Remember all the voter ID laws, restrictions on early voting, and limits on voter registration drives pushed by Republicans during the 2012 election? The story continues.
At a Dallas County GOP event last month, Bishop John Lawson asked Ken Emanuelson, a Tea Party activist, what the Republican Party was doing for African-American voters. The progressive group Battleground Texas posted audio from the event.
“I’m going to be real honest with you,” Emanuelson said. “The Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.”
In Emanuelson’s view, in other words, the solution to lack of support from African-American voters is to have fewer of them show up at the polls.
When the inevitable criticism ensued, Emanuelson backtracked. In a post on his Facebook page, the Tea Party activist acknowledged that he “misspoke” and tried to clarify what he was getting at. “What I meant, and should have said, is that it is not, in my personal opinion, in the interests of the Republican Party to spend its own time and energy working to generally increase the number of Democratic voters at the polls, and at this point in time, nine of every ten African-American voters cast their votes for the Democratic Party."
Emanuelson said he holds “no position of authority within the Republican Party.” It’s tough to see Emanuelson as some rogue element in Texas politics, however. The event where his remarks took place was part of “Battlefield Dallas,” a GOP initiative supported by Texas State GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri.
Voter suppression efforts are still alive for the next round of elections.
But take note. The push for voting restrictions in the last election may have actually led to higher levels of voter turnout among African-Americans. According to The Associated Press, black voter turnout actually surpassed white voter turnout in the 2012 election: 66.2% of eligible black voters cast a ballot, while 64.1% of white voters did the same.