Those who ignore history are condemned to look like Florida Democrats in a midterm election.
Before Tuesday’s Republican drubbing of Democrats at the polls, there were warning signs — lessons that should have been learned or heeded — that were either ignored or downplayed by Democrat Charlie Crist, his campaign or his supporters.
Take, for instance, an August column headlined “Florida Democrats’ biggest problem is ... Florida Democrats,” where I noted how poor primary turnout, especially in South Florida, was a potentially bad sign for Crist.
One Democratic reader told me on Twitter that the column was full of “histrionics.”
More denial from Democrats flowed.
The same was true earlier still, in March, after Alex Sink (the Democrats’ 2010 candidate for governor) lost a special election for a competitive congressional seat in St. Petersburg. I and other political reporters wondered whether that foreshadowed Democrats’ staying home in a midterm.
No way, said Democratic honchos and activists.
“Special elections are not an indicator of the future,” U.S. Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, said after Sink’s loss.
“Special elections are not predictive, they are instructive.”
In the wake of Tuesday’s Republican blowout across Florida and the nation, it’s clear Israel and his fellow party members didn’t learn much from that “instructive” loss. Israel, though, had the sense to quit his DCCC post.
Multiple factors played into Republicans’ wins over Democrats in Florida and the nation, including the lack of popularity of President Barack Obama. Some of the data are still coming in, but we can still distill about 10 takeaways: