With former Governor Charlie Crist set to take the stage this week at the Democratic National Convention to make the case for Barack Obama’s re-election, it’s worth checking out what Florida’s political blogosphere thinks about Crist’s evolution.
Surprisingly, much of it is positive, if not downright hopeful.
Kartik Krishnaiyer of the Political Hurricane suggests “Crist can help define an ideology” for Florida’s Democrats:
“For the better part of 15 years a Democratic Party that in Florida lacks any coherent message or policy vision other than attacking Republican officeholders and in some cases trying to distance themselves from National Democrats. Crist perhaps can help the Democrats put a finger on the pulse of the voters. At the same time it is important Democrats back the candidates for office who are the most progressive. Moderation has gotten the Florida Democrats zero, which is why Crist’s potential conversion is a no-lose situation for the party.”
That said, Krishnaiyer makes the ridiculous suggestion that Crist “sit out the 2014 cycle, get behind the statewide Democratic ticket and then get a clean shot at Marco Rubio in 2016, during a Presidential election year.”
Like Krishnaiyer, Benjamin Kirby of The Spencerian is optimistic about Crist, but believe Charlie has “some work to do”:
“He’s going to need to do some explaining of his previous positions — and he’s going to need to make some promises. Some of those promises may be tough, because it will likely involve him undoing some of the work he previously supported. … As for me, I’ll make Governor Crist this deal: if he is willing to evolve, I’m willing to listen, and maybe evolve as well. Keep talking, Governor.”
Jake from Rantings of Florida believes Crist has already made a difference in 2012:
If Bill Nelson stays in the Senate and if Barack Obama wins Florida, Charlie Crist will be able to claim some credit. I want to see him do some real work on the trail, but writing (that op-ed)-just as the GOP convention g(ot) underway definitely counts. It also sounds like he will be the most high-profile ex-Republican official to speak in Charlotte at the Democratic National Convention. Frankly, it sounds like Charlie Crist is well on his way to achieving those accomplishments which I said he must before he deserved the accolades of anyone on the left?
That’s three influential bloggers ready to give Crist a chance. And you already know where I stand.
But what about the perils for Crist?
Is there a penalty for switching parties?
Suzy Khimm examines it:
Political parties have good reason to embrace party-switchers: Aside from the PR boost, party-switchers fairly reliably change their votes to reflect their new parties’ views, as political scientists Nolan McCarty, Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal have found. But the general public is more suspicious. “Voters punish members who switch parties,” Yoshinaka writes in a 2011 paper he co-authored with Christian Grose. “On average, switchers lose about seven percentage points in all elections after they switch.”