Broward Politics: Facebook Is A Double-Edged Sword For Candidates





One only had to attend the mayor candidates’ forum in Plantation this week to see the power of Facebook on local politics. 

The event was publicized almost exclusively on the social media site.

Despite months of negative news about Facebook, the Deicke Auditorium packed. 

Sponsored by the Facebook group Plantation Politics and Community Concerns, roughly 150 listened to the five candidates for Plantation mayor. Since the group only has 456 members, that was a super turnout. 

The event was also streamed live on…Facebook. 

I guarantee every person attending and watching will vote in November. 



Candidate for Plantation mayor Jennifer Izaguirre speaks while candidates Lynn Stoner and Pete Tingom watch.  The moderator for the event was Louis Reinstein. (Photos by Carolyn Burns


What I also noticed is that the audience was heavily grey-haired, contradicting the talk that Facebook appeals only to the young. Political consultants often push that argument because they make money from mailed advertisements. 

The crowd was mostly older (That’s Plantation Commission candidate Nick Sortal and his wife, Robyn on the left in the front row.  They aren’t as young as they look because they worked decades at the Sun-Sentinel with me.) 



Most mail ads ends up in the garbage.

Something that consultants don’t talk about is that studies show it is the rare voter that looks at a mail piece more than three seconds. If at all. 

Facebook fans spend much longer. The average time spent on Facebook daily is 50 minutes, according to the company. 

If I was a candidate, I would spend a lot of time picking the right specialist who would plan and execute a killer social media campaign. And I would be on social media touching voters personally.

One caveat to this advice: Judicial candidates.  They need to stay off of Facebook and other social media sites long before they actually file for office.  If you must muse publicly, run the comments past another lawyer who knows the ethical code governing judicial candidates before you post. 


What Do You Think?


I don’t know if the bizarre post below is ethical or proper for a judicial candidate. Alan Schneider, who is running for Broward Circuit Court Group 8, has a long history of posting strange and highly political rants, according to two lawyers who have read his Facebook page.





Schneider scrubbed his Facebook page shortly before filing for judge on May 2.  

Some readers will find nothing wrong with Schneider’s views.

Yet the above was posted just over a week before he became a candidate. Didn’t he know he would soon be running for judge when he hit the button to post? Do his decidedly opinionated views have a place on the bench? 

You will have an opportunity to decide.


Letting Voters Know He Is Jewish



Broward Circuit Judge Michael Usan has a decent reputation and should have sailed through his reelection campaign without a worry. But his challenger is Richard Kaplan, a guy with a decidedly Jewish-sounding name. 

Kaplan’s name apparently has Usan worried. There is a persistent myth that Jews will vote only for those with Jewish sounding names.

I talked to four lawyers, two who are in the courthouse once or twice a week.  They don’t have a clue who half the candidates for judge are. Much less if they are qualified. 

So it is no surprise that average voters casts their vote for the name that sounds best to them. 

Judicial candidates, however, must be careful not to make an obviously ethnic pitch. Does this one go too far? 





The post triggered criticism on Facebook that Usan was mixing religion and government. 

“Separation of church and state? Can you still be objective,” one critic wrote. 

Again, you decide.


9 Responses to “Broward Politics: Facebook Is A Double-Edged Sword For Candidates”

  1. Wait. What? says:

    You’re talking about candidates on social media and not even mentioning Ryan Petty? I mean these other things are one post here or there. Ryan Petty has a decade of racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic tweets and wants to be on the school board?!?

  2. My 2 sense says:

    The voters should know about Schneider’s post. He wrote it for the world to see, it was on Facebook! And it was an ugly attack on democrats. He seems angry, nasty. This is a position for someone with calm and demeanor not rage and anger. The voters should look at all the personal FB pages of every candidate, including his opponent. But there is nothing wrong with a judge attending a religious worship ceremony and posting that on FB. They have lives.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When I ran for judge, I interviewed several political consultants suggested to me by friends.
    Two of the most recommended consultants were so old it was if we were on a different planet.Facebook is as far as these people got on a computer. They had no personal concept of any other tools that could be used.
    Needless to add, I didn’t hire these two and still won!

  4. Ron Gunzburger says:

    What I also noticed is that the audience was heavily grey-haired, contradicting the talk that Facebook appeals only to the young.

    This is fairly inaccurate, but widely believed. The “kids” (ie, under 25) typically eschew Facebook, seeing it as something uncool and for older people. They prefer Snapchat, etc. Yes younger folks use it (millions of them), but your more typical, regular Facebook user is likely 30-65, which is why so many major campaigns use it for social media advertising.

  5. Pam T L C says:

    Usan is the best judge. He does everything we want.
    Lawyers Who Make Political Donations.

  6. Nick Sortal says:

    Funny, I wrote this today!


    This is worth reading and applies to all governments. Officials should communicate with residents. One of the way it is done today is through social media — Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the rest.

  7. J says:

    #1.- RYAN PETTY lost his daughter, Alaina, bc of the negligence on the part of DONNA KORN and her political allies at Broward Public Schools.

    Broward Schools let our children down.
    DONNA KORN let our children down. Period.

    To a non-partisan voter, who can read, DONNA KORN’S inactions and failures, ON THE JOB, speak louder than personal posts posted by a man who never imagined he’d entire politics, particularly under the circumstances he did.

    ‘Actions speak louder than words.’

    Mr. Petty is an example of strength and excellence. We need more authentic community leaders like Mr. Petty. Shaming him only discourages authentic community participation in politics. Attacking Mr. Petty in such a disgusting manner is not only reckless, but only underscores the pettifogging that leads to the failures our community is facing.

  8. Blindchef says:

    Jim Silvernale is a man to watch as he hopefully slides into Anne Murrays seat. Good man.

  9. Blind Justice says:

    Does anyone else have a problem with a candidate erasing Facebook posts prior to an election. If a person is truly “fair, respectful and impartial…” (His words not mine, see his interview with BB.) If a candidate is all those things then why would they have to “scrub” their FB page of anything? Unless they have something to hide. What else is this candidate hiding?
    Being a trial attorney for many years why haven’t I ever seen this man at the courthouse.