After the primary, I considered placing garlic inside my mailbox to rid it of the smut left behind by those negative campaign mailers. During the primary season, I also watched as my neighbors walked to their mailbox – opened it up with fear and loathing and immediately dump them in their trashcans.
It was so nice when the primary was over and our mailboxes could return to normal. We, however, know those gruesome mailers will return because the local mayor’s election is May 16th.
Some people are still upset over those mailers and they have good reasons to be. Most of their candidates who lost were vilified, lied about and reframed as people they really are not. The Republican campaign consultants should have been called on the carpet by the GOP leadership for outright slanderous accusations — but they were not. In fact, we heard whatever we have to do to win…we will do it.
The GOP meeting got heated this week over those mailers and tactics. Name-calling was huge, tensions were high and some even wanted to “take it outside” but cool heads prevailed. No one was hurt except the hearts of those who felt betrayed by the party leadership.
The heated meeting wasn’t just because of the mailers. Many other incidents created anger within the party, such as:
· People who supported losing candidates were deemed the “Loser Caucus” online by campaign consultant Alexander Pantinakis. Alexander has been the center of controversy within the party due to how much money he was paid by the Duval GOP to manage campaigns. Some are concerned that those monies were used to pit Republicans against Republicans in the primary and that is absolutely against the rules of the party. A group of concerned REC members are demanding to see if indeed some of the money was used to do that. We will report on the findings when there is something to report.
· Then – some good people who are long-standing and conservative members of the Duval REC were accused of violating party rules on an online publication. Check it out here: https://flvoicenews.com/duval-rec-members-accused-of-violating-party-rules/ It appears some of them were supporting a Libertarian instead of a Republican, which supposedly goes against the party rules. If that’s the case, they may be asked to leave the party and we will report on that when more rises to the surface.
Here’s the interesting tie in – many of those on this “violation list” were some of those asking questions about the money Alexander Pantinakis received. That is a curious coincidence indeed.
With the upcoming Mayor’s race coming soon, the Republican Party must get their house in order. And, they can’t do it with bully tactics, name calling or shutting down dissent. Those tactics are what the Dems use and the Republican leaders are better than that.
Voter turnout was low in the primary and if these tactics keep going, it will remain low for the final election. People are exhausted and morale is low and that equates to low voter turnout. We can’t have a few voters elect the next Mayor.
Here are some potential strategies that party leaders can use to bring the local members of the RECs back together and rebuild trust and unity with the party.
1. Acknowledge the damage caused by the negative campaign: Party leaders should acknowledge the harm caused by the negative campaign and recognize the concerns and frustrations of local members of the REC. By showing empathy and understanding, party leaders can help to build bridges and foster a sense of unity and common purpose within the party.
2. Be transparent: If there is any concern about how money is being spent, open the books. That’s what we want our city to do and the party should do the same.
3. Focus on shared values and goals: To rebuild trust and unity, party leaders should emphasize the shared values and goals that brought members of the REC together in the first place. By focusing on these shared values, party leaders can help to create a sense of purpose and direction for the party, and inspire members to work together towards a common goal.
4. Engage in constructive dialogue: Party leaders should facilitate constructive dialogue and open communication between local members of the REC. By encouraging members to listen to each other and share their perspectives, party leaders can help to build trust and create a sense of community within the party.
5. Engage in positive and substantive messaging: To counteract the negativity of the recent mayoral campaign, party leaders should focus on positive and substantive messaging that promotes the party’s values and goals. By emphasizing positive solutions and constructive proposals, party leaders can help to inspire members and build momentum for the party’s future.
6. Focus on grassroots organizing: Party leaders should emphasize grassroots organizing and community engagement as a way to build support and unity within the party. By empowering local members of the REC and encouraging them to engage with their communities, party leaders can help to create a sense of ownership and investment in the party’s success.
7. Give those who worked hard for their “losing” candidate a break – show some empathy – and give them something to work for together.
8. As the leader of the party – be willing to stand up and call out campaign consultants who use bully tactics to destroy another person’s reputation. No win is worth destroying a fellow human being.
Those are our thoughts. We would love to hear yours.