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Like many (most?) people on this site, I followed the Zimmerman trial closely, and was deeply saddened and outraged by the verdict.  As a long-time Florida resident (though not a native Floridian), I felt the need to respond to the well-meaning, but in my mind, misguided, calls for a boycott of Florida that have appeared on this site.  I decided to call this diary "a purple state manifesto" because I think that much of what I have to say is relevant not just to Florida, but to other "purple states" like Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  So here goes:

Florida is a strange and confusing place.  We are an odd hodgepodge of the entire USA, with a few local quirks thrown in.  Greater Miami is as diverse and cosmopolitan as New York or Los Angeles.  The panhandle, aka the "redneck riviera," is the deep South.  The I-4 corridor, running from Tampa-St. Pete through Orlando to Daytona, is middle American suburbia, a traditional swing area that is now trending bluer.  We have very progressive liberals (Alan Grayson and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz come to mind), as well as paleo-conservatives and kleptocrats (like our current governor Rick Scott), and everything in between.  Florida has one of the largest Latino populations in the USA, and certainly the most diverse:  the Republican-leaning Cuban establishment is increasingly outflanked by Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and newcomers from throughout Central and South America.  Though often derided as "God's waiting room," Florida also has millions of young people.  When young people and minorities vote in Florida, Democrats win, as President Obama did in both 2008 and 2012.  When these constituencies stay home, as they did in 2010, we get stuck with people like Rick Scott.

This is part of a larger pattern in the purple states.  All of the states I mentioned in the first paragraph voted for President Obama in 2008, and were part of his historic victory, and are certainly integral to what Ruy Teixera called (perhaps a bit prematurely) "the new Progressive majority."  All but North Carolina also went for Obama again in 2012, and he almost carried NC again.  Unfortunately, in 2010, in an off-year election amid a terrible economy and (perhaps unrealistic) hopes that many progressives had for the Obama presidency, many infrequent voters stayed home, and we got governors Scott, Walker, Corbett, Kasich, McDonnell, etc, as well as Republican-led legislatures who gerrymandered the hell out of our purple states in post-2010 redistricting.  This dug a big hole that will take a long time for us to dig out of.  Since then, they have gutted public education, restricted women's rights, disenfranchised minority communities, and allowed ALEC and the Koch brothers to write our economic and environmental policies.

Are you disgusted by what these right-wing state governments have done in Florida and our other purple states?  Guess what?  So are we!  There are millions of progressives here in Florida and throughout the other purple states who are doing what we can to fight back.  But here's a thought:  instead of boycotts or gratuitous insults that won't change minds or policies, how about channeling your righteous anger toward helping us to boot these nut jobs out the door in 2014?  We could really use the help!  Whether your thing is making phone calls, knocking on doors, or donating money, help us win back Florida (and Wisconsin, and Ohio, and so on).  You'll not only feel better, but you'll make things better for millions of good people who deserve better than the abusive policies of the Tea Party and the snide condescension of the blue staters.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Im in! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm already lining up friends to help canvass for whoever is running against Rick Scott.  Who's with me?  I have cookies!

    not all those who wander are lost - J.R.R. Tolkien

    by Lilith on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 11:28:41 AM PDT

    •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Unfortunately, the Democratic bench is weak in Florida, since Republicans control all the statewide offices and both houses of the legislature.  Alex Sink (who narrowly lost to Scott in 2010) might run again, but she ran a terrible campaign last time, and nobody is really looking forward to a reprise.  The best bet--at least the most likely to win--might be former governor Charlie Crist.  He's kind of an opportunistic empty suit, but he seems like a fundamentally decent guy--as governor from 2006 to 2010 he broke with the Republican Party by opposing the legislature's cuts to education and disability services, and the last straw was his (real and metaphorical) embrace of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act.  He went on to run for Senate as an independent, where he narrowly lost in a 3-way race that Marco Rubio won.  If Crist had gone the whole way and become a Democrat in 2010, he might have won that race.  He has since changed his party registration, which leads me to think he's planning for a run.

      Personally, my favorite Florida Democrats are Alan Grayson and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, but I don't think either could win statewide, and we need to keep both of them in the House.  There was some talk about Bill Nelson leaving the Senate to run for governor, but we need him in the Senate, and he never seemed interested in making the switch anyway.  So for now at least, Crist may be the best we can get.

      Thanks for asking!  I really do believe that my crazy, f**ed up state is trending blue, and the future here is bright, but there are a lot of issues we have to sort out along the way.

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