Imagine you’re a Republican political operative in Florida and also an avowed atheist. You believe there is no God, no organizing force in the universe, no metaphysical purpose to anything, no reason. You have always known this. You have never doubted this. You are at peace.
Today, all that changed. Today, CNN broke the news that Charlie Crist may take a gander at becoming the Florida Democrats’ nominee to run for Senate in 2016. Charlie Crist carries a fan everywhere he goes. He used to be a Republican. He also used to be an independent. He managed, remarkably, to lose a gubernatorial race to incumbent Gov. Rick Scott, who was regarded in many quarters as impossible not to beat. He takes a fan everywhere. And he could take the Florida Democratic Senate primary to Boschian levels of chaos.
Republicans are usually the ones facing primary campaign hellscapes. Remember the 2012 Republican presidential primary, with its protracted discussions of gay conversion therapy and Ron Paul email newsletters? Remember the 2014 Mississippi Republican Senate primary, from where charges of neoconfederacy and the term mamacita became national political concerns? Remember Christine O’Donnell? For Democrats, primary season is often a garden of earthly delights.
Not this time. The Democratic Florida Senate primary could likely feature a cast of characters wacky enough to put ensemble road trip comedies to shame. There’s Crist, of course, who wrote this in his memoir about hugging Obama:
The new president leaned forward and gave me a hug.
Release. . . .
It changed the rest of my life.
Reach, pull, release — just like that.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who currently chairs the Democratic National Committee, is also reportedly mulling a primary bid. Wasserman Schultz is an enormously well-connected politician with remarkable fundraising prowess and great name ID. But she’s also prone to making errors that Republicans can jump on. Consider, for instance, that she had to apologize for saying that Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker “has given women the back of his hand.” Consider that she also had to release a statement saying she is OK with intermarriage (good to know!) after previously saying she opposed Jewish people marrying outside the tribe.
Then there’s potential contender Alan Grayson, a Democratic congressman from the Sunshine State whose personal life is less than sunny. He’s trying to get his marriage annulled because, he says, his wife is a bigamist. Grayson also once compared the Tea Party to the KKK, and then said it again after drawing criticism.
That’s not to say that all the potential Florida Democratic primary contenders are followed by a trail of arched eyebrows and awkward press releases. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Southern Florida, another potential candidate, has yet to compare his political foes to domestic abusers or the KKK. And it’s unclear at this point who the GOP candidates will be. But still. The prospect of Crist, Grayson, and Wasserman Schultz duking it out over who is most appealing to Florida Man and Florida Woman: Republicans can’t do much better than that.