It's Bill Clinton, Not Obama, Who'll be Democrats' Main Man in Florida
Around the State
Expect a two-term Democratic president to hit the campaign trail in Florida, but it’s not the one currently sitting in the Oval Office.
Last week reports came out that Bill Clinton will be coming to South Florida in early May to help the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) raise money. Whoever wins the Democratic primary, most likely Charlie Crist, should be able to count on Clinton’s help against Rick Scott.
Clinton can be also be expected to pitch in for Democrats in the congressional races across Florida. Having helped out Alex Sink in last month’s special congressional election, Clinton should hit Tampa Bay if she runs against David Jolly. Back in 2012, Clinton pushed Joe Garcia’s and Patrick Murphy’s successful bids to defeat Republican congressmen. With those two Democrats expecting tough fights in November, Clinton will probably be back to help them out. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is an old Clinton ally and should be able to count on his support and he might even pop up in North Florida where Democrats have high hopes for Gwen Graham against Steve Southerland.
Barack Obama remains popular with his Democratic base, something Republicans didn’t quite fully realize in 2012. Obama will continue to hit the fundraising circuit for Democrats in Florida and across the nation. But Clinton is much more popular with independents and even moderate Republicans -- something that could help Murphy and other Democrats in Florida. Despite Obama beating Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries, the former president proved an excellent asset for the Democratic ticket in 2012, giving a well-regarded speech at the convention and hitting the campaign trail.
Clinton scores points with Americans on a host of fronts. His eight years in office are still seen as the high watermark of the American economy. While there were some conflicts and military actions during his time in office -- Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia -- essentially the Clinton years were peaceful. Despite his personal failings and the impeachment effort that haunted his last years in office, Clinton towers over George W. Bush and Obama in many Americans’ minds.
Of course, Clinton has other reasons to help out Democrats. Hillary Clinton is the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 -- a position she was in in 2008 before Obama caught her. This time, the Clintons don’t want to be surprised by a primary foe, meaning Bill Clinton will be front and center as he tries to collect IOUs for his wife to cash in come 2016.
As Obama continues to sink in the polls, look for Clinton to be front and center for Democrats. In 2014, and if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee in 2016, Obama will be overshadowed by the former president. Just like he’ll be in Florida this year and just like he’ll be in the history books.
Tallahassee based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.