State, Local Democrats Need New Leadership


 Two years ago, Barack Obama promised change.  Now it is the Democrats themselves that need to change.

Locally, it has finally come down to this:  The Broward Democratic Party is irrelevant.

Broward County’s Democratic Party was once a well-oiled machine. It was like a gleaming, massive Peterbilt truck clicking on all cylinders, speeding down the highway to victory.

Now it’s more like a Matchbox car…and the wheels have fallen off.

The Democrats can blame the angry national backlash against Obama.  They would be rightup to a point.

But the decline in Broward and the state has been going on for years.

The state Democratic Party couldn’t even field real candidates for  two Cabinet jobs — Agriculture and Chief Financial Officer.  

Across the nation, some Democrats won yesterday.  Not many in Florida, which has more registered Ds than Rs.

The only districts they won in Broward, the heart of the state’s Democratic strength, were the ones gerrymandered and handed to them by the GOP Legislature a decade ago.  The local party couldn’t save County Commissioner Ken Keechl.

It’s clear Democrats need a new direction.

As Screvan Watson, former executive director of the state Ds, told the New York Times today: “We’re going to have a long, hard look at our party structure how we’re running races, our messaging.

That means new leadership.   Everywhere in the state and especially here.

It means revitalizing the Broward Democratic Party with newcomers.

I’m not talking about retreads dug up from the Democratic graveyard like  zombies.  I’m not talking about the dreamy “progressives that are always challenging Mitch Ceasar to move to the left, but are out of touch with real politics.  

The question is who wants to take over the Broward Democrats and do the difficult and time consuming rebuilding?

I can’t think of anybody fresh and new, which is another of the Ds problems.  Can you?

One improvement could be demanded by Democrats: New activists should be beyond reproach and focused solely on winning elections.  So new leaders should (1) not be lobbyists, (b) not be political consultants and (c) pledge to work only on the election of the Democratic ticket on Election Day.

A new leader should help shape the ticket and eliminate as much as possible wasteful inner party fights and primaries. There is something to be said for a kingmaker who takes a strong hand.  

Democrats complained before Tuesday that Elections Chief Brenda Snipes harmed the Ds turnout among blacks by shutting down early voting on Sunday.  A real Democratic leader would have made a public stink about it and forced Snipes’ hand.

Unfortunately, party elections are not until after the next presidential race.  That is too late.

Democratic activists should demand changes immediately, not excuses.

For years, Democratic candidates have realized they will get no help from the party.  They’ve had to build their own campaign structure.

After this year, the party has proven itself totally irrelevant.  And it will be until there is a real change of direction.

39 Responses to “State, Local Democrats Need New Leadership”

  1. SimpleMan says:

    We need to start by getting rid of Mitch Ceaser by anyway possible. All of the so called leaders of the local Democratic party are corrupt lobbyist types who should be replaced with more ethical hard working people. Does anyone have any practical ideas on how to proceed?

  2. Resident says:

    It’s not just Ceaser, and there is no one in the system that would be any better.

    It’s the system itself that never allowed anyone to develop. It choked off their own success, and its also statewide.

    I predict that over the next 10 years a good part of the county will turn Republican like it once was. Democrats will be confined to a few small areas. Therefore, ineffective. Partially cause they just don’t understand how their world has changed.

    The only saving grace is that Republicans may have the momenteum, then don’t have any answers either.

  3. Floridan says:

    One problem is that most Democrats have moved so far to the right that they now occupy the area formerly held by moderate Republicans. Too many are afraid to stand for something and them argue why their vision is the one to follow.

  4. Brutus says:

    Scott Brooks, soon to be former Mayor of Coral Springs would bring fresh leadership to the Broward Democratic Party.

    Mitch Ceasar, Dianne Glasser, Percy Johnson should resign and allow fresh new leadership to rise to the top.

  5. SunnyD says:

    While we all know this was a right wing “tsunami”, there are some easy ways to fix some of the problems.
    I did not get one election communication from the Broward Democratic Party this election cycle.
    In this new age of social media and email there should be a much better infrastructure built to get out the Democratic message in Broward.
    The Broward Democratic website is a joke and does not engage the user. No Facebook presence, and weak outreach.
    Broward Dems need to engage the electorate.
    And most of all we need Democrats that are willing to stand up and say THAT IS NOT RIGHT.
    To often we are timid and scared to voice our opinions, yet that is the only thing people respect. Often times it does not even matter what you say as long as you say it with conviction, as evidenced by the republican landslide in Florida.

  6. Say NO to Scott Brook says:

    Scott Brook? Blech……

    Scott is a tepid D at best, and in reality a DINO.

    He supported a Tea Party candidate to succeed him as Mayor of Coral Springs, endorsed Republicans for various offices over the past few years, and cares about one thing…..his own advancement.

    For God’s sake, the guy announced his candidacy for State Rep. 2012, for Ari Porth’s current seat before Ari’s qualifying period for 2010 even started and has been actively campaigning while Ari was defending the seat against a challenger.

    Scott Brook is just another politican and lawyer who, like Mitch Ceasar, will wind up being a hack lobbyist as part of the Party system.

    What we need is real leadership from someone who is either a FORMER office-holder who has no desire to get back into office and who really has a desire to foster some younger, back-bench types to run for office in the future.

    Bad example, but when Howard Dean lost his 2004 primary race for the Presidency, he started the path of leading the National Democratic Party towards a 50 state strategy that won campaigns all over the Country in 2006 and 2008.

    We need that type of leadership here in Broward — someone who won’t just trot out burned out has-beens to fill races.

  7. Wanted: New Leadership says:

    Ryan Terrell, Joe Schweitzer, Alexander Lewy, and Martin Kiar are all rising stars in the local party that could be leaders in a few years.

  8. What About Lori says:

    Lori Parrish would be the best chair the Democratic Party could possibly hope for because she is a businesswoman, a tirely worker and a great campaigner. She also wouldn’t be making passes at other women in the party like the The New Times said Ceasar did.

  9. Nicholas Steffens says:

    First, Buddy, there are Area Leader and club elections for Democrats this January or February. Of course, even as a member of the DEC, I have no idea how they function.

    Second, you didn’t mention statewide leadership, but even with Obama’s win, I wouldn’t be surprised if people looked to out Thurman. Someone has to be held responsible, right?

    Third, I could not agree more about Snipes. Someone has to primary her in 2012.

  10. janey says:

    Percy Johnson can’t be voted out because he was never voted in. He has no elected office in the Broward DEC and is just Diane Glasser’s lackey.

    To the guy who is looking for leadership. Ryan Terrell is 18 and just voted his first election. Martin Kiar is looking to advance his elected office as is Alex Lewy. What were you thinking? You need someone with a clean name who has just been term limited. Nan Rich in 2012 would be perfect. You also have some wonderful DEC people who are very clean. Ken Evans comes to mind. If you start to think, there are many really good people who could replace the corrupt DEC leadership easily.

  11. S only says:

    I’d like to know the real numbers…you know, the DATA. How many Dems are there in Broward/statewide and how many voted. Same for Republicans and Independents. Was it just a turn-out problem? Which age category voted/didn’t vote? There are more questions right now, than answers. Buddy, who’s gonna do their homework?

  12. Data + Analysis = New Blood? says:

    The key is DATA and ANALYSIS. Too early to bumper sticker the problem. True, there are some easy targets like the “establishment” and “old guard” (and those may remain the real targets after data compilation and analysis).

    There needs to be new blood in the Florida Democratic Party and Broward Dems. There needs to be a real effort of developing new leadership, but unfortunately some may see that long-term obligation a threat to their own personal agendas. Dems are not unique in this character flaw, they just need to address it more quickly.

  13. Resident says:

    Lori Parrish is all about the power and control. She would only develop those that bow down to her.

    The problem is that there is no one in the Broward County Democratic Party. They are all out for what they can get for themselves.

  14. Git R Done says:

    To Resident:
    You’re right on the market with what you stated, exactly.
    There is no one to lead them because they all are out for power, greed and/or control.
    Besides, not understanding too much as to how this County works or should work that is

  15. Proud Dem says:

    There’s plenty of potential sitting on the bench. Problem is, they have been stymied by the old guard. Look at a lot of the college educated staffers for many of the elected officials! Look at all the dedicated Dems who worked field operations this cycle (unfortunately they were limited by people who were higher up on campaigns and supposedly knew better).

    My point is, there are a lot of young dems who were part of the Obama wave and then forgotten. They are hungry for a chance and if the old guard dems don’t change, it might be forced upon them.

  16. Truthiness says:

    Agree Lori Parrish is very popular, but she just backed Crist for Senate so she isn’t the best choice to be Democratic chair.

    Based upon recent election results, I’d say Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Sue Gunzburger, Sheila Alu would rank up at the top of the list for Democrats having the most popular local support today. But I don’t think any of them would want the job.

  17. Deeeelightful says:

    Sheila Alu? She makes enemies wherever she goes.
    What about Evan Jenne? Jared Moskowitz? Gary Frankel? Ruth Lynch? Promote up Young Democrats like Anne Gallagher and Elroy John.
    There are so many possibilities.

  18. Resident says:

    Are you kidding, Sue Gunzburer and Sheila Alu?

    Sue has so angered her county commissioners, there is a possibility she may not become the Mayor.

    Sheila is all about the publicity. The Sunrise Commission is all Democrats, yet she can’t seem to even take a second to give the new mayor a chance to do his job. If she wanted to run the meetings, why didn’t she just run for Mayor?

    Democrats need moderates that can control their temper. Dan Stermer, Jack Seiler, and Roy Gold are just a few and far better, but why would they do it.

  19. Corrupt Lynch says:

    Ruth Lynch? Given that she was almost ousted from her position for allegedly taking money from candidates for her “support” (or having the funds go through her colorful “husband”), I don’t think she’s what the Dems need to bring some needed fresh blood to the DEC.

    She’s worked her way up the corrupt Ceasar-system and should be ousted with the rest of the dirty dozen.

  20. Mary Thompson says:

    Proud Dem stated, “There is plenty of potential sitting on the bench. Problem is they have been stymied by the old Guard”. That is 100% correct, for example Alan Ehrlick and Cynthia Busch worked 24/7 on this past election. Working with them was great! Everything was organized, lists, voting material & info, you could phone from your home, the list goes on and on. Broward County does has a lot of potential!

  21. Randy Fleischer says:

    Buddy finally got something right. The Broward DEC is irrelevant and the fault lies with the leadership (or lack thereof). Ceasar did nothing to get out the vote. He did not require DEC members to do anything. Precinct leaders should be responsible to GOTV in their precincts. They are required to do nothing! As precinct committeeman I sent flyers to 200 Democratic Supervoters the day early voting started in the primary and general elections urging them to vote with info on early voting and who to vote for. I phone banked and opened my office for phonebanking. I walked my precinct with Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Martin Kiar. I worked 12 hours at my poll on election day for the primary and general election passing out my Democratic Ticket. Early returns show my precinct (T10) had the biggest turnout of any precinct in the county.
    I am sick and tired of Ceasar, Glasser and their cronies who have horrible results over the last 14 years they have been in power and CLinton won re-election.
    I agree that Alan Ehrlich and Cynthia Busch have worked extraordinarly hard and along with Phil Busey are among those who have worked the hardest the past few election cycles. Have they had any help from the DEC leadership? Who has?
    Karen Thurman also needs to move on.

  22. Fake Randy says:

    Who’s fault is this if not Mitch Ceasar and his flunkies:

    Sun Sentinel says, “The Republican tsunami in Tuesday’s election was intensified by a low turnout among the Democratic strongholds of South Florida. It was the worst turnout for a gubernatorial election in at least 12 years in both Broward and Palm Beach counties. Only one other county in the state posted a worse turnout than Broward, where just under 40 percent of registered voters went to the polls. Turnout in Palm Beach was 46 percent, but that’s still lower than the rest of Florida. Those anemic numbers helped doom Democratic campaigns from Alex Sink’s bid for governor to Ron Klein’s push for a third term in Congress

  23. SimpleMan says:

    Again, how do we go about eliminating Mitch Caesar? Is there a county convention or something like that we can attend? From where does he get his legitamacy? I want to see him out, so we can have a real progressive, political experience where elections matter and the voters are not taken for granted.

  24. Brutus says:

    Anyone but Randy Fleischer

  25. Fake Randy says:

    I’m sure that the real Randy would step aside for someone else if his goal is met of eliminating Mitch “touchy feely” Ceasar and his flunkies and strengthening the party.

  26. Does Anybody Know? says:

    Mitch Ceasar is the lobbyist in Tamarac and has been for years. Did he have any role with the Chaits?

  27. Watching the results says:

    I’ll list a few Young Dems, both in elected and non-elected positions, who I have met that are jumping at any opportunity to move the local and state party forward. In no special order:

    Annie Gallagher, Alexander Lewy, Martin Kiar, Kristen Carter, Ari Porth, Jarred Moskowitz, Stephanie Shimko, Elroy John, Franco Ripple, Ashley Ligas, Rick Hoye, Matthew Baratz, Zach Sitzberger, Sam Kalmowicz, Kristen Pesicek, Nick Steffens, Cynthia Busch, Jason Blank, Beth Lerner, Richard Steinberg (although he’s mostly in Dade, he would fit nicely in Broward), and Mike Wooley to name a few.

    If you do not recognize any of these names, then you haven’t been paying attention or you are part of the problem. I think everyone I just mentioned is under 40 and all wanting an opportunity to lead the party.

  28. Better Days Ahead BUT says:

    Evan Jenne and Jared Moskowitz!?
    Because there Dad’s have done such a good job?
    Sure they’ll lead us in a new direction.

    The real young leaders are the Martin Kiar’s and the Ari Porth’s. Or Kristen Carter who has done a great job for Nan Rich.
    There’s also the Bob Graham protege’s Stephanie Toothaker and Chip Burpee.

    At the very least can we have a rule that whomever the new leader is going to be they are not related to the old leaders?

  29. janey says:

    Anyone see Bob Norman’s column telling us that Crist won in both Century Deerfield and Kings Point? Anyone surprised? Can you just imagine if the Dems had a plan to win in these condos?

    The real news, as Norman pointed out, is that Marco Rubio won so many votes in Century Village.
    The Rubio vote equalled more than 80 percent of the number of Republicans registered to vote in Century Village. Obviously, numerous Democrats and independents voted for the GOP nominee.

    I didn’t poll the voters. However, I believe Rubio’s strength is because voters were fed-up with the Democrats in Washington.

    When Rubio outpolls Kendrick Meek in Century Village, once the heart of Democratic strength in Florida, something is wrong with the Ds message. I would say, what message?

    The local party’s weakness doesn’t help. They should have turned out more of their voters.

    Even a top rate local operation would have a hard time overcoming the horrible campaigns that Meek and Alex Sink conducted.

    Sink’s TV ads were second-rate, her message indecipherable and her ground operation almost non-existent.

    Two years ago, Democratic activists came to my door at least three times before Election Day, including the local committee member. I never saw nor heard from Democrats this year.

    The Democratic campaigns are run by the same old retreads that have lost campaigns for decades in this state. The Ds won’t win until they gets some new campaign talent!

    As I’ve written many times before, the Democratic Party needs to get itself a message that conveys what it stands for in six words or less.
    Look at Rick Scott: “Let’s Get To Work.” That’s perfect because the main goal in his platform is that he promises to create jobs.

    The Florida Democratic Party stands for nothing concrete…except opposition to the Republican platform.

    Democrats clearly need new leadership–from Tallahassee to Broward– who will rework their campaign operations. Until they get new leaders, they will be losers again and again.

  30. janey says:

    Ceasar and the Glassers only worked for Glasser’s son and you see how well that turned out.

    They did nothing that they did not get paid for. Kings Point means nothing any longer so there is no clout there either.

    The only people who show up at the DEC meetings are over 70 or GLBT. Those groups do not represent the voters in Broward. The election was very clear on that.

    Karen Thurman needs to get rid of them before there is no Democratic Party in Broward at all. The election was very clear on that as well. The proof is in the voting and Jeremy Ring is the only one with the guts to say it. He needs to clean up Broward as well.

  31. Mary J. Thompson says:

    Janey says: seems to make lot of recommendations, and I agree we need change in the DEC, the sooner the better. One thing though, Janey, what did you do to get the vote out on Nov. 2?

  32. the harsh truth says:

    The most successful pols in this town have little or nothing to do with Ceaser and the DEC. They may show to some meetings, but they know, like Parrish for example, that Mitch on his best day couldn’t take two votes away from them.

    Why did Clinton win in 92, because he went to the center. I am a Democrat who is disappointed in Obama. I think he is this century’s Jimmy Carter. The pushed to hard and to fast a liberal agenda that is blowing up in everyone’s face.

    Some more (Klien-Crist) than others (Sink-Gelber) all got sprayed with the anti Obama gunfire. All got painted as liberal and lost.

    Another thing, the Democrats have to stop running turncoat washed out Republicans and trying to sell them as good “D’s”. Is there anything worse than being a phony Dem?

    I left the young dems in my early 40s around 15 years ago. At that time all the talk was of Cindy Scher, Jeff Tromberg, Mitch Katz, Anne Castro and Rabny Fleisher were going to change things. All great people, but nothing has changes. Get new members, create voting block and shove a camcorder on Mitch at all times when he tries to cheat if you want a revolution.

  33. Rosa says:

    Don’t forget to put Martin Kiar in the category with Evan Jenne and Jared Moskovitz. Remember his father?

    Also don’t forget Ari Porth and Stephanie Toothaker supporting Crist.

    And I hear talk of Franklin Sands taking over the state party. Now there is a joke! He was the most ineffective House minority leader we’ve seen in years.

  34. Tomas says:

    If a company failed to achieve its goals again and again, the CEO and all his assistants would be fired.
    The Democratic Party needs to fire Mitch Ceasar and the rest of the group.

  35. Will W says:

    Franklin Sands!?!?!?

    What a joke! What has he done to deserve anything like leadership of the Decmocratic Party? He never won in a tough race himself. He has accomplished little in Tallahassee. He’s a off putting jerk in person. Ugh.

  36. janey says:

    Mary rest assured I worked very hard to get out the vote on Nov 2nd. That is the reason I am so disgusted with the DEC bigshots that did nothing that they didn’t get paid for. Something better happen soon or the Demcrats in Broward will mean less than they do right now. How sick is that and all because of Ceasar and the Glassers.

  37. obama killed us says:

    Alex Sink blames ‘tone deaf’ White House and Obama for failed election Democrat Alex Sink, whose fate was yoked to the Obama administration like hundreds of Democrats on Nov. 2, lashed out in an interview with Politico today, suggesting that the Obama administration mishandled the response to Gulf the oil spill, failed to appreciate the politica damage done by healthcare reform and did grave damage to her candidacy in the state’s conservative Panhandle.“They got a huge wake-up call two days ago, but unfortunately they took a lot of Democrats down with them,” said Sink told the online magazine Submitted by Mary Ellen Klas on Sat, 2010-11-06 13:40 in

  38. Martin Kiar says:

    I just wanted to thank the folks who posted on this blog for your kind words about me. I hope you all are having a nice weekend.

  39. hacknflack says:

    Anybody care to revisit the ‘new leadership’ discussion now that some time has gone by?