Stephen A. Smith from ESPN, was behaving like a political activist during his latest public speaking event, held at the Impact Symposium at Vanderbilt University. The one part of his speech that’s getting viral attention is where he insists for the 2016 Presidential elections, every Black person in America should vote Republican and forgo their loyalty to the Democratic party.
Here is a partial quote of what Smith had said:
“Black folks in America are telling one party, ‘We don’t give a damn about you.’ They’re telling the other party, ‘You’ve got our vote.’ Therefore, you have labeled yourself ‘disenfranchised’ because one party knows they’ve got you under their thumb. The other party knows they’ll never get you and nobody comes to address your interest.
So my point is, when you go buy a house, cars, clothes, wanna buy some shoes, you wanna buy anything, you’re shopping around! You know what you’re saying? To somebody? ‘Flatter me.’ Let me see what you got to offer. We don’t do that in politics. And then we blame White America for our disenfranchisement.”
He later added that by Black people shocking the system via Republican co-signs, Black America’s concerns and our demands will finally be front and center met with some force and promise.
Here’s the lowdown on Smith’s provocative stance. He’s right in that we as Black people should always consider the options when placing a very important ballot or in anything that asks or considers our voice in an equation.
As proud as President Barack Obama makes Black America feel, some have felt he hasn’t done enough for Black people, which is unfair because when did Obama claim Black-only politics? What kind of President would he be if he was one-sided? Think of all the (American) Presidents that have behaved in such an agenda and how long they lasted or had the trust of the people. Possibly, the ones that have felt disappointed didn’t do enough research on what a Obama presidency actually meant for everyone, than just voting because he’s Black (an admittedly undeniable plus however).
But we’re going to give him the side-eye because there are factual reasons to why Black people and people of color have been dedicated to the Democratic party. Since 1964, a year that Smith mentions, the GOP became aggressively pro-1 percent, and a majority of Blacks and even most of America are of the middle and blue-collar class. It may be hard for those to vote Republican when the wealthy or rich are getting the tax breaks and have been against programs or initiatives that would be of benefit to improving Black lives, Brown lives and lives on the verge of poverty or in being under-educated. When has the GOP proven itself to have people of color’s best interest in their plans? And we could even extend that to women’s rights.
Black people certainly shouldn’t feel obligated to vote Democratic because it’s the popular choice. (And there are impressive example of Black GOP members like Mia Love, Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell that the party can be tolerable). But if Smith is strongly suggesting that we consider other options, we hope the Republican party is equally on board in showing us in exactly what they plan to do once they’re given the Black and female, vote in record numbers.