Look, I understand the Florida Democratic Party faces a difficult challenge in the gubernatorial race.
You have all manner of yard signs, posters and political pamphlets reading “Gwen Graham,” and you need time to produce all new items. And I get it, you never planned on the candidate who was polling a distant fourth all summer suddenly winning, and now you're faced with trying to sell a far-left agenda.
That will not be easy in a state with a surging economy, convincing people to support someone who wants a job-killing $15-an-hour minimum wage, who wants to impose a starkly higher corporate rate that will serve as a NO VACANCY sign for out of state corporations, and who is selling higher taxes with a promise of funds going to schools after we've been burned on that kind of promise before.
So sure, making the campaign all about race is the way you need to go. We see that because here we are once again in a deep cycle of racial accusations of Ron DeSantis being a racist candidate. What is noteworthy here is that despite the pleas from Andrew Gillum to not make the subject a focal point, and lectures from the FDP to keep race out of the campaign, we are getting an all-new cycle of racial news talk -- without Ron DeSantis having said anything objectionable.
Interesting how this happened.
What has sparked this latest round of “regrettable” racist talk from the left is DeSantis speaking engagements in the past at supposed racist political conferences. Journalists have willfully spread this news and social media have gleefully broadcast the headlines -- all in this atmosphere of supposed willfulness to move past racial commentary. The charge derives from the hyper-partisan outfit the Southern Poverty Law Center, and that was all that was needed.
The SPLC has decreed that commentator David Horowitz is an “anti-black extremist” based on some positions he took in the past. Sure, Horowitz can say some things deemed provocative, especially in this era of extreme linguistic sensitivity. What is of note is that SPLC has declared itself the arbiter of what is considered offensive, and has taken it upon itself to deem particular groups and organizations as extremist, or hate-groups.
While Horowitz has said things about Barack Obama’s religion, and has opinions how crucial whites were in securing the freedom of slavery, there has been little in the way of examples of overt racism. At issue are the political conferences Horowitz has hosted for years, affiliated with his David Horowitz Freedom Center. They have drawn a number of political people to speak.
The way accusatory politics works in this day and age is, since Horowitz can be labeled “anti-black,” then his conferences are also “anti-black.” By extension, anyone who has attended these conferences and delivered speeches are ALSO anti-black. Which is how we arrive at Ron DeSantis being racist. He has not been quoted as saying something inflammatory, and the conferences were not in fact alt-right racist gatherings, but that lack of evidence has not prevented the slanted coverage in the press:
“GOP Candidate for Florida Governor Spoke at racially-charged Conference”
-- Washington Post
“Ron DeSantis Made Speeches At Alt-Right Events”
-- Miami Herald
“Rep. Ron DeSantis Repeatedly Spoke At Events Organized By A Racist”
-- Business Insider
“Ron DeSantis Spoke At Event Hosted By White War Theorist”
What is telling in all of these accounts, and most of those repeating the inciting headlines, is the stark lack of any content supporting the claim. You would think when labeling these conferences as “racist events” they would provide examples of the “racist” content. I mean, that kind of stuff is red meat for the race-baiters, but they can't even manage to come up with a dog whistle.
The Newsweek article, as one example, frequently invoked the Southern Poverty Law Center’s contentions -- but nothing concrete is ever offered. Three consecutive paragraphs begin with “The SPLC has stated…”, “SPLC says…”, and “The SPLC has said…”. Not actual examples are actually given of actual racism. Just take their word for it, these things were racist!
Yet nothing substantial is given, and nothing that even comes close to approaching proof. No quotes, no hateful headlined speeches, nor any outright racist figures on par with Richard Spencer or David Duke. No Nazis were reported, and no Skinheads were found. In fact, these rather mainstream gatherings, attracting some significant political players, have a collection of names some would be hard-pressed to label with their invective.
I do not believe many would accuse Ben Carson of forwarding a racist agenda when he spoke at one event. Herman Cain must have been surprised to learn he is an anti-black extremist for attending a Horowitz gathering. The Orthodox Ben Shapiro may be interested he can now be called a Nazi for his visit to a conference. And the Israeli journalist Caroline Glick may dispute her title as a Nazi sympathizer for giving her speech at a Horowitz conference.
Amazing how diligent our media can be, hurling strident accusations of racism without anything approaching tangible evidence. It would almost appear as if something as pedestrian as basic research is beyond their ken.
Also amazing is how a Democratic Party that insists it wants only to speak about the issues cannot seem to bring those issues up -- all while expressing how much it wants racism expunged from a gubernatorial campaign it is incapable of shutting up about.
Maybe sometime in the next two months they will get around to those issues.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.