Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) has been announced as the keynote speaker for the Florida Democratic Party’s annual Leadership Blue Gala, scheduled for this weekend in Hollywood, Fla. Also scheduled to speak at the event are House Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and incumbent senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who is running for re-election this fall.
The event is scheduled one week after Inslee traveled to Iowa to campaign on behalf of Democratic nominee Fred Hubbell, who is running for governor. As was the case in Iowa last week, Inslee is attending the event in Florida in his capacity as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, although it will also raise eyebrows about his possible 2020 presidential ambitions.
Also scheduled to speak at the event are Democratic state legislators and candidates, including the five candidates running for the party’s nomination in the governor’s race this fall: Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Jeff Greene, Chris King and Philip Levine, as well as Marjory Stoneman Douglas teacher Kat Posada. Democrats are trying to win the state’s chief executive position for the first time in 24 years.
Larry Sabato and the Cook Political Report both project the Florida governor’s race as a toss-up. The state’s primary is scheduled for August 28.
Check out this interesting quasi-postmortem by Florida Democratic Party executive director Scott Arceneaux. Some excerpts worth pointing out:
In any election, victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is the Party’s fault. Or so they say.
The Democratic Party has begun the time-honored tradition of self-examination and self-immolation that comes with electoral defeat. As well it should. While believing in the righteousness of our cause, and the wrongness of our opponent, we failed to see, or simply refused to see, the voters.
Voters lived in a different world and understandably, saw this country and the candidates differently than the national Democratic Party and its leadership. They lived in large swaths of the country where we never went. We missed the mark and we missed it badly.
Voters believe it is their constitutional right to be heard by their elected officials and not the other way around. Voters want to hear their concerns addressed rather than what we wished got them out to vote. The best political leaders have always acknowledged the voter’s fear and anger, recognized their daily struggle to provide their families with the best opportunity possible, and projected confidence in their ability to lead the entire nation.
Democrats, perhaps by the nature of our heterogeneous coalition, have been a classic all trees, no forest party when it has come to strategic vision. We seem always focused on the next election like it was the most important election of our lifetimes. Democrats have essentially depended on two political superstars, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, for the last 35 years to lead our Party. But depending on a Cam Newton to come along every other year is not a plan.