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Andrew Gillum Doesn't Want to Make the Election about Race ... Anybody Buy It?

September 5, 2018 - 2:45pm
Andrew Gillum
Andrew Gillum

Over Labor Day weekend news broke that in areas of Florida residents received automated phone calls of a disturbing nature. The recording came from a pretend Andrew Gillum, Democratic candidate for governor. The voice and the words were degradingly racist. The New York Times described jungle drums and monkey noises playing in the background. 

It also has no direct connection with the Florida election, but it does manage to give Florida Democrats and Andrew Gillum all they need to keep prattling about race.

Everyone with a functioning brain-pan has blasted the phone-call recording that was so sophomoric as to be embarrassing for anyone who created the minstrel-like Stepin Fetchit routine on tape. Stephen Lawson, spokesman for Ron DeSantis, called the robocall “appalling and disgusting.” Gov. Rick Scott also had stern words, “There is no room for any racial politics here in Florida -- none.” These rebukes of course were lightly reported on, and held little import for the accusers.

On the other side, Gillum's spokesman, Geoff Burgan said of the calls: “This is reprehensible -- and could only have come from someone with intentions to fuel hatred and seek publicity. Please don’t give it undeserved attention." 

If only his words had reached his own candidate. 

Andrew Gillum has been more than willing to keep attention on the subject of race ... while insisting he doesn't want to. Repeatedly.

Following the Ron DeSantis controversy last week, where he used the phrase “monkey this up”, Gillum stated he did not want race to become an issue during the campaign -- and promptly focused on DeSantis saying something he declares was racist. There was Gillum this weekend on CNN’s "State Of The Union," again bringing up the unfortunate phrase he declared he did not want to discuss. 

Then he made this amazing contortion within one sentence:  "I want to make sure that we don't racialize and, frankly, weaponize race as a part of the process, which is why I have called on my opponent to really work to rise above some of these things.” Um, how do you state you do not want to weaponize race and then declare your opponent must curtail his racist ways?

Also, on this weekend’s edition of "Meet The Press," Gillum continued to invoke the subject he says he does not want to talk about. Host Chuck Todd referenced the phone calls this way:  “I don’t even want to give the name of the group, or anything, because I think they just want to get free publicity here.” A seemingly noble stance, and yet in doing so he also evades the source of those calls and, by extension, evades where the responsibility rests. 

The calls have been referenced to a group known as The Road to Power, a white supremacist and anti-Semitic organization. In discussing these calls with a writing colleague of mine I had to step in and make a notable clarification. As he wrote, “What happened in Florida was horrible. And we must be quick to condemn and quick to shun these people from our movement.” I would normally be in total agreement with him, except for the facts surrounding the calls. 

The Road To Power is not based in our state. At all. They originate in Idaho. This is not the first time this outfit has used such calls to make a statement for their intolerant cause. They previously sent calls to Iowa decrying immigration policy following the discovery of the body of Mollie Tibbetts. They have also called out to California backing an anti-Semitic candidate running for office.

They are not affiliated in any manner with Ron DeSantis, not based in state of Florida, nor connected to the Republican Party. Even using the words “they” and “group” is a stretch, as the lone concrete member who can be connected to Road to Power is a man named Scott Rhodes, host of a videocast under the RIP banner. And yet there is Andrew Gillum, willing to affiliate these calls directly to Ron DeSantis -- while not wanting to discuss race ... again.

“Honestly, people are going to take their cues from what their leadership says,” Gillum said to Chuck Todd, “and in this case Ron DeSantis is the leader.” And there it is. A possible lone racist grenade-tosser based across the country, with a history of these subversive calls, is being called out as a direct devotee of the GOP candidate. “But it’s also important that Ron DeSantis take control and ownership of his own rhetoric and words, Gillum continued. “People take their cues and sometimes they act out in ways that go far beyond what is appropriate in today’s environment.”

Todd asked Gillum if he thought Ron DeSantis was a racist, and Gillum would not answer the question directly. He declared, though, he would not be the one to descend into the gutter and name-call, the implication left to hang that his opponent is more than willing. Meanwhile, referencing a crank call from the northwest farm country as proof of racist intent by a candidate in this state is a high-minded tactic, but one Gillum does not want to engage in. 

Repeatedly.

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.

Comments

Certainly, racism has always existed in the South to one degree or another and DeSantis stupidly raised its ugly head and accentuated it on Day 1 of the gubernatorial race here. So, given an African-American candidate ... as is the case here and in Georgia and Maryland ... racism is in play. There are more than a few voters who will vote against black candidates simply because they're black.

I don't believe either candidate is a racist. Truth be told it doesn't really matter if they are. I only care about what's best for Florida and can that candidate win. As a black man whether I was offended by DeSantis comments is personal not political. I didn't like everything Jeb Bush said, but at the time I thought he was the better candidate so I voted for him. I didn't believe anything Rick Scott said so I voted against him. I've commented on other articles and I have said they same thing for most people it comes down to what we perceive as being the character of the individual. In my opinion Ron DeSantis is losing that evaluation at this point in the campaign. Most Floridians are looking for a Governor that they believe will make their lives better. That they believe will represent them in the best light possible. Most Floridians don't care about race. Most are just good hard working folk and DeSantis message isn't reaching them. How will make America great again, build a wall, immigration reviews and deportations play in the South Florida markets? ( Remember Ellean) With recreational marijuana most likely on the ballot in 2020 and our State having the previous marijuana initiative garnish more votes than the Democratic and Republican candidates combined. The liberals will be out to vote and this time they are not going to ignore the Governor's race. Donald Trump on the ballot has insured that people will vote this time as well. No I don't think race will matter one bit. People's perception of the character of the candidate will be the deciding factor.

All the Democrats (Socialist) can run on is Racism!

Gillum will probably be indicted on conspiracy and money (tax money) laundering prior to the election. I'm sure this won't make any difference to the Dems who condone criminal behavior (witness BLM) but to rational, intelligent, fair minded independents it will be enough to swing the election 60-40 to DeSantis. Gillum may want to hire Lanny Davis. #MAGA.

Of course the Democrats will say the FBI is a racist agency when they cuff & stuff Gillum. Anyone who falls for Gillum's veiled comments about Desantis & the Iowa KKKers has an IQ of almost 10. Probably couldn't get themselves to the polls in a free Uber ride.

It's ALWAYS about "Race",.... when you lose (Only THEN, it's a "Race" to the bottom.... So don't take any bets Folks..!)------[..It's already too late to deny premature excuses..]

The race card is ALL Gillum has, knowing that his voter base is extremely gullible.

So I wonder whats gonna happen when Race Baiter In Chief Gillum is indicted by the Feds prior to the election? Will Florida let a candidate still run under Federal indictment? Or will Gwen default into the Demoncratic (not a spelling error) candidate? Hmmmm we need to plan this out just for an educational exercise....Of course he's not gonna win...don't be silly!!!

Even if Gillum could possibly win, he would be a lameduck govrrnor for four years, placing Florida's legislature in gridlock. Well, actually, our Florida legislature would override all of Gillum's vetoes. But, a Gillum gov would put an unnecessary strain on Florida's future.

Sorry but this is just getting way too good...can't help myself from diving back in: As a public service announcement to Gillum and his fellow indictable co-conspirators up there in Tallahassee. The Feds will NOT allow your Nike shoes and Nike gear to be worn in the "Big House". Also you all can only wear white boxer shorts for underwear in the big house. Plan accordingly!!!

The dude is a racist A race pimp. Florida is better than that.

Since I am from central Florida, I don't know much of Mayor Gillam's background, history and capabilities. I can say for CERTAIN that he speaks well and possibly make an excellent Governor. I can also say that the 'southern-most' state STILL is home to far more Closet Racists than the ideal number... which is ZERO! Scorn and SHAME on these racist people! Are they REALLY stupid enough to think that their 'inbred' antics will hurt Mayor Gillum --- or Help Desantis in any way? Time has shown that (FAR too slowly) skin color is not a measure that matters. It's time to start "Deep Thought" about RACISM... pure logic points to days of old, Not today. Given the same opportunity, skin color doesn't matter. Let me add that I've been a Floridian for 20 years, I am white, and came from Colorado. I live in a nice community and have a fair number of good, intelligent, friendly black neighbors. SO THERE!

Was it "white racists" or was it a tactic to spur outrage on the part of Black voters to insure that they rush to the polls? Perhaps I am too jaded, however, it only helps Gillum.

A “clean cut Negro who speaks well” Harry Ried will sue you unless you give him credit for that dribble he used with barry Soetoro

Your insults to all Floridians and your lack of research on Mr. Gillum's record as mayor indicate to me that you're the one who's prejudiced. You've prejudged anyone who disagrees with you. SO THERE!

Silly attempted race connection. Desantis is ex military as am I. Monkey up a situation has nothing to do with race. It is a common military mission planning term. Mission planning coordination is critical. Too many planners can mess up a plan focus to accomplish a mission. The monkey up confusion could compromise the mission. It has nothing to do with race.

Andrew Guillim is a pragmatist that offers good policy judgements to make Florida and Floridians the best. DeSantis, with his background should well know better than his pandering, indirect, Tea Party incites. Upwards, or downwards for Florida. We've had enough examples of bad government for 8 years with Rick Scott - time for a change. It's simple.

Please name ONE time Desantis has incited any group?

See his moderator "Tea Party" facebook activity.

The only color I care about is GREEN! Ron DeSantis has consistently voted against the Omnibus Continuing Resolutions that raise debt and taxes in Washington. Andrew Gillum is going around promising all of this “Free Stuff” with no idea on how we are going to pay for it. Gillum wants a 40% tax increase. Raise corporate taxes which will send our businesses to Texas. For me I don’t care what races the candidates are. I am voting for the one that leave the most GREEN in my pocket and that is Ron DeSantis!

If it quacks like a duck..DeSantis who knew exactly what he was doing fired the opening salvo..now he has to live with it..like the poet said....If People show you who they are believe them..

So in the YouTube videos where Michelle Obama said Barack was from Kenya, "returned to his homeland in Aftrica," do you mean that type of "believe"? Or when Barack called Michelle "Michael" several times?

I see the far left trolls are in the mind reading business.

Maybe read more than the headline next time? This had zero to do with him.

Earth to Brad. Desantis ignites this whole thing with an appalling choice of words, from which even Fox News distanced themselves. It's national news that in this day and age a major party candidate would say something like that. It's the kind of thing Joe Biden or Donald Trump would blurt out. So of course they want Gillum's reaction to it, and you paint Gillum as playing the race card. Desantis could have defused it all with a simply apology if it was taken wrong, acknowledged his insensitivity and respected black Floridians instead of ignoring them. What other "military expression" is going to pop out of his mouth next?

So, is it okay when Barack, Nancy or Chuck used the term "monkey," in their comments, but not Desantis. And I bet you're not offended at Hillary's classification of young, black men as "thugs" during her first bid for president against Obama?

Maybe try reading the column. DeSantis ignited nothing here. This is an out of state group that has been doing these racist calls in other states for months already. And for over a week now Gillum has been on a constant drumbeat of saying he doesn't want to focus on race -- and then he promptly focuses on race. He's using this as a cudgel.

Absolutely!

Let's see. DeSantis loves a racist who continually does racist things from hiring white nationalists, racists for 50% of his advisers, Sessions is a known racist and makes statements like people walking with Nazi's are fine people, by attacking football players for demanding they, their families, community stopped being killed by police...………...Now with cameras everywhere everyone can see how they do...………..And this, Trump is DeSantis whole campaign and going on Fox saying Gillum will monkey up, a phrase I've never heard in 60 yrs in the south to show how racist he is thinks he is fooling everybody...……..Fact is large numbers of women, rare voters, minorities, young, educated and a good number of disgusted white men like me are coming...……...The depravity of the Republican party has reached a low they won't recover from for a decade or more as fiscally and morally bankrupt..

And I hear Desantis poots every now & again. Your rant is rabid. You need your shots.

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