Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Yes, I'm going to talk about the dog whistle:
Rep. Ron DeSantis, the newly christened Republican gubernatorial candidate in Florida, said Wednesday that voters would “monkey this up” if they elect his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, who would be the state’s first African American governor.

During an interview on Fox News, DeSantis praised Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, as “an articulate spokesman” for those holding “far-left views,” but warned he would be damaging to the state.

“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,” DeSantis said. “That is not going to work. That’s not going to be good for Florida.”

His comments brought a swift rebuke from Terrie Rizzo, chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, who said they were racially tinged.
The comments have been condemned by many other people as well -- and that's the problem. Deploying racism this way is a work of evil genius. At a minimum, you get noticed by a lot of people in real time. But if your dog whistle is as outrageously obvious as this one, you're condemned by members of the other party, by media commentators, by critics on social media -- and all of that amplifies the dog whistle. It spreads your hate. (Regrettably, I'm spreading it now.)

In a better society, this would be a problem for the dog whistler -- but Republican voters fall into two categories now: (1) people who are racist and (2) people who aren't -- or don't think they are -- but believe that their tribe is being persecuted every time one of them is called a racist, no matter how strong the evidence.

For the latter group, elements of the right-wing media are already claiming persecution:

The Daily Wire story explains:
“So, we have to work hard to make sure we continue Florida going in a good direction. Let’s build off the success we’ve had with Governor Scott,” DeSantis said. “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.” (Emphasis added.)

He wasn’t speaking specifically about Gillum, but the policies he and Sen. Bernie Sanders support.
Right -- it can't possibly be an attempt to link "Andrew Gillum" and "monkey" unless DeSantis literally says "Andrew Gillum is a monkey."

Even Fox News has asked one of its designated non-zealots to disclaim any endorsement of this (Shepherd Smith usually gets this gig):
“We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement,” Fox News anchor Sandra Smith said later on air.
But DeSantis's work is done -- he's now regarded by every GOP voter as either a fellow racist or a martyr to "political correctness run amok." He'll see an uptick in out-of-town campaign contributions. And no one who intended to vote for him before will reject him in disgust, because that just doesn't happen in America anymore.

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