There is an unsettling trend on Greg Abbott's Facebook page: routine death threats against Wendy Davis. Not only are the threats violent and full of sexist bile, but they continue without comment from Greg Abbott – though he and his staffers certainly haven't shied away from promoting sexist attacks on Davis in the past.
If this were one isolated incident of prejudice and conservative politics producing violent threats against public figures, perhaps it wouldn't be so upsetting. Less than a week after Johnny Bones implied he was prepared to shoot Wendy Davis, a Republican candidate for Florida's legislature called for President Obama to be hanged. The Florida Republican Party distanced themselves from the candidate and his statements, but Greg Abbott has yet to condemn the threats of violence to Davis on his Facebook page. Disagreements about policy priorities are one thing, but violent and sexist threats against your opponent are unacceptable.
More on the death threats against Davis and Abbott's refusal to comment below the jump.
This newest death threat, Daily Kos reports, was in response to a post on Abbott's Facebook asking supporters to donate six dollars to “stop liberal groups from turning Texas blue!” Or, as Facebook user Johnny Bones who made the death threat would say, “libtards.” After a quick perusal of his personal page, it turns out Bones thought “abortion Barbie” would be “sexier,” but no, in his opinion, she's just a “skank.”
The Florida candidate who said Obama ought to be hanged had a visit from the Secret Service. Bones' comments were reported to Facebook, Abbott, Davis, and the FBI, according to Daily Kos, and should at least warrant some kind of investigation.
Both the threats and general attacks against Davis on Abbott's page have a uniting theme beyond antagonism towards “liberals” who are trying to take over Texas. It's the same theme that runs through articles that claim Davis is “too stupid” to hold statewide office and all of the variations on “Abortion”/”retard” Barbie thrown Davis' way. All of them are mired in sexist vitriol. Davis is sexualized, a “Barbie,” or a “skank.” She is either too pretty to be taken seriously, or not valuable because she isn't attractive enough. She once had brown hair (gasp!) that was frizzy (oh no!) and so obviously she cannot be trusted to run for statewide office. She has been both criticized for being a single mother and reprimanded for having relied on her ex-husband during their marriage. As a woman facing a sexist society, there is nothing Davis can do to negate the fact that she is, in fact, a woman.
Greg Abbott should condemn his supporters' attacks against Davis not only because it is the right thing to do in the face of such vicious threats against his opponent's safety, but also because he could literally stand to lose should the wrong sexist act leak to the public. After all, many credit Ann Richards' final burst of momentum before her election to a sexist slip-up by her Republican opponent. Either way, it seems the voters of Texas should not expect Abbott or his campaign to call out these violent threats or condemn such vicious language from their supporters – especially not while they continue to stoke the flames.