ESPN Commentator Stephen A. Smith argued that “the black vote has been taken for granted” and that black voters have given the Democrats “license to take us for granted” on Saturday’s “Smerconish” on CNN.
“I definitely believe that the black vote has been taken for granted, and primarily the black community is at fault, in my estimation, in that regard, simply because, on one hand we’re giving one party our vote because they’ve successfully gone about the business of convincing our community that the other party, the Republican Party, is completely against the interests of the black community, and as a result, we’ve been very transparent in our support, we’ve voted hook, line, and sinker, we look at the Republican Party — I’m not talking about every single one of us of course, but [the] vast majority of black Americans look at the Republican Party as the enemy, we look at the Democratic Party, even tacitly, as our support base, and as a result, we are very transparent in our support for them. So, because of it, they have a license to take us for granted, the Republican Party has a license to summarily dismiss us because they believe they’ll never get our vote anyway, and then we end up finding ourselves devoid of any kind of representation whatsoever, because nobody is really competing to garner our vote and our support” he stated.
Smith added that there are “inconsistencies and discrepancies” in some of the Democratic Party’s positions, and “one of the things that you need to do as a Republican, particularly if you’re running for the presidency, you have to surround yourself with a bunch of folks that look like us and not just you.”
He further argued out that the reason why immigration reform is so widely discussed is “whoever successfully goes about the business of dealing with this matter…in a fashion the Hispanic community deems favorably to them, you’re going to get their vote.”
Host Michael Smerconish did disagree with some of Smith’s argument, saying “I don’t think we want to be rewarding particular socioeconomic groups, ethnic groups, racial groups. I don’t like the Balkanization of our politics, I like what’s in the country’s best interest, not what’s in the best interest of African-Americans, versus whites, versus Hispanics. That’s what makes me uncomfortable.”
Smith clarified, “let me say to you that I can respect the fact that you are uncomfortable, but what I would — my retort would be is that I am a black man, from a black community, and I’ve watched us suffer religiously. Whether it’s with unemployment, where we’re constantly in double digits, whether it’s the incarceration rate, whatever the case may be, there are so many things, so many problems. I love everybody. I don’t hate anybody. I think that the interest of the country is paramount and should usurp other interests. But, if you’re talking about my community, I’m going to speak on what’s effecting us and how we can alleviate those concerns. I’m not saying I’m not concerned about the country, but I’m saying I can speak more directly to the experiences myself and others from my community have.”
Smith concluded, “I’m not trying to encourage anybody to vote Republican, I’m — not trying to encourage anybody to vote Democrat, I’m simply saying let’s not be so transparent in our support for one party over another, when that does not appear to be working for us. Force people to flatter us.”
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