It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. Unless you're Wendy Davis.
Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis announced February 6 that she would support the proposed open carry law in Texas, which would allow registered gun owners to openly carry weapons (with a few exceptions, of course, like children's parks). While the announcement does feel a bit desperate (a strategically positioned move to help mitigate the public beat down Davis has received lately in everything from Esquire to The New York Times), it has done nothing to sway members of Texas’ conservative right wing who continue their barrage of criticisms against the state senator.
Davis’ announcement regarding the open carry law made national headlines, but her support of gun rights shouldn’t come as such a surprise. Though she lobbied for tighter restrictions at gun shows while on the Fort Worth city council, as the Texas Tribune pointed out in September, Davis has not only previously voted for open carry legislation during her tenure a state senator; she is a gun owner.
But that hasn’t stopped detractors this week from criticizing everything from how Davis holds a gun to her “bandwagon” support of the open carry law. And although we really don’t have to look far to find one of Davis’ outspoken critics, we turned to Twitter — the original home of the “retard Barbie” comment — to see just what people are saying.
We should point out (as we did a few paragraphs ago) that based on Davis' voting record, this isn't true.
Wendy Davis changes her open-carry stance http://t.co/3DzcfwofQE— Ellie Holmes (@ellierosetx) February 6, 2014
While this seems disingenuous, who are we to question the motivation behind a tweet?
I would like to thank Wendy Davis for reminding Texans to remain vigilant in the protection of liberty. She's a gift.— Melissa Clouthier (@MelissaTweets) February 6, 2014
Wendy Davis now supports open carry!! Hahahahahahahahahah! Nice try, Wendy. You'll do anything to get elected - anything.— FeelingJake (@DetectiveJake) February 6, 2014
The list goes on (seriously, on and on).
Again, we should reiterate that this is not a new position for Davis. If anything, the announcement highlights how Davis aligns with the GOP on many key issues, something that should be far more upsetting to her base than the detractors who jump on social media before doing any research.
Greg Abbott and his supporters are so hell bent on attacking Davis that they're failing to develop a cohesive strategy to sway independent voters — the same voters Davis' campaign is going after by touting her gun rights position. While tweeting snarky untruths may seem like a good idea, Abbott's supporters (and simple Davis haters) should be thinking bigger than 140 characters. Davis just made her first real diversion from the political base that shot her to superstardom, and Texas conservatives are doing nothing but tweeting about it.
While it's likely that Abbott and his conservative base will take the Governor's race in November, it will be done without making a single friend on the Democratic side. It is the personal attacks lobbied in place of political issues that will keep our state — and our country — bitter and divided.