On Leslie Wimes and Sunshine State News

I had no intention of continuing the discussion on Leslie Wimes and The Sunshine State News though now it has been forced out of me. The reference to Wimes and SSN was simply a passing part, one which I had believed was largely accepted by Democrats in a larger narrative about the current state of the FDP Chairs Race. Dwight Bullard shares the general ideology of this site and has been a champion for our causes in the legislature. That is why when the chairs race began I strongly defended him against establishment critiques.  

Since The Sunshine State News has hit with both barrels I do want to refer our readers and all Floridians to this excellent piece in The Daily Kos published last month which articulates much of the private conversations that we have had on the left for three years or so now about both SSN and Wimes. I’d also like to re-expose readers to my colleague Katy Burnett’s musings about Wimes from 2014.  It’s worth noting Sunshine State News unlike the indispensable Florida Politics hasn’t reached out to local and regional writers of all political stripes to balance opinions and give differing perspectives on the website. That of course is SSN’s prerogative. They do an excellent job for the audience they serve and the ideological allies they maintain. In fact they might serve as the proper model from the right for a good liberal website, be it this one or another site with a progressive perspective. As liberals know, we can learn a great deal from the way conservatives operate in the media. 

It’s also worth noting Wimes attempts to charter a caucus within the FDP were rejected – I have no dog in that fight and feel it would be best to engage as many voices and African-American women’s leaders as possible. Internal Democratic Party personality conflicts should bore our readers and rank-in-file Democrats across the state. These conflicts continue to flare up and have made the state party and many local DEC’s more about personalities than any sort of ideology or action agenda. This needs to change if Democrats will ever be relevant again in this state. I understand an instinct of some in the party to back any angry dog who might be on the same side as they are in a personality-fueled party election or dispute. However, I would note that angry dogs don’t differentiate and personality-based conflicts often lead to easily shifting alliances and frayed personal relationships in the future.

When I speak to many Democrats across the state about Wimes they feel she’s more a media and television/radio creation than actual activist or leader. Leadership can start at the media level if such an individual is attractive enough to gain a massive following – Donald Trump proved that it is a viable political and electoral strategy in 2016. Whether Wimes can repeat Trump’s success within the Florida Democratic Party remains in question – perhaps she will and we will all be better for it, or maybe she’ll simply fade away? Right now these and several other scenario’s are possible.

Readers and progressives can make up individual minds Wimes and SSN. I just felt it was necessary for these items to be aired.

Kartik Krishnaiyer

This piece reflects the personal opinions of Kartik Krishnaiyer and does not reflect on any other TFS writer or contributor

8 comments

  1. Millie Herrera · · Reply

    Leslie Wimes in my opinion is all about promoting Leslie Wimes. Period.

    Even progressives who initially worked with her to create the Democratic Black Women’s Caucus walked away because of her… let’s just say, “personality traits”. Now she is allowing herself to be used by the conservative SSN to beat up on Democrats, as if the GOP didn’t have a long record of corruption, backstabbing, illegal credit card spending by Crist, Rubio, etc. in Florida, to name a few!

    As I have said before, Senator Dwight Bullard championed proggressive issues and I don’t have a beef with his tenure as a legislator. He did fail to file campaign finance reports and has been fined, which was probably detrimental to his latest Senate bid. I voted for him in the primary and general elections, and asked many friends and neighbors to vote for him. I even called in on Spanish radio several times for interviews on his Senate race to dispel the negative campaigning against him.

    But he was an absent, disengaged, and ineffective Miami-Dade DEC chair and I don’t think he would make a good FDP chair. And this has nothing to do with the color of his skin! Yes, there is racism in the world and even in the Democratic Party, but I really don’t believe that to be the case in this situation. If he would gave been an effective Miami-Dade DEC chair, I and others would be the first to support him for FDP chair, but he wasn’t.

    The proof is in the pudding. Unfortunately, he could not raise the funds NOR mount a strong grassroots campaign for his own reelection, much less for the local party.

    Our Party needs to get back to act on our platform and stop being consultant-driven, mobilize the grassroots around our issues of social justice, equality and opportunity for all – starting TOMORROW January 1st – and elect more Democrats up and down the ballot. Anything else is noise.

  2. The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida once wrote a position statement on an amendment at the request of Sunshine State News. We will never do that again. Writing for SSN or even reading the site gives legitimacy to an organization that hurts Floridians by promoting Republican Party policies.

    Thank you, Kartik, for exposing SSN and their true mission.

    1. Thanks. Ultimately the SSN affiliation really undermines Leslie’s cause. I do think we need more African-American voices and figures in leadership. But SSN has a clear ideological bent and mission. Let’s not pretend otherwise. They do a GREAT job for the side they play on – the side that is a 180 degrees from us. I’m all for SSN representing conservative and Republican viewpoints and figures. How many Democrats look at FOX News, The Daily Caller, Newsmax or Rush Limbaugh as objective media sources? SSN is cut from the same cloth. I hope everyone reads that Kos piece and gets the jist of why I initially made a comment in a post that I thought was largely non-controversial. I honestly did not realize it would create this sort of furor and that those who are progressives but might have a specific bent in FDP politics would come after me. Perhaps that was naivety and judgement error on my part. Who knows, but I own my words and do believe everything I have written on this matter and have not done so for political reasons.

  3. Maybe best piece ever on this site.

    Bravo KK!

  4. Democratic Gal · · Reply

    Kartik –

    This is really disappointing. Every word you’ve said is true but what you’ve done by engaging is given Wimes and her trolling and race-baiting a further platform.

    You were right to call her and Sunshine State News out. You were correct to avoid further discussion or engagement for many days. But you now fell into a trap and she’s running wild again with allegations the last 24 hours thanks to this article.

    DO NOT FEED THE TROLL!

    1. I totally get that which is why I didn’t engage on Twitter or the site until SSN wrote a story. Nancy Smith’s article prompted me to respond. But I’m not planning on engaging any further unless events warrant. I could have been a whole lot nastier but just want to get some facts out there and let people make an informed decision. Balancing perspectives is important though conservatives like SSN’s columnists tend to be absolutists and we shouldn’t fall into that mode ourselves.

  5. Maxwell · · Reply

    What really bothers folks most about Leslie Wimes is that she was proven right.
    She said Hillary had trouble with the black vote in Florida ..and she did.

    Leslie Wimes may be a self-promoting wannabe-celeb ..but she certainly seems to understand what’s going on around her better than most are willing to admit.

    1. Millie Herrera · · Reply

      I wholeheartedly disagree with that premise. Hillary’s “problem” was that, as is being revealed more and more every day, there was a concerted underground smear campaign orchestrated by the Russian leaders to discredit her and suppress the vote with false information so they could help elect Trump.

      They were successful at stirring up long suppressed white supremacist sentiment with promises of “making this country white again”, and the Comey email “revelation” 11 days before election day sealed our fate by turning off Democrat voters who usually participate in Early Voting. All elections are about turnout. We had 3 million more votes, just not in states that mattered for the electoral college.

      I give no credence to what that sellout egotistical maniac says. I’m referring to LG, a mirror of Trump in our midst with her only goal being self promotion, ego strokes and total disregard for the truth.

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