Politics Thread


Ron Desantis literally moderates a racist Facebook group. I’m not in the least inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially since “monkey it up” is not a common idiom in my experience (though I will allow that it may be a regionalism I am not aware of, if any Floridians care to chime in).


As @JMH has already mentioned, our prison system does an extremely poor job of rehabilitation. The recedivisim rate of convicted felons is very high, 77% within 5 years. Furthermore, if people think Trump is bad, imagine a murderous thug with very high charisma who after doing his time rides a populist wave into office and then uses that populist support to intimidate his own party into making him a dictator. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela.

Arpaio is a senile old fossil whose only claim to fame is his boldness in challenging the Obama administration on occasions when it refused to enforce Federal immigration law in Arizona. That made him a cult hero among those fed up with the porous border despite his incompetence at doing his job. Given that fossils tend to by nature be conservative, the Republican party easily has a much larger share of them. On the plus side, time marches on and Arpaio is too extreme to win state-wide even among Republicans. He was just defeated by the much more moderate (and level-headed) Martha McSally in his bid for a seat in the US Senate. Furthermore, at 86 Arpaio doesn’t have much time left.

I wish. I’m hoping that when the Democrats win the House in November as currently seems highly probable, Trump’s Svengali-like control of the Republican Party will be shaken sufficiently that he faces a strong primary challenge in 2020 and loses.


If Desantis was marching with the tiki-torch boys of Charlottesville, then I wouldn’t give him the benefit of the doubt either. But being a mod on a facebook group–unless he was making the racist memes himself–isn’t enough for me to label someone a “racist”. Racism is real and terrible and warrants serious discussion, but when it’s politicized it sadly turns into a club to beat your opponent over the head with.

Slightly related, I think that monkeys may have the best idioms out any animal: “barrel full of monkeys”, “monkey business” and “powder monkey” are especially good.


Floridian here. It’s not exactly common.

I’d think, given the fact that comparing people of African descent to monkeys and apes has been used for centuries to dehumanize them, that someone would be a bit more careful with their words concerning someone who is black. At the very least, if he wasn’t being racist (given he’s backed by the Trump brand of Republicans and moderates a racist, conspiracy-dispensing Facebook page, I doubt it) he certainly has exposed himself as “inarticulate and insensitive” in the words of his communications director.


I think there are two groups of people who would find the monkey-african connection in DeSantis’s statement. The first group is racists, who would actually make such a comparison in the first place. The second group is passionate anti-racists, maybe so passionate that they see racism even if they have to squint their eyes a little first.

I’ve read and re-read his statement, and since I can’t read into his mind, I have to judge him by his words and by his actions. We’re not telepathic, and I think “mind-reading” is a poor approach when it comes to judging a man’s character. At the very least, something as serious as claiming someone to be racist should be backed with hard evidence.


By making random traffic stops into the tools of a police state. :unamused: Not to mention costing the taxpayers who cheered him on tens of millions of dollars that could have been better spent.
But this is from my point of view more of a case of enforcing labour laws, making sure all workers who do the same job are paid the same, which at the very least should be minimum wage and basic pension. If labour laws were stringently enforced then there would be no advantage to hiring illegal immigrants when domestic labour is available. Of course, this means there needs to be at least decent pay for decent work, which is something sorely lacking in the modern, neo-liberal economy. If we did all that and firms were still turning to illegal labour then at least we could be sure it would be indicative of actual problems with the underlying economy and education system, instead of a simple race to the bottom.

I was going to suggest looking at Duterte, or even Arpaio with his self-described “concentration camp”, but I’ll grant you it isn’t an entirely inappropriate moniker, though it applies much more to the current Maduro regime then it did to Chavez.
But, previously convicted felon or not, the price of freedom and democracy is eternal vigilance and if anything a previous conviction is something the voters can weigh, as opposed to a wealthy, charming and young-ish violent thug running without any prior convictions. As has happened time and time again throughout our brief democratic history when some candidates managed to fool the voters or voters deluded themselves. On the other hand, before we had universal suffrage such people rising to the highest positions tended and still tend to be the norm in hardcore authoritarian societies.
Again, if someone is convicted of offences society deems sufficiently heinous to strip them of their rights as citizens on an indefinite basis, give them a life sentence.

I’m just sad Trump’s premature pardon deprived many of his victims of the joy of having him see a detention centre from the inside, even if it wouldn’t have been one half as horrible as his “tent city” used to be. :unamused:

Hopefully not by Pence or Cruz or someone like either of them.


For the record, I am not well versed in American politics and such, have never heard of this guy before, but if this is a statement kinda thing, I would say that if an aquantence (sp, on phone) of mine said that I would probably get them to clarify and initially think it’s probably racist.

I would say, with more context (I don’t know if he is left or right leanin, but I can infer from his words) he should have watched his words a lot better (especially a’s politicans, I think, should be held to a better standard in actions and speech, as they are representatives of the people and country) and so regardless if there was a clear racist intent, that kinda speech does make me at least question his views on race equalilty and such


Populists often point to government officials like the President and his cabinet secretaries, people who have sworn to uphold the law, but instead have become complicit in ignoring or even breaking it. They argue that if the President can choose to ignore some laws, so too can someone like Arpaio. Furthermore if the Federal government upheld immigration law as its officials were sworn to do when elected, Arpaio wouldn’t have needed to resort to those random traffic stops.

Maduro is Chavez without the charisma. As vice-president for life, Maduro inherited the dictatorship when president for life Chavez died. His lack of charisma has forced him to take an even heavier hand than Chavez.

Life sentences often get reduced. If they’ve aged to the point where they’re no longer a physical threat it’s cheaper to simply send them home. That doesn’t mean they’ve reformed, nor does it mean it would be safe for those around them if they were given power.

Arpaio’s pardon had less to do with Arpaio than with sending a not-so-subtle message to Manafort I strongly suspect, something along the lines of “I plan to pardon you afterward, just keep your mouth shut and eventually you’ll get a pardon as a reward for your continued loyalty and silence.”

Both Pence and Cruz desire the support of Trump’s base in their future bids for power. Trump would have to be discredited in the eyes of his own base for either of these two to oppose him.


I have studied (read: I heard about this guy ages ago, googled for like 5mins now) and it seems yes, he threatened to kill ‘a’ President (he said he would kill Bush or Obama, apparently,), he normally wouldn’t have been able to run and based on the stuff he writes it would be better if he were insane and recognised, at least then he could actually be helped. As of now he’s just evil, really.
Oh and yea, he has always been Independent (or at least not Republican)

About the thing about his rights being restored by that Democrat Governer, idk from what I can read it seems like a good thing? Unless I’m missing something (I mean obviously there will be some admin errors and such, he talks about this himself

Governer words or something

“Governor McAuliffe has faith in our criminal justice system and its ability to impose different sentences on different individuals in relation to the particular nature and circumstances of their offenses. After offenders serve those sentences, he believes they should have equal access under the law to have their rights restored. If a person is judged to be safe to live in the community, he or she should have a full voice in its governance.”

I can’t say I disagree with that in theory

You say

But isn’t this the guy that, looking at all his stuff in 1 big list, has said:

““The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by” [Doing the thing the other guy wanted]
“Gillum is an articulate spokesman for those far-left views.” Articulate isn’t the uh… smartest(?) compliment to give someone if you are trying not to be condescending, and, like monkey, has racist connotations
Said by a member of his national finance team to a black man on Fox News “Are you out of your cotton-picking mind?”

And how long has this thing been going on? Surely a slip up over a few months or maybe weeks is okay?
12 hours. Sheesh.

Also I went looking on Trump’s twitter for more sources but sheesh, https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1035122954697433088 calling “The Media” made up and literally “[The] Enemy of the People” sounds very uh… bad. Like this book I read a while ago.

(Also Trump says “When you see “anonymous source,” stop reading the story, it is fiction!” which is just wrong, generalising, hyperbolic, but worst (best?) of all criticises himself (remember his anonymous source about Obama’s ‘real’ documents or something)


Here are the lines in a little more context that I quoted earlier:

“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 — you know, he is an articulate spokesman for those far-left views, and he’s a charismatic candidate,” DeSantis said.

He continued: “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 is not gonna work. That’s not gonna be good for Florida.”

Trust me when I say I am looking at his words and actions and am being as unbiased as humanly possible. I have no idea about his finance team, but as for the man himself I haven’t seen him use words or take an action that warrants a claim of racism.

It’s very possible that my requirements for racism are higher than yours or others. But I take the charge of being a racist as a serious claim, and I think we do it an injustice when we toss it around for political gain. I’m afraid that’s exactly what’s happening here. It’s just another weapon in the political arsenal.


I don’t think you have to be marching with torches to be racist. This kind of reaction is exactly why Lee Atwater style dog whistle politics are so effective. Shitbags get the message, and the politician in question can assure centrists and independents they didn’t mean it like that.

I mean sure, it’s possible he’s just an idiot who doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t reference monkeys in relation to black people, but given his membership and admin status in a racist Facebook group that also compared black people to monkeys, I’m not going to rush to his defense. What even is “hard evidence” of racism, if “don’t monkey this up (i.e. vote for my black opponent)” and moderating a group of racists isn’t enough?

I’ve heard noise about Kasich but I can’t tell how electable he actually is. For obvious reasons I pay more attention to Dem politics and tbh my eyes roll straight out of my head anytime someone brings up 2020. I just want to get past the midterms.


Perhaps, but if you check youtube, twitter, news site comments you’ll find hundreds of people saying exactly what you are.

The worst part, in my eyes, is that until there is almost no plausible deniability left (over 2 questionable comments in < 12 hours, previous overtly racist, direct comment by member of team), the people that support him will say it’s not racist at all, people on the other side will argue why it is or could be, and actual racists support him because… well I mean I feel like you wouldn’t agree with me on this point, because you think his comments aren’t with any bad intent and are just used as a tool against him, but I feel as if, at the very least, actual racists could support him because his word choice could be implicit racist.

I do wonder, though, do you see the comments a member of his team said (“Cotton picking mind”) as racist? I did, but it seems many people disagree with me, and used the exact same argument as you to argue that him saying a racist phrase makes the left, somehow, bad because they are the real racists for associating cotton picking/ monkeys, whatever, with black people, or for using ‘racism’ as a tool, the stuff about how Democrats,black people, minorities, are the “real racists”

It seems weird in the USA that despite these, at least questionable comments in a short time-frame, tons of his supporters give him the benefit of the doubt, repeatedly, and that it’s possible this could gain him support due to the lack of flexibility (Right wingers may prefer someone who sometimes uses racist phrases to someone with socialist-capitalist policies) and existence of actual racists.

And c’mon. I don’t think everything is racist, and saying this seems like a good way to ignore any further points from me or others by saying we are merely hypersensitive to so-called racism which we make up or whatever. I don’t know if the person is a racist or not, the comments don’t tell me that much, I just think “I wouldn’t tolerate a stranger talking like that”.
And also “Political figures should be held to a higher standard than random people in terms of words and actions”

Which leads me to think even if he has no racist part in his body, he still should be more mindful of his word choice in the future, because it’s clear many people do use words like “monkey” “articulate” “cotton picking” as racist terms.

Added to the fact he was on the moderation team of a racist groups (which, amongst other things, has compared some black people to monkeys).

I just think that as long as we take the stance “we can’t be 100% sure that was a racist comment and so we shouldn’t discuss it” what’ll happen is his supporters will say it’s not racist and vote for him, and racists will think it’s racist and vote for him


If you can link me the video, I’d be able to tell you my judgement.

I didn’t and don’t intend to dismiss any of the points you or others have made. But racism is ultimately a subjective claim, and I don’t think if I’m off base in saying that it is being used more loosely now than in any point in history. I think there are some real downsides to that.

You make a great point: Republicans and those who support DeSantis will see one truth, while Democrats and those who dislike DeSantis will see another. It’s absolutely crazy–it’s like two people in the same theater, watching the same movie, but interpreting it completely differently. That is the power of bias, and none of us are free from it.

That’s why I think it’s more important than ever in this political season to be more cautious and skeptical than ever. If you see something that makes headlines, is fantastically positive or negative for any candidate, take a step back and try to be as objective as you can.

And to be as objective as possible, you have to find that hard evidence. When I mean hard evidence, I mean that no implications are necessary. There isn’t any mind-reading involved: they have said or done something directly that demeans/segregates/belittles someone or a group of people based on their race.


@lovinglydull: I agree with you that DeSantis is at a minimum “inarticulate and insensitive”. While the Facebook page appears to have some racist members, that’s not the same thing as the site itself championing racism. That’s kind of like the Right saying President Obama must have been a terrorist due to his association with Bill Ayers.

@fairlyfairfighter: I agree with you that while not entirely damning, it’s patently obvious that racial equality isn’t a priority of DeSantis’s and that in itself is rightully concerning to a lot of people.

I’m not opposed to a convicted felon’s right to vote being restored after they’ve served their term, which I think is only fair, so much as their right to run for office. The recedivism rate is just too high for me to be comfortable with handing the keys to the henhouse to a known fox. I recognize that this will prevent the occasional reformed ex-criminal from running for office, but much more often I believe it will prevent unreformed criminals from corrupting the government more than it already is.

@MultipleChoice There are a lot of people on the political left who feel that whether or not a statement should be considered racist has less to do with the speaker’s intentions than the listener’s reaction. If a listener considers it racist, than it’s racist, even if the speaker did not intend it in that context. So in that sense yes, your standards for racism would be higher because you feel the need to prove intention on the part of the speaker while others would consider one or more listeners feeling threatened by the speaker’s words to be sufficient.

@bobsmyuncle Kasich detests Trump and may well run against him in 2020, but he is likely too moderate to beat Trump in the closed Republican primaries unless Trump somehow manages to seriously irritate the Republican base.

@fairlyfairfighter One of the many downsides to increasing political polarization is that the character of political candidates doesn’t matter so much any more. It’s all issues-driven these days. People will rationalize away glaring personality faults so long as the candidate agrees with them on the issues.


Nowadays, there are racists. The old school, blacks are property, racists, and the ‘new’ racists. These guys are always around but except from a smallish spike recentlly in popularity, aren’t a big deal.

The problem is when there are people who, in order to ‘rek the libtards’, will vote for anyone they disagree with, from Trump to racist people with R next to their name.

There are tons of downsides, but I would like to say, as an extreme example
I think saying a black person is “articulate” can be racist
I also think lynching black children is racists.

Many people think of it as ‘crying wolf’, but I think some rhetoric used today is just slight racism hidden behind plausible deniability.
I don’t think me saying that this guys ‘Monkeying it up’ comments could be seen as racially insensitive mean that I am crying wolf, that it makes racism seem less important, or that I am being deliberately disingenuous in order to cause outrage and garner support (I’m not saying you think this, but from reading many, many comments this is a common criticism of Democrats and calling out racism)

The other problem being that actual racists will see it as racist and support him, and people who vote against-Democrats (not pro-Republican, but generally the same).
If everyone is going to be this politically inflexible, surely then the best strategy would to be very subtly racists, using obscure dog-whistles to give opponents no ‘hard’ evidence, supporters deniability and support from racists and such groups.


Yeah I was thinking this is kinda a “block 1 innocent to stop actual bad people” or you know what I mean moral question.
Imo I agree, the exception being if someone really did go on a case by case basis, with a strict criteria, I’d be completely fine allowing them to restore their right to run for office, but it is a sensitive, case-by-case issue.

Yeah I know little about the intricacies of American politics (don’t get me wrong, prevalent everywhere but polarisation more visible in USA) but I know that there’s little Trump could do to get his fanbase to turn against him ( I seriously can’t think of much stuff that could turn over half his supporters against him), which is due to tons of things-- resentment on both sides, culture, counter culture, counter-counter culture, memes, FPTP, the Spoiler effect, etc

I personally prefer Score Voting, but I think Approval voting may working better in America


This is a terrific insight, and thank you for putting it so succinctly! You’re absolutely right: I do believe intention must be proved. You can’t or at least you shouldn’t convict and shame a man for something as heinous as being a racist unless you have that hard evidence I mentioned earlier. And as you can probably tell, in my world there are far less actual racists than in the world inhibited by some in the political left.

That’s a statement directed right at the black panelist. That, in my mind, is hard evidence for racism.

The ‘dog-whistling’ strategy you outline assumes there are a significant amount of racists out there, who are either out in the open or stuck in their parent’s basement, leaving only when it’s time to go to the voting booth. I would argue that this group isn’t nearly so vast for someone like DeSantis to risk his future political career over, especially AFTER the voting was already done and he lost.

I’m trying to picture why anyone would want to ‘dog-whistle’ to point out “hey I’m racist” to anybody. People on the whole are more sensitive to racial issues than ever before, and you stand to lose far more than you could ever gain. Not to mention, I don’t imagine many racists intended to vote for Gillum in the first place.

So I guess my argument is twofold: there’s no hard evidence of DeSantis being racist, as his statement wasn’t directed at his opponent and requires “mind-reading” to create an implication of being racist. The second is that it doesn’t make any sense from a logical point of view to make such a comment in the first place. Of course, racists aren’t exactly known for being very logical to begin with.

I think @P_Tigras put it better than I ever could. We have inherently different approaches when it comes to determining someone as being a racist, and I think our arguments stem off from that.


Out of curiosity, do you think if DeSantis had said
The last thing we need to do is to be monkeying around by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state. That is not gonna work. That’s not gonna be good for Florida” that it would have generated the same response?

Not sure if it’s a common term in the U.S, but where I’m from it basically means “fooling around”

Bold is my edit.


Then you need to talk to our Conservatives, they actually proposed a reform whereby we just let old(er) people who are no longer deemed dangerous on life sentences out, but without pardons or vacating the sentence. Just ankle bracelets and if that works well enough just probation.
Now I don’t completely agree with that proposal and they only made it after our life=life sentencing policy got slapped by the UN for the third time in a decade, but it does show that there is at least some room to manoeuvre, even within Conservative “tough on crime thought” and that compassion or efficiency don’t always have to mean vacating the remainder of the sentence. That last part is the one I have some sympathy for, but only under very specific circumstances, for most elderly former inmates I think there is no reason not to vacate the remainder of the sentence and in most cases restore their rights as citizens once they are, as you say, no longer physical threats.

And Maricopa County sure paid the price of it to the tune of tens of millions of dollars in wasted expenditures. Most of them on legal costs of one sort or another but some on the fact that running Arpaio’s self-described “concentration camp” turned out to be more expensive than simply building and running an additional, proper, jail would have been.

I already said that I’m not saying you’re wrong there, but the reason why Chavez managed to get in in the first place was because of Venezuela’s corrupt, venal, crooked and plutocratic old elites, who for the most part refused to even contemplate letting some of the then immense oil wealth so much as “trickle down” to ordinary Venezuelans.

We may be in the final stages of the Trump Presidency, so if that is true the frightening thing is that his base could indeed turn to either of those two, which is why I would oppose a Trump impeachment unless and until Pence is impeached or resigns first.

I agree, though of course with public officials with a proven record we can look for a pattern of “dog whistles too”, everyone makes the occasional slip of the tongue or even says the right things at the wrong time that can thus come off insensitive without any malicious intent. Now if there is a consistent pattern however that would become much more worrisome.

The point is citizen’s right shouldn’t be a pick and choose buffet, where the rich and powerful get to choose who gets to have which rights and when. Those things lead to a tiered system of citizenship that can easily morph into something more heinous, like a caste system, over time.
Now I get the some of the fears people have about “unreformed” criminals running for office, but a prior criminal record (unless it’s a sealed juvenile one) is something voters can and should weigh and weigh carefully into their decision. And it is, of course, the duty of the free press to make sure voters are informed of such.
One of the risks of a relatively free democracy is that voters can at times make frankly stupid, wrong or pig-headed choices (and we can probably all think of some), not to mention vote against their own, economic, interests. But until we can come up with a better system we must keep relying on the eternal vigilance of the general public to safeguard freedom and democracy in the end. There are still far more “bad hombres” out there who have never been convicted of anything serious who are just as, if not more, dangerous then a convicted felon.
If we always cave in the politics of fear then we cannot have freedom.

Where do you draw the line? That alone is deeply personal and why voters must weigh candidates, including their possible past criminal records.
I can tell you that over here where you are allowed to run again after five years of good behaviour after release prior criminal convictions are a serious malus but they are not and should not be the sole factor and those people, like any other candidate, deserve the chance to pitch their case to the voters (after all they have already served their time for the crime).
Also ex-felons are a remarkably broad category, from the mother who snapped and killed their child’s drunk-speeding killer to the guy running a big Ponzi scheme to the small time felons, particularly with the US’ “war on drugs” who may have been convicted of basically nothing more then drug possession charges and their inability to pay for a decent lawyer. It is my opinion that actually listening to some of these people as potential candidates might do a world of good for such things as prison and drug law reform, among obvious targets.
Just let the voting public weigh them on their (perceived) merits as candidates, same as any other.

It won’t. In the US they can still simply buy the government with unlimited amounts of money=speech for starters and even in other systems they are remarkably free to influence politicians.

All elections are sensitive case by case issues, as are all candidates, so them being ex-convicts or not changes very little.


I couldn’t disagree more. Intention does not have to be proved for something to be racist.

When people use dog-whistles, it’s not necessarily because they think of themselves as racist, or because bigots are waiting to hear dog-whistles as though it’s some sort of spoken-unspoken code. It’s deeper and more insidious than that.

Let’s take something simple: policing. When a politician says, “we’re going to bring order to our streets, and put criminals behind bars,” do you hear a dog-whistle? Because I do. The politician isn’t talking about white criminals in this instance, they’re specifically speaking about brown people. And it doesn’t matter if the listener doesn’t think of supporting the police is racist; in this instance, supporting the police is. Voting for such a politician is a vote for white supremacy.

In the same way, voting for Donald Trump, with his statements about Mexican rapists and such, was a vote for white supremacy. It doesn’t matter if, like my father, you abjure the racism and say that you’re voting for the economy or some such bullshit. Your intentions–stated or unstated, conscious or unconscious–are irrelevant when your actions actively marginalize or disenfranchise others.

Do all people who voted for Trump think of themselves as racists? No. If you asked them about brown people, would most of them offer platitudes? Sure. But when push comes to shove, they voted for a white supremacist, and all the “intentions” in the world don’t change that.

(Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sympathetic to the argument that a vote for Clinton would also be a vote for white supremacy. But that’s getting a little far afield.)