The mainstream media is going wild because Florida Republican Ron DeSantis, just nominated to run for governor against African-American Andrew Gillum, said he hopes voters don’t “monkey this up” by electing his far-left opponent. This is what DeSantis said:
Florida elections are always competitive, and this is a guy who, although he’s much too liberal for Florida, I think he’s got huge problems with how he’s governed Tallahassee, he is an articulate spokesman for those far-left views, and he’s a charismatic candidate.
I watched those Democrat debates, and none of that is my cup of tea, but he performed better than those other people there. So we’ve got to work hard to make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction, let’s build off the success we’ve had on Governor 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. That’s not going to work.
“Monkey it up” means to play carelessly with something. DeSantis clearly was saying that voters shouldn’t mess with the success Florida is experiencing under Gov. Scott, a conservative, by electing a candidate with a socialist agenda. His meaning could not have been plainer.
However, as Ben Shapiro documents, media outlets are portraying DeSantis’ comment as a “dog whistle” — a way of telling Florida voters to reject his opponent because he is black. The Hill for example, tweeted:
DeSantis: Florida voters shouldn’t “monkey this up” by voting for black candidate.
This is a dishonest rendering of what DeSantis said. He said voters shouldn’t “monkey this up” by electing a guy with a socialist agenda. He did not say they shouldn’t monkey it up by electing a black candidate.
The notion that DeSantis would appeal to voters to reject a candidate on the basis of race is absurd. Florida voters know the race of DeSantis’ opponent. Those inclined to vote against the guy because of his race don’t need prompting. And any prompting would only hurt DeSantis by making him vulnerable to charges of racism — valid ones instead of the kind of BS we’re seeing now.
How, if at all, will DeSantis’ statement affect the election? I assume that Gillum has the African-American vote in his pocket and that, with the chance to elect an African-American governor and with a hot Senate race to vote in, Black turnout will be substantial with or without the outrage being feigned over DeSantis’ comment.
I can imagine DeSantis profiting with the rest of the electorate. The 2016 presidential election was, among other things, a defeat for mindless political correctness. Many white voters are sick of having the race card played against people without justification. They understand that they, too, can find themselves in jeopardy, e.g., at work, for an innocent comment.
It’s possible, then, that the media’s reaction against DeSantis will generate a backlash that will help his candidacy. More likely, though, this ridiculous incident will blow over and the media will have to find some other “gotcha” with which to try and bring down DeSantis.