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OPINION

Why Fanning Flames Of Racism Won’t Help DeSantis Defeat Gillum In Florida

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of Citizen Truth.)

Last week Andrew Gillum became the first black nominee for Florida governor from a viable political party within the state. The 39-year-old ran on what is considered an academic Social Democratic platform, was joined on the campaign trail by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The Mayor of Tallahassee has seen an outpouring of praise, especially from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which has seen a slew of victories during the primary season — despite inaccurate coverage from Conservative-Liberal outlets like Politico.

His Republican opponent in the gubernatorial election, Ron DeSantis immediately began using racial undertones in his public statements concerning Gillum. Stating a Gillum victory would “Monkey up” the state of Florida. The Young Turks published the following segment concerning the DeSantis interview.

Gillum would respond to the comments from DeSantis on CNN during an interview with Chris Cuomo, where he said Florida would “reject the politics of separation.” Gillum also stated that the claims from Congressman DeSantis were a “dog whistle” used to play to politics of division, a tactic used by the Republican Party for decades with the ‘Southern Strategy.’ During the Republican primary, DeSantis ran on the back of President Trump, releasing a frighteningly peculiar ad which had his family praise Trump as if he were a saintly figure.

The Tallahassee Democrat broke a story in recent days, discovering that racist robocalls against Gillum had begun to circulate throughout the state. From their reporting:

The automated calls are narrated by someone pretending to be Gillum and using an exaggerated minstrel dialect with jungle noises in the background. The calls end with a disclaimer that they were funded by The Road to Power, an anti-Semitic, white supremacist website and podcast linked to Scott Rhodes of Sandpoint, Idaho.

According to the Des Moines Register, a sister paper of the Tallahassee Democrat, the group has been linked to other robocall campaigns in Charlottesville, Virginia, Oregon and California.

While the DeSantis campaign sent out a statement calling the robocall “absolutely appalling and disgusting” the strategy follows suit with the foundation DeSantis laid for himself. However, such tactics are not only unlikely to help DeSantis win — they will energize voters who feel attached to the progressive message and are motivated to vote against bigotry.

As Gillum mentioned, Florida is home to Puerto Rican migrants who came mainland after the disastrous response to Hurricane Maria which led to the deaths of over one thousand Puerto Ricans; who are United States citizens. Those voters are highly unlikely to support DeSantis who attached his entire campaign to President Trump’s record.

Voters attracted to a Social Democratic platform (often wrongly used interchangeably with Democratic Socialist) are likely to turn out for Gillum, who is running on Universal Healthcare, justice reform, LGBTQ equality, providing aid to Puerto Rico, and numerous other progressive issues. These voters aren’t ‘likely voters’ by most polling methodology, yet they are the reason Gillum was able to outperform primary polling.

Many progressive voters feel uninspired by the Classical Liberal and Conservative-Liberal Democrats which often run statewide in Florida. These individuals were already motivated to vote, the racist rhetoric used against Gillum is only going to motivate them further to make sure he is elected into office.

Even if there aren’t any further hints towards racist campaigning, the robocalls combined with the words of DeSantis will be used to energize non-white Evangelical voters, who typically are more conservative than those who are Social Democratic in nature. Those voters often may not feel as strongly concerning LGBT rights (some are openly against them), often support politicians pressing Neoliberal economic plans, and may reject progressive politics. Although, these voters will mobilize to vote against anyone who uses anti-minority rhetoric strategies.

The last two Florida Gubernatorial races have been decided by 1% (2014) and 1.2% (2010), making any strategical mistakes a detriment to a possible victory. If Gillum wins a close race in November, DeSantis and those in his corner making a play to 1950s racial sentiments will have been a key factor in his defeat.

Related:

The Wave Of Roses: Exclusive Interview With Sarah Smith

 

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Walter Yeates

Walter Yeates is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter who embedded at Standing Rock with military Veterans and First People in December 2016. He covers a range of topics at Citizen Truth and is open for tips and suggestions. Twitter: www.twitter.com/GentlemansHall or www.twitter.com/SmoothJourno Muckrack: https://muckrack.com/walteryeates

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26 Comments

  1. Shayna Alterman September 4, 2018

    I am voting for Andrew. I hope everybody does. Florida needs him.

    Reply
  2. Debra Kobey September 4, 2018

    He has my vote again in November, decency will win!

    Reply
  3. Mary Fink September 4, 2018

    I THINK ANDREW WILL BE GREAT..WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?? WORRIED YOU’LL HAVE AN HONEST PERSON IN OFFICE????

    Reply
  4. Rick Liebst September 4, 2018

    Why it helped Donald Trump.

    Reply
    1. Walter Yeates September 4, 2018

      Donald Trump ran against a Conservative-Liberal in Hillary Clinton. Nonvoters were not energized by her. Candidates running on a Social Democratic platform turnout non-voters and the progressive base of the party.

      1. Bite Me October 1, 2018

        Do me a favor. Report on your own bigoted view. Admit it. Own it. Stop crying racism and touting socialism. Socialist have killed 130 million people in 70 years.
        If you believe the plantation lies of the past and “think” you have a new “messiah” just because he is black, you’re dumb.
        The people of Florida do not deserve a corrupt Mayor hiding from an investigation as Governor. A failed Mayor who has allowed crime to skyrocket in a relatively small city.
        Tell the truth. Stop touting lies. YOU don’t get to assume racism, you bigot.

  5. Roger Jasso September 4, 2018

    Great!! The fanning flames are now turned against the stupid racism!! The qualification he has is what counts the most regardless of colors!! And better yet, he has no sense of hatred!!

    Reply
  6. Chari Hayes September 4, 2018

    I hope he wins! The republikkkan cult needs to lose power. And they should not be allowed to run this country ever again.

    Reply
  7. Von De Santo September 4, 2018

    The Cubans ain’t gonna fall for it.

    Reply
  8. David Fletcher September 4, 2018

    You’re way too late. DeSantis has already made his bed.

    Reply
    1. Walter Yeates September 4, 2018

      That was the argument made in the piece.

      1. Bite Me October 1, 2018

        You couldn’t make an argument if it fell on you, bigot. No hate? What are baseless and twisted charges of false racism, bigot?

  9. N.L. McCoy September 4, 2018

    Desantis needs to remember that he isn’t fighting a fair fight. With a soros backed candidate, desantis will also be fighting voter fraud. So be wise Floridians, get out like never before and vote RED!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Paulette McLean September 4, 2018
  10. Anonymous September 4, 2018

    4.5

    Reply
  11. Shirley Hawkins September 4, 2018

    I prefer to be Democrat who cares about American history then be asshole evil Republican disgraceful to Americans

    Reply
  12. Pat Harrison September 4, 2018

    Stay Strong

    Reply
  13. Pauline LaVonne Baker-Jackson September 4, 2018

    Racist are idiots and folks are tired of that bs

    Reply
  14. Tony Moracco September 4, 2018

    This guy is already corrupt what are you talking about and is unamerican and a commie too boot just like the rest of you libs

    Reply
  15. Juan Platen September 5, 2018

    Hey take off your pointless white hat for a second and smell the freedom rising up, racists attitudes will serve to electrify the elecrate, case in point Alabama, all those blacks and women shitting on your Nazi parade

    Reply
  16. Juan Platen September 5, 2018

    No offense

    Reply
  17. Char Caldwell Podzikowski September 10, 2018

    Desantis is making the mistake of idolizing that scum bag trump. Vote BLUE people to stop trumps hate.

    Reply
  18. Marlene Marcus September 10, 2018

    FLORIDA is TIRED OF ALL THE TREASONOUS REPUBLICAN RUSSIAN PUKES WE NEED TO SAVE OUR STATE AND GET RID OF ALL THE REPUBLICAN CRIMINALS VOTE BLUE TO MAKE FLORIDA A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE. VOTE BLUE. VOTE BLUE

    Reply
    1. Don Fisher September 10, 2018

      People turn off with the first glimpse of an ALL CAPS post. You have something important to say.

      Of with the Caps Lock Key. Thanks. 😉

  19. Carol Carpinteyro September 10, 2018

    Vote red to save America from communist

    Reply
  20. Susan Dow September 10, 2018

    My take, having visited many times and lived for a short time in Florida, is that Florida has a race relations problem.

    Reply

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