You might react by slapping your forehead, thinking “How could he have been so stupid?” Then, you might take to your Twitter account to call out the left for their habit of labeling everyone with whom they disagree as a racist. The press continues to push their racism narrative until President Trump tweets again, and their attention is diverted to the next juicy news story.
A few months later, it happens again. And again. And again.
The latest incarnation of this all-too-familiar story occurred last week when Republican Florida gubernatorial candidate made comments on Fox News about his opponent, Democrat Andrew Gillum. After complimenting his opponent on his winning the Democratic primary, DeSantis said:
“Let’s build off the success we’ve had on Governor Rick Scott. “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”
What followed was a massive outpouring of hand-wringing and accusations of racism against DeSantis for using the word “monkey” while discussing the socialist policies of Gillum, a black American.
The Left Pounces On The Opportunity To Race Bait
Leftists took to the airwaves and social media to make their disdain for DeSantis’ comments known. Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Postwrote: “The obvious slur here is “monkey this up.” Likening African Americans to monkeys, apes, and chimps is a racist pastime. Since slavery, blacks were seen as not human or less than human. And lest you think that is a relic of some shameful past, remember that former president Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, were depicted in this manner throughout their eight years in the White House.”
Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo also slammed DeSantis. It’s disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles,” she said. Even Fox News got into the act. In a recent segment, Sandra Smith slammed the candidate, saying “We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement.”
Et tu, Fox News?
Now, normally if you’re going to portray someone as a racist, you will do a little bit of research to see if your target has made racist statements in the past. Perhaps you might see if they have made any positive statements about David Duke. Or maybe you might search for acquaintances of the person in question who are willing to earn their 15 minutes of fame by claiming that your target is indeed a raging bigot.
Well, The American Ledger attempted to do something like that. They found that DeSantis had been one of 52 administrators of a Facebook group called “Tea Party.” While this group is not affiliated with the actual Tea Party, they are alleged to have members who make racist comments on a regular basis.
Is Ron DeSantis A Racist?
So, what’s the upshot here? Does Ron DeSantis dislike black people? Probably not. As everyone knows, the word “monkey” is typically used as a verb indicating that a person is messing something up. For instance, I have no idea how to build a house. If I tried, I would monkey it up.
Capehart was not wrong in his assertion that the word “monkey” has historically been used to demean blacks. It’s common knowledge. However, it is clear that DeSantis used this word to describe how adopting democratic socialism would have a harmful impact on Florida’s economy.
What about DeSantis’ history? Sure, he was an administrator in a Facebook group whose participants make some offensive comments. But, as a member of many different Facebook groups, I can attest to the fact that most people don’t keep up with what is being said — even if they are an administrator. Chances are, he joined the group a while back, and then stopped paying attention. The fact that The American Ledger does not provide any evidence that DeSantis made any posts to the group would support the notion that DeSantis did not participate in any racist behavior.
Let’s take a more holistic view of this situation. DeSantis did use a poor choice of words when discussing Gillam. But he has no history of making racially offensive comments. A reasonable person can see that DeSantis is guilty of neglecting to choose his words carefully, not of actual racism.
Furthermore, the notion that he was using a dog whistle is also absurd. If he wanted to court the vote of racists, he wouldn’t need to engage in such rhetoric — his opponent is black, so any bigot is going to vote against him anyway. The gubernatorial candidate should have thought about what he was going to say beforehand, especially since he is the type of Trump-supporting conservative that the left would love to label as a racist.
Will This Hurt DeSantis?
DeSantis gave the left the opening they wanted. We all know that they are quick to call someone a racist, regardless of the truth of their accusations. However, as long as he does not make any more such mistakes, this episode should not cause much harm to his campaign.
America’s attention span is already woefully short, and the faster-than-lightning news cycle will have people talking about the next major news story in a matter of days. Moreover, the left’s race-baiting strategy is no longer as effective as it was in days past. Americans who are not strictly on the left no longer believe them when they hurl accusations of bigotry at their opponents. So it’s best to let this story pass and hope that DeSantis can get through the rest of his campaign without monkeying it up.