Gillum’s Island Caper

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is planning on movin’ on up to the West Side, to the deluxe governor’s mansion on the other side of town. Gillum is the Democratic nominee in the Florida governor’s’ race. Representing the Marxist wing of the Democratic party—pretty much the only wing of the party these days—Gillum’s far-out views instantly made him into a media darling, and a favorite among leftist enclaves beyond the Sunshine State. Think of him as the black and male equivalent of  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Suddenly, with the election just weeks away, Gillum finds himself embroiled in a bit of a controversy. The media’s attention has shifted from asking him not what he will do for Florida, but what he did to Tallahassee.

It turns out that Gillum is at the center of an FBI undercover operation, looking into the corrupt practices of the Tallahassee city government. As mayor, the buck stops with Gillum. But somehow the buck—lots of bucks—made some additional stops in faraway places, from Broadway to Costa Rica.

Of course, no one should jump to conclusions. As we learned from the three stooges of the FBI—Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe and James Comey—the FBI doesn’t always get it right.

And Gillum is wasting no time in claiming that this kerfuffle is much ado about a Republican-hatched plot to “use his candidacy as a way to reinforce stereotypes about black men.”

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Yes, we all know there are stereotypes about black men:

Black men can jump.

Black men can dance.

Black men look great in MAGA hats.

But none of these have anything to do with Gillum and the predicament in which he finds himself. It’s his own behavior that is reinforcing long-forgotten stereotypes about black men.

Black men love Broadway musicals: Clearly, black men don’t own this stereotype. They share it with gay men. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Although there are a few differences between the two.

Gay men exhibit a fondness for the likes of Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli. Black men, judging by Gillum’s tastes, prefer to hear the Founding Fathers belt out their favorite show tunes.

Black men don’t pay for Broadway tickets: Again, taking a cue from Gillum, black men don’t actually pay for impossible-to-get hit show tickets that would cost a public servant like Gillum a week’s pay. Instead, they accept gifts from property developers, who hope “Hamilton” tickets can earn them a sweet deal back on the streets of Tallahassee.

Black men get steep hotel discounts: Being from Florida, Gillum is well aware of how expensive a stay in a beachfront hotel can be. But who needs Palm Beach when you can get four nights in a luxury Costa Rica villa for all of $400?

It doesn’t matter if the retail price of the villa is actually $1,400 a night. Not when a lobbyist offers to cover the costs. After all, that’s what lobbyists do. And it’s perfectly OK when they show up at city hall, looking for a quid pro quo. Granting a lobbyist a favor in exchange for his largesse is what mayors do.

Black men love Gillum’s Island: It was supposed to be a reenactment of one of his favorite TV shows, but it turned out to be a fateful trip when Gillum got on board a tiny ship in New York Harbor along with a few other passengers.

The ship set sail that day for a three-hour tour. But things soon started getting rough, and Gillum’s campaign was tossed for a loop when it became known that his “millionaire” host and some of the other passengers were undercover FBI agents, looking into alleged criminal wrongdoing by Gillum.

If not for some fearless obfuscation, Gillum’s gubernatorial bid would be lost.

Gillum is hopeful that when Floridians go the polls, they pay no attention to these stereotypes about black men.

Anyway, many of these stereotypes are kind of favorable. Good jumpers. Great dancers.

And then there’s the one about black men having enormous . . . appeal with the ladies.

Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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About Steve Lipman

Steve Lipman is a writer in Los Angeles whose irreverent approach to the serious issues of the day goes where angels fear to tread.