Dear Democratic Party of Florida,
Rumors have been swirling that Charlie Crist would be joining your party ever since he got his ass handed to him Tea-Party style in the 2010 Senate race. Now there's very specific gossip going around that he'll announce his official membership in your party in a Sunday op-ed piece in The Tampa Bay Times, just a day before the RNC kicks off.
We know you're beaten down. Democrats have barely had any power in Tallahassee for the past decade. Crist might seem like your golden ticket back to governor's office. This is actually a bad idea. Please do not embrace Crist to the point he becomes your nominee for governor in 2014.
1. Just about any Democrat could beat Rick Scott in 2014, as things stand now anyway.
So why not run an actual Democrat? Nan Rich has already announced her intention to run. She's currently your leader in the state Senate, and she's got Dem credentials through and through. Alex Sink, who you nominated last time, probably shouldn't be too hard to push into the race. Her campaign left a lot to be desired last time, but people know her and people like her. Poll after poll shows that the majority of Floridians would have elected her over Rick Scott if given a chance for a do-over.
2. Do not become the moderate wing of the Republican party.
Democrats have been so minimal in Tallahassee in the past decade that people might have forgotten what they actually stand for on the state level. That's not good. Sure, ever since the RPOF went way off the cliff and crashed into Tea Party land, it may seem inviting to rebrand yourself as the Republican-lite party. Your only state-wide elected official, Sen. Bill Nelson, is after all a pretty moderate guy. But you know what's weird about Nelson? Democratic voters aren't in love with him. His approval ratings among Dems is actually pretty low. He just doesn't connect with the base. If the Republicans know anything, it's that you have to appease the base, and embracing Crist, essentially a moderate Republican (or as we used to call them, "regular Republicans"), is not going to appease the base. Winning an election may seem great in the short run, but letting Crist remake the party in his image might not be so great in the long run.
3. You guys saw Outrage, right?
It's on Netflix.
4. It would be hard to shake the feeling that Crist is controlled by trial lawyers.
Repubs love to crow on and on about how the Democratic party is controlled by trial lawyers. Crist, of course, currently works for John Morgan, perhaps Florida's most prominent trial lawyer (and a big Dem donor).
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SHOW ME HOW
5. Honestly, just convince Crist to wait and run against Rubio in 2016.
Crist doesn't even want to be governor anymore, really. If he did, well, he just would have run for reelection and still have been governor. Crist wants to be in DC, baby. Everyone knows that. That's how he ended up outside the GOP in the first place.
Yes, Floridians tend to keep incumbent Senators, but that's at least in part because the opposing party rarely comes up with a good candidate to run against them. Aside from Connie Mack IV (who only seems strong because of his name), the last three people to run against incumbent senators were proto-Palin Katherine Harris, Hillary Clinton's brother, and, well, Charlie Crist himself, then almost completely unknown state-wide when he ran against Bob Graham in 1998.
We're not sure how the political winds will be blowing all the way in 2016, or what the future holds for Rubio's profile (perhaps he'll be running for something else then anyway). Consider, though, that if the votes for Charlie Crist and the Democratic candidate (Kendrick Meek) were combined, Rubio would have lost. So perhaps to defeat him next time you just need to literally combine Charlie Crist with the Democratic candidate by making him the Democratic candidate. Considering you'd probably lose anyway, it's worth a shot.