There probably hasn’t been a political race since 1980 in which the GOP candidate was not accused of being a racist. The strategy has been so successful that the NeverTrump faction of the GOP has started using that claim as their go-to attack on, it seems, virtually anyone against open borders or in favor of enforcing immigration law. So it wasn’t much of a shock that the Democrat nominee for the Florida gubernatorial race, Andrew Gillum, led off with a charge of racism against GOP nominee Ron DeSantis. On Wednesday, literally hours after DeSantis won the GOP primary, he was accused of using a racist dog whistle when he used the term “monkey this up.” As an aside, aren’t the real racists the people that preemptively assume that every “monkey” or “ape” expression refers to black people? Would “ape sh**” be a racist dog whistle? And why are racists assumed to be attuned these catch phrases when it is the Democrats and the media who end up having to explain how the term is racist? Is there a racist decoder ring out there?
On Friday, some Florida voters…no one is sure how many…allegedly received a robocall that proclaimed it was paid for by a racist/anti-Semitic website in Idaho called TheRoadToPower.com. This website has used racist robocalls before, but, good grief, people, if you are trying to spread your message, beclowning yourself is a very strange way to go about doing it.
In the audio of one robocall placed on Friday and obtained by The New York Times, a man pretending to be Mr. Gillum can be heard talking in the exaggerated accent of a minstrel performer. “Well hello there,” it begins, “I is Andrew Gillum.” He then talks for a little over a minute about mud huts and unfair policing practices, and asks repeatedly for the listener’s vote. In the background are the sounds of drums and monkeys.
This is how the Washington Post describes it:
“Well, hello there,” the call begins as the sounds of drums and monkeys can be heard in the background, according to the New York Times. “I is Andrew Gillum.”
“We Negroes . . . done made mud huts while white folk waste a bunch of time making their home out of wood an’ stone.”
The speaker goes on to say he’ll pass a law letting African Americans evade arrest “if the Negro know fo’ sho’ he didn’t do nothin’.”
This is so over-the-top, calculatedly offensive, and counterproductive one could easily wonder if TheRoadToPower was a Democrat front.
Meanwhile, in Florida, everybody and their brother denounced the person who did this, they denounced his dog, they denounced his third grade teacher.
Earlier today, Gillum was on #FakeNews, I mean CNN’s State of the Union program. His trials and tribulations as a black candidate were front and center.
“I want to make sure that we don’t racialize, and, frankly, weaponize, race as a part of this process,” says Florida governor candidate Andrew Gillum, after he is targeted by racist robocalls https://t.co/7mtn1fWTJx #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/vRUN56i3FI
— CNN (@CNN) September 2, 2018
BASH: And I want to get to a lot of those issues and dig deeper on them in just a moment.
Before, though, I want — I have to get this out of the way. I don’t want to give undue attention to this. But, this week, a white supremacist robo-call came out in your state of Florida against your campaign.
You, of course, are the first black nominee for governor in the state of Florida. How are you going to fend off against attacks of what really are not just racially tinged, racist things like we’re seeing there now?
GILLUM: Yes. Yes.
Well, first of all, I have to tell you, I do find it deeply regrettable. I mean, on the day right after I secured the Democratic nomination, we had to deal with some of the dog whistles directly from my opponent.
And I — and I honestly want to sincerely say this, Dana. We can have a challenge between ideas and around what we think the people of the state of Florida deserve.
What I don’t want this race to turn into is a race of name-calling. I want to make sure that we don’t racialize and, frankly, weaponize race as a part of this process, which is why I have called on my opponent to really work to rise above some of these things. People are taking their cues from him, from his campaign, and from Donald Trump.
This is chutzpah. In one breath he calls for race to not be weaponized…like he’s going to take that thermonuclear weapon out of his arsenal…and in the next he regurgitates the ridiculous smear of DeSantis and blames him for any nutter who decides firing a robo-call into Florida might bring him a few additional clicks and podcast downloads.
When can see right now that this campaign is going to be ugly. Gillum has to accuse DeSantis of racism if he’s to have any chance of winning. An FBI investigation of Gillum’s crime family in the Tallahassee government is heating up and you can be assured that investigation is racist, it is directed by a racist Donald Trump and a racist Jeff Sessions at the behest of a racist Ron DeSantis.
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