Republican presidential hopefuls Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minnesota) and Newt Gingrich each threw out the idea last week that they and other members of the GOP should make more of an effort to court African-American and other minority voters. If they can make a convincing argument that they will provide jobs and other opportunities to lift minorities up the economic ladder, the two argued, those groups could very well steer their support from President Obama and other Democrats to the Republican Party.
Civil rights activist and president of the National Action Network Rev. Al Sharpton is crying foul. In an interview with MSNBC host Cenk Uygur, he said that Gingrich and other conservatives actually hope to suppress minority voters. He believes that Republicans who criticize the president and his policies and pledge to do better by minorities, have a different motive: to get minorities to stay at home on Election Night.
Citing efforts by Republican-controlled state legislatures to weaken unions and GOP leaders’ refusal to raise taxes or close tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy that have caused African-Americans what he describes “disproportionate injury,” Sharpton said that Gingrich “assumes that we’re stupid.” He also said that Republicans “underestimate” minorities.
“They hope to suppress the Black vote, hope to depress later the Latino vote and other voters, by blaming things on the president and acting like they’re appealing to us and offering us absolutely nothing,” Sharpton said. “The reality is it won’t work because I think people are very clear on where the injury is coming from. But I think the audacity of even saying that is something that insults us. I hope they keep saying it because I think it will incite people to come out and vote to maintain their own self respect and to say, ‘Wait a minute—I’m not going to on top of being insulted be injured as well.’”
(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)