Philip Levine is going to be the next governor of Florida. And the Democratic Party is running scared because Levine doesn't need the liberal money machine to win. That's why I am endorsing him.
The self-made millionaire is leading the Democratic field in just about every major poll even though he has less name recognition than establishment candidate Congresswoman Gwen Graham and darkhorse contender Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
The good ole boys of the Republican Party don't want to face Levine, either. He will knock out Adam Putnam or Ron DeSantis, two Donald Trump wannabees who don't have the charisma to win the governor's race.
That's because Levine has the guts to bet on himself. From his own pocket, he's contributed about one-third of the $8.7 million raised by All About Florida, the political action committee paying for his TV ads across the state. Levine has used his media advantage to take on Florida's most dangerous special interest group, the National Rifle Association, and position himself as the most progressive leader on the ballot. When politicians have to count on other people's money to get elected, they are beholden to special interests.
I've seen Levine take charge since I met him shortly after he was first elected Miami Beach mayor in 2013. He's not afraid to tackle controversies and associate himself with rabble-rousers like me. He took a big risk inviting me to participate in the city's 100th birthday celebration. I’m not exactly well liked in Miami Beach given I’ve been very critical of how the local government and local businesses, especially the ones on Ocean Drive, discriminate against black tourists.
During Levine's two terms, we met several times to discuss my concerns about the way African Americans don't get a fair shake in Miami Beach and Miami and the opportunity to become successful entrepreneurs in a wide variety of industries. Even though inner-city neighborhoods like Liberty City and Overtown were beyond his jurisdiction, Levine expressed sincere ideas about helping minorities. And he was damn serious about figuring out a way to curtail the gun violence that plagues black communities.
That's why he wants to abolish standardized testing in public schools. Back in February, Levine told me: "The zealous focus on test-taking in the state of Florida has clearly not worked. I would put a stop to the Florida States Assessment testing system, and the end-of-year tests that cause so many teachers and school systems to be forced to teach to the test."
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Levine would also create economic incentives for Hollywood movie studios to open production facilities in the inner city and open up the medical marijuana industry
And he would ban assault rifles and enact other important gun control measures. "Every year, our Legislature votes to weaken gun laws," Levine said. "I believe that the ultimate answer to gun violence and shootings is complicated, but it starts by passing and pushing common-sense gun legislation."
Once he takes control of the state capitol, Levine is going to outsmart and outplay all the racist North Florida crackers who have kept us down for so long.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1