U.S. Senate candidate Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL) has the ability to restore the true mantra of the Republican Party. A senate win would seriously question how representative Florida Republican primary voters are to the larger share of republican voters, and whether the Republican Party of Florida as a whole is out of touch with the general electorate. When Crist announced his run as an independent most polls reflected a six point lead over his closest competitor, however the most recent Rasmussen Poll places him at a close second to Republican candidate Mr. Marco Rubio. How could Gov. Crist, or any candidate of a major party, be a dead horse in a primary but rise to the top in an open race?
It is no secret the Republican Party has been hijacked and turned over to far-right conservatives and libertarians in a bloodless coup. Motivated by the political beating exacted in November of 2008, these conservatives and libertarians are determined to have their sentiments expressed. Generally speaking, primary voters are older and or more politically active in their political parties; they are the voters who decide the face of their respective political parties. But what makes this upcoming mid-term election different is the composition of the most active members of the Republican Party; they are now dominated by these libertarian-ultra conservative, less government, anti-stimulus activists. Though polls reflect Crist with a comfortable lead with older voters ages 50+, the most reliable off-election voters, the younger voters are getting involved and behind Rubio.
Unlike his opponents, Crist holds the key to the spotlight. He is the governor, which means he has the bully pulpit and the ability to stare the conversation and public policy on a statewide level. Rep. Meek is one of 435 representatives in the House, not to mention he is not a senior member nor has he been able to grab significant headlines. Mr. Rubio, the former Florida House Speaker, does not currently hold public office making him the only candidate out of the three with the inability to enact public policy, save to show his support or opposition, as he did with the Arizona Immigration Law. Furthermore Rubio has identified with the likes of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, and various republican Beltway insiders – which could play either way.
As the general election approaches expect Crist to dictate the conversation. No longer fettered by a political party or party politics, Crist will be sure to take advantage of his freedom to appeal to a wide range of voters, encompassing republicans, democrats, and independents. Added to his political independence, Crist has the most public service experience giving him the upper-hand on Meek and Rubio.
If Crist wins the election and chooses to caucus with the Republicans he could very well join Sen. Brown as an independent republican who is willing to compromise. He could very well do away with the myth that you have to be a hardliner in order to be elected as a republican. And given the federal investigations surrounding the Meek and Rubio camps, that is becoming more of a reality. Good luck Charlie!