It’s election day. I voted.
I haven’t missed an election since I turned 18. Even the special ones. I’m not bragging. I’m actually embarrassed.
I have almost always voted for a Democrat unless I was told otherwise. RINOs do exist. I was a registered Republican for a while and I thought it was funny. I enjoyed the unhinged conservative mailers I’d get and took pleasure in the thought that I was messing with their stats and costing them an extra 10 cents to send me their literature.
But I do not consider myself a “Democrat.” I’d register independent if it weren’t for the closed primaries in Florida. In fact, I loathe the Democratic Party of America. It doesn’t represent my interests, or the interests of the marginalized. The Democratic Party establishment serves Silicon Valley, Wall Street and the rest of the corporate ruling class. These are the same masters of the Republican Party. Democrats and Republicans are, as George Galloway once put it, “two cheeks of the same ass.”
The Democratic Party must die if we are to have a countervailing force against the rightward gallop of American politics because it is the Democratic Party that stands in the way of change. There is no swinging pendulum. Politics is spinning centripetally into oblivion. And nowhere is the Democratic Party more useless than in the state of Florida.
Listen to us talk about the state of the Democratic Party of Florida with Ryan Ray, a political aide in Tallahassee with over 10 years of experience working with the local Democratic party on the latest episode of Cheeseburger in Babylon.
Listen to it on:
A few good journalists revealed that Florida Power & Light did some election fraud-ing over the past few election cycles. Long story short, FPL, with the help of some political consultants, schemed to depose local elected officials who didn’t bend the knee to the private utility company. They plotted against one official in particular, Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Cuban-American Democrat from Miami, who looked like he might be the future of the Democratic Party of Florida. JJR was successfully ousted in 2020 in the now infamous “ghost candidate” scandal. FPL recruited and paid $44k to a candidate with the same last name, a man named Alex Rodriguez, to run against JJR. This “new” Rodriguez was a “ghost” because he didn’t do any campaigning besides filling out the paperwork and paying the qualifying fee. Meanwhile, $370,000 in dark money was used to promote the ghost Rodriguez to siphon away votes from JJR. It worked. The ghost candidate received more than 6,300 votes. JJR lost by just 32.
(An excellent mugshot of Eric Foglesong, one of the political consultants charged with election fraud in the ghost candidate scandal)
What makes this scandal particularly upsetting was that it was bipartisan. JJR was on the left end of the Democratic Party. He challenged corporate interests. In other words, he was a threat to big Democratic donors. So FPL hired Matrix LLC, an Alabama-based political consultant firm, to get rid of him. This was the same firm that deployed the ghost candidate. One member of that firm was Dan Newman, a previous political consultant for the Florida Democrats’ legislative campaign arm. It was Newman who wrote a memo detailing how FPL could unseat JJR in the upcoming campaign. When Newman was questioned about his memo, he claimed that he wrote the highly detailed scheme in order to “dissuade” his consultant colleagues and FPL from trying to challenge Rodriguez. Pretty fucking dubious excuse if you ask me. Like telling the Philistines not to cut Samson’s hair because that’s where he gets his strength.
This kind of intra-party backstabbing shouldn’t take us by surprise. Any effort to turn the Democratic establishment into a party that serves the interests of the working class is thwarted. There is no longer a Democrat in national politics who represents us. Barack Obama might have represented a symbolic transcendence—a Black man at the highest seat in the land—but he was still a Harvard educated elite and he governed like one. Maybe you could point to Jimmy Carter as a peanut farmer, or Bill Clinton’s aw shucks-ness. But maybe the last “man of the people,” someone who resented the elite, private schooled leaders of America, to become president was outsider Richard fucking Nixon, who was born into a poor Quaker family and hated east coast Republicans for their silver spoon upbringings. Democrats don’t “look” like the common man in the most material sense of the word.
Today’s Democratic party has gone insane. They are the party that will say BlackLivesMatter, but then praise the hardworking individuals of the FBI and CIA. Fred Hampton was murdered by the FBI. Malcolm X was murdered by the FBI. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered by the FBI (And before you call me a conspiracy theorist, know you’d also be calling Coretta Scott King one, because she says the same thing).
Democrats are no longer the anti-war party. Here is perennial Democratic Florida candidate Pam Keith advocating for nuclear holocaust:
Their Russian panic is some Cold War reboot nonsense.
The two “Democrats” running to unseat CIA-groomed asset, Gov. Ron DeSantis, were both Republicans! Charlie Crist was our Republican Governor from 2007-2011 and was a lock to win reelection in 2012. Instead, he ran as an “Independent” for Senate against Marco Rubio, handing the governor’s office to Rick “Literally Looks Like a Demon” Scott. When he officially switched parties and ran against Scott in 2016, he lost. Nikki Fried was lobbyist for Republicans and is in the pocket of FPL and Big Sugar.
Even Joe Biden is working to advance Republican policies. Biden’s Interior Department just ruled in favor of DeSantis and the Seminoles illegal gambling expansion.
And then when they do give us hope, it turns out to be a ruse, and I feel like a fool for ever believing in them.
I worked on the Andrew Gillum campaign for Florida governor in 2018. He seemed to say all the right things. I’m still convinced that the election was stolen from Gillum and handed over to DeSantis thanks to all those missing votes from Broward County.
But then Gillum revealed himself to be a fraud. Reading about Gillum overdosing naked in a hotel with a gay prostitute was the thing I remember of the old, pre-COVID world. I didn’t give a shit that he’s gay or does drugs (gay politicians are especially susceptible to sexual blackmail). It was also particularly shameful the way he threw the gay prostitute under the bus and ruined that man’s life. No, it’s because he was just another shyster. He’s been charged with conspiracy and fraud for misusing campaign funds from his Florida Forward PAC.
This should all be so easy. Floridians support policies that the Democrats should own. In 2020, we voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour with over 60 percent of the vote, even though Trump got 51 percent. In 2018, we gave felons the right to vote. We have a general hatred for developers and a love for the environment. There is plenty of evidence that we have more than enough rural and minority voters who do like Democratic ideas, even if they do not support the party itself.
So why do Democrats keep losing?
I’m beginning to believe Democrats don’t even want to win. That their true strength is in losing. When you win, you actually have to change something. In defeat, the Democratic Party apparatus fundraises and tells us that they are the last thing standing between you and FASCISM. We do not have a two part system. We have a carrot and stick politics. Dems are the carrot and the threat of Republicans is the stick. But of course, they’re both being held by the same person. And I get it! I’m completely terrified of DeSantis and the totally bonkers Republicans popping up in this state.
I worry that voting for any Democrat right now justifies the current version of the party. The current Democratic Party must die so that a real political opposition can be born. Unless we find a third pole, we will be forever stuck in this "partisan" farce.
I wrote all this and I’m gonna vote again in November. God damn, that carrot better be good.
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