Daniel Uhlfelder was a highly active and visible member of the Covid “Pro-Panic” coalition in 2020 and 2021, the quintessential “Panic-pusher.” (See: “On Daniel Uhlfelder, Corona-activist and Panic-pusher; an exploration into ‘why’ some embraced the Panic.”)
Now the prolific Covid-activist Uhlfelder is building upon the notoriety he gained from his role as Pro-Panic partisan during the 2020-2021 Corona-Panic. He has transitioned to a full political career. He is running for Florida attorney general in 2022.
People ask how the Panic happened and how it sustained itself. It developed a coalition of supporters and a layer of champions. Daniel Uhlfelder was one. He had been an anti-Trump and anti-DeSantis gadfly in Florida before the Corona-Panic, and he is the son of one of Florida’s most influential lobbyists. But his real emergence on the scene was with the Corona-Panic in 2020.
Given that Daniel Uhlfelder was a majorly successful “moral entrepreneur” during the Panic, in 2021 I found it of value to profile Daniel Uhlfelder, his family, life, and the influences thinking, in hopes of findings clues to why he embraced the Panic–and thereby why others (may have) embraced the Panic.
This post is a look at the Uhlfelder campaign for Florida attorney general, both his own and the campaigns of his opponents. The intent is to find insights into U.S. politics and to keep an eye on the kind of person who attached himself to the Panic. The bigger question of why the Corona-Panic happened looms over the whole…
Given that this major Pro-Panic figure now has a political career of his own, we have a kind of answer to why some “embraced” the Panic in 2020 and 2021, but there is more of interest and of use here than just that easy insight.
Now that Mr. Uhlfelder is a full political figure in his own right, and now that he might be on the scene a while, the ‘call’ to devote considerable attention to him, as a personage of the Corona-Panic of the early 2020s, turns out to have been quite a prescient call.
My original interest in Daniel Uhlfelder came when I realized what a potentially excellent case-study he was and is, for understanding the Corona-Panickers of 2020-2021. His ostentatious Covid-activism, his firm embrace of Corona-Hysteria, his strident and aggressive Panic-pushing and moral-blackmail against Non-Panickers and (especially) Anti-Panickers like the Florida governor, it all cries out: ‘Why?’
I expect Uhlfelder to win the primary and secure the Democratic nomination for Florida attorney general. That will be in late August 2022. Then I expect he will lose the general election to Ashley Moody, the pro-DeSantis Republican incumbent. His importance is far beyond these predictable results.
As we follow the interesting Corona-Panic personage Uhlfelder along on his political career–into which he coasted on the Panic wave–we find many insights reflecting back on the society which fell to the Panic in 2020. There are insights in this story into the state of U.S. politics (or ethnopolitics), and how it tied into the conditions that gave us the Corona-Panic in 2020. Some were motivated, by politics, to see the Panic as in their interest–and chose the dark path of the demagogue.
This post will consist of two parts:
(Part I.) Daniel Uhlfelder’s self-introductory campaign video: Evaluation and commentary. A study in double-talk, dog-whistles, and ethnopolitics.
Released in March 2022, Daniel Uhlfelder’s campaign video is only 2 minutes and 40 seconds in length but works like a mini-documentary. It is sleekly produced and highly revealing in multiple ways, as we shall see.
First of all, Daniel Uhlfelder makes no secret that he is running on an anti-DeSantis platform. The video use some well-crafted verbal and visual jiu-jitsu to make Uhlfelder look like the noble victim, the crafty crusader for justice, the fearless whistleblower, the defender of human dignity and rights, while at the same time making DeSantis and company look like political ogres pushing draconian policies to crush the little guy, oppressing everyone in unspecified ways, and making people feel “their lives don’t matter.”
A casual viewer of the Uhlfelder campaign may never guess and miss that it was Uhlfelder, and the Pro-Panic side of which he was such an active and visible part, that wanted to keep up the Panic, avoid critical reevaluations or cost-benefit analyses, impose brutal lockdowns, even go for Canada-style forced vaccinations and digital health-passes.
I evaluate the Daniel Uhlfelder campaign video in two sub-sections: (a.) features of the video relevant to the Corona-Panic, to the Covid-demagogue Uhlfelder’s role in the Panic, and Uhlfelder’s attitudes and positioning towards the Panic two years later. While preparing this essay, I realized that the video itself can be treated as a moment-in-time primary-source on the state of the Pro-Panic side as of March 2022, late in the game. (b.) The non-Covid messaging in the campaign video relevant to U.S. politics. There is an extensive layer of double-talk in Uhlfelder’s rhetoric and framing and references. Different audiences hear different messages, through carefully constructed wording and “dog-whistles,” they key one being his messaging to his own ethnopolitical group while phrasing things just ambiguously enough to make the messages not recognizable to most outgroup members.
(Part II.) An evaluation of Daniel Uhlfelder’s competition in the Florida attorney general race. The first hurdle is the Democratic primary. I expect him to fend off the politically flabby competitors there. Then comes the general election in early November 2022.
Uhlfelder’s main Democratic primary competitor is a “Black Lives Matter”-style, scandal-plagued state prosecutor, Aramis Ayala. It is a little embarrassing that someone like Aramis Ayala is a serious candidate, but a close look at her does give us insights into the state of things.
In the general election, Daniel Uhlfelder will be against the incumbent state attorney general, Ashley Moody, a much more morally serious and rooted political figure (than the BLM candidate Aramis Ayala). Ashley Moody is of a long-established Florida family. As attorney general, she was also one of the unsung heroes of Florida’s successful resistance against the Corona-Panic. She stayed firm with the DeSantis Anti-Panic position all along, and enforced it legally. She had every opportunity to get rewarded by the powerful forces of the Panic if she had defected or tried to undermine the DeSantis government line, but she didn’t.
The Corona-demagogue Daniel Uhlfelder’s “real” opponent, though, is Ron DeSantis. This has been clear from Daniel Uhlfelder’s “schtick” since he began to parade around in the Covid-Grim-Reaper costume with news cameras following, in about late April 2020, and even before that. And not just Ron DeSantis for Governor. The real target is the coming “DeSantis For President 2024” campaign.
Part I. The Daniel Uhlfelder campaign video
This is center-piece campaign commercial released the day Daniel Uhlfelder announced his transition from Covid-demagogue to serious political office seeker. It is an introduction to the candidate:
The video has gotten millions of views across several platforms. It includes at least 1.2 million views on the original twitter-announcement alone (March 8, 2022).
When Daniel Uhlfelder first posted the video to Twitter, he did it with these words:
“Today I am announcing my candidacy for Attorney General in Florida. Ron DeSantis and his sidekicks in Tallahassee have been warned.”
He used similar wording in other early promotional material. He wants Florida voters to know that his real opponent is Governor DeSantis. His actual opponent for attorney general, Ashley Moody, is almost an afterthought.
Dieter Kief writes on the Uhlfelder campaign video of 2022:
“[It] is perfectly well done. Jaw-droppingly well made. The message is that of absolute individualism. – For everybody else, that is.”
One lesson is Daniel Uhlfelder does not shy away from his embrace of the Corona-Panic, or at least did, as of March 2022. It’s hard to imagine he ever will renounce the Panic, as he is too close to it. How could he?
His generalized anti-DeSantis-ism and his repackaged, self-congratulatory Covid Pro-Panic position fit together, about like this: Governor DeSantis’ flagrant disrespect for the Corona-Moloch meant mass suffering and death, and this was a part of the general baseline meanness and uncaring attitude of DeSantis and his gang. Packaged up and delivered as emotional-political ‘prolefeed’ as needed, this line works on many among us who are not deep thinkers or who are particularly susceptible to emotional manipulation. It is also dangerous and irresponsible, but 2020 shows it can work in a mass-democracy.
There are also some interesting and distinct “reading between the lines” we can apply to this video. Intended audiences will immediately understand, while most mid-brow and lower-brow or low-info, lower-awareness audiences will not fully understand, or appreciate in full, and which may even be missed entirely.
Covid themes in the Uhlfelder campaign video
Uhlfelder and his team must have felt the way the wind was blowing by early 2022 when they storyboarded the video. They avoid making any particular point of defending the Lockdownism and Covid-activism or Panic-pushing during 2020 and 2021. Daniel Uhlfelder repeatedly filed lawsuits demanding full shut downs of state beaches to fight Covid, and worked the media to get himself majorly signal-boosted, enough to become a social media heavy hitter. It was never limited to the “DeathSantis” costume gimmick.
They do mention Daniel Uhlfelder’s support for the tenets of the Corona-faith several times, it’s true. But we sense in his tone a little defensiveness when he lists his Covid-activism as one his accomplishments, towards the end of the video (1:33), with these words:
“And, yes, when I was watching thousands of our neighbors *dying* from this *deadly* pandemic, I put on a costume to encourage people to stay home. Because when people are being oppressed, or left out, or made to feel like their lives don’t matter, it’s not in my DNA to let it slide…”
Besides this reference, he doesn’t say much directly about the Corona-Panic itself in the entire 2m40s run-time, or what his position was, exactly, on it. He leaves it vague on specifics but moralistic in tone (a good epitaph for the Panic itself). All we know for sure is that he stands there on the moral high ground, being against “thousands of our neighbors dying,” being for saving lives. being against “thousands of our neighbors dying” was really to be against callous disregard for life coming from Governor DeathSantis who, the video implied, believed Covid victims’ lives “didn’t matter.” A low-info, Panic-prone person or Corona-softliner may well walk away thinking DeSantis recklessly killed people. Enough of this hypnotic talk and some will believe it, and will not be reeled back in by the facts, including that Florida’s age-adjusted death rate was no different from other comparable places. This is how the Panic worked, basically. At some level it relied on people willing to lie or distort, and Daniel Uhlfelder was one of them.
This video’s early March 2022 production is another signpost for us on the history of the Corona-Panic. We will recall that the Panic was in visible retreat most everywhere in the West by early March 2022. Is many mandates, anyway, were being pulled back. The drumbeat was fading. The irrationalities were resolving themselves. The distortions of all else that it touched would remain, but the direct signs of the Panic and the power of the pro-Panic regimes were falling away. To take two representative examples: on March 5, about three days before Uhfelder released his campaign video, the reliably Pro-Panic government of the city of Boston finally revoked its indoor mask mandate. Soon thereafter, on the same day as Uhlfelder released his campaign video, March 8, even Hawaii announced its indoor mask mandate would end by the end of March. The retreat had begun weeks earlier, and it was undeniable and unavoidable by early-mid March 2022.
But the apparent retreat of Panic forces in early 2022 was a little deceiving. For all their bluster, froth, and histrionics, the Panic-backers and Panic-loyalists were, in any case and in retrospect, overstretched in winter 2021-22. They had lost a lot of the moral fervor that the initial Panic had given them in 2020, and which had empowered a class of ambitious “moral entrepreneur” new men, like Daniel Uhlfelder. Donning the DeathSantis costume and getting steady favorable coverage in 2020, his venture into moral entrepreneurship paid off and was now a major player.
The Panic forces were acting irrationally in early 2022, or moreso than usual, because they were dug in too deep along a general line of defense they could not hold if Anti-Panickers pressed the offensive. That kind of counter-offensive by forces opposed to the Panic, forces seeking to meet the Panic head on and crush it, was beginning to happen, in a big way, in early 2022. It differed by country and region, but in general terms an Anti-Panic mass movement was finally organized and on the march for more than skirmishes or nuisance-actions against the forces of the Panic. The Defeat the Mandates rally in Washington (Jan. 23, 2022) came in this context, and the Freedom Convoy movement in Canada, which exploded soon after the Washington rally, came directly before Uhlfelder officially launched his campaign.
We may recall the demands being made in winter 2021-22, still disturbingly frequently and aggressively, to punish non-compliers, dissidents, skeptics, non-maskers, “unvaccinated,” and all other kinds of Anti-Panicker. This including heavy fines, firings, and social-ostracism enforced by “Covid app.” Anything to fend off the perfidious Covid-Denying Anti-Vaxxer threat. A threat to public order, to morality, to God! (Or to the new god, the Corona-Moloch, a jealous god demanding of sacrifices). It’s nothing to look back on with anything but embarrassment, or shame. People like Daniel Uhlfelder created and sustained this and gave it legitimacy.
If the big question is: How could a CoronaPanic-like event not just “break out,” but sustain itself so long? How could the Panic always find more wind for its sails, up to two years’ worth, against all good sense and decency and centuries of Western tradition? That is where Daniel Uhlfelder 2020-21 comes in, and this is where his campaign video from early March 2022. The video gives us a piece of evidence on how the Panickers and Panic-promoters of 2020 sought to consolidate their gains, recognizing they could not continue with a 2020-style Panic in 2022.
Here we have Daniel Uhlfelder in early March 2022, following the humiliation of the extreme Pro-Panic regime in Canada owing to the unexpected takeoff and success of the Freedom Convoy movement, a being tantamount to an Anti-Panic insurgent movement. The Freedom Convoy movement as Anti-Panic movement grew from insurgent movement that started coming together in late January 2022, to a near-peer competitor with the Panic-loyal forces themselves by some point in February 2022 in social influence. Following other forms of pressure from an energized Anti-Panic side all over the map, the Corona-Panic began its retreat all around, and the aggressive and bellicose talk and demonization of dissidents, skeptics, anti-lockdowners, and other opponents of the Panic began to recede.
The Panic’s leadership, both high command and field headquarters staffs, on almost all fronts in the Western world, came around and sounded he bugle of retreat. Sometimes reluctantly, the general retreat held. The idea was to preserve Pro-Panic forces, and keep the standards aloft and retain great prestige of their arms from the major victories the Panic had won since early 2020, and keep ready for future actions against the Anti-Panickers. The hope: ceding a large portion of the field in an organized way would cause the worrying sight of these waves of Anti-Panic volunteers who had flocked to the colors and stood ready to do battle, to get these people to wander back to their homes and not press the fight alongside hardline, veteran Anti-Panickers. The corollary to this was, an orderly retreat would also keep the less ideologically committed within their own (Pro-Panic side) ranks from surrender or defection.
Even the most impetuous of Pro-Panic field commanders, those most desirous of taking the fight to Anti-Panickers, maybe wanting to smack around a few exposed positions of Anti-Panickers to show the latter they’re outgunned, they all were compelled to come around. The logic was good enough, from their perspective: ceding major ground which they could no longer defend would avert a potential risky confrontation or Clausewitzian Vernichtungsschlacht. Only a fool unnecessarily gambles on a decisive battle which his side is not guaranteed to win.
This all played itself out in the first quarter of 2022, varying only in the details by place, with still some fearsome fighting power still at the front even in February in many places but little of it left by the end of March, given the general retreat.
One of the Panic leaders making such calculations as these, and acting in coordination with other Pro-Panic forces, was Daniel Uhlfelder. He was always an auxiliary commander and not a “main battle line” general in the war, but all the same he was very effective for the Pro-Panic side. His reputation had been made during the fighting of 2020. By winter 2021-22, when the forces of the Panic still looked strong, he began plotting his entry into electoral politics. By the time the strategic retreat came in late winter, and held in early spring 2022, Uhfelder had to readjust a little, but seems to have done so just fine, and this video as a primary source of that moment shows it.
Alas, the Panic was never defeated or never as fully defeated as it should have been. Key aspects of the Panic, and its first-order effects, have remained with us as of mid-2022. And this is to say nothing of its second-order and third-order effects which will last many years yet. Besides the remaining restrictions, socially-culturally-economically distortionary follow-on effects, left over from the Corona-Panic proper, continue to haunt us. In the Uhlfelder political-campaign video of 2022 I sense an entrenchment of this public-health paranoia, as a Panic layer of our political and cultural life. This represents a serious reversal, a partial reversion to a worldview based in superstition and on religious edicts, in which major powers are vested in a priestly class that makes decisions, a power structure that ignores or bans dissenting views as heretical, and that hands down the approved package of life and thought to a passive, compliant “Trust the Priestly Science” digitally-plugged-in populace. All this is un-characteristic of the (Northwest-)European tradition which made us great. Observing it has been disturbing. The Corona-Panic as social revolution?
At the very end of the Uhlfelder campaign video, Mr. Uhlfelder tosses in this: “We’ve all been through a lot in the past few years, but there’s too much at stake to stay on the sidelines now.” But it was Uhlfelder and the other Panic-pushers who helped create and entrench the Panic and kept it up when it might have faded. It was Uhlfelder and others who consciously decided to embrace the Panic, profess faith in it, propagandize for it, and make it into their cause, when a reasonable or dispassionate assessment of evidence should have led in the opposite direction. Here is sounding magnanimous, offering a way to recovery for a problem he created! It’s a subtle form of the strategy of tearing down a man psychologically and then, once he is torn down, of building him back up but on your terms. (A well-practiced strategy used by religious cults.) The video was released in early March 2022, which was (then-) recently still under the heavy influence of the Corona-Panic. Even though it was on the retreat, this kind of “we’ve been through a lot” appeal will have packed more punch at the time.
I close this section with a reflection that if Daniel Uhlfelder wins, it will be a victory for the Corona-Panic. A (harmful) lesson that “it pays to panic” or embrace panics and hysterias. This seems inevitable given that the Panic launched Uhlfelder’s in-earnest political career, his continuing use of his Covid-activism as a supposed positive good, and his refusal to admit he was wrong. I would be willing to consider changing this view that an Uhlfelder victory is a victory for the Corona-Panic as such only if he comes out denouncing the Panic and saying he was wrong, which is about as likely as his name appearing on the “DeSantis for President” campaign staff.
Non-Covid themes in the Uhlfelder campaign video
Back to the video, and (mostly) away from the Covid topic and into the ethnopolitics and double-talk and dog-whistling going on here.
The team which Uhlfelder hired to produce this video do a sleek job depicting him as a righteously outraged “average attorney and family man” (as he introduces himself). He doesn’t mention that both his father and grandfather were politics players in Florida, his father one of the most influential and powerful lobbyists in Florida between the 1980s and 2010s. (See “On Daniel Uhlfelder, Corona-activist and Panic-pusher; an exploration into ‘why’ some embraced the Panic.”)
The version of Daniel Uhlfelder as shown in the campaign video is only partly a man inspired to action by reckless Ron “DeathSantis” and his policy of open disrespect for the Corona-Moloch by refusing lockdowns and all. This is only a small part of a man who has always been a fighter for the little guy against political ogres and bullies who look like Trump and DeSantis. (He actually does say “look like,” an interesting choice of words.)
We unambiguously get to the hear of it soon out of the gate, when the Corona-demagogue narrates from his couch that “the Uhlfelders fought hard to get to this country.” Footage of Hitler at a rally flashes on screen, and Uhlfelder and says:
“The Nazis tore my family apart. My great-grandparents were killed in the concentration camps. Growing up, my parents never let me forget it. They immersed us in social justice and introduced us to politicians who actually *stood up* for what was right. So, I guess, activism is kind of ‘in my blood’.”
Daniel Uhlfelder is Jewish. He doesn’t exactly make it a secret (and I have a lot on Daniel Uhlfelder’s ancestors back several generations at the previous Uhlfelder post). But the wording and “framing” are interesting. For one thing, nowhere does he directly say that he is Jewish. Every American on the right-third of the ‘awareness’ bell curve will sense it immediately; most in the middle third of that ‘awareness’ bell curve will at least suspect it; fewer in the left third of the bell curve will notice or grasp it, since the wording and imagery is ambiguous and you need firm background information to connect the dots. This is an a strategy worth looking at and considering in terms of what it means for U.S. politics.
The Nazi Villainy narrative remains well established in the 2020s, even if now it is a century past and out of living memory. Daniel Uhlfelder establishes his ethnopolitical bonafides as a third- or fourth-generation victim of the European Villains. This is all he mentions about his family or ancestors, that two were in concentration camps in Europe. It’s really a strange thing to declare, when you think about it, especially in that it goes back to his great-grandparent generation and skips over his father and grandfather.
There are some important lines in the campaign video on Uhlfelder’s Jewish identity which are not about the 1930s-1940s period at all but are evergreen. In the careful wording he uses when dropping in these references, we see a deliberate double-track appeal, a form of esoteric messaging. There are two broad classes of intended audience: those who understand exactly what he is saying “between the lines,” and those who don’t. He is speaking to Jews directly, and making an appeal to them, but with wording just ambiguous enough that most non-Jews will miss it or not fully get it.
There are at least eight examples of this in the video of (sometimes-)veiled appeals, dog-whistles, or shibboleths used to appeal to fellow Jews and get their support to back his campaign:
(1) the line about how his ancestors “fought hard” to get to America,
(2) the reference to concentration camps,
(3) the flashing on screen of scenes of Hitler,
(4) the line that activism is “in my blood,”
(5) the mention that his parents trained him to respect leaders who strove for social justice, while putting on screen faces of Jewish politicians he met,
(6) the late-video references to fighting to take down the Confederate flag,
(7) the late-video references the Alt-Right and people being beaten,
(8) the closing line that it is “not in my DNA to let things slide,” a strange wording I don’t think at all usual for politicians to use except in exactly this kind of case.
(Update: See a summary of Florida’s ethnopolitical groups, and their importance towards state politics, in the comment-section, to help understand why he would be making such appeals to fellow Jews at this stage in his campaign.)
Some of the things in the above eight-point list in isolation could be interpreted differently, but taken together and with the intended audience in mind, another effect is produced. Together with the lead-in content about Jewish identity and how hard his ancestors had to fight to get into America (implied: the anti-Semitic, immigration-restrictionist USA in the 1930s), how his family were (he claims) running from genocidal White-Christian Holocausters in Europe, this amounts to a statement of ethnopolitical loyalty, done in a dog whistle or esoteric style, group-insiders understanding the intended message.
Here is Uhlfelder narrating on the Confederate flag:
“I want what’s best for [my kids], and their friends, and our neighbors. So, when the Confederate flag was coming down at courthouses across the country but ours stayed up, I organized to *take it down*.”
The “so” here does not follow. It is a verbal trick, but its real function is as one of the appeal to ethnopolitical groups not including White-Christians. “So” is a connector that connects two obviously related ideas, as if he were talking about something fully self-evident and not a ‘partisan’ position. The trick works on some people straight away, if not much thought is put in (Oh, he was defending his children and their friends, that’s good).
The veiled message with this Confederate flag commentary is that Uhlfelder opposes any form of White-Christian ethnonationalism, and supports disempowerment thereof. He supports the strategy of trashing any symbols of White-Christian America which can be trashed or discarded with impunity, as part of a strategy to weaken potentially dangerous host-population ethnonationalism. Furthermore, and importantly for the “between the lines” reading, his wording on the Confederate flag issue signals that it is (was) not a position which he has to much think about, rather being something he does (did) without needing a second thought. Something on principle. This nonverbalized message is, I think, achieved through the smooth use of the transitional word “so”—as if the second idea (tearing down all Confederate symbols) obviously follows the first (desire to defend his children and “their friends”)—in combination with rest of the tone of the video.
He then promotes his political-activism career by saying he protested when “bureaucrats” moved to “privatize” beaches. It’s another vague statement. I wonder the specifics on it. I expect we might find it something like the Corona-Panic (moral signaling over facts). But also we run into the demographic problem here. Some parts of Florida have been in national news in recent years for major violence associated with beaches. The beach is a general appeal of Florida. Some communities want to keep some beaches private to avoid the problem and are willing to pay for the privilege. This is a loss of “the commons” but is inevitable in a society with substantial Third World elements. Anecdotally, it is said that public beaches in some parts of Florida are unsuitable for middle-class White families.
Uhlfelder revisits his “it’s in my blood” theme towards the end of the video (1:43):
“When people are being oppressed, or left out, or made to feel like their lives don’t matter, it’s not in my DNA to let it slide. There’s a lot of bullying going on right now. And what do you expect, when these are the faces of Florida’s leaders? I might not be a politician, but I’m one tough lawyer. And that’s why I’m running for attorney general of Florida.”
Soon after Uhlfelder says the words “It’s not in my DNA to let it slide,” we see flashed on the screen scenes of about eight people apparently in ‘Nazi’ costumes, one carrying a Swastika flag. They are standing in a field, with a U.S.-style Starbucks visible in the rear. This is an unmistakable dog-whistle to the smaller “between the lines” audience for this video of fellow Jewish Democrats in Florida, and some excitable non-Jews that have told themselves there is a fascist takeover threat–but mostly to Jews. This kind of appeal and imagery would be too clownish in an environment without Jews as a major force in politics.
Actually, these U.S. political ads bashing White-ethnonationalists have now become a staple of (what passes for) the political discourse. In a more innocent age, some gave the George H. W. Bush campaign team a hard time over the famous “Willy Horton” ad in 1988 (featuring a Black felon released early who killed again). In our time, it is now totally unsurprising, and even almost the norm, for the Left to use thinly veiled anti-White imagery and allege White Heterosexual Males as the dangerous internal enemy, all in the open and by mainstream, respectable politicians. One of the most notorious of this type was this one from Virginia in 2017, a commercial which didn’t even mention the Democratic candidate Ralph Northam and hardly even mentioned the Republican opponent Ed Gillespie, focusing rather entirely on hammering home a message of Eternal White-Christian-Male Villainy:
The Daniel Uhlfelder ad is not so ham-fisted as that notorious 2017-Virginia ad showing a White racist chasing down nonwhite children in a pickup truck, but it has a portion in the same tradition.
Returning to the Uhlfelder ad: after the Swastika people we get unidentified footage of two men kicking someone between two cars. What is this? It could just be typical “road rage.” It’s not clear. But when juxtaposed with the Swastika-flag guys and Uhlfeleder’s narration, it makes it seem it’s probably right-wing thugs beating up Jews, Gays, or etc. And that’s the point.
Then it’s this, Uhlfelder narrating: “But what do you expect, when THESE are the faces of Florida’s leaders?” On screen we see (Governor) Ron DeSantis, (Attorney General) Ashley Moody, and (Congressman) Matt Gaetz.
I find interesting this use of the word “faces” in this way. The ad proceeds to put up three White faces, associating them by implication with thugs who beat up immigrants, LGBTQs, and Jews.
Speaking of reading between lines, “double talk,” and the “my DNA” line, Dieter Kief says this:
“It would be no exaggeration to write a long and winding essay about Daniel Uhlfelder’s “my DNA” remark. If I did (I will not) I’d start with the thesis that it is astonishing that Uhlfelder let this sentence slip out. It’s double talk, of course (that rhetorical strategy supplies the protection here). I’d go on then and try to explain that one half of the double-talk is nonetheless utterly confessional and – somehow pure and naked – – – all defenses down…”
On the topic of the Corona-Panic, so many of us have asked “why,” “how,” and so on. The general idea is that something big has changed in our society, and a Corona-Panic could not have happened x years ago. I believe the same applies to some of the non-Corona rhetoric from the Daniel Uhlfelder campaign. I believe that previous iterations of Daniel Uhlfelder, some decades ago, would not have said lines about something being “in my DNA” or activism being “in my blood.” Not in a public political context. There is a hint of triumphalism about it, in the dog-whistled meaning. But you have to know to look for it and I still believe there are multiple audiences intended, some will understand it and some not. Those who do realize and are bothered by it are still not going to call him out on it, for fear of that ethnoreligious group’s power in Florida politics.
This part of Uhlfelder’s campaign video was a segue out of his defense of his embrace of the Corona-Panic and his activism on behalf of keeping up the Panic, lockdowns, and mandates in 2020 and 2021. That segue was interesting because it even suggests his Panic-pushing was done out of ethnopolitical loyalty, or any mistakes can be forgiven because of the bigger threat of the DeSantis fascists and DeSantis votes who fly Swastika flags and beat up immigrants, LGBTQs, and Jews.
The segue also might just overshoot. It quickly transitions into something that resembles the Joe Biden campaign’s infamous campaign-launch video of April 2019, titled (groaningly, laughably) “America is an Idea”:
Joe Biden dubiously claimed that he was motivated to run for president in 2019 solely because of a protest event to keep the General Lee statue in a town park in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. That protest turned out about 1500 supporters of the “Alt-Right,” the White-Christian-ethnonationalist movement of the moment, and other Keep the Lee Statue backers. Public opinion polling up to that time all showed majorities favored keeping the statues, but since then “we” have been on a maoist Red Guard-like campaign to topple all such statues where local reactionaries do not prevent it, and this maoist-like movement sped up into a surrealistic overdrive in mid-2020 after the worst of the Corona-Panic’s early lockdowns. Interesting that Daniel Uhlfelder declared himself a strong partisan of both the Corona-Panic as such and of tearing down Confederate monuments and symbols, the one following the other in 2020 being a convenient one-two punch on behalf of Daniel Uhlfelder’s per causes. The asterisk here, though, is there were no BLM riots or maoist statue-attacks in 2020 n Florida itself.
There is a key distinction between the Biden and Uhlfelder positions. Biden with this spring 2019 campaign-launch video was tantamount to a declaration of puppetry to other forces. This was not the Biden he had for so long marketed himself to be, a centrist, which is how he got the vice presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012 under Barack ‘Hussein’ Obama. With Uhlfelder, we get a more morally consistent position, anyway.
In the Uhlfelder video, we see a shorter version of much the same. Biden was trying to opportunistically shift his position to try to fit a trend of the moment. Uhlfelder was not shifting his position but sort of embracing his heritage (as he himself says openly in his video). Uhlfelder also plays a trump card by staking out a claim to moral superiority by declaring his Jewish identity, which Biden cannot personally do, although Biden has a large number of Jewish grandchildren and (amazingly) all his children has been married to Jewish spouses at some point.
The protest to keep the Lee statue in Charlottesville in 2017 was sabotaged by a sneering set of characters, including: a bad-faith, hostile mayor; a semi-hostile and complaisant-to-power local police bureaucracy; and a ‘Get Trump’ party-hack governor. All “deep-blue” people. The Charlottesville mayor as of 2017, Michael Signer, is himself a version of Daniel Uhlfelder: wealthy, well-connected, left-wing vies attendant and de rigueur for their ethnopolitical class, elite educated, but operating on the frontiers of ‘blue’ political power in areas traditionally ‘red’ (Signer in central Virginia, Uhlfelder in Tallahassee), and both sharing a religious heritage. Signer and Uhlfelder might not be well known names but they are firm members of the broad U.S. neo-elite, one which has, so famously, renounced the ancient principle of noblesse oblige and now runs a regime of permanent hostility against the nation’s historic ethnocultural core.
To wrap up with the political analysis of the video, it is notable that only in the last thirty seconds of content in the 2m40s video 2:00 to 2:30 mark), Uhlfelder finally makes some traditional appeals for why people should vote for him and not the Republican Ashley Moody. He says Ashley Moody is too politically close to Ron DeSantis, being akin to his “personal attorney.”
This framing hints at how Ashley Moody stayed on the Anti-Panic side, alongside Governor DeSantis, firmly if quietly and without fanfare or controversy (and thus no media attention). Through all the slings and arrows, attacks at Florida’s “experiment” in rejecting the Panic, and war-like propaganda campaign against Florida for having such a government, she never broke ranks.
Think what great rewards the powerful Pro-Panic forces would have doled out to Ashley Moody if she had made every effort (or any effort) to legally undermine Anti-Panic policies (the state being against lockdowns, closures, disruptions, remote schooling, masks, mandates, and forced experimental-injections marketed as vaccines)…
Daniel Uhlfelder finishes his pitch by saying he is for “voting rights, consumer rights, fundamental human rights.” He does that thing an old East-European proverb once called crying out in pain as he strikes you, alleging Ashley Moody is simply “there to push a harmful political agenda, just to advance her own political career.” Isn’t this a fair reading of the fruits of Uhlfelder’s own Corona-Panic activism?
“There’s too much at stake to stay on the sidelines now. And I’m just getting started…” And with that, the campaign video closes. Daniel Uhlfelder is not going away. He now has a political career ahead. Why did he push the Corona-Panic, indeed!
The election 2022 rivals for Florida attorney general
The general election opponent: Ashley Moody
There are two elections upcoming in 2022 for Daniel Uhlfelder. The first is the Democratic primary (late August 2022), the second is the general election (Nov. 2022).
The incumbent attorney general is Ashley Moody (b.1975), a White-Protestant of multi-generational Florida origin. The Daniel Uhlfelder campaign video depicts Ashley Moody as an attack-dog for the sinister DeSantis, the latter looking on as people die (and as desperate people in the back all wear masks while he scowls maskless), with Ashley Moody his enabler:
That view of Ashley Moody and Ron DeSantis is demagogic in the worst tradition, something like a blood-libel, but done with lawyerly skill.
I’ve mentioned already that Ashley Moody was a firm and unwavering Anti-Panicker, and in that sense, at least, she was a DeSantis loyalist. She could gotten her thirty pieces of silver if she had “flipped” on DeSantis during the height of the Corona-Panic, but she never came even close, and so for all the tempestuous, angry criticism of Florida in Pro-Panic media in 2020 and 2021, her name almost didn’t come up at all.
Who is Ashley Moody? She is a multi-generational Florida jurist, in that her grandfather (James Moody Sr. [1915-2001] and father James Moody Jr. [1947-]) were both also judges in Florida. The family has a Presbyterian affiliation. They share their family-name and church affiliation with a famous 19th-century evangelist whose name is still recognizable today, especially in Chicago, where the Moody Bible Institute is still headquartered.
And this Moody family is an unusually-long-established one in Florida. Ashley Moody’s b.1915 grandfather was born and raised on the Florida Gulf Coast. A Jacksonville newspaper has said Ashley Moody herself is a fifth-generation Floridian, which puts her first-arriving ancestor back around the Civil War era, when Florida was very sparsely populated, being a “frontier” of its own. Given how much Florida is “migration” state, these aspects of family tradition and continuity itself are a clue as to who Ashley Moody is and her thinking and worldview.
(Ron DeSantis’s parents only showed up in the 1970s from a then-starting-to-decline industrial Ohio town; see: “The Ancestry of Ron DeSantis,” original research here at Hail To You from 2021. As for the Uhlfelder ancestor, he came onto the Florida scene in the 1930s, soon after arriving from Europe and bouncing around with a few offers to work in department stores apparently run by distant relatives.)
Ashley Moody graduated from Plant City High School on the mid Gulf Coast of Florida, and in her youth won a beauty pageant, being crowned “Strawberry Festival Queen” some time in the 1990s. She was ambitious enough to enter a race for circuit judge for the Tampa area in 2006. Elected, then only age 31, she was the youngest judge in Florida at the time. It was an unusual accomplishment, and one of many cases in which talent, ambition, and good connections mix to form a coherent whole, each component necessary to make the whole.
Her early legal career directly put Ashley Moody directly on the path to her current role as state attorney general, to which she was elected in 2018. She did well in that race, able to win comfortably in 2018 (52%-46%), whereas Ron DeSantis , now so popular and iconic, himself only narrowly beat Andrew Gillum (50%-49%). Gillum was a Black Democrat and later revealed to be hard-drug-addict and homosexual-prostitute-consorter, today living in shame and obscurity while juggling multiple legal headaches after at least one male-prostitute consort turned up dead.
Sometime during her first judgeship, Ashley Moody married Justin Duralia, who is, by varying accounts, either a U.S. Army officer, an agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and/or (according to Ashley Moody) a “travel baseball dad,” depending on the time of year and day of the week. Their son, born about 2010, is a serious Little League baseball player, from the sounds of it. Here they are:
As a side-note: Given that Ashley Moody is a conservative, or has all the hallmarks of being such, is it not a little curious, or notable, that she didn’t change her surname to her husband’s, upon marriage in the late 2000s? One of the Democrat contenders, Aramis Ayala, a left-wing BLM supporter born the same year as Ashley Moody (and on whom more shortly), did change her surname upon marriage. In the case of Ashley Moody, we might say the non-change was because: (1.) her birth-surname was so well known in Florida legal circles, (2.) she was a career-woman, and (3.) she had already been elected a judge under her birth-surname, Moody. If she had married before her public career began, maybe she’d have changed her name.
Ron DeSantis is the 95%-favorite to be reelected governor in November 2022, and also now the favorite to be the Republican nominee for president in 2024, partly on the strength of his principled stand during the Corona-Panic, when he displayed rare moral courage and defied the powerful forces of the Panic itself and the mob mentality and the potential political risks he opened himself up to by opposing the Panic at its height. He deserves his current prestige.
DeSantis’ popularity will likely ensure Ashley Moody’s reelection in 2022. In any case, Daniel Uhlfelder’s real target, for now, in this entry of his into electoral politics, is “Ron DeSantis 2024” and not really “Ashley Moody 2022.”
The Democratic primary opponents for Florida Attorney General, 2022
The Corona-demagogue and Panic-pusher Daniel Uhlfelder, who claims left-wing activism is “in his blood,” faces two other opponents before he can face Ashley Moody directly, or before he can turn whatever political guns he can assemble and aim them at the DeSantis machine. He’ll be able to blast away for several months before election day, and he will probably get media support.
The Democratic primary election is in late August 2022. After Uhlfelder wins that, he’ll be able to focus on blasting away full time at Ron DeSantis for 2.5 months or so until election day.
The two Democratic primary opponents are: Aramis Ayala and Jim Lewis. I turn now to them, and especially Aramis Ayala offers an interesting contrast with Daniel Uhlfelder, two important components of the Democratic Party / political Left coalition in our time..
Daniel Uhlfelder’s principal Democratic rival is Aramis Ayala (b.1975). She is of Black-U.S. origin, from Michigan. She has substantial White ancestry, as her father is of the lighter-complexion of Blacks, in many places he would be considered a distinct group (as the old term Mulatto). Aramis Ayala’s birth surname is apparently Donnell; the name Ayala surname comes from her marriage to David Ayala, of Black-Caribbean origin (and on whom, more shortly).
Aramis Ayala graduated in 1993 from Bridgeport High School near Saginaw, Michigan. This high school appears to have been racially mixed in her time, with a White majority and large Black minority. At some point in coming years, after she left, the area went through a transition and “tipped” to become super-majority Black. By the 2010s, the school stood at 71% Black, 13% White, 10% Hispanic, a process that happened on much larger scale and even more extreme downstate in Detroit a generation earlier. In Aramis Ayala’s time there as a student at Bridgeport, the high school made the news (Associated Press wire) for reports of large-scale fights between White and Black students, in response to which the school in 1991 hired a “race-relations expert,” Peter Gluck, to solve the problem. Thirty years later, it’s clear this race-relations expert didn’t solve the problem, unless transitioning to supermajority Black is a solution. In her adult life, Aramis Ayala moved to Florida, where she has long practiced law.
While there is a lot negative one could say about Aramis Ayala, we should give her the benefit of the doubt and say she is probably not, herself, addicted to any illegal substances, nor do we have any info suggesting she partakes in drug-fueled sordid activities in hotel rooms with anonymous partners, as with the lifestyle of the disgraced Andrew Gillum (DeSantis’ 2018 opponent for governor).
This is the kind of political personality Aramis Ayala is:
She declared “Black America’s relationship with police is a textbook case of domestic abuse” in an opinion column published by BET.com in 2020. In some ways that is all you need to know about what kind of political space she operates in, but there’s more to this character worth a mention.
I mentioned above that Ashley Moody, the current attorney general, didn’t change her surname at marriage where Aramis Ayala did. Aramis is married David Ayala, of Black-Spanish-Caribbean origin. David Ayala also happens to be a convicted felon. As she was formerly a defense attorney, in the 2000s, I can only speculate on the likelihood that Aramis met David through that world, maybe indirectly (i.e., not necessarily that she was his attorney). I now have to wonder if she took the Ayala surname to potentially help her own political career, for it would appeal to the substantial Spanish-speaking population in Florida, while still able also to mobilize the U.S.-Black vote for her. Coalition building. (Is it too ynical to think ambitious b.1970s U.S. women were making the decision to change their names or not for essentially strategic-political reasons?)
Husband David Ayala caused a considerable embarrassment or scandal for his wife when it was revealed he (the husband, David Ayala) had repeatedly illegally voted in U.S. elections. His felon convictions meant he forfeited his right to vote under Florida law unless and until it was reinstated by personal act of the governor. He registered and repeatedly voted anyway, which is a crime.
This all came out as a result of the Trump people’s puzzling initiative to automatically reinstate voting rights for convicted felons in 2018, a Kushner initiative. They got this very same David Ayala on camera and paraded him around on tv, He was the wife of a state prosecutor (Aramis Ayala) at the time. He celebrated his liberation for the cameras, on live tv. He said: “I feel free! Like a full citizen!” Not long thereafter, in March 2019, it came out he had illegally voted repeatedly for years.
The second Democratic primary rival to Daniel Uhlfelder is Jim Lewis, a minor candidate without a campaign-apparatus or funds. He will not win.
Jim Lewis is a White male, born circa 1957, a native of Orlando, and a practicing defense attorney well known in South Florida. He has a homemade-feeling website. It centers around the slogan: “Don’t Trump my Florida!” He was previously a marijuana-legalization activist.
The “BLM, anti-Rule of Law, racial-grievance, and Decline” candidate (Ayala) vs. the “smooth-talking Corona-Panic-pusher” (Uhlfelder)
In July 2022, interest in the Florida attorney general race started really getting traction. It is a position with considerable power and influence, an important lieutenant of the governor and the state executive branch, a position which helps set the tone of everything in the state.
A highly informed and resourceful reader and commenter, Adam Smith, noticed the Uhlfelder campaign was underway and mentioned it in a comment at Peak Stupidity in July 2022. That is how I became aware the “Grim Reaper” Corona-demagogue whom I had profiled last year had torn off the mask (so to speak) and gone for it: political office. Shortly after Adam Smith’s comment, the Florida media began to take close interest and cover the race, the candidates, and their differences.
The Orlando Sentinel published an overview of the race for attorney general, which referred to Uhlfelder according to his Covid-activism character: “Election 2022: Grim Reaper, Ayala among Democrats running for Florida attorney general” (Orlando Sentinel, July 22, 2022).
While the Orlando Sentinel makes note of Daniel Uhlfelder’s tireless Covid activism, the more interesting information in this expose was on Aramis Ayala, Uhlfelder’s main Democratic primary opponent:
Aramis Ayala is best known, or most notorious in Florida politics, for publicly and stridently refusing to ever seek the death penalty in any circumstances. It’s a controversy of which state politics followers in Florida are well aware. They recognize the name Aramis Ayala for that refusal to seek the death penalty. This was during her tenure as chief prosecutor for one of the districts of Florida, in the Orlando area. She refused to ever bring a death penalty case, even when existing law called for the death penalty. It is symbolic of a general soft-on-crime variant of “Defund the Police”-ism. It drew criticism for that reason.
In a legal sense, Aramis Ayala’s refusal to seek the death penalty may be tantamount to personal “nullification” of a law she opposes. It’s curious that her refusal to ever pursue the death penalty while in office in the late 2010s brought so much controversy. That seems a survival of principled, rule-of-law Americana (and our NW-European tradition). One woman was appearing to sabotage the legal process under Florida law. This kind of thing could easily spread and the system would break down. Laws would lose their meanings. The state would become one of men (women), not of laws. As a servant of the state, Aramis Ayala was supposed to carry out the law as written, not do whatever she wants, whatever her conscience dictates; rather, carrying out the laws of the state effectively and fairly and faithfully, with some flexibility given human imperfections and biases, but never acting like she alone has the power to nullify laws.
We can put it like this: the State, in the political-science sense, is an entity unto itself. It is not a collection of individuals “doing whatever” within the bounds of some set of constantly evolving or flexible norms which sometimes seem to have race-to-the-bottom characteristics. (See, e.g., the Baltimore mayor, about a year ago, who said there should not be prosecutions of people shooting at each other if they were engaged in “mutual combat”).
Some people genuinely don’t understand this principle of the secular-sacredness of the Law; others understand it, but don’t respect it. (It seems, in general, that our core ethnocultural tradition in the USA understands and respects it and that the norm in most in the world is, frankly, to not understand and/or not respect it.)
In other words, a lot of the people who turned against Aramis Ayala do seem to have been motivated by respect for the Law matters in principle, and believe it should not be mocked or disrespected. Overtly imposing one’s own views when they run counter to the law according to the processes of law-making in the state legislature, etc., is either the mark of an unstable or dysfunctional regime (if persistent and widespread), or the case of an individual loose-cannon or rabble-rouser who slips into the system somehow. The Aramis Ayala case seems to sit somewhere between the two. It leans towards being a single “loose cannon” type. But given Florida’s demographics, sustained misgovernment could potentially tip things rapidly towards systematized dysfunction.
(Update, Aug. 4, 2022: Governor Ron DeSantis has fired a left-wing state prosecutor, Andrew Warren, a controversy which has direct ties to the preceding commentary published here August 1, on Aramis Ayala. Andrew Warren is one of the “Soros district attorneys.” Aramis Ayala’s campaign was also funded by the Soros network. See comment-section for more on this.)
After such scandals and bad press and Aramis Ayala’s fall in popularity, the state sued her for breach of duty and she abandoned her own campaign for reelection in 2021. That her immigrant-felon husband was revealed to have had repeatedly illegally voted must not have helped. But then the Corona-Panic and Black Lives Matter moral-panic outbreaks happened, and she believed she could get a second wind.
From the preceding synopsis and discussion, you will probably not be surprised to learn this other highlight of Ms. Ayala’s career:
Aramis Ayala was briefly in the news as a victim of supposed targeted harassment by White police. That during the year she was elected one of Florida’s chief district prosecutors, 2017. She berated the police when they pulled her over for some traffic violation. She publicly accused them of anti-Black racism. Later, she claimed she had begun receiving nooses in the mail from racist tormentors, a way to intimidate her for her criticism of White police racism.
The whole package leaves us with the portrait of Aramis Ayala as the candidate of Black Lives Matter, the candidate of anti-Rule of Law, the candidate of Decline. But at least you know what you get. With Daniel Uhlfelder’s smooth-talking and manipulative Corona-Panic fanaticism and similar political-moralizing, it’s another story altogether.
The other candidate, Jim Lewis, strikes me as the left-libertarian, a lovable-goofball candidate.
The main rival and heavy favorite must be Daniel Uhlfelder. I cannot imagine Uhlfelder loses this primary race. He could only lose if it’s revealed that he was Jeffrey Epstein’s right-hand man all along, or something similarly shocking. I cannot see how Aramis Ayala beats her own bad reputation, or even if her negatives don’t hurt her too much, how she could defeat the politically careful, well-funded, unreconstructed Covid-fanatic Daniel Uhlfelder.
There will be an Florida Democratic-primary attorney general debate on August 4th, 2022, hosted by “The Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida and Alianza for Progress.” Although it is sure to get very little attention, if it is the only Democratic primary debate before voting day, it may be a landmark-moment for Daniel Uhlfelder’s political career.
Conclusion: Daniel Uhlfelder will be in the news for the rest of 2022 and probably beyond. He may have a considerably bigger political future than just the Panic-pusher and Corona-demagogue role he embraced in 2020-2021.
This means we were right to give him attention in 2021. We recognized him for what he was. His case helps us understand one part of what the Corona-Panic was, how it formed, how it sustained itself, and one kind of person got involved in pushing it. Far from the end of the story, but better than nothing.
The instant political career by top Covid-demagogue Uhlfelder is another sign of just how much the Corona-Panic is a key to many political developments that have followed. Because these CoronaPanic-like events can and will happen again, it’s worth understanding the characters on the stage, that we may understand how the drama might go.
[Updated: Aug. 3, 2022]
“It’s not in my DNA to let it slide.” — Daniel Uhlfelder