They say if it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck with today’s alternative facts it is hard to know what it is. You can be more certain with the other expression, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Or as we say in Spanish “Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres.”
Long before this election for Fort Worth City Council District 2, it was widely conceded that there were no Latino leaders in the Northside. This time there were four well-credentialed candidates with lots of potential to be great leaders. I was impressed with three. That was my personal observation. I interviewed all four candidates and walked away with the impression that none had the broad knowledge of public policy that I expected for someone seeking such an important office.
Two candidates made it to the runoff, Steve Thornton and Carlos Flores. Thornton was the populist candidate and Flores the establishment candidate. By establishment we should understand that Mayor Betsy Price endorsed Flores hence he had the support of the establishment or more accurately the Republican Party. This was a power play of a local election with national implications.
This was the ugliest election I have witnessed in all my time in politics. It was ugly. Garbage was hurled by both candidates. There were no saints, or good guys only bad guys. The Flores Campaign fit the Trump playbook perfectly. There was disinformation, fake news, lies and surrogates to distribute the propaganda.
At first, I followed a surrogate claiming that Thornton was a Republican, had voted for Trump and from then on it was just adding to the carnage by other surrogates. It started with social media and was followed up by mailouts. All these claims were just fabrications. Then there was the mysterious half-way house that it too got a lot of mileage. This was a campaign of “good” versus “evil”. Flores represented “good” and Thornton represented “evil”. The Flores Campaign followed the Trump model. Trump chants were “locker her up” here it was liar, liar, troll, troll, really sickening.
What disappointed me the most about Flores was when I was told that he had gone to the Righteous Branch Ministry and told the staff there to immediately remove a Thornton sign at the church or he would have the 501c3 cancelled. Perhaps he did not realize that such tactics are used in other Latin American countries and they do work. These threats intimidate and frighten people. His threat showed a great degree of ignorance.
So, what is the difference between the local election and Trump? It was about showing the national audience that the Republican Party was still in power in Tarrant County. We know that the mayor is for the Sanctuary City law. The question now is this, “Will Flores have the courage to stand up for the Latino population of Fort Worth or will he be like the generations of other Mexican American politicians that have rolled over and played dead?” “Will he allow the mayor to separate children from their parents?” “Will he be the one to stand up and make a motion to have Northside Drive named after Cesar Chavez?” The position carries a lot of responsibility, will he be up to the task? Thornton is keeping his option open to run again. Maybe we need this type of competition in the Northside. Minus the Republican Party unless Flores declares himself a Republican so the voters of District 2 will know his true party affiliation.
Dallas and San Antonio have shown that the best term limit are elections. Dallas voted three incumbents out of office and San Antonio the mayor. It is time for Fort Worth to follow suit. What is at stake here is the future of our children.
And the winner is: The Republican Party.
Editor’s Note: My observations are based on my experience as a candidate for public office, leader in the Naval Reserve, Army, Air Force, Teacher, Principal and one extremely knowledgeable of his Tejano and Mexican American culture. I learned in the military that race, a degree or a title does not make you a leader.