When Republican nominee Ron DeSantis urged Floridians to not “monkey this up” by electing his Democratic opponent, the African-American mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum, he may have — intentionally, or not — sounded a racist dog whistle, officially opening the season of race-baiting ahead of this fall’s midterms.
“He doesn’t need to apologize to me, he needs to apologize to Florida voters,” Gillum responded, as reported by The Hill. According to the Daily Beast, in Democratic circles, Ron DeSantis’ dog whistle is viewed, not as an incident, but as part of a broader pattern reflecting the current state of American politics, and the Democrats are gearing up for another race-baiting election season.
Evidently, DeSantis’ “monkey up” comments were so off the wall, that they prompted Fox News’ Sandra Smith to state, live in program, that the network does “not condone this language.”
Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. Not even by DeSantis’ comments — they may have only reignited the fire — but by Donald Trump’s successful 2016 campaign rhetoric, the Daily Beast suggests. Implicit references to race, dog whistles, and race-baiting will be the norm in midterm elections, which could prove to be a challenge for the ethnically, racially diverse Democratic Party.
“Unfortunately, this is the world that Donald Trump has unleashed, a place where, because of the color of your skin, you can be assumed to be nefarious, and that your job is to prove that you’re not,” Abdul El-Sayed, former progressive Democratic candidate for governor of Michigan, told the Daily Beast.
“Unfortunately, this is the world that Trump has unleashed: a place where, because of the color of your skin, you can be assumed to be nefarious, and your job is to prove that you're not.” — @AbdulElSayed, Democratic candidate for governor in Michigan https://t.co/euw0koZLPj— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) August 31, 2018
Speaking to the Daily Beast, El-Sayed explained how he faced false accusations from a Republican state senator in Michigan that he had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Similarly, as recently echoed by actress Roseanne Barr’s tweets, former President Barack Obama’s administration was accused by the far-right of having ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
According to the Daily Beast, while Republicans have argued that Trump’s tax reform will carry them to victory in midterms, President Trump himself seems to have gone back to a tried-and-true strategy: fear-mongering.
However, while Democrats hear racist dog whistles, Republicans don’t.
“I think it’s pretty desperate that Democrats are having to resort to these ridiculous attacks in order to win elections,” a Republican operative told the Daily Beast.
As detailed by the New York Times, the Democratic Party’s embracement of diverse candidates collides with Trump-era politics, especially considering that the President’s party is taking cues from him, and “embracing messages with explicit appeals to racial anxieties and resentment.”
This will inevitably, according to the New York Times, result in racial, and ethnic issues being central in November midterms.