“Buckle up and get ready,” Stephen A. Smith told a Vanderbilt University audience on Tuesday, before saying that his “dream is that for one election — just one — every black person in America [would] vote Republican.”
The ESPN analyst, who is black, was speaking at the Nashville university’s Impact Symposium when he made the controversial statement, which was recorded by Breitbart.
Smith explained that ever since Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson signed civil rights legislation in the 1960s, blacks have monolithically voted for the Democratic Party, with 93 percent choosing Barack Obama in 2012. That ignores the key role Republicans played in overcoming southern Democratic opposition to civil rights, he argued.
Smith argued that black Americans bear some responsibility for the feeling that they are “disenfranchised.”
“Black folks in America are telling one party, ‘We don’t give a damn about you,’” he said, his voice rising. “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.”
By switching their vote just once, he argued, black Americans would both scare the Democrats and inspire the Republicans into competing for their vote, with both sides working to “cater” to their interests.
He urged blacks to “shop around” while voting, just as they would in any other aspect of their life. “We don’t do that with politics,” he said, “and then we blame white America for our disenfranchisement.”