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