Some Democrats Need to Stop Lobbing Bombs at Activists

For many months now the tension around activists involved the Gubernatorial Primary has reached a fever pitch. The name calling which has dominated social media in recent weeks reached a new level in the past seven days with the temperature rising seemingly on a daily basis. The willingness of some Nan Rich supporters to attack Charlie Crist supporters on Facebook and Twitter for being “corporate stooges” coincides with Charlie Crist supporters calling “Nan fans” either “delusional” or “closeted Rick Scott supporters.”

While in the big picture the fights between groups of supporters on social media or in the comments section of this and other blog sites does not truly matter it does have an impact on the morale of activists. This past week, while I was traveling the state on behalf of George Sheldon’s Campaign, I kept getting hearing about what was being said on social media. Upon reading some of the threads I was sickened.

Certainly it is fair and productive to have strong opinions. Supporting one of the two primary candidates openly and aggressively requires a certain degree of passion and commitment and that is to be admired. But the personal nature of the barbs, the name-calling and the efforts of some to aggressively attack supporters of the other candidate without provocation is worrying.

Regardless of individual personal feelings at this moment in time, the vast majority of Democrats will be on the same team come August 27th. Those who say they won’t support the nominee or are reluctant to will change tunes come the General Election. I have seen this song before and always the bulk of party activists come together following a primary. Some lingering bitterness always remains, but by and large those committed to the cause of progressive values end up working for the more progressive candidate.

So let’s establish a few principles that should be followed from here on out.

Here are the premises that should be followed:

  • People supporting Charlie Crist are not “sellouts” or “corporate stooges”. Some Progressives, particularly those concerned about Environmental issues have every right to support Governor Crist. Even as a Republican, Crist was a strong environmentalist. Stronger than many Democrats at the time.
  • Those supporting Nan Rich are not “delusional,” “working for Rick Scott,” or “idiots.” Many progressives have good reason to support Senator Rich and suspect Governor Crist’s recent conversion to progressive ideals on non-environmental issues as politically motivated.
  • Some who oppose Senator Rich do so because they have had negative personal dealings with her, and the same can be said for some opposing Governor Crist. These are personal decisions and MUST be respected by the peanut gallery out there.
  • Equating support of Charlie Crist to that of a Republican or Rick Scott is plain ignorant of Florida’s History. Through the years many individuals have switched parties and run for office. Several have not moved ideologically after party-switching. To Governor Crist’s credit his current policy positions have to be considered towards the left of the political spectrum. This might be a political calculation, but where he stands today is well within the Democratic mainstream.
  • Florida has never had a female Governor. The state has never seen a major party nominate a female candidate besides Alex Sink. This is despite the fact we have had a female US Senator and female cabinet officers.  These are shocking and sad indictments of the political culture in the state. Women and those who tend to back female candidates for office have every right to support Senator Rich openly. Doing so does not make them tacit allies of Governor Scott and the Republicans.
  • Those who say Nan Rich is running for Governor because she is being “put up by the Republicans” are just flat out off the mark, and it is unwise for those trying to have an elevated discussion to repeat these sorts of baseless allegations.

It is okay to be strongly and passionately for Governor Crist or Senator Rich. But the bomb throwing should stop. Ultimately in just over two weeks, Humpty Dumpty is going to have to be put back together and it will be a lot easier if folks were just civil with one another.

22 comments

  1. I think you will find that trying to stifle free-speech and control discourse is what every fascist overlord creates as structure. Not a smart set of rules.
    Nan Rich is a lifelong Democrat and a longtime leader of our party in Florida. Charlie Crist has said many negative things about other Democrats like Jim Davis in his past races. He lauded his toughness on crime as chain gang Charlie. If he would be taken seriously Crist would debate Nan Rich and let all primary voters see how the two measure up.

    But really, Florida Squeeze, giving participants a set of rules goes against all civil liberties and is the first step toward the kind of controlling structure we in the USA fought against in the 18th century.

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  2. Nan Rich has plenty of bad votes also. Not the number Crist does but enough. So please get off your high-horse. If anything this website has been too anti-Crist itself yet is being targeted by the crazies.

    Good piece by the way, Kartik. Another good one. You are killing it this week!

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  3. Civility has long been hard to find, and hate has been fueled by many that prosper from it. In order to get out from the Republican stronghold on the entire state, a stronghold that has caused such imbalance and devastation which has allowed for the blatant arrogance and corruption as we have never witnessed before, we cannot afford to keep doing it the same old way. It is apparent that the Democratic Party cannot beat the unlimited amounts of Koch brother money, and apparent that the voters are so partisan and really do believe the monied mantra and lies. The only way to get back some checks and balances and try to correct the selling out of this state is not to play politics as usual. A candidate that can upset this Republican apple cart is NECESSARY and absolutely time critical. So playing nice to someone that really cannot win, that is futile and not going to help at all. It is the time to take the bull by the horns. Not placate. One would have hoped that the candidate with such little chance would get the ego out of the campaign and do what is right for all the people of this state. But in politics, heads are far bigger, thus the lousy outcomes and the incredible demise of the very precious “checks and balances” we so desperately need. What a shame. If we continue this path, we are surely going to have much more of the same.

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    1. Now as a Crist supporter and vocal proponent, you have the nerve to call Senator Rich egotistical and big headed. Taking the traits of yourself and your candidate and applying them to Nan Rich, the best intentioned and lifelong loyal Democrat, is something I would attribute to Republican tactics. Sorry Kartik but when ignorance and bad intensions are spouted, I will call it the way it is.

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    2. Dems in Action · · Reply

      Where’s the checks and balances? I should I should put my values aside and vote for a republican is sheep’s clothing or a real democrat.

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  4. Maybe if we had two democrats running it would be different. But the FDP elites and corporate donors have all thrown in with Crist. So those of us who are true Demos without the $$$ of the party must fight back and social media and the blog are the best ways.

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    1. Susan McGrath · · Reply

      If you’re worried that your candidate is behind, blogging and fb aren’t getting any votes.

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    2. Richard Block · · Reply

      We do have two Democrats running!

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  5. Another great column. You are spot on about the need to be civil.

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  6. Very well said!

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  7. J. Scott Gaillard · · Reply

    How dare you call for civility? Clearly you are a fascist Kartik. More seriously, I think you have a factual error in that the Democratic Party nominated, or at least voted for Alex Sink, to run for Governor last time – not that I’m a fan of identity politics.

    There is nothing I dislike about Nan Rich. She’s very personable, has great knowledge about the issues and, although left of me, would certainly be a better Governor than Jeb or Scott. However, Crist can win. Many will say that shouldn’t matter; but it does. I wish Rich had more name ID, money and was a more dynamic speaker. I wished Alex Sink was too. But, they are not.

    Do I have concerns about Crist? You bet. If you have followed state politics for more than 10 years, it’s difficult not to. But, he can win. After 16 years of the GOP/Tea Party/Koch Brothers using the state of Florida as their ideological detri dish, I have had enough and I want a Florida native (not a deal breaker, but it would be welcome change).

    Although Crist started out as a far right ideologue I have to recognize that he has been moving to the left of years and was a far better, and less ideological, Governor than Scott or Jeb.

    I too hope we will eventually be able to rally behind the nominee, whomever it is. Like the admonition of Ben Franklin, if we don’t hang together we will let Rick Scott hang the state of Florida out to dry for another 4 years.

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    1. Although I disagree with the premiss that Charlie has a better chance of beating Scott than Nan does, it is a reasonable explanation for a debate. Unfortunately his supporters, like Charlie , refuse to debate issues.

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      1. Broward Bob · ·

        in two weeks you can put your rick scott blouse back on josie.

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  8. POed with the Democrats · · Reply

    Crist supporters act entitled.

    This well-thought out article of yours will not change the behavior of them.

    At the risk of being deleted and blacklisted I write the following.

    Kartik,

    Why don’t you start with your own writers. I do not read article here under the names “Katy Burnett” or “Justin Snyder.” If it says “Kartik Krishnaiyer” or “The Florida Squeeze” I click on it. I am not the only one. Your writers have been nasty and personally viscous towards Nan’s supporters. The writing is bitter and personal at times.

    You may be able to regulate what they say here but on Facebook they are out of control.

    The brand of this website is being ruined by your junior writers. They are being nasty and trollish on Twitter/Facebook. They write with a degree of immaturity here.

    Think about it.

    Fed Up Reader

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    1. I am tending this way as well. At times this has seemed to be a CC site.

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  9. an observer · · Reply

    Unfortunately it seems that the nature of a political campaign today is built on negatives. The end result is that rarely do we know what positive positions the candidate holds. We hear a drumbeat of the multitude of negatives however it is almost a divine act to see positive statements put forth. The end result is the winner is carried to podium to be sworn in on a gurney bleeding from multiple wounds. Don’t tell what you are against, tell me positions you favor.

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  10. Richard Block · · Reply

    The bottom line is we must get rid of Rick Scott. I already sent in my primary ballot, and I hope the candidate I voted for wins. But, I will 100% support whoever wins. If you support Nan Rich, it’s because you feel that’s the best way to get rid of Rick Scott. If you support Charlie Crist, it’s because you feel that’s the best way to get rid of Rick Scott. If you vote for the Democratic nominee in November, that’s the best way to get rid of Rick Scott!

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  11. Tom Bryson · · Reply

    I got satisfaction from being on the receiving end of some unprofessional comments from Justin and Katy. They resorted to ridicule after I questioned the veracity of the Gravis Marketing internet poll they were citing.
    Politics is, and always has been a rough and often nasty game. Those that can’t handle it should stay away from it. Hats off for trying but I bet it’s an exercise in futility.

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  12. Tell Nan’s fans to get a grip on reality!

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    1. Nice try Kartyk.

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    2. Broward Bob · · Reply

      Reality will get a grip on them (except maybe Josie) when she gets less than 15% in the primary.

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  13. […] Kartik Krishnayer at The Florida Squeeze writes about the battle unfurling in the Democratic gubernatorial primary between supporters of former State Sen. Nan Rich (D-Broward County) and former Gov. Charlie Crist. It is a traditional “truce” article, calling for a recognition of differences between the two candidates while remembering that the goal is to defeat incumbent Gov. Rick Scott in the fall. I dunno, it is hard to understand why a progressive would support someone who was proud to be called Chain Gang Charlie during their tenure as Attorney General, and I fear that Crist will try to play on the Republicans’ turf during the final stretch of the campaign. As I have blogged before, that is not wise. Nan Rich will change the conversation, particularly around the growth of quality jobs. […]

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