By Senator Lena C. Taylor
You Can’t Court Black Voters and Call Them Thieves At The Same Time
This election cycle, the Wisconsin Republican Party trotted out a number of Black candidates to run for office in Milwaukee. If it wasn’t a record number of challenges to historically Democratically leaning districts, it sure felt like it. The GOP decided that no seat would go uncontested. They put a campaign office on historic Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and bought time on local Black talk radio. They scrounged up Black candidates to carry their message to the Black community and put them on the air weekly.
With skepticism, African-American voters listened to their pitch. After all, for years there have been grumblings that the community thought that the Democratic Party takes Black voters for granted. Five years ago, Donald Trump asked them “what in the hell do you have to lose” in voting for him.
The economy was in the tank for working class folks, COVID-19 was ravishing Black communities, and desperation had begun to set in. Many in the GOP felt like the time was ripe to court Black voters. It’s kind of funny since they had created most of these problems, but I digress.
It seemed like some of their talking points were resonating with Black voters. After all, most people who follow politics know that there are many small “c” conservatively leaning Black folks. In a 2019 Pew Research study, they found that about “four-in-ten black Democratic voters called themselves moderate, while smaller shares described their views as liberal (29%) or conservative (25%). By contrast, 37% of Hispanic and 55% of white Democratic voters identified as liberal.”
So issues of religious freedom, right to life, and same-sex marriage were used to engage Black voters. On some micro level, it appeared that some of their efforts were paying off.
There were real conversations about the differences between the two political parties. African-Americans expressed a desire for real change and reform, in a number of areas. The sad fact is……. somethings just don’t change. Republicans don’t change.
As the world watches the attempts of many Republicans, nationally and locally, to overthrow the legal votes of predominantly Black voters cast in the 2020 presidential election, African-Americans realize that nothing has changed. If they can’t earn your vote, they always have a plan that runs concurrently to steal your vote. Those plans have included unfairly drawn voting maps, voter ID, purges of the voting roles, election misinformation, fake ballot drop boxes, and so much more.
Republicans gladly and loudly question the honesty of Black voters. Without proof or reason, they constantly accuse Black voters of fraud. Right in front of our faces, they are trying to steal Black votes with one hand and ask us to vote for their candidates with the other. With a straight face, Wisconsin Republicans have talked openly about tossing or discounting the votes of Milwaukee residents. When will Republicans learn that you can’t call Black voters thieves and frauds, and then try to court them in the next election cycle.
It just doesn’t work that way. Just like the GOP elephant, Black voters won’t forget how they have been treated by Republicans during this election for a long, long, long, long, time.