Updated: Sep 5, 2021
Honestly, expect every Democrat running for office to be hit with an ad like this by their Republican opponent, not just Democrats where this kind of attack would actually make some kind of sense-- say AOC or Bernie or Michael Ortega-- but to ones where it make no sense at all, like the one above that former male prostitute Marco Rubio (not a Rubio-backing PAC, but Rubio himself) deployed against status quo New Dem Val Demings... who is very far from being a socialist or a Squad member.
But a couple of months ago, when Schumer and EMILY's List finally talked her into running, a reporter asked Demings' official campaign spokesperson how she would respond to this kind of attack, he responded she would "double down"-- on not being a socialist!
Maybe she should do what Thomas Frank mockingly suggested a few years ago: she can fix the optics, throw red meat at her supporters, lay down a marker, be a player, leverage off this, treat it like a non-starter at the extremes, make sure that there are meaningful consequences (one could say) and, above all, control the narrative... Or she could just continue to be a lazy-minded, moron, which seems to come effortlessly to her. On the day she declared she was running she couldn't even bring herself to mention the incumbent she's running against by name! "Unlike some in Washington," she read, "I never tire of standing up for what I believe is right because no one is above the law. But it turns out that there are some in Washington who prefer the same old tired ways of doing business, too tired to fight the efforts to suppress the people’s vote. They fall back to tired talking points and backward solutions."
Rubio responded with aplomb-- and, for a change, with truth on his side-- calling her a "do-nothing House member… without a single legislative achievement during her time in Congress." At least that's true but, Rubio being Rubio, he soon strayed into his own world of make-believe: "I’ve always known that my opponent for Senate was going to be a far-left, liberal Democrat." She's so far from "far left" that he should be investigated by PolitiFact. Val Demings is a middle of the road Democratic Party hack who stands for nothing at all but her own career-- exactly like Marco Rubio.
He ended by finishing with some truth, which works better against her than his fantasy world. "Today, we just found out which one of them Chuck Schumer picked."
Unfortunately for the Democratic Party, Demings is going to a gun fight with a chewy toy. I hate to say it but Demings isn't much worse than most Democraps in Congress. She's issue-phobic, comes off as not even understanding issues on there rare occasion anyone can get her to engage and she's consumed with relentless self-promotion, completely in lieu of accomplishing anything useful. Schumer picked her for many of the same reasons he picked all the horrendous candidates he's picked, from Kyrsten Sinema and Frackenlooper, who actually managed to not be beaten, to all the wretched ones who have been: his 2020 sad sacks: Amy McGrath (KY), Cal Cunningham (NC), Sara Gideon (ME), Barbara Bollier (KS), Jamie Harrison (SC), MJ Hegar (TX), Theresa Greenfield (IA); his 2016 sad sacks: Patrick Murphy (FL), Katie McGinty (PA), Patty Judge (IA), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Deborah Ross (NC), Ted Strickland (OH), Maggie Hassan (NH-- won won but is a baby step away from being Manchin or Sinema and is unlikely to be reelection unless Sununu dies of COVID). and let's not forget otherSchumer losers over the years: Kay Hagan (NC), Travis Childers (MS) and John Morrison (MT). Soon we'll be adding Demings-- a longtime poster child for police brutality in Orlando-- to that list.
Strategically, as a candidate, Demings' top weakness is that she's absolutely unwilling to draw any real contrast between herself and Rubio. She won’t-- or can't-- argue that they’re different because they really aren’t; they’re just two people on the make.
You may know, Blue America has endorsed Alan Grayson for the Florida Senate seat. You can contribute to his campaign by clicking on the Blue America 2022 Senate thermometer on the left. Why should you? He can beat Rubio; Demings would have as much of a chance as Patrick Murphy did since she is Patrick Murphy (except Black and a woman and a police chief who notoriously lost her gun at a party). But to be fair, after I saw this tweet from Grayson today, I realized that if he seems to be pulling ahead of Demings in the primary, Rubio would launch essentially the same "Socialism!" ad against Grayson as he just launched against Demings. I just called him and asked him how he would respond, since his record in Congress of working to expand Social Security and Medicare and raising the minimum wage and strengthening the social safety net in general is always defined by Republicans as "Socialism!" Grayson has never been the kind of guy who sits back while other people define him-- whether that's Marco Rubio, Daniel Webster, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid or No Labels.
"The GOP and its very skilled propagandists," he told me today, "have already decided that they will try to make next year’s election about 'socialism,' mainly because they see that as a malleable word that they can vilify with scary music and harsh voiceovers, just like 'liberal.' I believe in the greatest good for the greatest number, and justice for all. My opponents very well might associate that with 'socialism,' and I don’t really care, because they don’t get to define me and my goals; I do. What I say about why I am running for the Senate, and what I hope to accomplish for people, matters much more than what they say about me. I want better-paying jobs for ordinary people, paid sick leave, increases in Social Security and Medicare, free public college, a national right to choose, taxing people no more than corporations, less pollution and climate destruction, relief from personal debt, and far less inequality. I don’t care what they call it; that’s why I’m running, and that’s what I will try to do if I win."