Democrats gathered in Boston for their party's National Convention
are still trying to win the 2000 election.
State delegates who talked to the Online NewsHour were quick to
recount allegations of systematic disenfranchisement of thousands
of Democratic voters and the bloody post-election recount battle.
their frustration and resentment is further fueled by what some
call the bitter irony of living under state and federal governments
headed by their archenemies, George and Jeb Bush.
More recent controversies concerning lost 2002 electronic voting
records and an error-ridden purge aimed at removing convicted
felons from the state's database of eligible voters, have only
added to the suspicion that voting problems are part of a GOP
plan to steal elections in the state this fall.
the Florida delegation's breakfasts Tuesday and Wednesday there
was less talk of John Kerry, than of the past.
what John Kerry needs to do to win Florida, U.S. Rep. Corrine
Brown replied, "I have a hard time with that question, because
Al Gore won the last time."
called for independent monitors in order to avoid a repeat of
the 2000 election debacle and said civil rights groups may have
to sue the state to solve problems like the flawed felon list.
you are a Democrat or Republican, you should want a fair election,"
Brown said. "You should have an election that you can certify
it was a fair election."
open anger against President and Governor Bush evident during
convention events has contrasted sharply with the generally positive
tone national Democratic leaders hoped the convention would project.
all know about George Bush's policies. We all know what a miserable
failure he has been. We know that coming in here," Democratic
National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe said Monday. "What
people want to know from us now is what are you going to do? We
don't want to just hear you complain. We want to know what are
you going to do to make things better for us. That's what they
want and that's what they are going to get this week -- positive,
Florida Democrats, however, appeared not to get the message, blasting
the president's policies and criticizing Florida's botched voter
purge and other voting problems in their state.
Jim Davis began his remarks to the Florida delegation Tuesday
by attacking the president's foreign policy, which he says has
weakened America's position around the world. Davis then offered
a litany of what he said are President Bush's broken promises
and failed policies at home in the areas of the environment, healthcare,
education, the economy.
urged Floridians to vote for John Kerry who he said would reverse
detrimental policies of President Bush. But Davis also said the
Bush administration in Tallahassee is not committed to reforming
the election system.
"Like you I am disgusted at the remarkable, casual, callous,
contemptuous approach this administration in Florida has taken
towards the election," Davis said. "They will not get
away with it. We will work together to make sure every vote is
further said Jeb Bush's government had trampled the rights of
voters in an effort to ensure GOP victories.
know, the state of Florida is increasingly realizing, that the
last four years in the state of Florida have been about electing
this president and governing with fear and retaliation, particularly
with respect to the rights of the minority and the rights of average
citizens," he said.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, who spoke to the delegates on Tuesday, poked
fun at his party's request to avoid harsh criticism of the president
and the governor, claiming it had robbed him of one of his signature
don't want us to say a lot of stuff about the Bushes so when I
speak tomorrow night I can't say 'stay out of the Bushes,' so
I'm going to say 'stay out of the trees,' I hope y'all get the
difference," Jackson said.
too hearkened back to the 2000 election blaming voting problems
on misaligned machines in Palm Beach County, state troopers intimidating
immigrant voters, lack of language support for non-English speaking
voters, and faulty eligible voter roles. Jackson also accused
state Republicans of pre-empting the electoral process.
legislature said even if Gore gets the votes we're going to give
the electoral ballots - the electoral votes to Bush," Jackson
said. "That stabbed democracy in the heart."
filmmaker Michael Moore, who visited the delegation Wednesday
morning, said he is putting both Bushes on notice that he will
be in Florida on Election Day with film crews and a team of lawyers.
are not going to dishonor those who gave their lives in the civil
rights struggles by allowing these people to steal another election,"
Moore said to loud applause. "That is just not going to happen."
pledged that he would personally ensure each Floridian's vote
will be counted.
second anyone tries to prevent a voter from voting, we will go
down to the courthouse we will get a judge immediately and we
will stop it at that moment," Moore said. "Not a week
later, not a month later, that hour, we will seek judicial relief
immediately -- that day so they can vote before the polls close."
and file Florida delegates also joined party leaders, elected
officials, and guest speakers, in criticizing President and Governor
Bush on their policies and Florida's election system woes.
"Red" Lackey of Ormond Beach, the oldest delegate at
the Democratic convention, said the policies of the Bush brothers
along with memories of the 2000 election have "fired up"
Democrats this year.
had enough to win it before, as you probably know," Lackey
said. "Between [former Fla. Secretary of State] Katharine
Harris, Jeb Bush and the Supreme Court, they stole it from us."
a senior citizen, Lackey said he is concerned about the president's
approach to Medicare and prescription drugs. Lackey said the president's
prescription drug program left Medicare unable to negotiate lower
bulk rates for seniors and now the GOP is trying to keep seniors
from buying drugs from Canada. He called the administration's
prescription drug program a "$139 billion-a-year payoff to
the pharmaceutical industry that had put so many millions in their
also said the war is a big issue energizing Florida Democrats.
war is a major issue," Lackey said. "It was uncalled
for... but of course they're blaming somebody else for it, the
its part, the Florida GOP counters that the governor and president
have done right by the state and that its citizens are reaping
the benefits of their programs.
Republican Party Chairman Carole Jean Jordan told the Online NewsHour
that the president and the governor are popular among Florida
voters and have worked to reform the state's voting system while
implementing policies that have made residents more secure physically
said the governor has done "every possible thing that could
be done" to fix the voting system, including investing millions
of dollars in new machines and the that the Republican Secretary
of State has met with leaders of both parties in the state to
brief them on voting system improvements and to listen to their
the Florida Democrats in Boston this week dismiss the state's
efforts and say they plan on taking their revenge on Nov. 2, 2004.
By Jason Manning, Online NewsHour