Newly elected Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith outlined some unsurprising priorities for his party’s shrunken state House delegation Tuesday: rebuilding the party infrastructure at the local level, making sure Florida breaks for Barack Obama in 2012 and keeping Bill Nelson as Florida’s senior senator.
The former state senator also said the party should work to defend the so-called “Fair Districts” amendments passed by voters in November.
Why should the party use its resources to defend an initiative intended to prevent either party from gaining an unfair advantage?
For one thing, Florida is “the most malapportioned state in the South,” Smith said. The rights of voters in so-called “safe” districts are “diluted dramatically” if elections are forgone conclusions.
Smith didn’t say whether one party’s voters are more diluted, but he didn’t have to. While more Floridians are Democrats, Republicans control Florida’s entire executive branch, dominate its congressional delegation and enjoy a supermajority in both houses of the legislature.
Anyone opposing fair districts should be tarred as a supporter of “unfair districts,” Smith said.
Similarly, when conservatives talk about taking their country back, he said, Democrats should ask: “Back to where?” He said his party would be looking to reclaim the center.
“This governor and this legislature, I think, is giving us an enormous vacuum in the middle of the political spectrum,” he said. “And we’re going to take advantage of it.”