Harrison Floyd is a former Marine who’s running for Congress in Georgia’s 7th District.
It’s not a special election and it’s a crowded field, so he’s not even the nominee yet and the vote is a little less than 18 months away. He’s not normally the kind of individual we would be talking about slightly after Memorial Day, 2019.
And in fact, nobody was really talking about his brief announcement video, which was posted to YouTube on May 6. There was a short writeup the next day in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, noting the fact that Republican Rep. Rob Woodall — who won in 2018 by fewer than 500 votes — is retiring and there is a long list of Democrats pitching themselves as “pragmatic progressives” to replace him.
Meanwhile, the report also noted that many Republicans in the state are using New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others who describe themselves as democratic socialists as popular targets.
“A Republican military veteran entered the race Tuesday for Georgia’s 7th District with a promise to combat ‘domestic socialism’ and government overreach, joining a crowded contest to represent one of the nation’s most competitive House seats,” the AJC reported.
“Harrison Floyd made his political debut with a 30-second video that emphasized his service in the U.S. Marines before flashing to images of unrest in Venezuela and pictures of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two of the GOP’s favorite targets this election cycle.”
“I’m running for Congress because my family and I didn’t fight for our freedoms to allow our country to fall to socialism,” Floyd said in the video. “I’ll fight socialists in Congress the same way I fought terrorists in the desert. So help me God.”
The clip didn’t garner that much attention then. Floyd was entering a crowded field and certainly isn’t the prohibitive favorite when you consider the fact that Lynne Homrich, a former executive for The Home Depot — who one assumes has a bit of coin on her hands — is also in the running.
In fact, almost the entirety of the writeup was focused on the tightness of the race in 2018 and the fact that Democratic loser Carolyn Bourdeaux is running again, making the seat a potential pick-up for the Democrats.
After the video was released, Bourdeaux posted a tweet decrying it as an incitement to violence against both Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders — assumedly because of the part where Floyd says, “I’ll fight socialists in Congress the same way I fought terrorists in the desert” and the fact that it was interspersed with footage of his time in the military, including firing a weapon.
“Violence has absolutely no place in our public discourse & I denounce this abhorrent video in the strongest possible terms. This message doesn’t represent GA values & for Harrison Floyd to enter this race by inciting violence is wrong. He has no place in Congress,” she wrote.
Violence has absolutely no place in our public discourse & I denounce this abhorrent video in the strongest possible terms. This message doesn’t represent GA values & for Harrison Floyd to enter this race by inciting violence is wrong. He has no place in Congress.(1) #GAPol #GA07 https://t.co/2qUxhcg5mP
— Carolyn Bourdeaux (@Carolyn4GA7) May 7, 2019
This didn’t get much attention at the time, at least not nationally. Even the Journal-Constitution only had a short note about it, noting Bordeaux’s objection to the clip and Floyd’s rejoinder:
Socialism kills. @Carolyn4GA7, if you think socialism has any place in this country I fought to protect, then I don’t think you should be in Congress. #GAPol #GA07https://t.co/57Pz0ffoIz pic.twitter.com/5fXrWosjql
— Harrison Floyd (@HarrisonFloydGA) May 7, 2019
The Journal-Constitution, not particularly known as a bulwark of conservatism, seemed to basically give the whole non-kerfuffle a shrug emoji and move right along.
At some point, though, Democrats on Twitter lost their mind over this. It’s difficult to trace this outbreak of outrage back to Patient Zero, but if I were to take a wild guess, a video from NowThis — proud vulgarizer of all things sociopolitical — seems to be a plausible candidate.
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 25, 2019
Good grief. Whether or not it was NowThis, you can probably guess where this is all now headed:
Deeply disturbing. https://t.co/b87GcDJJB8
— Shaun King (@shaunking) May 25, 2019
Exposed. Harrison Floyd, wanna be a GA REP., proudly incites violence in politics. ☠️ https://t.co/k5PNzUvV6E
— DH (@Actthiswell) May 24, 2019
Harrison Floyd just threatened @aoc with actual firepower. How is this acceptable?
— PaperMario (@Jozay1017) May 25, 2019
republicans are terrorists https://t.co/mrfZ0QwgVP
— Nico (@Nicoluzio4) May 25, 2019
Youtube should take this video down. This guy mentality is not right. Violance is not okay no matter what political party someone belongs too. @KyleKulinski @AOC @BernieSanders @justicedems @cenkuygur
— Mari (@Mari705) May 26, 2019
Even the New York Post, generally conservative in its outlook, wrote that Floyd “appears to threaten Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders in video” and noted that the “video came in a heated political season that has seen death threats to politicians including Ocasio-Cortez’s ally Rep. Ilhan Omar.”
The sad thing is that some people actually seem to believe this rot.
Death threats are obviously a very bad thing. This isn’t one of them. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine anyone who watched this video seeing a death threat except for those who watched the video wanting to see a death threat.
It all seems a bit odd and opportunistic — weeks after the video came out and had already been covered by the media, suddenly fury over its contents springs up everywhere.
If it’s not obvious to you that Floyd is using his military service figuratively and that the footage of him firing the weapon is simply emphasizing what he did for his country and not what he wants to do to democratic socialists, I’m not sure how I can help you.
Imagine the utter lack of fury if this were a Democratic combat vet talking about fighting Trump and the GOP the same way he fought in Afghanistan. If I were to make an issue of it, I’d (quite rightly) get shouted down — if anyone paid any attention to me to begin with.
Floyd is a Republican, however, which means it’s the uproar of the day.
It’s funny that as we commemorated Memorial Day, we were responding with faux outrage over a veteran using his service to his country in the military as a metaphor for why he wants to serve his country in Congress because of infelicitous timing in a campaign video.
The irony, I suspect, was lost on most.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.