Have you heard the saying that nothing is ever new? Well, in the case of Gwen Graham, that saying rings VERY true.
No, I’m not talking about the fact that Florida Democrats have run centrist candidates for governor and lost the last four times.
We are all aware of that fact.
McBride. Davis. Sink. Crist.
Lost. Lost. Lost. Lost.
I’m talking about the whole “my family has great name recognition that I get through osmosis, coupled with I’m chasing Republican votes, so I’m going to win” strategy.
McBride, Davis, Sink, and Crist didn’t have that “family name” thing going for them.
Jason Carter did.
Jason Carter is the grandson of President Jimmy Carter. As you know, President Carter was also the governor of Georgia.
Democrats rolled out the red carpet for Jason Carter.
Not only did they believe he was the “golden one” because he carried the Carter name and lineage. Jason Carter also played to Republicans.
He, just like Gwen Graham did when she ran for Congress, played to the gun crowd.
He thought he was the one who could get the Republican votes. So he chased them.
Albeit, Jason took it a bit further than Graham, and voted for the Safe Carry Protection Act, which allowed gun owners to carry guns into many public and private places. He was one to chase after what we consider now to be the Trump voters that Gwen Graham wants.
Carter wanted those votes so badly that he said he would NOT oppose the Sons of Confederate Veterans-backed license plates that had a picture of a confederate flag on it, if he were elected.
Now, I don’t think Gwen Graham would back that NOW, given all the latest controversy, nor do I think she would travel around singing her father Bob Graham’s song to be a “Graham Cracker Backer” while courting NASCAR voters, but that’s only because of the outcry against confederate monuments and the confederate flags.
If the outcry wasn’t there, you can bet that would be a part of Gwen Graham’s repertoire, just like her father’s “workdays.” After all, she’s repeating her father’s legacy, right?
To include the death penalty and all that went with it. (That disproportionately affects African Americans, by the way.)
Make no mistake, though. The Graham strategy is to chase Republican votes.
Why else would she be open to David Jolly as a running mate, even though she was forced to walk that back after a swift and severe backlash?
The reality is, she truly is VERY CONSERVATIVE. There isn’t anything progressive about her except the soup she might eat or the car insurance she might have.
Back to Jason Carter.
Even with his name, his connection to President Jimmy Carter, and the fact that Democrats laid out the red carpet for his candidacy, he lost.
52.7 percent to 44.9 percent.
Georgians didn’t want Republican-lite.
Democrats didn’t want it. Republicans didn’t want it.
Even if it came wrapped in a name and a legacy.
There will be no difference in Florida.
Even now, the ONLY reason Gwen Graham is as far as she is, is BECAUSE she is a Graham.
Be honest with yourselves. If her name were Gwen Smith, and she had two years of elected office experience, would anyone honestly give her the time of day?
Actually, if her name were Gwen Smith, she wouldn’t even have those two years of elected office experience, because “Daddy” won that race, she didn’t.
But just like Jason Carter won his position as a Georgia state senator before getting clocked in the gubernatorial race, that’s a big difference from winning the top spot in the entire state.
Pretending that what happened with Jason Carter won’t happen with Gwen Graham is foolish.
If she is the nominee, she WILL lose.
Leslie Wimes, a Sunshine State News columnist, is founder and president of Women on the Move and the Democratic African American Women Caucus, www.daawc.com. Follow Leslie on Twitter: @womenonthemove1
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