Wednesday morning, the day after he became the 2018 Republican nominee for Florida governor, Ron DeSantis sent the political world for a spin by admonishing voters not to “monkey this up” by electing his opponent, Andrew Gillum, who’s the first black gubernatorial nominee from a major party in Florida ever. Now, even the dictionary — or, to be sure, Dictionary.com — has joined in on dragging DeSantis, who currently serves as a Congressman.
Preceding a link to their definition of “dog whistle,” Dictionary.com posted on Twitter Wednesday:
‘When the words “monkey this up” are used to refer to electing a man of color, that would be a blatant …’
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) August 29, 2018
Dictionary.com defines a “dog whistle” as “a political strategy, statement, slogan, etc., that conveys a controversial, secondary message understood only by those who support the message.”
The “secondary message” many have seen as inherent in DeSantis’ remarks is pretty clear — blacks are subhuman and racism is in. The remarks, it goes without saying, come as the nation continues to grapple with such repugnant racism from the federal government as led by President Donald Trump himself.
Trump has claimed that immigration poses a threat to the very fabric of Western civilization, and more recently, it’s come out that his administration is targeting Hispanic Americans who live near the nation’s southern border. When seeking passport renewals, they’ve been taken into custody and accused of faking their birth certificates featuring their American birthplace.
In other words, it’s no coincidence that Trump and DeSantis have campaigned together. Trump praised the Congressman’s Tuesday election victory, writing on Twitter:
‘Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream….a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs!’
To be clear, the Tallahassee Police Department — serving the city Gillum is the mayor of — reported a 14 percent decrease in crime in 2017, although crime in the area does remain considerably high compared to other areas in Florida. Trump’s talking point just doesn’t hold up to the scrutiny of a simple Google search.
Neither does DeSantis’ campaign’s claim that telling voters not to “monkey this up” via electing a black man was innocent. It’s not as though politicians go around using that phrase often.
A Twitter user identifying themselves as a past manager of a car repair shop in the southern U.S. explained:
‘The phrase means “messing up a repair badly because you don’t know what you’re doing.”..[I]mportantly, the phrase is a first-cousin of another more well-known racist phrase, “n*****-rigging.” When a redneck auto mechanic scolds a colleague for “monkeying something up,” it means he did the repair like a black person would do it.’
Gillum, for his part, has responded to the whole ordeal by pressing forward.
‘I believe that Florida and its rich diversity are going to be looking for a governor who’s going to bring us together. Not divide us. Not misogynists. Not racists.’
“I believe that Florida and its rich diversity are going to be looking for a governor who’s going to bring us together. Not divide us. Not misogynists. Not racists,” Andrew Gillum said after Ron DeSantis warned Floridians not to “monkey this up” by voting for his black opponent. pic.twitter.com/UogaVORFWG
— POLITICO (@politico) August 29, 2018
What’s fairly certain though is that these hot button issues aren’t going to vaporize as the Bernie Sanders-backed Gillum continues to face off against the Trump-backed DeSantis ahead of November.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot