by SC Staff Writer Jan Holly
Islander and national Democratic consultant Bob Schaeffer pronounced the national midterm election results to be “not a tsunami, but a moderate to strong blue wave, with a lingering red undertow.” Schaeffer’s election night analysis, “What We Know So Far,” was offered at a Democratic Club of the Islands post-election meeting, Nov. 15 in the Community House’s Founders’ Room.
Schaeffer acknowledged that election night had been “very frustrating” for Florida Democrats, “but not a loss. It all depends on your perspective. Despite the problems in Florida, it was quite good overall for the blue team,” he said.
Schaeffer cited the “35 to 40” newly minted Democratic seats in the House of Representatives that turned the legislative body blue this election cycle. He also called attention to seven state governorships and six state legislatures that were placed in Democratic hands. “Who would have predicted this a year ago?” he queried.
Schaeffer’s nationwide voter-profile analysis showed a schism “along demographic and geographic fault lines. Fifty-five percent of women voted democratic, but only 45 percent of men,” he said. Schaeffer also reported that majorities of urban voters, voters of color, and voters “with no gun in the house” went Democratic.
In contrast, Schaeffer called the Florida electorate “a purple patchwork quilt with regions of deep blue and bright red. We live in a red spot,” he added. “Lee County saw straight-line party voting on both sides. What does this tell us? Our friends and neighbors are still voting Republican.”
Schaeffer predicted that Democrats can still win in Lee County, “but not running under the Democratic label, at least for now. County demographics are changing, but Republicans are registering more voters,” he said.
Describing the new ex-felon component of the electorate as “the wild card in the voter equation,” Schaeffer cautioned against assuming that their votes will be automatic. “There are 1.4 million ex-felons who will now be eligible to vote,” he said. “We will need a massive grassroots campaign to get them registered and get them to vote.”
Schaeffer offered some timely advice for the Democratic Party in Southwest Florida. “We need better candidates—and especially women. Being a woman is worth seven or eight points,” he said.
He also advised maintaining momentum toward the next election. “We must build a fund-raising ‘war chest’ for 2020 and beyond. Folks on Sanibel gave tons of money this electin cycle,” he said, “but we need to do that and more.”
Schaeffer concluded his presentation with a brief aphorism that served as a call to action for DCI members. “Revenge is a dish. . .best served at the ballot box,” he said.
At the conclusion of the meeting, DCI President Chet Sadler invited any and all to the Club’s next Happy Hour gathering, Thursday, Dec. 6, at Trader’s restaurant. A Holiday Party is also planned at Island Inn’s Traditions on the Beach restaurant, Thursday, Dec. 13. The Party begins with a cash-bar reception at 5:45 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $55 per person, which includes meal, tax and tip. RSVP by Dec. 6.
Membership in the Democratic Club of the Islands is $30 for individuals and $60 for a Family membership. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 239-634-4295.