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Nancy Smith

Get over Yourselves, FDP: How Right Leslie Wimes Was

December 16, 2017 - 6:00am

It's time Florida Democrats stopped blowing off outspoken, pot-stirring Leslie Wimes as a "Republican plant" and started recognizing her as the savant they've been waiting for.

For the past three years Wimes, founder of the Democratic African American Woman's Caucus, has been getting up Dems' noses by spreading a single message: the path to victory is through energizing African-American communities.

Never mind that she writes occasional -- admittedly, biting -- columns for right-of-center Sunshine State News. She is a Democrat through and through -- even showed up in Orlando to vote during the FDP central committee meeting and cast a vote for party chair. She is committed as deeply as anybody I know to lifting her community.

And guess what? She was right.

Right in Virginia last month where Democrats "are showering love on African Americans, especially African American women, who were fundamental to ... the victory of Virginia Gov.-elect’s Ralph Northam over Ed Gillespie." Right in the circus senatorial race in Alabama, where Democrat Doug Jones won 98 percent of the votes among black women and 93 percent among black men.

Leslie Wimes
Leslie Wimes

Suddenly Wimes' message to increase outreach, mobilization and investment in minority communities made its way up the party ladder. OK, it wasn't because they were listening to her specifically -- it's because the penny finally dropped for enough Democratic National Committee leaders that they finally figured it out for themselves.

“It’s undeniable that over the course of a number of years, the Democratic Party fell short in our outreach and engagement in communities of color,” said Tom Perez, chairman of the DNC, after the Alabama results came in. “We, frankly, all too frequently took them for granted. We’ve really worked hard to make sure we’re mobilizing with people who know the various communities. That is a really important part of what we’re doing.”

Here are a few of the things Wimes said months, even years, before pundits around the country and the DNC did:

-- "The major national Democratic Party committees have spent the overwhelming majority of their dollars on white political consultants" over past election cycles. That hasn't worked, it's even insulting. 

-- "It's time for them to get off their ass and start making life better for black folks and people who are poor," Alabaman and former NBA star Charles Barkley said of Democrats who may or may not have been listening. “They've always had our votes, and they have abused our votes, and this is a wake-up call. We've got them in a great position now, but this is a wake-up call for Democrats to do better for black people ..."

-- "So, what kept me and countless other black voters from rallying behind the Hillary train once voting day came on Nov. 8? She is tied to Bill Clinton’s crime crackdown that resulted in the over-incarceration of young African-Americans" -- Jack Brewer, CEO of the Brewer Group, former NFL safety.

-- "The people thought ... the national Democratic Party cared more about where someone went to the bathroom than whether or not these people had a job," said David Betras, chairman of the Mahoning County (Ohio) Democratic Party. "And so, we're off-message."

Come on, Democrats: Somebody apologize to Wimes. Like I said, she was right. She is right: Engage African-American communities between elections, show them you hear their issues and you're working to solve them and make their life better -- then you will deserve and get their vote.

Wimes still believes Republican Rick Baker did more, felt more, for the black community in St. Petersburg than Democrat Rick Kriseman. But Kriseman played a strong anti-Trump hand and touted endorsements from Barack Obama and Joe Biden to St. Pete's black neighborhoods. He won because, even in a nonpartisan race, Baker couldn't overcome his identity as a same-party-as-Trump politician.

Nevertheless, just as Wimes said, Kriseman couldn't have won without African-American women. 

From an outsider's point of view, what happened with Leslie over the past couple of years has been a recurring problem with the churlish Florida Democratic Party -- demonizing some of their most talented people, crushing rising stars because they don't embrace every inch of the party line du jour. 

As a Republican, I'm delighted with their poor eyesight. I would be scared to death, for example, to see any Republican having to run against Democratic Rep. Katie Edwards if the Dems actually backed her on a run for agriculture commissioner. Lucky for us, her party is basically throwing her away -- remember a couple of years ago when FDP leaders threatened to primary her?

Leslie, by the way, has no idea I'm writing this. I didn't tell her, haven't asked her for a comment. She probably would have told me she doesn't need any acknowledgement she's been right all along because she never doubted it.

I just thought with new leadership in the FDP, it might a good time to recognize and finally lay to rest the party's anti-Leslie snit.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith.


Shes coarse, has a fake organization, is angry and inarticulate... not right

Gee, Nancy Smith, remind me --> which party is it whose members routinely belittle and denigrate "Black Lives Matter" . . . . . . . and which party is it who supported a blatantly racist Senate candidate who espoused that we should return to that time when families were united (i.e during southern slavery) . . . . . . . and which party is it whose leader-of-the-party keeps supporting racist, alt-right white supremacists . . . . . . . . OH, that's right . . . . . . it's your party . . . . . . . we're sure that African-Americans will now flock to switch to your party's values . . . . . . . . . .PATHETIC . . . . .

She is everything that is wrong with the Dems and the opposite is everything that is wrong with the Reps. People in the middle, regardless of race are the ones making a difference and looking for something better. I guess that is why NPA is the fastest growing party in the country. This is what was initially appealing about Trump, before everyone found out the apprentice is nothing without a good director and even worse every time he opens his mouth...

Her style of writing, is not my cup of tea. Her message, however, is on target much of the time. Her efforts to get the Democratic party to recognize Blacks as people and not just as a number of votes is doing much more - or I hope it is. It's not the Democrats and Blacks. It's ALL political parties and ALL facets of our country. This nation is not a "Melting Pot" like people believe. Rather, it is a complex gumbo which brings different flavors, colors, textures and backgrounds to the nation's political table. We must not just think of our table as being "White Bread" or "Soul Food". We have an extraordinary opportunity to experience the world.....IF we don't ignore it. I hope that Leslie's efforts open the eyes of politicians AND people to embrace the GUMBO.

If Florida's Democrat Party had Leslie's intuitive "moxie", and the National Democrat Party stopped putting so-called "leaders" in place (like the obviously inept D.W.Schultz; and the "stone Communist" Tom Perez) who demean the Party,.. I wouldn't still be a "recovering Democrat". Short of that, and until Florida's Boards of Elections begin registering "Independents", I will remain a "Democrat Who Votes Republican" (unless another incompetent "Obama type" comes along like the one who created my dilemma in the first place).... [Leslie, if you "run" I WILL vote for you; BUT I believe you are far more effective as an "attention getting gadfly" for Blacks, and Democrats in general, to "get it together"].... In the meantime, and until 2024, President Trump is the greatest thing to have "come down the Pike" since Reconstruction to make politicians of BOTH Parties "sit up and take notice".

more hyperbole from the trailer park prez, please spare us and go back to NY...

Yet Dems got the victories without Rimes whom is a foul person. Things are much worse for blacks because they along with under 35 yr olds, didn't vote making it imposible for dems to make the changes needed not just for them, but all people of no, low, moderate incomes in 2010, 2012, 2016..................... Now they plainly see why they need to vote because the racists took over because they wouldn't vote before, and so are doing it...................... As are wpmen, the young as they see they life being far worse off saddled with the $30T debt this repub tax scam is going to give them.................. Note the repubs don't mention their $1.5T more debt to give the rich, corporations and especially Trump, huge tax cuts is on top of their already $7T from yrly deficit already happening................. How fiscally conservative is that?............................ And where are the stories on Moore losing and Trumps other losses, lies?

Dear Santa, Please put an adult education voucher in this poor soul’s stocking for Christmas.

Wimes WAS correct in two guesses and ol' Nancy praises her! Wimes remains being a racist, big mouthed trouble maker who sees no light for anything other than a black outcome and personal gain for herself only. Her alleged 'columns' are also racist.

Hate, hate, haterade!! Bahahahahahaha!!!

Hey man....this is free speech, man.....

Black this, black that, black, black, black, black. And they say the Republicans are divisive. LOL. General population is sick of hearing the 60 year old lament.

Shut up and concede, Roy Moore!!!!

Sorry, I mean, yessir!

I meant yAssir!

Leslie tells it like it is, the truth is ALWAYS right!!!

Leslie Grimes is ALWAYS wrong, most of the time. She's no more than a big mouthed, crybaby, "whoa is me" type on top of being a total ingrate!

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nancy smith

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