ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith reaffirmed his view that African Americans should stop monolithically supporting Democrats in every election and instead make both major parties compete for their vote.
The often flamboyant Smith is perhaps best known for his intense and some would say obnoxious back-and-forth with the equally outspoken Skip Bayless on First Take, which airs five mornings a week on ESPN.
Smith, a registered independent, has been inching his way into commentary about politics and other social issues. You may also remember that ESPN suspended him last year for controversial comments about domestic violence. He recently found himself engulfed in another controversy, this time over comments made about the NFL Philadelphia Eagles. Stephen A. subsequently rejected any racial basis for his criticism of head coach Chip Kelly’s personnel decisions.
Earlier this week, in a Vanderbilt University symposium, Smith proposed that every black American vote Republican in one election.
In his speech, he also correctly noted that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would never have passed without the support of Republican U.S. senators. In fact, Republican votes in the chamber were necessary to overcome a filibuster conducted by, among others, Sen. Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat, who was also a former KKK member.
In an interview with CNN, Smith returned to the subject of bloc voting by blacks. He insisted that Democrats take the black vote for granted, a phenomenon which the black community has allowed, while Republicans ignore the black vote because they feel it is pointless to go after it.
Democrats have successfully demonized the GOP such that “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,” Smith declared.
The typical result of this historical voting trend is that the Democrats have a license to take African Americans for granted, while the Republicans have a license to summarily dismiss that same community, Stephen A. Smith explained.
“Then we end up finding ourselves devoid of any representation whatsoever because nobody is competing to garner our vote and our support … 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 [politicians] to flatter us…”
Against this backdrop, the ESPN and Sirius XM host and former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist observed that both political parties are competing for the Hispanic vote, which, in contrast, is considered up for grabs. During the exchange, he also denied that he was advocating for a further balkanization of American politics.
In December, 2013, Smith said that “it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever” for the black community to ostracize black conservatives.
Watch the Stephen A. Smith CNN interview about the black vote and Republicans and Democrats and draw your own conclusions.
[Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images Entertainment]