When the elected members of the Democratic Executive Committee gather on December 9 to elect new leadership, I plan to vote for Cynthia Busch to replace Mitch Caesar as Chairman of the Broward Democratic Party.
You don’t have to dislike Mitch or think he is a terrible person to recognize that it’s time for a change. Some of the criticisms leveled at him are probably unfair. For the most part, I’d rather focus on the positive reasons to elect new leadership. I hope all precinct committee people will give Cynthia’s candidacy serious consideration.
Cynthia has near-universal support from the volunteers who did the grunt work of registering voters and getting out the vote. They know her as a leader because she has been doing that work side-by-side with them. The hardest workers simply want the formal county Democratic Party organization to be better aligned with the grassroots.
There’s some chatter in the local political blogs (and comments sections on blogs and news sites) about the involvement of lobbyists and other political operatives in backing Cynthia’s candidacy. This seems to be the major strategy to discredit her. The truth is she will need the backing of some established, connected area Democrats to succeed in this effort. Mitch actually works as a lobbyist, so I don’t see the logic in why it would be better to reelect a lobbyist than elect someone who might have friends who are lobbyists. More importantly, I know Cynthia well enough to believe her motivation for running has nothing to do with these alliances.
Cynthia has been part of an extremely dedicated and effective group of campaign workers based in Plantation. If the rest of the county was as well organized, we might well have seen better results in 2010. We will need to do better in 2014 to give Gov. Rick Scott the pink slip he deserves. I don’t think it will be easy, but it’s a worthy goal. That is why Cynthia is running for DEC Chair.
The biggest criticism I have of Mitch is that he seems to put far more energy into this election — lining up votes to get himself reelected — than any other Democratic campaign. The party’s communication strategy, or lack thereof, is also a sore point, with the use of email, the web, and Facebook as particular embarrassments. The email list is used mostly to promote Mitch’s media appearances. The party website has improved somewhat, but is still short on timely, useful information.
I do think Mitch deserves credit for leading on the printing and distribution of the palm cards that were used effectively to promote Democratic candidates in the down-ticket races, which probably had a lot to do with victories like the election of Scott Israel as Sheriff. I’m sure there were other people who worked on that, but it’s one thing Mitch actively promoted that made a difference in this cycle. He also made more of an effort to get precinct committee people actively involved in efforts like contacting people who vote by absentee ballot to make them aware of changes in the law.
But I still see Mitch as more interested in maintaining control than inviting broad participation. For that reason, I believe Cynthia will be much stronger as a grassroots organizer. It just doesn’t seem to be in Mitch’s nature to move in that direction, even if he wanted to.
Mitch Caesar does a fine job of representing the party on TV. Maybe he’ll continue to have a future as a media personality; it’s not hard to see him getting himself a radio show. I wish him well. But he shouldn’t have the job of party chairman for life.
It’s time for a change.