First of all congratulations go out to Congressman Kendrick Meek for winning last night's Democratic primary down here in Florida. He did it through hard work with a serious grassroots effort and in the end people recognized that he was the only real Democrat in the race.
Now we get to focus on the general election. I realize a lot of people aren't giving Meek a chancce to win but not only do I think he has an excellent shot at winning, I think he WILL win as long as he runs a good campaign.
Here is the way I see things. I'm not a pollster or a mathematician but I believe that if Meek gets 70% of the Democratic vote he will win that Senate seat. The truth is in most elections getting 70% of your own party isn't that hard to do, especially when you have a Congressional record like Meek's. But we all know that Charlie Crist is going to try to sell him self as Democrat lite. The key here is independents HATE Marco Rubio, the GOP nominee. Right now they are backing Crist because they are so scared of Rubio anybody else will do and since Crist already has an early lead they figure why not. But once the polls start to shift and Meek shows he is right there in the mix with both Rubio and Crist the independents will start breaking back his way. Everyone loves a winner and so when Meek starts to pull ahead of Crist you can expect him to take all that momentum, Crist to fall back into the pack and Rubio to be the only competition.
That's exactly how I see this playing out.
So the important question over the next month or so is this, "How will Meek get at least 70% of his own party to vote for him?"
As usual I have some ideas.
First off Crist tipped his hand yesterday when he tried to define Meek as hard left and Rubio as hard right. Its kind of laughable when you think about it but it was a decent political move. Marco Rubio truly is hard right which is why he scares indys, but Meek is just basically a traditional Democrat whose votes fall right in line with most of the people in the party. He hasn't been like Dennis Kucinich calling for a Department of Peace or anything like that. But at the same time he has a very progressive legislative record.
What Crist is going to try to do is make both Rubio and Meek move to the middle where supposedly he is now. Why? Because he knows the more Rubio moves to the middle the more he will lose some of his Tea Bagging base. And he knows the more Meek moves to the middle the more he would look just like Crist which makes it easier for him to hide his true self.
So the most important thing is for Meek to stand on his record, not move to the center, and instead define Crist as somebody who had no principles, nothing to stand on.
Here's a free moniker "Mr Maybe". I think that will sound good in an attack ad.
Here is one campaign trick that will be very effect. Meek's campaign should research every position that Crist has flip flopped on in the last two years, especially those that are important to Democrats (like the stimulus, privatizing social security) and then accuse Crist of holding his former view without acknowledging he has changed his stance. Now of course Crist will protest and fact checkers will rate it as false. But here's the deal, every time that happens voters will be reminded how many times Crist has actually flip flopped on his positions, generally for political gain.
Its much more effective in my opinion than just calling him a flip flopper because you make him acknowledge that he flip flopped or risk having folks thinking he's still a hardcore Republican (and he can't have that). Now that doesn't mean you make stuff up because that WOULD hurt credibility. But positions he has taken in the past are all fair game.
Next its important to draw a contrast between the GOP primary and how Crist handled it with the Dem primary and how Meek handled it. Once Crist's polling looked bad he ran for the hills. Meek on the other hand withstood bad polling and over $20 million dollars in attack ads to get his party's nomination. So do voters want a fighter or a guy who runs from the fight in the Senate representing them?
Also an idea for the premise of an ad is to show a silouette of a vote being taken and a guy with their hand near the button to push yes or no (just yes or no buttons) and his hands keeps going back and forth. And the voice over guy says something to the effect of "When there's a tough vote on a major issue in the Senate that affect's your family do you want someone representing you whose voting record is consistent? Or do you want to have to cross your fingers and hope for the best?" And then fade to black.
Along those same lines many attacks should ostensibly focus on Rubio but have backhanded slaps at Crist. Like "There aren't many things Rubio and I agree on but at least he makes his positions known. So the voters have a clear choice between the two of us and I believe Floridians are on my side". Just hammer away at the fact that while Rubio is dead ass wrong on almost every issue at least he doesn't generally hide what he believes.
Keep in mind that Crist to have a chance to win still has to pull some Republican votes from Rubio so he will necessarily have to remain vague on some issues. The biggest one is probably who he will caucus with. Now I have a feeling that what he will want to do is keep that under wraps until right at the end of the campaign and then announce he will caucus with the Dems as a last minute game changer. The easiest way to make sure that doesn't happen is to get him to say it early.
Here's the deal on that. If he comes out and says it now he loses most of his Republican votes and he falls back some anyway. And considering some of his past statements he will have a very hard time convincing people he will be a reliable Democratic vote. And he pretty much CAN'T say he is going to caucus with the GOP because then all of his Dem votes flock to Meek and he's toast.
So it will be much easier to fight him on the common ground of Dem policies and platforms early and beat him into submission than to shy away from it and allow him to use it as a bombshell later.
You can hammer him for not running in the Dem primary for instance if what he really wants to be is a Democrat. You can point out how the Dem establishment is fully behind the one true Democrat in the race. And you can say things like "why buy the knock off when you can have the real thing". Really it would make life SO much simpler in my opinion.
But the only way to get him to choose is to hammer his ass relentlessly. Keep saying that he wants to dupe Dems into voting for him so he can go to the Senate and caucus with the GOP. Just keep saying it no matter who tells you to stop. And finally he is going to have to choose. He can run as an indy all he wants to but the people deserve to know who he is going to caucus with.
Then point out how much Crist has NOT done for the people of Florida since he first flirted with being McCain's VP choice. Seriously aside froma couple of vetos what has the guy done since then? Unemployment is sky high in Florida. Why isn't Crist screaming for federal aid? Housing crisis is epic. Why isn't Crist doing anything to help homeowners here who are underwater? Health care system he put in place absolutely sucks. Why isn't Crist championing the Affordable Care Act?
Punch him in the mouth about his shitty job as Governor of Florida the last two years and make him answer questions. When being interviewed ask the interviewer why THEY aren't asking Crist those questions.
And lastly use his hand picked Senate choice George LeMeiux as a foil. Every vote LeMeiux has take including those against financial reform and the health care bill should be used to bang Crist for sending him there in the first place. A purely political choice meant to be his personal seatwarmer.
Of course if any scandal should happen to touch LeMeiux that should also fall on Crist as well.
And really after all that the path to victory is wide open. Marco Rubio will make it very easy to beat him with Meek just running on his record and the Democratic platform. With as much of a melting pot as we have here in Florida I just don't think an Arizona immigration law will play well here, and neither will any of the other wacky Tea Bagger policy positions. But Rubio can't run from them for fear of losing his base so he's stuck.
Finally it behooves Meek and all Dems this cycle to not label Rubio and his campaign as far right. When you do that it gives them an opportunity to minimize the attack and it gives Americans a chance to give other Republicans a pass. No what we really want to label Rubio is as a mainstream Republican who has mainstream GOP policy stances that just so happen to scare the hell out of everyone else. But its true that anything Rubio stands for you will find just about all other Republicans running this year who win their nomination stands for the same things. Make fringe ideas = mainstream GOP thought.
Well that's my Meek Manifesto in all its glory. I think right now the most important thing in the near future is that Meek gets his numbers up into at least the mid 20s. The quicker he can start polling at around 25% or better the faster people will jump on the bandwagon IMHO>
So lets get it Florida. Lets turn this state all the way blue!!!