The Plan, Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts to explain what we are attempting to do with the Florida Progressive Coalition. Subsequent posts will follow in the next few days.

Florida is a blue state. Yes, I know that our governor is a Republican, the legislature is controlled by Republicans, our congressional delegation is dominated by Republicans and one of our two senators is a Republican. But there are more Floridians registered as Democrats. And on the issues, there is no doubt that Floridians are significantly more liberal than conservative. I’ve posted about this before, but the evidence is quite clear. When given a chance to vote on the issues, Floridians vote in the more progressive direction almost always.

So what’s the problem? If Floridians are more progressive, then why are our politicians Republicans? There are several reasons for this, today I’ll talk about the first.

Any examination of Florida would show you that there are many hard-working, committed, knowledgeable and energetic activists. A closer look would show you that most of these activists are working independently or in small groups and doing very little to work together toward fixing Florida’s problems. And there seems to be an over-emphasis on national issues and politicians to the detriment and ignorance of what’s happening in the Sunshine State.

But national and state issues are intricately linked, especially in Florida, and any successful attempt at influencing national issues will start at the local and state level. But if our activists aren’t working together, it can’t be done.

So, part one of the Florida Progressive Coalition’s plan to improve our state and country and fight the right-wing that is attempting to destroy both is to get the groups and individuals in Florida working together. We’re working on a comprehensive list of all statewide and local organizations working to move our state in a more progressive direction. Once we complete the list, we’ll work on getting those groups in contact with each other and working together on the issues. If we are separate, we all lose on the issues, if we work together, very little we individually find important is contradictory, so we can combine our efforts and we’ll all be successful.

The first step is communication. We want each of the groups across the state to let us know what is important to them. We want them to tell us what issues they’re working on. We want them to provide us with information for our Wiki and post to our blog. No one knows more about the issues that the groups devoted to them. And we want to widen their audience and get them to be the audience for other progressive groups, too. You don’t have to be a Floridian to help us out, either. We accpet help from anyone interested in moving Florida in a more progressive direction.

You can help us out. Go to the list of Florida Progressive Organizations, take a look around, and add any groups we don’t already have listed. If all you can add is the name of the group, that helps, but if you can do more, we’re looking for contact information for each group, particularly e-mail addresses of current members and leaders. We’ll contact them. And if you are a member or leader of one of these groups, please contact us. We want your expertise and we want your ear. Whoever you are, whatever issue you think is important, we agree. Help us convince others of the same. We’re already working on it. You should be, too.

If you are interested in helping out, leave a comment or send me an e-mail at I’ll be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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7 thoughts on “The Plan, Part 1

  1. As one who has been active in Democratic party politics for a long time, I can say that one reason for our failure to do well in many areas is that many party activists tend to look more to the “top of the ballot” — state and national races — and pay little, if any, attention to what’s happening here at home.

    We are at a point in many areas of Florida where we need to “replenish our bench”. It is difficult to find good individuals to commit to running for city and county offices because they are unsure of the amount of financial and other commitment they can expect in return from the local party organization. That is imperative, because those local offices become the training ground for our future legislators and “top of the ballot” candidates. Right now, in Polk County there is only ONE countywide officeholder who is a registered Democrat: Our Property Appraiser…and that’s listed as a nonpartisan office.

    And let’s talk about that, too. Many cities and county governments are making more positions nonpartisan; most school boards are already that way. We need to spread the word among our own when a Democrat is running for these offices so that we can show them support. Believe me, the GOP has been very successful in that area, especially among school boards. My belief here is simple: There is NO THING as a nonpartisan political race, and don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise. Any candidate will bring their own ideology and political leanings to the table; the only difference is that they cannot identify themselves as a Republican, Democrat, or third party candidate.

  2. I agree completely. What are some strategies for fixing the problem? Blogging about it can help a little, but we need to reach out to a broader audience than that. How can we do it?

  3. Needless to say, it will be difficult. It will require a major effort by many of us to change the mindset of our brethern that while we need to let our voices be heard on national and statewide issues, what happens in our cities and counties have a much greater effect on our quality of life as well as our pocketbook.

    The problem is: Water management, controlling the pace of development, the need for much more affordable housing, and protecting our local enviroment simply do not bring forth the same type of emotion and passion…at least, not among most folks. I have started talking about the need to become more local in our groups, but it will take a huge effort.

  4. That was one of the goals of this group. Most of the Florida bloggers — and there are many of them — blog about national issues and politicians almost exclusively. That’s a problem, particularly in these days of corporate media and when Republicans have mastered and dominated the PR game for so long. We’ve got to counter that.

    And I think those other issues can bring out the same type of emotion and passion — or more — if the voters are educated. At least that’s the assumption I’m going to go on.

    I agree with you that it will be difficult, but I’m going to work on it as much as can. Are you? Are others? I obviously can’t do it alone and there are obviously many others that agree with us. Can we motivate them to do something about it? Maybe. I’m going to assume we can and work on it.

  5. I’m already doing it by communicating this to members of our local DEC and the progressive leaning “I-4 Corridor Group”.

    And before someone else mentions it: I was wrong regarding one bit in my earliest piece. In Polk County, there are actually a handful of Democrats in countywide office; they are all non-partisan. Forget the Property Appraiser as listed previously. We have the Tax Collector, Supervisor of Elections, and at least one member of the county School Board. Sadly, we don’t have any representation on the County Commission (the developers do, though).

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