Florida Democrats not with the “force”

Just ten years after the “hanging chads” disenfranchised African-American voters in Florida, they now face being disenfranchised by fellow Democrats.
This Newshour story by Gwen Ifill shows the cynicism of some Democratic officials who are supporting former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist for Senate in a three way race where Rep. Kendrick Meek has won the Democratic primary.
Although President Obama did what Al Gore couldn’t — won Florida in 2008, less than 18 months later, political insiders ruled out Meek as a winner solely because of his race. First, financier Jeff Greene decided to make his first political race to upset Meek in the primary; and Crist moved out of a certain loss in the Republican primary to become an independent.
Now some Democrats are buying Crist’s appeal that only he could beat Republican Marco Rubio.
When I was in Palm Beach County in August, Rep. Alcee Hastings made a surprise appearance during our South Florida State of Black Business Forum to stress the importance of supporting Meek.
His troubles are part of the reason there is an enthusiasm gap nationally among African-American voters. The news that the Democratic party is “investing” the princely sum of $3 million to rally black voters across the country is even more evidence that their political force is not valued. That compares with $14 million from the Tea Party just in Nevada.
Although Rubio is leading the Senate race for the Republican seat with 44 percent of the votes, including almost all of the GOP voters, that is less than a majority. If the Democrats stay home and unite, Meek is a solid contender.
Not only does splitting votes with Crist endanger the chances of winning the Florida seat, but it sends a horrible message to black voters around the country.
Meek is being attacked for being a reliable part of the Democratic House majority. The leadership of the Democratic party needs to enforce some discipline in return, even if the seat remains in Republican hands, because of the national implications.

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