MSNBC Panel Slams GOP as 'Beneficiaries of Racism,' Stoking Fear of Blacks

October 27th, 2018 9:43 PM

On Saturday's Up with David Gura, during a panel discussion of the Florida gubernatorial race, frequent MSNBC guest Elie Mystal -- editor of -- charged that Republicans are "beneficiaries of racism" as he praised Florida Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum trying to link GOP nominee Ron DeSantis to racists. Former MSNBC host Toure Neblett claimed that Republicans stoke fear of "the black male body" to get votes from people who are afraid of crime.

At 9:40 a.m. Eastern, Mystal began his analysis: "I'm not letting the Republican party off the hook. The Republican party is not, in my view, the cause of racism in America -- they are the beneficiaries of racism in America, right?"

He then noted the quip Gillum made against DeSantis that liberals have been celebrating that came during the recent Florida debate. Mystal: "The issue is not whether or not Rick (sic) DeSantis is a racist -- the issue is that all of the racists think that Rick (sic) DeSantis is a racist, and that's why they show up to vote for him."

Gura then introduced the relevant clip from the debate and called it a "good exchange."

Gillum was seen listing several alleged links between DeSantis and racist individuals, and the Democratic candidate then added: "Now, I'm not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist -- I'm simply saying the racists believe he's a racist."

Gura smiled as other panel members could be heard laughing at the attack on DeSantis.

Mystal resumed his commentary:

The Republican party has been using these dog whistles to inspire these people to come out and vote for their candidates since at least 1968, and the only thing that's different in the Trump era is that he swallowed the dog whistle, right? He's turned the dog whistle into a megaphone, and all of his little Republican friends are following along.

But the tactic here is the same as it's been since the Civil Rights Movement is to scare up white, usually Southern, usually male people, scare them with racial politics, and use that to motivate them to go support Republican policies that they actually can't point to on a map.

He then argued that many Republican voters actually disagree with Republicans on issues like preexisting conditions, adding, "but they're going to vote against that because of the racism. The racism in the Republican party is a feature, not a bug, and they are the primary beneficiaries of our strife."

When Neblett had his turn to react, he asserted that "Trump has shown that this sort of racial fear continues to work."

He then referred to "this appealing to the fear and the lizard brain of certain people really works -- really activates people." He added: "People will forget about the kitchen table issues which are fundamental to their lives when they are afraid that a black person might come and kill them, right? Or harm their wife or something."

Neblett concluded: "It's frightening that the black male body can still be used as this political football -- this bogeyman to scare people into voting a certain way -- in voting against their economic interests, in many cases. But we're still here -- Lee Atwater would be so pleased."