This column reflects the views of Kartik Krishnaiyer and not other TFS writers or columnists
I had an interesting Twitter exchange with Matt Isbell, renowned Democratic numbers cruncher the other night (as a point I enjoy Isbell’s maps and will concede he was right about Jeremy Corbyn, and it hurts to admit that) . I have called out the Democrats in Florida (not the FDP itself it must be noted) including the community of Democrats particularly the consultants that have led this state toward one-party status. These consultants who make lots of money have continued to make the same mistakes over and over and used excuses to spin defeat after defeat while critically depriving Florida’s citizens of a true multi-party democracy.
Isbell impugned my motivations for calling out some people, claiming I wanted to work for the party. Well I did that over a decade ago and have not solicited political work in some time (I have however done work when approached by candidates or campaigns in the most recent election cycles) and have not wanted to work for the party again ever. My professional work is now almost entirely outside politics which I believed gave me the autonomy to call things out as needed because, I no longer need to lick the boots of Florida Democrats or brown nose them to make a living. I can call them out and have. My prognostications about them and concerns have all come to pass. They have once again failed, running far behind where they should have this cycle when compared to national trends.
But because I believe in accountability, Isbell’s thread struck a chord with me. I was dead wrong in advocating a direction for the party which has now created a culture lacking accountability and dependent on victimization.
Here are multiple places where I erred:
Antisemitism and the left
I’ve called out the left since the summer for engaging in antisemitism. Targeting groups like the Dream Defenders, identity politics driven white (non-Jewish) liberals and others, I have pointed out what is now obvious. The left has a growing problem, much like the right with antisemitism.
As an Indian-American it’s easy to note the most analogous geopolitical situation to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is the Indo-Kashmiri one. But the left in this state has never brought up the Indo-Kashmiri dispute because it defeats a narrative based largely around identity. I’ve pointed out I do not conflate antisemitism with views about Israel – I actually tend to be pro-Palestinian myself. HOWEVER, I have become wiser about when the Israeli-Palestinian issue is played by groups on the left who have little interest in foreign policy and realize it’s all part of a coded game to incite hatred and anger.
My mistake here was pushing an uncompromising view of geopolitics and ideology while decrying identity politics. The uncompromising view which blames the United States and west for everything leads very much to identity politics and by extension antisemitism. It also leads to a simple narrative that white people oppress brown and black peoples, and that any reversal of this is justified. It leads directly to loaded terms like apartheid being thrown around to describe Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, but far worse human rights situations being pushed by brown people being largely ignored by large portions of the American left.
Culpability by me goes even further – though I have used the term “nationalist” to describe myself, when President Trump used the term I hypocritically ran to align with the left and call the use of the term racist – in order to be accepted still by progressives. It’s not racist and we don’t need a charlatan like Emmanuel Macron to be the the arbiter of terminology.
The European left morphing into the American/Floridian left
The UK Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn whom I very recklessly advocated and defended have no clear plan other than to torpedo the UK economy in order to gain power. The handling of the Brexit situation by Labour has been borderline immoral as have been a number of other issues that have popped up recently. But until today, I have never once called out Corbyn or the Labour Party leadership despite my ties to the UK and following on Twitter from people in Britain.
Corbyn’s Labourites have also been a chief proponent of subtly clever antisemitism. The success of Corbyn’s movement in capturing the left and attacking elites was appealing to me. As was the anti-Macron movement in France. As noted above I believe President Macron is a dangerous charlatan who lacks the basic courage of his convictions to do anything worthwhile. I have even on Twitter defended Donald Trump from attacks initiated by Macron.
But the French left now is trying to undo Macron’s election by taking to the streets. I remain skeptical of Macron but fear the French left and the British left’s tactics are now being replicated in Florida. I’ve seen it on this site as cowardly anonymous comments have called me a racist for raising the public record about Andrew Gillum. I’ve traced the IP on some of these comments back to Miami-Dade and Orange Counties (nothing from Tallahassee importantly and maybe surprisingly for some) and realize it’s likely coming from active progressives or people close to them – the same people who are making money off of creating a feeding frenzy of identity politics and angry dissent.
But the lesson is that the American left is drifting into the same territory as the European left, pushing identity, victimization and entitlement as a political ideology. Actual governing is no longer of concern. The left’s hostility to Nancy Pelosi probably represents the last straw for me personally, an indication that a progressive ideology has now given way to anger and disdain of any personality that is tied to the establishment. We need to distinguish between the Pelosi’s and Bill Clinton’s or Emmanuel Macron’s of the world. Unfortunately large portions of the left seem unable to do this any longer.
Gillum and uncompromising progressives
On Mayor Andrew Gillum, I was quick to condemn his ethics as it appeared he might win the primary and advocate a vote for Gwen Graham or Philip Levine. But what I did not come clean about was that the movement behind Gillum, the “aggressive progressives” attacking any white moderate used this website for years as a place to galvanize opinion. For years, I echoed the uncompromising tone that was then echoed by surrogate groups backing Gillum. I similarly would call out moderates for ethical transgressions which were minor compared to what has been alleged publicly (and privately) regarding Mayor Gillum.
I sat by idly while some progressives created a narrative of false equivalency between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I also sat by while Gwen Graham was questioned by the left over the American Dream mega mall, a project she has nothing to do with.
I failed to either realize or call out that the most vocal progressives in the state would demonstrate an unwillingness to hold Gillum to the same ethical standard they no doubt would have held Graham, Levine or any Republican. It is also possible to claim this was due the uncompromising leftist tone, I pushed on this site. I’m sick to my stomach about this because I realize in retrospect, Gillum or any similar progressive can get away with anything among progressives so desperate for power and angry at the establishment while I myself have held the likes of Graham and Levine to a standard which is duplicitous.
Isbell taught me something important. If you’re going to throw stones, you better be ready to self-inflict some wounds to yourself. I do believe in accountability and have often called myself out on Twitter Thus, I am coming clean here.
It’s time to focus on governing the next two years and all the other things that make Florida a great place to live, work, travel around and raise a family. This site is attempting to diversify its content, away from being “aggressive progressives” and towards talking about Florida society and history in general.
AFTERWORD (MONDAY 10:45 AM EST): I STILL CONSIDER MYSELF A PROGRESSIVE AND WANT TO SEE SOCIALIST-STYLED PROGRAMS AND GOVERNACE IN THIS STATE AND NATION. HOWEVER UPON REFLECTION, STYLISTICALLY THE LEFT HAS GOTTEN AWAY FROM ACTUAL PROGRESSIVE ADVOCACY AND MORE PERSONALITY-BASED ANGER. I WANT TO SEE THAT CHANGE WHICH IS WHY I HAVE COME CLEAN ABOUT MY OWN CULPABILITY IN THAT DRIFT WHICH IS BAD FOR FLORIDA AND BAD FOR AMERICA.