BOSTON (CBS) – On Tuesday night, Florida voters setup one of the more clear choices in the November elections when they nominated Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis, a strong supporter of President Trump’s policies, to face Democratic Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, who’s been endorsed by Bernie Sanders.
Gillum is also the first African-American to be nominated for governor in Florida. And although this is 2018, it didn’t take long for the DeSantis campaign to make it sound like 1918.
“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 in a Fox News interview.
“Monkey this up,” is a blast from the past of the racial-slur lexicon. Or rather, the present. The DeSantis campaign says it’s “absurd” to claim the term is racist, a claim which is itself absurd. Here is part of Gillum’s response.
“Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are both scraping from the bottom of the barrel. I actually believe that Florida and it’s rich diversity are going to be looking for a governor who is going to bring us together, not divide us, not misogynous, not racist, not bigots,” Gillum said.
That might be wishful thinking – we’ll see. But it’s worth wondering why the likes of DeSantis think racist rhetoric is a good campaign tactic. There are plenty of positions taken by Gillum – on gun control, for instance – that might be productive targets for DeSantis in a relatively conservative state.
We’ll be watching the Florida result closely in November to see if it really is 2018 or if 1918 is making a major comeback.