Last week, Mayor Ivy Taylor’s new campaign director told us Taylor was going to get “back to her roots” before the June 10 runoff election against Councilman Ron Nirenberg.
Judging by the campaign’s most recent move, that apparently means the online trolling of her “liberal” opponent.
On Wednesday, the website LiberalRon.com started making the rounds in political circles on social media. The site loudly welcomes visitors with the gigantic words “Liberal Ron Nirenberg for Mayor” and features a fake news story chiding Nirenberg for supposedly flip-flopping on a number of city issues.
The story, complete with faux Nirenberg quotes, sprinkles in a few examples of the councilman’s shifting views on specific issues, like when he voted to approve the construction of the Vista Ridge Pipeline, a project that would funnel water from the Hill Country to San Antonio — that is, before he later raised concerns about what he calls serious changes to the contract. Or when Nirenberg supported the rezoning of the Mission Trails mobile home park to allow for the construction of a luxury apartment complex — and later, after learning of how the park’s tenants were negatively impacted by the decision, called it a mistake.
The “Liberal Ron” website jokes that Nirenberg should change his slogan from “A city you deserve” to “My bad.” At the very bottom of the website, a note: “Pol Ad paid for by the Ivy Taylor for Mayor Campaign.”
Colin Strother, Taylor’s new campaign strategist, told the Current that the campaign is “just trying to have a little fun” with the site and thinks it’ll bring a “breath of fresh air to politics.” A blurb posted at the bottom of the site telling readers to call a phone number and yell “FLIP FLOP” to get a discount on some sandals (get it?!). That number, of course, dials Nirenberg’s campaign headquarters.
Is this the “breath of fresh air” San Antonio voters are looking for in local politics? The move seems fairly standard at this point. At the beginning of this mayoral campaign, Taylor’s camp bought the domain VoteRonSA.org (easily confused with Nirenberg’s VoteRonSA.com), which rerouted visitors to Taylor’s campaign page — prompting an anonymous person to do the exact same thing with VoteIvy.org and Nirenberg’s site (his campaign team claimed it wasn’t them, but he’s admitted to similar stunts in the past.)
This time around, however, the online trolling extends to Nirenberg’s progressive followers. The site uses textbook conservative caricatures of liberals to attack the councilman — like saying he’ll bring a “nanny state” to San Antonio, tank job production, and protect the environment. They even make a cringeworthy yoga reference (because making fun of a granola-loving lefty in yoga pants isn’t the laziest way to burn a liberal).
Perhaps this is Taylor’s way of cementing herself as the “conservative” candidate after seeing North Side precincts that originally voted for her in the 2015 election swing toward Nirenberg this time around.
It’s a tactic that certainly seems to clash with the message Taylor delivered at Tuesday’s mayoral debate, during which she touted her own “track record of building consensus.”
“I have worked really hard to bring people together throughout the city to work with folks no matter their affiliation or background,” Taylor said, adding she’s been consistent in “seeking out folks across the political spectrum in order to get things done in San Antonio.”
A day later, the campaign went live with LiberalRon.com.