This one has Democrat deception written all over it — but the backlash is already brutal.
The largest and most popular supermarket chain in Florida is suspending its political contributions just as the Sunshine State’s governor’s race starts to heat up, thanks to some highly publicized anti-gun demonstrations by the poster boy for gun grabbers everywhere.
And the target just happens to be one of the GOP’s top contenders for the state’s top job.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Publix announced the suspension Friday, shortly before “die-in” protests took place at two of its Florida locations organized by David Hogg, the teenager who is riding February’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, to a mountain of undeserved personal publicity.
Hogg’s beef with the grocery chain — the state’s shoppers’ favorite, according to the Palm Beach Post — stems from its financial support for Adam Putnam, Florida’s current agriculture commissioner and a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor.
Putnam is no backer of the Trump administration, and President Donald Trump and some of the party’s biggest names have officially endorsed U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis for the GOP nomination. But Putnam is still a Republican, which puts a target on his back for every Democrat and Democrat shell operation out there.
Putnam is a native of Polk County, where Publix is headquartered, so the company’s support for a native son who also happens to have a job in state government directly overseeing Publix’s operations is understandable. (In fact, any company in Publix’ line of work that didn’t support a politician like Putnam probably wouldn’t have the brains to be in business for very long.)
Putnam also makes no bones about his support for gun rights. In a July 2017 Twitter post, he laughingly called himself an “NRA sellout” in response to criticisms in the media that he is too strong on the Second Amendment.
For Hogg and his benighted backers, Putnam’s support for the American rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution is enough to justify a protest against the Publix supermarket chain – or at least justify it enough to get the news cameras out for demonstrations to smear the company’s image.
In his Twitter posts announcing the protest, Hogg made a point of referring to Putnam’s “sellout” joke.
Well, Publix apparently felt spooked enough to fall for Hogg’s hogwash, but the chain’s customers might make the company regret it.
Here are some Twitter responses that have to have Publix worried about its bottom line:
That last one has to sting — the truth really does hurt.
Here’s the thing, though.
Publix’ support for Putnam is nothing new. The company wrote its first campaign check to the hometown boy in 1996, when the then-22-year-old Putnam was running for the state House, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The company’s top names, including current and former leaders, have given him $670,000 in the past three years, the newspaper reported.
Of course, a young man running for a seat in the state House of Representatives isn’t a major deal. And while agriculture commissioner in an agriculture state like Florida is a very big deal, it’s still not the top job in the state.
What Democrats are seeing a chance to do here is smear one of the GOP’s biggest names in Florida politics – and smear the Republican Party as a whole – to boost their chances of winning the governor’s seat for the first time in decades.
It’s unfortunate Publix doesn’t have the courage of its convictions – apparently selling groceries doesn’t translate into having guts.
It’s unfortunate that it chose to cave to Hogg’s latest bullying tactic of “die-ins.”
The reality is, Democrats in Florida haven’t held the governor’s office since Jeb Bush won the seat for the GOP in the 1998 race. If Democrats are going to win this year, they need all the help smearing Republican candidates they can get — and a loud-mouthed ignoramus like Hogg and his foolish followers fit the bill perfectly.
They can smear one of the top contenders for the state’s top job and the media can pretend it’s all about innocent young teenagers trying to save their own lives.
It’s got Democrat deception written all over it — and for Publix, the backlash is going to hurt.
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