Farid A. Khavari


Most Florida Democrats don’t know who their party chairperson is, and pay little attention to internal issues of the Florida Democratic Party.  This is how we end up with chairpersons like Karen Thurman, and the general lack of success of Democratic candidates in Florida which speaks volumes.


Now we have the first opportunity in decades, to change and resurrect the Democratic Party by electing Alan Clendenin as the next party chairman.


Of course, most Democrats cannot wait until November 2014 to oust Gov. Rick Scott, and have a new governor, hoping to have a Democrat replace him. Considering Scott’s low approval ratings and Republicans’ lack of enthusiasm, Scott seems vulnerable.  Recent polls shows that former Gov. Charlie Crist (Republican turned Democrat), or former CFO Alex Sink, who lost the last election to Scott could beat Scott handily.


But is this all that Floridians, Democrats and Republicans want, to replace Scott with more of what got us into this mess to begin with?


We have primaries so that all Democratic voters have a say in selecting their candidates, yet for years the party leadership has subtly or openly pre-selected those candidates, accustomed to the membership following blindly.


Is the job of a party chairman to select, ordain and decree the candidates he or she wants?  Alan Clendenin thinks differently. He believes that qualified candidates should be elected who will really serve the people instead of the special interests, and that every Florida Democrat should have a voice in selecting those candidates.  He believes that the party chairman should not play games or make backroom deals.


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In practice, when confronted with a vulnerable incumbent like Scott, a Florida Democratic chairperson would simply choose his or her favorite candidate and throw the party’s resources behind him or her, ignoring and marginalizing all the other candidates.  Karen Thurman did so for Alex Sink in 2010, and thus we enjoyed another Republican governor.


Now, two candidates are running for the Democratic Party chairmanship: Alan Clendenin and Alison Tant.  Ms. Tant has been a great fundraiser. She has several political endorsements, but it is hard to find an explanation for those endorsements beyond her fundraising successes. Whether she would be a great chairperson is doubtful.


Last week, I had a personal chat with Alan Clendenin about a series of economic issues facing Florida and the U.S.  Afterward, I listened to his speech about his plans as party chairman. Later, I visited his website and studied his stands on the various issues. I am a tough critic, and I must say that I am convinced that Alan Clendenin would be a great chairman of the Florida Democratic Party.


Even though the election of the party chairperson is not as exciting as that of a governor or a senator, that election can just as surely affect the lives of millions of Floridians.  Unfortunately, the chairperson is chosen by only a few voters.


Let’s hope that they vote for the right person: Alan Clendenin.



Farid A. Khavari (Ph.D.) is an economist and author of ten groundbreaking books and numerous articles about economics, environment, healthcare, oil, energy, banking, financing, corruption, outsourcing, cost and social cost. His website: He can be reached at


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