While speaking at Vanderbilt University’s Impact Symposium ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said “for just one election every black in America should vote Republican.” Smith has a penchant for telling inconvenient truths. This most recent statement on black voting patterns is quite the doozy as reported by CNSnews.com:
“From what I’ve read, Barry Goldwater is going against Lyndon B. Johnson. He’s your Republican candidate. He is completely against the civil rights movement. Lyndon B. Johnson was in favor of it – civil rights legislation. What happens is he wins office. Barry Goldwater loses office, but there was a Senate, a Republican Senate, that pushed the votes to the president’s desk. It was the Democrats who were against civil rights legislation – the Southern Dixiecrats, right – so because the president Lyndon B. Johnson was a Democrat, black America assumed the Democrats were for it,” Smith said.
“Do you know that since 1965, black America hasn’t given the Republican Party more than 15 percent of its vote?” he asked.
“Here’s what that means: … black folks in America are telling one party, ‘We don’t give a damn about you.’ They’re telling the other party, ‘You got our vote.’ Therefore, you have labeled yourself disenfranchised, because one party knows they got you under their thumb. The other party knows they’ll never get you, and nobody comes to address your interest,” Smith said.
“So my point is…when you go buy a house, do you look at one? When you go looking for a car, do you look at one? When you want to buy some clothes, when you want to buy some shoes, when you want to buy anything, you’re shopping around. You know what you’re saying to somebody? ‘Flatter me. What you got? Let me see what you have to offer,’” he said.
“We don’t do that with politics, and then we blame white America for our disenfranchisement when it is us, because all we have to do is upset the apple cart by not doing what’s predictable, and it will force everybody to pay attention to us, because if Democrats will be scared of losing our vote, the Republicans will say, ‘Wait a minute. We might have a chance to get it,’ and then all of a sudden, everybody will cater to our needs just like they cater to Jewish folks, to the white folks, and beyond, and suddenly, we won’t be disenfranchised anymore,” Smith said.
“I do not understand for the life of me why we as a people don’t draw that conclusion and act accordingly. We play right into folks’ hands, and I hate the fact that anybody – I don’t give a damn Democrat, Independent, Republican – I hate the fact that anybody is allowed to believe that they have a block of people in the palm of their hands. That disgusts me. That’s never good for America,” he concluded.
Definitely a bold statement by Mr. Smith. Not exactly the very first time this has been suggested, but it’s worth a rehashing and proper consideration.
Of course reactions from the Left were, pleasantly surprising and then, predictable. Salon.com actually gave Smith’s statement a fair hearing without going into DailyKos mode. HuffPo’s Black Voices blog went in for the kill, calling Smith delusional.
Smith, and the other black GOP proponents, omit one, actually two small facts. The Democrats did not wreak the social and economic damage, race baiting, and neglect that characterized three decades of Republican rule in the White House and the sledgehammer attacks on or malign neglect of civil rights leaders and concerns when Republicans were out of the White House. There has not been one waking moment during Obama’s six years in the White House that they have not turned vilification, obstructionism, hectoring, badgering, and barely disguised race baiting of him into a fine art. The party that Smith and others think blacks could have a temporary home in topped this with the invite of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress. He then promptly turned around and nakedly race baited to win reelection in the recent Israeli elections. The GOP then showed a near treasonous disregard of Obama by attempting to make its own foreign policy with Iran.
Newsweek pointed out that Smith is advocating for shopping around, which he was.
That is a lot to digest and to be fair to Smith, he is not advocating voting GOP based on its policies but rather to do so based on the same principles that guide your choice of cell phone carrier. Unhappy with Verizon? Switch to T-Mobile and say goodbye to overages and annual service contracts. Or, to use an analogy Smith’s sports viewer fan may better appreciate, if SportsCenter continues to shove LeBron James and Johnny Manziel down your throats, maybe it’s time to tune in to FOX Sports 1.”
Good job Newsweek, you attempted to be fair to Smith. But then you turned to wealth shaming:
For the history lesson, Smith is to be commended. However, there are several shadows in his proposal that bear illumination. First, Smith positions himself as an African-American in this situation, which of course he is. However, Smith also earns more than $3 million annually from ESPN, never mind his outside endorsements. Smith is not part of the 1%—he is literally part of the 0.1%—while the average black household earns less than $40,000 per year.
So in the end, pundits far and wide for many varying reasons told blacks in America to keep voting for the Democrats. Not one of them explained why blacks are the only race on the planet that are required to give their total allegiance to one party even if it’s to their own detriment. What a lesson, if you’re paying attention.