Progressives might just win the Governorship while losing the movement’s soul in the process

Governors Mansion, By Tim Ross – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2990291

Editors Note: A full appendix of links related to this article and Mayor Gillum can be found at the conclusion of the article. 

Florida progressives celebrated loudly Tuesday night with Mayor Andrew Gillum’s nomination for Governor. The late spending on behalf of Gillum by several independent groups that refer to themselves as progressives was the difference maker. For once the establishment had been humbled at hands of progressive insurgents, even if those insurgents were largely mainstream-aligned “professional left” groups.

Mayor Gillum’s victory was one of the greatest wins nationally for the progressive movement we’ve been told. The problem is Gillum isn’t a progressive, at least by my definition and it’s not because he supported Secretary Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary. It’s because as someone who has been in public office his entire adult life, entirely too many questions about how he’s used those offices to benefit himself, his family, lobbyists and his political cronies exist. It’s not just one or two incidents, but a clear pattern of behavior.

While Mayor Gillum’s only acknowledgment of these issues is to claim he’s not under (direct) FBI investigation, the reality as evidenced by the links from major newspapers and websites at the bottom of this article is that a federal investigation is ongoing regarding Tallahassee city government and that Gillum isn’t far from the various centers of action. Furthermore, other troubling aspects of Mayor Gillum’s history seem to lend at least some credence to the idea that he’s not the most earnest public servant. Some of these issues are also described in the below links.

Ethics and transparency are progressive values

If Mayor Gillum addressed or cleared up some of these questions in a public fashion, those concerned about abuse of power, such as myself, would give him full marks and happily support him. Given that the GOP has run Florida for two decades based around the wills of right-wing think tanks, corporations and lobbyists, a change is needed. But based on Gillum’s own record as an officeholder, it’s hard to see how he provides that needed shift.

Progressivism, as I have been reared in, isn’t just about advocating for universal health care, a living wage, reproductive rights or clean air and water. It is also advocating for and practicing clean and transparent government that checks the influence of lobbyists and ends the practice of cronyism that Republicans have been so happy to make a fundamental part of politics in this state.

Those who’ve spent any time in the city of Tallahassee or around state politics realize the potential for corruption that surrounds city government in the capital city. This is not something I’d expect those who haven’t spent the time in Tallahassee that I have for instance over the last two decades to fully comprehend. I understand why progressive activists in other parts of the state or country may not fully grasp the extent of Gillum’s alleged transgressions, or the culture you must buy into to advance politically in Tallahassee city politics. This is also true of the Democratic Party politics of Leon County which for all intents and purposes is a one-party county.

One glaring problem with the Gillum nomination and reaction is that many of the same people who drone on about Republican officeholders and corruption are giving the Tallahassee Mayor a complete pass. The presumption of innocence (or blissful ignorance) is applied to someone on “our team,” while the presumption of guilt is applied to those on the other team. This is because most Democrats associated with the professional left- political consultants, heads of activist organizations, labor unions and the like are so desperate to obtain power in the state, they are willing to make any sort of faustian bargain to do so. They preach morality when it suits them, such as the highly-justified and credible attacks on President Trump and Governor Scott, but plead ignorance when it comes to their own house.

It’s important that we as progressives maintain consistency when it comes to ethics, abuses of public office and the sewer that has become the corruption of American Democracy. It’s also important that as progressives we oppose tribalism. This means we must stop treating political factions and parties like sports teams or college fraternities that we blindly cheer on and attack the opponents of.

I’ve experienced this tribalism. I’ve been called a Russian bot, a racist, and a Republican plant among other things by active Democrats cheering on “our team”. Because of this attitude, I’ve decided not to continue working for Democratic candidates until the attitude changes. I’ll take on causes and comment on politics from outside the bubble for the foreseeable future.

The Faustian Bargain

Many Florida progressives have made a Faustian bargain. They might gain the Governorship–in fact it seems likely if voters remain unconcerned with Gillum’s ethics. So progressives and the Democratic establishment will have what they want: someone willing to empower political cronies, lobbyists and those who want to suck-up to power. That’s the clear pattern of what happened in the City of Tallahassee and we have no reason to believe that Governorship will prove anything more than just a larger arena for graft, cronyism and common back-scratching.

It is entirely possible that those who make a living off politics and causes on the left are fundamentally identical to those who make a living doing the same on the right. They want access to power, they want their names in the newspaper, they want to attend cocktail parties and boast about how close they are to those making important decisions. They may preach different mantras, but perhaps based on what we observe, they are in fact, one in the same.

So many in the Democratic Party and activist progressives will argue the policy agenda a Gillum governorship would promote is more important than any of what is discussed above. But how exactly is that different than those Republicans who have made a similar faustian bargain with Donald Trump in order to pack the Supreme Court and cut taxes on the wealthy?

The number of #NeverTrumpers on the right did encourage me that we’d see a similar questioning of Gillum’s nomination this week. But Florida’s Democrats, powerless and irrelevant for two decades have lost any sense of how to exercise proper leverage regularly in the legislative process. They just want to win at any cost. Thanks to Trump’s troubles, they seem likely to win this November.

While the Trump and Gillum situations aren’t completely analogous–Trump is a brutish failed businessman, whereas Gillum has spent his entire life in public office and has on the surface a core set of guiding principles–they aren’t as dissimilar as many reading this would likely claim.

Short-term gain versus a long-term loss of credibility 

The long-term cost for such desperation to obtain power is diluting legitimate critiques against Trump and the GOP. Embracing a nominee that is not that far removed from being the target of a federal investigation, is more than a few steps beyond bothersome. But when you add in the other suspicious behavior surrounding Gillum, progressives’ credibility in future critiques of the other side seem impossible to make.

Progressives seem oblivious to any familiar description of what power really is. Progressive power isn’t a mirror image of conservative power wielded by different people. Clintonianism and Third Way politics have clearly proven to undermine progressivism.

Progressive power is transformative. It gives power back to the people, rather than a set of professional left proxies, or lobbyists and political cronies.

The bottom line is if similar allegations and a pattern of behavior which includes alleged abuses of public office and public trust were tied to a Republican or even a conservative Democrat, progressives would scream like mad. We’d rightly hear about how the GOP has officeholders that abuse their offices, empower lobbyists and make poor decisions that aren’t in the public interests when surrounded by cronies or those seeking favors.

On the national level, we’ve seen Democrats excuse or cover-up sexual harassment claims when it suits their purposes. We’ve seen Democrats attack and shame those who call out powerful men for sexual harassment. We’ve seen Democrats rally around the flag to defend other prominent officeholders who have ethical transgressions. But from where I sit the Gillum conundrum represents a tipping-point, a clear sign that partisans and professional left activists in Florida are willing to throw-in with anyone who parrots their talking points in order to gain power and systematically deny there is any “there, there” . It’s a reality that has left me and those who think like I do, ill-at-ease with this party and the progressive movement in general.

The need to regain power at all costs and to have access to the levers of state government has put Florida’s Democrats and the professionals who benefit from the party in the same sort of desperate win at-all-costs position at the national Democrats were in the early 1990’s after years of Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush. What that led to was a dumbing down of the progressive message and leftist politics during the Clinton years that we are still fighting to climb out from.

While accurately attacking the culture of cronyism and corruption that has beset the halls of power in Tallahassee for the last two decades, Florida’s Democrats have forgotten they have a moral obligation to push back against a culture of cronyism, corruption and a general lack of transparency in public service. It’s an unfortunate place we sit today, but because of the choices that have made and the failure of anyone with a prominent voice within the Florida Democratic Party and its associated allied circles to take a stand, I cannot support this nominee at this time.

Let’s hope in the coming weeks, when the gravity of what is at stake hits progressives, the better angels of our nature and that of the Democrats Gubernatorial nominee step forward.

Further reading:

Gillum’s gray area emails mixing professional and political work

Andrew Gillum shocked Florida with primary win but FBI inquiry hangs over his campaign. 

Gillum’s brother paid by undercover FBI agents posing as developers. 

Dark money, Coal plant support, An FBI probe, progressives love Gillum anyway

Gillum scheduled meeting with undercover FBI agents during foreign trip with lobbyists

Gillum failed to disclose more than $400k in mortgage debts

Connections between solar company targeted by the FBI and Gillum campaign

Gillum campaign paid rent to his new PR firm

Gillum support of Adam Corey restaurant project

Gillum spends city tax money on voter information from Democratic vendor

(Gillum was cleared by a Grand Jury on this, but it’s still incredibly sloppy that he made this mistake to begin with)

Gillum took boat ride in NYC with undercover FBI agent

Shell game shows how Adam Corey (Gillum’s treasurer) profited off land deal with city

As a city commissioner Gillum supported the building of a coal plant (he eventually turned against it)

Florida Democratic activists love Andrew Gillum – they seem oblivious to the dark cloud hanging over him

Gillum paid by PR firm with no website, Twitter or Facebook account. Apparently no clients either

48 comments

  1. Come clean and admit you’re a Republican operative that’s been sent here to undermine us.

    I’d respect you a lot more if you came clean and admitted they’re depositing $$$ for in some phony account. Probably Russian money.

  2. So DeSantis is better???

    Not one of the allegations has been proven.

    Most of the articles you cite were pushed by republicans on hack bloggers or inexperienced junior newspaper writers.

    No one with any shred of credibility had repeated any of these lies.

    Except you

    But now you have no credibility.

    It’s obvious you’ve become a tool.

    Goodbye and good riddance you talentless paid shill.

    1. He’s being paid by the republicans.

      It’ll all come out in time.

      1. I’ve never accepted a dime for this site from anyone associated with the GOP. Ever.

    2. No one with any shred of credibility had repeated any of these lies.

      Like this NY Times piece from earlier today

      Written by one of the most experienced writers about Florida Government…

  3. I wish you wouldn’t write this now because it gives the GOP ammo.

    But you’re not off base. It was true a year ago also.

    Gillum should come clean.

    But why didn’t you write this a year ago?

    He was dirty then. For longest time most of us in the know thought he’d drop out because of these serious allegations.

    But now he is our nominee. Embrace him and try and engage him so he changes. That is my advice.

    1. I have to concede this point. Privately many of you who read this blog who know me remember I was concerned about Gillum a year ago and talking about these things. But like you, I assumed he’d drop out. I thought before session he would. Yeah maybe I should have written this in May or June just as people began paying attention to the race. I can’t really explain why I didn’t – I got back from England last Saturday, heard from everyone that Gillum was surging and might win. That’s when I decided that I needed to speak up. You’re right to call me out on this. I should have sooner.

      1. Putin’s boyfriend · ·

        Stop conceding anything. Your points are valid. Nobody thought Florida Democrats would be this stupid.

  4. A Florida Democrat · · Reply

    Back him please.

    Though you’re not wrong.

    The progressives are hypocrites.

    All those Bernie Bros who said Hillary was corrupt yet openly backed Gillum.

    If Graham had been nominated we’d have none of these issues ever.

    Thanks to Bernie Sanders and the hypocrites in the “movement” YOU HAVE PROMOTED we are now here.

    I wish you’d delete this post. But every word you’ve written is accurate.

    The professional left agitators are ruining the parry.

    I am glad you finally see them for what they are.

    Did your hatred of Graham and certain consultants stop you from writing this when you should have?????

    I bet you regret that now!

    1. Read my reply to Jeff. Thanks.

    2. Yes, in retrospect I would have gotten over Graham winning the nomination and no doubt ended up campaigning for her after giving it a few weeks. But this is totally different. Gillum needs to handle this IMO.

      I also regret writing those pieces about the need for a progressive nominee in the past given I knew Gillum was questionable ethically. I thought it would either A) Lead to progressives backing Levine or B) Graham embracing those progressive groups and making an accord with them. Instead it led to C) Bernie Sanders and the movement making common cause with the professional left (Hillary backers) to nominate an ethically questionable individual in Gillum. Not what I had anticipated. I made a mistake.

  5. Man the conspiracy nuts are out.

    I’m voting for Gillum. Reluctantly.

    Kartik is right. He needs to speak up and address this.

    I voted for Gwen even as a progressive. Why?

    The
    FBI
    Stupid

  6. Concerned Democrat · · Reply

    Like Terry, I too voted for Gwen Graham to be the first woman Governor of Florida because I’ve known the Graham family since Governor Bob Graham was first elected and he was Progressive when Progressive was not a bad name.

    And although I will vote for Gillum because the alternative is Trump Jr, I have seen the Republican machine and money and the power they have to destroy every Democratic candidate we have put up in the last 20 years: Jim Davis, Bill McBride, Alex Sink were not destroyed, to what the “Liberal Progressives” would have you to believe, because they were too moderate, or too centrist, or too “progressive light”, they were all destroyed because of all that money that they have at their disposal and they use that money to outspend the Democrats two and three to one on TV, and the ground game to point out any little pimple that our Democrats may have while at the same time promoting their candidates as the best thing since sliced bread.

    And that’s why everyone in Tallahassee I know who know the mayor know the Republican blitzkreig is on the way with all the baggage and foibles that every Floridian will soon know what they know and the FBI investigation is just the tip of the iceberg.

    So while all the top candidates were killing each other in a circular firing squad and allowed Gilliam to squeeze in while no one was paying attention…the real campaign is only the beginning…and it’s goibg to get very, very ugly!!!

    1. It says a lot about Graham that she didn’t use this stuff. If she had, she would have walked to the nomination. But the GOP and the media won’t be so kind. Nor will I, though I actually HATED writing both these pieces about Gillum but it has to be said.

  7. Concerned Democrat · · Reply

    Oh and by the way you Progressives better listen up to Kartik because the the Tallahassee swamp machine and political operation is alive and well running and pulling the Andrew Gillum strings…don’t believe me? Well guess who one of the main consultants behind the Gillum machine is? Scott Arceneaux! Yes that Scott Arceneau…who dragged the Florida Democratic Party through it’s worse years of losses to the Governor and cabinet….and wasted and spent millions of the FDP’s hard earned monies to his out of state buddy consultants who couldn’t find Florida on a map and we suffered untold losses while the FDP consultants got richer as the stupid grassroots liberal progressives got poorer and the losses kept getting bigger…wake up Progressives and get your heads out of your butts cause the end is near and the day of reckoning with your candidate Gillum is coming!!!

    1. Arceneaux is a good progressive but one that’s gone 0 for 8 in Governors/Cabinet races. He does know how to influence primaries though which I suppose is his main utility.

  8. The people have spoken and Gwen and I will back Gillum to the hilt. It’s time to unite and take back our government. We will deal with any problems later. That’s the difference between R’s and D’s. R’s will do whatever it takes. D’s demand perfection. Let’s win this and stop the Trump, Scott, and DeSantis trainwreck before it’s too late.

    1. I’d say we are doing whatever it takes here. That’s part of the point of the article. We’re not acting any differently than the R’s. Ethical issues are ethical issues irrespective of the candidates ideology or party.

  9. Democrat Myself · · Reply

    It’s laughable that people here are saying “you’re right!” But delete the post.

    Yes if da squeeze doesn’t write about it no one will know and the FBI will drop the case!

    Shame on you Kartik! You only wrote about this hours after The NY Times did! Both you and the Times are on the take.

    Nominating Gillum will be the biggest mistake the FDP had made in a long while. And it has nothing, zilch, nada to do with race!

    1. Yeah I find this so funny that people act as if it will just go away and no one will know if I don’t bring it up. And that any adherence to values or ideology makes you somehow a GOP operative.

  10. Ron Baldwin · · Reply

    My daughter and I saw five candidates. Three really rich guys, Andrew Gillum, and a nice Gwen Graham who could be another Alex Sink. We voted for Andrew. He is who he is, and doesn’t have the stink of Trump.

  11. Putin’s boyfriend · · Reply

    Let us hope he chooses a strong LG. Normally the LG does nothing. Really. Nothing. In this case there is a chance the LG will become Governor, although I believe Corey and Maddox will be the ones going to jail once the deal is done. But just in case a strong LG is needed. Isn’t it sad that I have to think that way?

    Oh, wait. Kartik, take down this article.

    Get your head out the sand people.

  12. All the remarks are focused on Gillum, when they should be focused on the role of corruption in our government. We have gone from a country where being an elected official was a public service to a country where being an elected official equates to power, with corruption assisting in the acquisition of power. Combine this with the ultra-partisan and ultra-ideological politics of our day, and we have created a culture of “well, as long as we get what we want”. We have moved away from the culture of responsible government (which many can argue was lost during Andrew Jackson) to a culture of cults, where the cult ideas or cult leaders can do no wrong. And as long as the “I get what I want” mentality continues, so will cultism in politics.

    1. Exactly Dave. I don’t understand why everyone is being so obstinate on this. It essentially shows clean and good government immune from outside interference and cronyism, what at least in theory what we have been fighting for the last 18 months doesn’t really matter to progs in Florida if it is inconvenient. People think I enjoy writing this, I don’t. I’ve been sick since I returned from England and realized this guy may get nominated. I don’t like writing this but have been similarly stunned by the attitude of progressives in this state. I am just simply at my wits end with this whole political thing and progressives in general because of Gillum and the attitudes toward holding him accountable the way we would a Republican or even a Gwen Graham-like corporate Dem.

  13. Come out of the clouds, put your feet on the ground, and get the GOP out of office before we lose the biosphere completely. It is utterly idiotic to let the perfect be the enemy of the good when life as we know it will only get much much worse if DeSantis wins, or any of his henchmen. Roll up your sleeves, people, we have work to do.

  14. Mike Coleman · · Reply

    It is always your prerogative to participate or not. And, this platform gives you the ability to highlight you current inclinations.

    Let’s look at the Governor’s race today. The choice is Andrew Gillum who espouses Democratic policies and ideals, remains a non millionaire after more than 15 years as an elected Office Holder (this fact at least hints Andrew Gillum isn’t in politics for self aggrandizement) and was chosen from a five candidate field in a primary election with the highest turnout (percentage and total votes) in more than a decade.

    His opposition, basically Ron DiSantis of the Republican Party, Reform Party candidates, one of them is a former Republican lawmaker,the other a serial candidate in many states and (I’m guessing a smattering of Write-In candidates)

    What does history of the Republican Party tell us about how they will proceed to elect Ron DiSantis?

    It tells us that controlling government is valuable and whatever they spend to win the election they will pay themselves back in tax breaks.

    First, who is Ron DiSantis ?

    We know he has tied his future to Donald Trump (anyone reading this who is still on the fence regarding Donald Trump’s character, style or vision of governing?)

    Mr DiSantis has been on FOX NEWS more than 100 times speaking up for Mr Trump but, so far, has displayed little knowledge of the challenges of Florida, it’s people or the geography,environment, or how it educates it’s children or what it takes to keep people healthy.

    Mr DiSantis beat a Floridian who at least knew Florida even though his governing philosophy was Conservative, tax adverse elitist, with full throated allegiance to the NRA.
    At least he knew Florida’s current conditions.

    Andrew Gillum grew up in Florida rising through the oppression of being both from a hard working economically challenged family and African American.
    Andrew Gillum story is another chapter of the Great American book of success.

    His story is one of making the best of the opportunities available to American Children that allow individuals with determination and grit to have dreams and with hard work and a little luck realize those dreams.

    Andrew Gillum’s experience has provided him with knowledge many of us do not posses.
    He has traversed the American Dream pathway that is ever narrowing due to Republican policies that benefit the tax adverse elitists at the expense of those who perform the services and deliver the goods, and make Florida and our nation work.
    Few Floridian’s at his level got there by taking Andrew’s path.

    We have the opportunity to change Florida’s direction and style of government in 2018.
    We must be prepared to have the discipline to work hard together to ensure Democrats win these elections.

    Answer these questions to yourself.

    Do we want to live in a state where Public Schools are replaced by Commercial Education?
    Do we want to see Stand Your Ground remain and possibly expand?
    Do we want to see more $9 per hour jobs being called “good wages”?
    Do we want to see more Red Tide?
    Do we want to see more Blue-Green algae?
    Do we want to see more Floridians bankrupt due to illness?
    Or
    Do we want to begin to put Florida on the long path to a better future?

    Andrew Gillum is an agent of change who must be elected.
    Bill Nelson must be reelected to keep a check on the White House’s radical Republican.
    We must elect Sean Shaw Attorney General.
    We must elect Jeremy Ring CFO.
    We must elect Nikki Fried Ag Commissioner.
    Together, these Democrats can begin to turn Florida toward a better future.
    Electing Democrats to our State Senate is essential and we can have a Dem majority Senate.
    We can elect more Democrats to US Congress and change our delegation to a Dem majority.
    We can improve our standing in the Florida House with more Democrats.

    Republican “one party rule” can become a thing of the past.

    When we do the above we have made great strides for Florida’s people.

    Purity of thought and action is an ideal and this opinion piece reflects the worst of what happens when reality collides with idealism.

    Contrast this Article’s concern for Andrew Gillum’s perceived shortcomings or being the Mayor of a City that the FBI has conducted a “sting type operation” that remains to be fleshed out to the public.
    Do the readers here think Republican’s would fail to support their Candidate based upon suspicions and speculation?

    We have a thrice married serial adulterer President who was elected with great help from Evangelical Christians.
    These are the same people and Ron DiSantis is from the same Party that just 30 years ago impeached a Democratic President for lying about an affair with a White House Intern.

    The Republican Gubernatorial Candidate backs that President’s actions to the hilt of his political sword.

    And we get articles like this from our side who perpetually bemoans Democrats don’t win because we don’t put more progressives on the ballot.

    We get one and he doesn’t like it, begins to fret and then as a last thought says “I should have written this article earlier, “mea culpa”.

    Democrats and every Independent Voter who wants change has to vote.

    1. I get a lot of this. And I agree. But I also believe long-term we lack the credibility needed to go after the corporate shills, the corrupt GOP that’s pillaged this state for two decades, the pols in pockets of lobbyists, etc if we don’t hold Gillum accountable. It’ll just show all we care about is “our team” winning. Politics is supposed to be about ideas and values, but ours are getting washed away in a desperation to win at all costs I fear.

      1. That is the problem as well….pick our side because the other side is worse. That is why we need multiple political parties.

      2. mike coleman · ·

        You have to elect them before you hold them accountable is my point.

      3. Gillum has been in elected office since 2003. That’s a long time. We are holding him accountable for alleged abuses of the office he’s held. I get what you’re saying but Gillum is an elected official with a far longer record than DeSantis, G. Graham, Levine, etc actually.

    2. Misha Carr · · Reply

      That’s what I want to hear Mike, right on, spot on. All this wringing of hands and worry talk pisses me off. All the crap about power. It’s not about the power, it’s about power in the wrong hands. For me it’s about the absolutely stark stark contrast between the republican’s agenda and the democrat’s. I hear all this moaning and reserve thrown in the same sentence with 20YEARS of republican control, and not much about the erosion of benefits for the citizenry. I cringe at the frailty ninnie talking about our own. We need to lock elbows and friggen win. Not for the sake of power, but for the good of the people. The contrast could not be clearer, and I thank you for laying it out so soberly.

  15. Let me know when you find that perfect candidate. You say that progressives are hypocrites for ‘droning on about Republican officeholders and corruption,’ which I suppose many do and so are as you say, but I can only speak for myself. Though my cynicism is somewhat tempered these days, I expect most politicians of both parties to practice cronyism if not outright corruption, so I do not complain about Republican corruption and cronyism, but instead their policies. By the same token, I imagine any Democratic politician will practice some form of cronyism and some corruption, though hopefully minimal. If they can do that and enact policies I support, I will work to elect them.

  16. Patrick J. Fowler · · Reply

    Kartik,
    What role might be that least likely to be desired by sentient beings in the US. The answer is the conscience of liberal progressives in politics. Thank you for giving it a good shot. To have such studied thoughts and not put them out for consideration would be a sin of omission.
    Don’t let the bastards grind you down. We need to be grounded in some bit of ethics other than success in a corrupt system if we are to create a better society.

    1. I appreciate that Patrick and I agree 100%.

  17. Herb Sheton · · Reply

    So I suppose from this writer that Gillum is found guilty before being proven innocent. This journalistic hack, and those like him, have helped to create the enormous mess we find ourselves, with a fake potus installed by Russians and nazicons, and the continuation of articles determined to slash and undermine any chances to take back our country from the fascist regime. This jerk should be thouroughly ashamed for giving a pass to the FBI indictments we are already witnessing against this fascist regime as he damns imperfect efforts by team blue to stem the ted tide of evil! Perhaps trump may do us a favor and send his gestapo ICE to deport this hack! We don’t need any more loud mouthed know-it-alls to aid the Russians, the nazicons, the republicans, the christian taliban, skinheads, and right wing nut job fascists to attack and denigrate the Democratic party, already crippled and suffering from the severe losses of the trump election. If this hack thinks he is doing service, why would he honestly think it wise to shoot himself in the foot in the tream blue boat? Or does he really intend to sink us all?

    1. You spent one sentence on Gillum and the rest on the Republicans. See, that is the problem.

  18. Gary Whittenberger · · Reply

    Katrick, I think your essay is so full of error that I could go on for pages in criticism. But I have neither the time nor energy to do that, so I will focus on just a few points here.

    You said “It’s an unfortunate place we sit today, but because of the choices that have made and the failure of anyone with a prominent voice within the Florida Democratic Party and its associated allied circles to take a stand, I cannot support this nominee at this time.”

    “Cannot support”? That’s pretty vague. You will not vote for Gillum? You will encourage others to not vote for Gillum? You will not write articles to encourage citizens to vote for Gillum? You will not send money to Gillum’s campaign? You will not campaign for Gillum? You will support DeSantis? You will not vote in the election? You will continue to write articles criticizing Gillum? You should be more specific about your intentions.

    Your position here sounds very similar to that of persons who voted for Bernie in the 2016 primaries but then stayed home or voted for a minor candidate in the general election. I read where about 15% of the Bernie supporters did this, and this kind of behavior was a HUGE mistake.

    You talk as though progressivism is a dichotomous variable when it isn’t. It is a continuous variable. Candidates, and even ordinary citizens, fall along a continuum on this aspect. Gillum is more progressive than Graham who is more progressive than DeSantis. The problem is that you vow not to support Gillum because he does not meet your definition of a pure progressive. I think this is an irrational and naive view.

    Has Gillum been convicted of any felonies? No. Has Gillum been proven to have committed any significant moral transgressions? No. You are encouraging people to act on innuendo, supposition, and lack of clear evidence. That in itself is not a progressive view. I will consider Gillum to be innocent until proven guilty. Now there is a progressive idea!

    Based on the information we have now, we must ask ourselves “Who is likely to be a better governor and act in the best interests of the common good of the people of Florida, Gillum or DeSantis?” Is there any doubt? If we answer “Gillum,” as we should, then we should support him – vote for him, send money to his campaign, write and speak in favor of him, and encourage others to do the same.

    A purist progressive attitude which leads progressives to not support the most progressive candidate in a race leads to losses. Just look who is the president of the United States!

    You should support Gillum, but after he is elected, you should be vigilant, critical, and challenging of him and his administration. Pressure him to embody progressive ideals and goals as he governs.

    I sincerely hope you change your mind and write articles to support Gillum over DeSantis in this important race for governor.

    1. Did we apply the innocent till proven guilty to Feeney, Dorworth, Sansom, and any number of other Republican elected officials in this state? No, and we were able to frame the GOP majority as corrupt and doing the bidding of special interests and cronies. I have several issues with Gillum, but for me it’s this simple.

      This is about more than trips to Costa Rica and NYC (though those are bad enough). It’s about a pattern of behavior where an elected official talks progressive but believes the rules don’t apply to him. If people though Hillary Clinton was questionable ethically when she NEVER abused her office for personal gain or those of her cronies, how when the information is presented to voters, which I assure you it will, do you think they’ll react. I’m not saying what I am saying out so some vendetta, because I like Gillum’s ideology or at least what he professes it to be. I’m genuinely concerned the progressive ideology is going to be compromised by this guy because while he is presumed innocent now, there is a lot of smoke around the city of Tallahassee and the people he has surrounded himself with for years aren’t the most reputable. Maybe he’s just a bad judge of character, but if he is then he needs to come clean and say he will do better in the future. How do we have credibility to go after the next Chris Dorworth or Tom Feeney if we give Gillum a pass?

      Our credibility to attack those who abuse power which is this Republican Legislature and various other GOP officeholders in the state is compromised if we circle the wagons here or maintain a presumption of innocence when let’s be honest, we don’t (nor should we) with cases of abuse of power than involve GOP elected’s.

      Ultimately would I prefer Gillum to DeSantis? Heck yeah, but again he needs to clean this up. Otherwise our movement will suffer long-term.

      Thanks.

      1. Gary Whittenberger · ·

        GW: Thank you for responding to my initial post.

        K: Did we apply the innocent till proven guilty to Feeney, Dorworth, Sansom, and any number of other Republican elected officials in this state? No, and we were able to frame the GOP majority as corrupt and doing the bidding of special interests and cronies. I have several issues with Gillum, but for me it’s this simple.

        GW: We progressives should treat all candidates alike and not use innuendo and rumor about alleged unethical behavior to lead us to not support a particular candidate. If some progressives did not follow this guideline in the past, then shame on them.

        K: This is about more than trips to Costa Rica and NYC (though those are bad enough). It’s about a pattern of behavior where an elected official talks progressive but believes the rules don’t apply to him.

        GW: That’s innuendo, Kartick. For me to take your objections to Gillum seriously you must present evidence that he was convicted of a felony or that he is guilty of one or more serious moral infractions. So far, I’m not seeing it.

        K: If people though Hillary Clinton was questionable ethically when she NEVER abused her office for personal gain or those of her cronies, how when the information is presented to voters, which I assure you it will, do you think they’ll react.

        GW: Hold her to the same standard.

        K: I’m not saying what I am saying out so some vendetta, because I like Gillum’s ideology or at least what he professes it to be. I’m genuinely concerned the progressive ideology is going to be compromised by this guy because while he is presumed innocent now, there is a lot of smoke around the city of Tallahassee and the people he has surrounded himself with for years aren’t the most reputable. Maybe he’s just a bad judge of character, but if he is then he needs to come clean and say he will do better in the future. How do we have credibility to go after the next Chris Dorworth or Tom Feeney if we give Gillum a pass?

        GW: We must make a choice between Gillum and DeSantis. If we predict that Gillum would be a better governor than DeSantis, then we must support Gillum with passion. Do you really predict that Gillum would be worse? We don’t get to pick perfect candidates!

        K: Our credibility to attack those who abuse power which is this Republican Legislature and various other GOP officeholders in the state is compromised if we circle the wagons here or maintain a presumption of innocence when let’s be honest, we don’t (nor should we) with cases of abuse of power than involve GOP elected’s.

        GW: Again, the solution is to use the same standard to evaluate them all.

        K: Ultimately would I prefer Gillum to DeSantis? Heck yeah, but again he needs to clean this up. Otherwise our movement will suffer long-term.

        GW: Well then, I suggest you passionately support him now, and when he is elected, keep a critical eye on him, as all progressives should.

  19. Ruth Ann Eaddy · · Reply

    This year of all years is the time to be a “yellow dog Democrat!” Get Real!

  20. Don’t fret Kartik, Gillum will lose, your article will help defeat him.

    Thank you, Wiseman

    1. My article isn’t meant to defeat him, quite the opposite – it’s meant to get him to be more accountable and less deceptive and therefore win. Look this may be new territory for voters but those around Florida Politics have known for years about some of the problems surrounding Gillum as an office holder and public servant. If he comes clean and pledges to be more transparent and honest in the future I think he can win. But he needs to do that. He’s made mistakes – plenty of them. Leadership and growing up require him to own these mistakes whether they were conscious or subconscious and step forward as a leader who is evolving. Now of course there is nothing in Gillum’s past history that indicates he’d do what I am asking, but it is my hope that being our nominee for Governor changes him positively in this regard.

    2. Gary Whittenberger · · Reply

      Kartik has the wrong view and intention about Gillum who may win despite Kartik.

      The poll I just heard about has Gillum at 50%, DeSantis at 47%, with 3% undecided. Very close race.

      Also, I made a long response which Kartik apparently censored.

      1. We don’t censor anything so I’ll have to check the spam folder to see if it went there.

        Gillum might win. That’s not the point. This isn’t about winning and losing. It’s about morality and ethics. How can we attack the Tom Feeney’s and Ray Sansom’s of the world if we permit the same in our house without saying anything?

      2. It was in the spam folder on page 3! Apologies, but something must have triggered it going there. I’ll read it and respond later. Thanks!

  21. https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/04/27/not-so-secret-society-raucous-student-election-spotlights-elite-burning-spear-group/543912002/

    No comments about his involvement in burning spear, the group which undermines any sense of fairness within FSU SGA?

  22. […] DeSantis shouldn’t be Governor. But should Andrew Gillum? Let’s start with Gillum’s political orientation. Is he a progressive socialist or a centrist neoliberal? An environmentalist or pro-development? Is he for universal health care or aligning with the insurance industry? Is he for or against making sugar clean up the Everglades? Is he a foreign policy hawk aka Marco Rubio on Latin America (supporting right-wing talking points and opposing left-wing governments) or more into consensus-building like President Obama was?  Well it entirely depends on whom Gillum is speaking to, what time of day it is and what day of the week it is. It also depends on which lobbyist, donor or activist is pulling his strings at the said time.  […]

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