlando attorney and Democratic fundraiser John Morgan, Buckhorn isn’t showing his cards just yet, but admits he’ll need to decide by early 2017.

“Like a lot of people who are contemplating the future, you have to sort of sift through the carnage of last Tuesday and see what the landscape is, see whether or not there’s a path for victory for Democrats there, whether I’m the guy that can carry that torch, that I can inspire people to follow my lead,” he said, adding, “ultimately it’s gotta come down to whether in my gut whether this is something that I want to do.

“I’m lucky that I’ve got a job that I love coming to work everyday, and if I choose not to do this, I’m going to be perfectly happy, because I get to finish out an opportunity here as mayor that I have worked for my entire life. It’s a good position for me to be in. I do think the state needs new leadership, I think we need a regime change in Tallahassee. And I think that the Tampa renaissance is going to be a pretty compelling story to tell.”

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