This column represents the views of Kartik Krishnaiyer alone and no other writer affiliated with this site.
Florida already has a bad reputation for various reasons. Perhaps much of this owes itself to a national press that since the late 1990’s has been seemingly obsessive about anything related to the state. But another aspect of this is the state’s broken politics and the conveyor belt of low-caliber elected officials and political candidates that come from this state.
This year promised to be different, as two children of old Florida, Adam Putnam and Gwen Graham appeared to be the front-runners for their respective party nominations for Governor. But national politics overran Florida and left us with two major candidates, both so deeply flawed, it’s embarrassing, if you are truly an objective observer.
Let’s start with the GOP nominee Ron DeSantis. All Americans should appreciate DeSantis’ military service and his willingness to serve despite attending Ivy League schools. Too few of the elite in American society were willing to make sacrifices and choose to send working class people, disproportionately minorities off to war to fight and die in wars of choice, not necessity.
But moving beyond DeSantis’ military service and oft-touted educational accomplishments, he’s a clownish, empty suit. DeSantis has proven time and again in media interviews, candidate forums and debates he lacks the independent thought, quick reactions, or gravitas to lead this state. He’s proven time and again he cannot make consistent and cognitive policy arguments without demeaning or insulting the opposition. In many ways DeSantis is a lighter, more jovial version of his Florida Congressional colleague Matt Gaetz or even President Trump himself.
It’s been painful to watch DeSantis in this race. He is so clearly over his head, seemingly overwhelmed each and every day, it makes you wonder why GOP primary voters would be silly enough to have overwhelmingly rejected Putnam? Perhaps if they knew how questionable the Democratic nominee would be, they’d have acted differently?
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.
As we’ve said before, Gillum is a talented actor and he showed off his abilities in both recently televised debates. Going up against the feckless, ineffectual DeSantis it was no contest on style points. But Gillum still found the opportunity to look straight into the television cameras and speak dishonestly about multiple alleged ethical transgressions involving him without so much as blinking an eye. On a personal note, for me Gillum also plays the victim of racial plots too often for the liking of this progressive who also happens to be dark skinned.
What Gillum has successfully done is create a cult of personality around himself. This has been enabled by professional progressive groups desperate for power and the national media. Perhaps Gillum’s newfound celebrity and willingness to shift his views depending on audiences will serve Florida well with more pragmatic governing than has been on offing recently. What’s obvious is DeSantis would be a more immature version of Jeb Bush and Rick Scott and that is something Florida cannot afford. Can we afford Gillum? That’s for each individual to determine themselves.
That provides a good segue to the US Senate race which has proven more enlightened, even if the candidates themselves aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Having far more establishment and less flawed major party candidates has allowed a higher level of discourse though outside groups have poured into the state to muddy the waters. But the race still offers a very different vision of how to represent our state.
Bill Nelson’s record as a representative of this state in Congress is abundantly clear – he puts Florida’s interests first, and while he reliably votes with his party, he doesn’t emphasize ideological divisions or principles that divide us. His ideology is flexible enough to wear he can be pragmatic when it comes to protecting our state from the harm of those who do force ideology and narrow-minded talking points on us.
In contrast, Rick Scott isn’t an effective advocate for Florida and it’s difficult to envision him shifting into this role as a Senator. Florida is already represented by one ideologically-driven politicized figure and while Scott’s words and deeds are less offensive than Rubio’s (honestly, whose aren’t with the possible exception of Donald Trump and Matt Gaetz?) his advocacy for the state is likely to come with ideological considerations more than Nelson’s does.
Scott claims to have advocated to bring jobs to Florida, but his policies particularly on education have cost the state. The state besides all of the Governor’s big talk hasn’t attracted the type of professional jobs or companies here in his tenure that state’s governed by similarly ideologically inclined Republicans (like Texas or Georgia) have attracted.
This points to Scott despite his propaganda being a failed advocate for the state. While Scott has tried with Enterprise Florida and various tax abatement schemes his unwillingness to bend on ideology had made the state even more so than before the repository for low-paying jobs, anti-intellectual
Nelson, unlike the Republicans who have contributed to the ruining this state from an environmental perspective has placed in many cases the needs of Florida’s fragile ecosystem over short term commercial concerns. Senator Nelson been one of the few members of our delegation to receive 100% score from the League of Conservation voters.
Nelson has stood strongly on protecting Florida’s water supply and preventing offshore drilling, as well as drilling on federal lands within Florida. As time has moved on he has moved to the left on every practical issue that effects the quality of life for Floridians, and has become a reliable partisan vote on almost every hot-button issue of the day.
Senator Nelson understands Florida, and while he’s not perfect few if anyone is better versed on what this state once was and could be once again. Nelson represents a throwback of sorts to better days in Florida, a time of progressive yet consensus driven problem-solving governance. Florida NEEDS to return him to the US Senate.
I don’t know much about the reform nominee but do like Nancy Argenziano, the LG nominee. She was a good legislator and member of the PSC.
Are you the one that spewed all that unsubstantiated gossip to The NY Times that they published on Gillum?
I hate to agree with Trump but The NY Times like this site are definitely failing based on how you people took Hamilton tickets and made it into a scandal.
This critique is about a lot more than Hamilton Tickets though that become a convenient talking point largely thanks to DeSantis own incompetence and reliance on planned canned lines.
I’d like more people to focus on the Scott critique. Even by the standards of other Republicans who tout the “magic” of tax cuts and a “business friendly environment,” he’s failed. Maybe he just doesn’t have the personality or intangibles required to make a difference for this state even when he tries. I’d argue tax cuts don’t work especially if you neglect education and culture as he and the GOP have, turning this state into a gutter.
You uppity Uncle Tom.
If you understood ANYTHING about race you would know Gillum has been subject to almost constant racial persecution.
Your claims constantly that somehow rich white privledged Jews are persecuted are all part of your effort to downplay real racism.
If Gillum were white all these things you and Politico with that hack Dixon and the Times accuse him of wouldn’t matter. The FBI wouldn’t have wasted tax money to try and entrap him if he were white. He would not have to work constantly to support his family and take risks with lobbyists if he were a white politician.
When DeSantis and his racist goons come for your brown ass don’t ask us for help. When they came for me you helped them so when they come for you don’t expect any help or sympathy.
Fuck off and fucking go away.
And I suppose this in itself isn’t racist?
The rest of your posting deserves no reply from me.
You corrupt ASSHOLE!
You take money from the Republicans and Trump.
For years you’ve used this site to attack Democrats and progressives. You’ve worked to undermine party unity and harmony.
Gillum is not an FBI target but this lie that you repeated and pushed into more credible media like Politico and the out of state New York Times was some at the behest of your masters, whether they are at RPOF or in Moscow.
We have a chance to stick it to the fascists and you side with them.
Your post on the Dream Defenders was sickening. No one cares about the obscure countries you said they should target.
Figured you’d like Nelson. He’s basically a Republican anyway.
Goodbye you soulless racist hack.
I’m a progressive who voted for Gillum and too wish Kartik didn’t write this.
But to pretend there is anything but truth in this piece and then hiding behind race is showing how narrowly focused the identity politics of the left has made us.
We can do better. I hope that Andy whom I like but know is what Kartik describes grows into a more responsible leader.
He has the potential and people grow. But he has to this point surrounded himself with some bad influencers while denying responsibility for association with them.
Part of the reason I wrote what I did about him (and DeSantis) is that when either becomes Governor (far more likely Gillum per our modeling this AM) they will do better than the gutter styled campaign and immature looking public food fights we’ve had.
The NY Times I am sure was digging into Gillum long before Kartik started writing on this.
Nelson a republican? Check his voting record out!
Right I find the claims that I could have pushed these stories on Politico and NY Times just laughable.
This having been said, our site is read by some writers at major publications so they would have seen us link back to their work, etc.
I’ve taken no money from any Republican even running for non-partisan office at any time in the last decade.
The Dream Defenders thing was about antisemitism a serious and growing threat in this country. History should guide our thinking on this not convenient political alliances.
As for obscure countries, China, India, Saudi Arabia, etc are obscure? Okay then by that standard the US is obscure…
That’s why the GOP has spent tons of money and resources for years trying to tear down the one elected official who stood in the way of them turning this into a one party state. Check his voting record out if you are so sure he’s a Republican.
Write in Gwen Graham or Phil Levine you dumb fuck .
Only you’d give a shit what he said about Nicaragua.
He’s fighting the fascists here and there.
Nicaragua’s government is a left-wing one and it is the right led by Rubio and Bolton who keep attacking them.
I am not defending Ortega (or Maduro) but found it odd Gillum called them out without saying much about the potential return of right wing fascism and militarism in Latin America. Of course those right wingers are pro-American so let’s all rejoice and celebrate them. The leftists are anti-American, collude with Putin and China so let’s rip them to shreds.
In my neighborhood, Gillum & Nelson are dead meat – so sad!
Even as a Gillum voter I acknowledge Kartik makes a valid and constructive argument.
Big question for all here to ponder is if KK continues his Gillum critique when as Governor, Andy attacks Rubio whom Krishnaiyer has something bordering on an obsessive diabolical hatred for?
Think about it!
It’s not diabolical, I just detest what he is and what he represents. 🙂
The so-called professional left you keep referring to without naming names is responsible for Gillum. They pushed him over the top.
We need a Democratic Governor so I voted for him.
But you’re not at all off the mark on him. He’s devious to a fault.
At the risk of sounding conspiratorial and Trumpish I name names. George Soros, Tom Steyer, Collective PAC, Our Revolution, Forward Florida, Dream Defenders, Organize Florida and SEIU.
We’ve run a piece on the Dream Defenders for those who missed it:
This takedown of Scott and his record is really effective. Shame you sought to placate the racists including black hating law enforcement officers. You repeat unsubstantiated lies and imply you know the truth saying Gillum lied on TV. How do you know Adam
Corey a criminal did not forge documents to get attention and hurt Gillum?
But why should we expect better from you than the hacks at Politico, Tje Tampa Bay Times and New York Times? Everyone is so eager to tear him down. It is disappointing you joined this lynch mob given your own previous good work but being seen as media and a”credible ” analyst I guess demands you cow tow to the views of so-called journalists and racist “heroes” in law enforcement.
During his campaign both against Gwen and DeSantis, Gillum has made star-studded racial victimization his calling card.
As a liberal I voted for him. Though I am under no illusions as to what he is.
That Kartik whose credentials are well known as both a flak and a writer is being called a racist by some of you shows how effective Gillum has been at creating a mob mentality on this issue.
RWJ, don’t know who you are but appreciate the maturity of this response.
By the way I did not advocate people vote for DeSantis or even against Gillum but made a case and said people should make up their own mind. I did advocate a vote against DeSantis.
I am not sure how you live with yourself making a false equivalence between a fascist and someone persecuted for being successful and inspirational while being black.
Gillum has been entrapped by white lobbyists, chased by white FBI agents and persecuted by a white media.
Phony liberals who won’t give up power and want to keep us on the plantation.
They’ve found a willing brown accomplice in you.
Kartik is like PLEASE PLEASE accept me whitey rightey ! I’ll slander and lie about an N**** who is Mayor of Tallahassee to win your acceptance!
Being a progressive who is also African-American.
Trump, fascists, the FBI and media will go to any length to frame him.
But the people will prevail over all this tomorrow!!!
The same site whose writers whine about identity politics and get angry about minority hiring by prog orgs being racist a/b Gillum???
Echoing the racist themes of DeSantis and his KKK backers doesn’t make you any less brown, Kartik.
You will have these racist attacks on Gillum on your conscience the rest of your life. They define who you are. A person willing to sacrifice principle and your kind for a few likes from right wing republicans with money.
Fuck off and go away. Some friendly advice.
It’s funny how no one is actually addressing Krishnaiyer’s claims or discussing his views on the other candidates mentioned here.