The Five Worst Miami Politicians of 2016

Some Miami politicians sucked this year because they were incompetent. A whole lot of people thought longtime Miami businessman Jeb Bush, history's least exciting royal prince, would be in line to lead the free world by this time in 2016. Instead, he blew his shot big-time, squandered hundreds of millions of dollars, and cemented his place in history books as one of the clearest cases of white-bread upper-crust mediocrity in American history. Let's hope some rich jokester capitalist gifted Bush a coal mine this Christmas.

Others, such as state Sen. Frank Artiles, were actively hostile toward people: Artiles, once accused of punching a college kid at a bar, proposed forcing transgender people to use the restrooms that matched their birth gender. Had that bill passed — and in this political climate, nothing is off-limits anymore — a PR circus would have descended upon the state.

But for the most part, Miami's worst politicians were just startlingly mediocre all year. Here's to five local politicos who botched and blundered their way through 2016:

1. Marco Goddam Rubio

Marco Rubio is intellectual Flubber, a gelatinous, amoebic mass with no clear beginning or endpoint, capable of being both nothing and all things at once. Rubio was quitting the Senate, then definitely quitting the Senate, then magically running for Senate again, and then won a Senate race. He was anti-gay, then pro-gay to capitalize on the biggest anti-LGBT hate crime in U.S. history, and then anti-gay again less than a month later. He was a virulently anti-Castro figure who had no qualms about Donald Trump doing business with Castro. Rubio insulted the size of Trump's actual penis on the campaign trail, then endorsed Trump, then backed off that endorsement, and now floats in some sort of lightless miasma from which he occasionally shoots angry tweets at the president-elect while simultaneously hoping Trump plucks him from the crowd of GOP hopefuls, "Dancing in the Dark"-style, and gives him a job in Trump's new world order. To Marco Rubio "full of shit" is to give him too much credit — he is an intellectually empty vessel, full of absolutely nothing at all.
2. Raquel Regalado

Miami-Dade's mayoral race pitted the county's mild-mannered, do-nothing bowl of starch Mayor Carlos Gimenez against outspoken radio host and semiprofessional insult-hurler Raquel Regalado, the daughter of City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado. Her campaign managed to co-opt the worst aspects of both Hillary Clinton's and Donald Trump's strategies. Invoking Clinton, Regalado's only real selling pitch was that Gimenez allegedly sucked. She then tried to back up that claim with a series of Trumpian attacks that diverged further and further from reality: She blamed Gimenez for everything from the Zika virus outbreak to fraudulently filing election forms. When she saw she was far down in the polls, she sued to try to remove her opponent from the ballot. And lost. She also referred to a black mayoral employee as a "token" while attacking Gimenez, to exactly no one's enjoyment.

3. Daphne Campbell

Remember when New Times called Daphne Campbell while she was running for state Senate and asked her a hard question, and she suddenly pretended the reporter had called the wrong number? That sure was fun! And definitely not a terrifying omen for how she'd handle her new Florida Senate term!
4. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine

In Philip Levine's world, problems don't exist as long as he can't see them. This year, Levine — who works hard to protect the city from sea-level rise — publicly feuded with scientists and the Miami Herald, who repeatedly said the Beach was pumping actual human poop into the ocean. Levine was wrong. When the Zika virus hit Miami Beach, Levine broke out his best "Mayor From Jaws" impression, stood in front of TV cameras, and said there was no Zika outbreak in Miami Beach. He was proven wrong 12 hours later. Levine was sued this year for allegedly deleting negative comments from public social media pages, called New Times Miami's National Enquirer, and spent months campaigning for Hillary Clinton, hoping for a cabinet-position payoff that never came. Someone also stole $3.6 million from city coffers under his watch, and it took his administration a full month to notice. It's astounding we can still see his face under all of that egg.

5. Jeb Bush

Please clap.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.