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The Democrat's Model

Post # 294, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

His courageous stand on busing resulted in Harvard naming him one of the Greatest Governors of all time.

The Democrats are struggling to survive in Florida. The 2020 elections saw the party go from a slight majority in registration to a decided minority. Most laid the lopsided losses to poor messaging. The people responsible said their candidates were weak and the National Democratic Party cut off funds at the very end of the campaign. Regardless of who or what is responsible, the Democrats are in the process of picking up what is left. Surprisingly, there is some hope, as follows:

  1. The Democrats are fortunate that the current Republican leadership, at each level, is so inept. Florida Republicans have given Governor Ron DeSantis all he asked for, and more, which is coming home to roost. From confiscating public school books; to eliminating valued Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs throughout government, and allowing the Governor to run for President while still pulling down a state salary. among others.

  2. Democrats are on the side of most Americans in not wanting the government to interfere with personal decisions on their bodies.

  3. The Democrats have a small but very smart and talented leadership in the Florida House and Senate. We have previously highlighted the talent of Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book and would like to add the House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell and Pro-Tem Dotie Joseph, both Ivy League-educated lawyers. The Democrats have talent, they just need numbers to take their place at the table.

  4. Fundraising definitely favors the conservative Republicans, but the Democrats recently showed life in their Miami Beach fundraiser with the Florida Justice Association, Labor Unions, businesses, and wealthy individuals replenishing the coffers.

  5. The Democrats' priority is to mount an unexpected juggernaut campaign against our Junior Senator Rick Scott. Easily one of the least popular Governors, Scott is now a bomb in the Senate. He has personal wealth, so the focus will be on his failure as the Senate GOP head of elections, to his priority of canceling Social Security and Medicare so the elderly will have "skin in the game."

  6. A recent major election broke for the Democrats--Jacksonville elected impressive Donna Deegan over the DeSantis-backed candidate. Democrats can win with the right candidate, message, and a few breaks.

Perhaps most important, the emerging Florida Democratic Party needs a model. I have mentioned before my high regard for the administration of Governor Reuben Askew in the 70s. I served in the Legislature at that time, and I believe he set a standard for all public servants. He had a vision for serving--from integrity to bi-partisanship, to courage, and humility. His courageous stand on busing resulted in Governor Askew being named by Harvard as one of the best Governors ever to serve. Few saw it, but he had an excellent sense of humor.

The current leadership of the Democratic Party could have a Public Policy Workshop focused on how the Askew Administration carried out public service. A Public Policy Institute bearing his name has been in place at his alma mater, Florida State University, which could host the workshop. The Governor's Chief of Staff, James Apthorp would be an excellent Chair for the workshop. Some of his staff like Secretary of Administration Nancy Kelly, Deputy Press Secretary Jim Baccus, and lobbyists Guy Spearman and Hugh McMillan, would be excellent participants, among others. A number of us who served in the legislature during his Administration would love to participate also.

His service could be the model for the Democrats.


Announcing an enhancement to my Commentary.

Starting with the first post in September and

every month thereafter, I will release a bonus of Quorum Call

featuring a legislator from the Golden Years of the Florida Legislature.

Be at liberty to send nominations to



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