The Tallahassee Mayor slings numerous racist charges, but why are his own people worse?
If you have paid any attention to the Florida Gubernatorial race (and, unless like me you cover Florida politics, why would you?!) surely what was noticed is racism has been a crucial component. This stemmed from a comment Ron DeSantis made using the term “monkey this up”. To briefly rehash it, Ron was referring to Florida citizens making a bad decision regarding the economy, but since his opponent Andrew Gillum is black it became transformed as a racist dog whistle.
The press of course repeated the phrase incessantly while stating it was unacceptable language — go figure. They also praised Gillum for supposedly taking the high road when he declared that he would prefer race not be an issue in the campaign, wanting to instead focus on the issues. Yet race has been the center point of the campaign, due entirely to Gillum repeatedly saying he does not want to discuss race, approximately 25 dozen times.
And talk about pouncing; Gillum has been able to find numerous instances to claim DeSantis is a racist, while not wanting to talk about it. He charges DeSantis attended numerous “racially charged political conferences” (which were attended by other un-notable white supremacists like Ben Carson, Herman Cain, and Ben Shapiro.) On Labor Day weekend a series of virulently racist robo-calls were placed in the state from a supremacist group in Idaho, and with no political affiliation DeSantis was charged as complicit.
Other instances have included a campaign donor having said something derogatory once (so DeSantis is smeared) and if Ron had the temerity to address Gillum by his first name it was said to be racially dismissive. The primary reason the candidate who resents discussing race brings it up so often is it becomes his default deflection away from the scandals and FBI investigation surrounding the city government of Tallahassee.
All the way up to the debates, and even in an unprovoked FaceBook video, Gillum persisted in mentioning race as the reason his legal wranglings with the Feds was being brought up. But while painting his opponent as a flawed character based on strained connections there have been numerous instances of Gillum workers exhibiting words or behavior that were just as troubling. The difference being these are his own people.
A member of Gillum’s youth outreach team, Manny Orozco-Ballestas, has exhibited some very disturbing animosity towards President Trump. It was found he has posted on social media an image of a shirt designating the Trump Red States as “Dumb F***-istan”. But that pales compared to the time he posted a response to President Trump saying “You need to be executed”.
Last week was the amusingly oblivious episode that took place on the campus of Florida State University, covered here by Streiff. A co-ed approached a Republican campaign table in the commons and ended dousing a worker in milk, before kicking a sign and raging off. This has led to a misdemeanor assault charge and a night spent at the Grey-Bar Inn. The student, Shelby Shoup, is a fundraising volunteer and has done donor research for over a year for the Gillum campaign. Most baffling is her raging at the GOP workers as “Nazi-ists” (her term) while wearing a swastika button, and a Soviet hammer & sickle as well.
This happened nearly at the same time as a video was released by Project Veritas that showed Gillum campaign staffer and longtime acquaintance of the candidate, Omar Smith, making racially-charged comments. “It’s a cracker state. Get it? Ask anybody outside of here. You go Port St. Lucie, Orlando … man them crackers ain’t gonna let us do that sh*t dawg. Boy, you crazy?” He also continued with a curious assessment of the candidate. “Gillum is a progressive. He is a part of the crazy, crazy, crazies.”
This actually follows another challenge to Gillum’s stature. One point of contention has been Gillum supporters bristling at any mention that he could be a socialist. Yet one of his most ardent supporters has been the group Dream Defenders, a Florida based activism group that avows to being socialists, as well as backing anti-Israel positions and opposing law enforcement.
The group has not only backed Gillum, they count him as an inspiration to their formation in 2012. Gillum in turn has routinely backed the group and its causes, and has known one founder since their college days. Dream Defenders has said of the candidate his platform is “one of the most progressive platforms we have seen from any gubernatorial candidate in the country.” That was in a glowing assessment, mind you.
In this climate we have been told that Ron DeSantis is guilty of the actions of people orbiting his candidacy. What then can be said of the words and actions of the people operating from within the Andrew Gillum campaign?