Tomorrow may be polling day in the Florida special election for House District 72, but for the Florida Democrats it is never too late to unfairly smear one of your opponents.
On Sunday Sarasota residents received an extremely controversial mailer trashing Republican James Buchanan for (apparently) not publicly condemning leading Democratic party donor Harvey Weinstein.
Democrats will be Democrats
In a mailer clearly identified as paid for by the Florida Democratic Party, James Buchanan is depicted wearing a tee-shirt with the faces of Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein, Republican President Donald Trump, and former Republican Florida state senator Jack Latvala (who resigned under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations at the end of 2017). Above these images the tee-shirt says, “BOYS WILL BE.”
The clear implication of the image is that, as a male candidate, James Buchanan is a boy like Weinstein, Trump, and Latvala. The Democratic candidate in the race, a woman named Margaret Good, is therefore a much better alternative.
And at the top of the mailer, just in case the unjustified smear was not already clear, it says, “James Buchanan will never stand up for women.”
Besides being grossly unfair to James Buchanan (of whom there are plenty of other criticisms to make, some appearing on this website), the mailer clearly ignores the fact that the Democrats were one of Harvey Weinstein’s biggest sources of power and prestige during the years he terrified and abused the young women of Hollywood. If being in the same party as a sexual predator is enough to disqualify a candidate, then both Buchanan and Good should be stepping down.
Florida Democrats attack…attacks?
With a refreshing lack of self-awareness, the reverse side of the mailer attacks James Buchanan for perpetuating a “culture that attacks” [sic].
The first-time politician is also attacked for being “more of the same in Tallahassee.” This in a mailer that was paid for by the Tallahassee-based Florida Democrats. Presumably Buchanan is “more of the same” in the sense that there are other men serving in the Florida legislature.
The mailer alleges, “He’ll never stand up to abusers like Jack Latvala, Harvey Weinstein, or Donald Trump, and he’ll never work to honestly end sexual harassment and abuse against women.”
Split infinitive aside, this is a very serious charge to levy against someone with no political track record, or any history of sexual misconduct. It is even more startling that the mailer was paid for by a supposedly reputable political organization like the Florida Democrats.
It is true that Buchanan has benefited from connections to the Trump White House. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared at an event in Sarasota. But by that standard pretty much any Republican or Democrat in the country could be accused of the same allegations the Florida Democrats are pointing at Buchanan.
Politics as usual
Whatever the results of tomorrow’s election, the Florida Democrats will come out of this campaign diminished in credibility. And arguably, diminished in their own humanity as well.
The mailer also clearly ignores the fact that there are two women running in tomorrow’s election. Libertarian Alison Foxall (like Good, not a boy) has been punching above her weight as a third party candidate this campaign. Tactics like this mailer from the Florida Democrats do not appear to be doing either of the two major parties any good.