This week, Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff benefited from a Republican Party of Florida mailer that accused her opponent Senator Maria Sachs of voting against the funding of a Holocaust Museum. Bogdanoff explained to the Palm Beach Post “If you vote against the budget to make a political statement, you are making a political statement about everything in that budget,” Bogdanoff said. “She made a decision on something that was important to the Jewish community in terms of getting dollars for scholarships so they could send their kids to Jewish schools, money for Holocaust survivors.”
Bogdanoff’s shot was below the belt but in some ways perfectly fair on the actual substance of the issue. Sachs did vote against a budget that funded this particular museum. But it is the desire to divide and pit ethnic and religious interests against one another which is disturbing. It’s equally disappointing when southeastern Florida Democrats who happen to be Jewish run similar types of ads against Republicans who are Christians. The Republican Party clearly intended to incite anger in the local Jewish community with the mailer and that is why it is was completely out of line, despite the substance being accurate.
On this website we’ve written time and again about the need for Florida Democrats to cut out the fluff and hold Republican legislators responsible for bad bills, bad laws, and a culture of arrogance and entitlement. Time and time again the Democrats have chosen to not engage the GOP on the record accumulated over the last fourteen years.
Maria Sachs campaign has been better than that of most Democrats in defining the message. Sachs has been aggressive in pointing out the finer points of Bogdanoff’s voting record, which is to the right of many Republicans from north Florida. Sachs has an opportunity to win this race because her campaign has gone toe to toe with the GOP’s campaign of fear mongering and now race/ethnic baiting. The Republicans in Florida will say or do anything to win. Anything, and that’s why playing nice never works for Florida’s Democrats.
We’ve seen it this cycle in the Dayton Beach area with Dorthy Hukill benefiting from an RPOF ad that played on ethnic stereotypes. This ad coincided with a drop in the polls for Democrat Frank Bruno. I would be remiss if I failed to point out that some Democrats have waged a campaign in Congressional District 18 that has played subtly on racial fears against Alan West. That is a subject for another day, but equally shameful.
Democrats have a laundry list of issues to attack the Republican with, some of which we will highlight tomorrow on this site. What Democrats must do is take a page out of Sachs playbook. Make Republican accountable for bad votes, bad legislation and the continued failure of the governing party to attract new businesses to the state. Bogdanoff’s mailer is proof positive that the GOP will do anything in desperate times to hold onto power. Voters should reject this sort of cynical and negative campaigning from both sides.