Stephen A. Smith (AP)

Stephen A. Smith keeps urging black community to turn out for GOP

The ESPN host told CNN unless African-Americans vote Republican, the party has "a license to summarily dismiss us"


Jenny Kutner
March 23, 2015 5:46PM (UTC)

Stephen A. Smith, the ESPN host notorious for saying very smart things about domestic violence and about Roger Goodell, raised eyebrows last week after suggesting that all African-Americans vote Republican for one election cycle, just to prove to Democrats that the party doesn't have Black America "under their thumb." Never one to back down from a controversial statement, Smith doubled down on his comments on CNN over the weekend, telling host Michael Smerconish the black community has been instrumental in its own underrepresentation.

"I definitely believe the Black vote has been taken for granted, and primarily the black community is at fault for that in my estimation," Smith said. "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."

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The ESPN host went on to say that this results in Democrats feeling they have "license to take us for granted, [and] Republicans have a license to summarily dismiss us because they believe they'll never get our vote anyway ... and then we find ourselves devoid of any kind of representation whatsoever because nobody is really competing to garner our vote and our support."

Highlighting both Democratic and Republican pushes for immigration reform as an example of both parties fighting for Latino support, Smith claimed there's been no such push by either party to win over African-Americans. (That's not entirely right, as the Washington Post pointed out last week.)

When pressed on what it means to vote for black interests, Smith actually got into some deeper thoughts on voting from one's own experience...then encouraged everyone to vote in their own best interests.

"I'm not trying to convince anybody to vote Republican, I'm not trying to convince anyone to vote Democrat," Smith said. "I'm simply saying, let's not be so transparent in our support for one party over another party, when that does not appear to be working for us. Force people to flatter us. White folks do it, Jewish folks do it, Hispanic folks do it -- why can't Black folks do it?"

Watch Smith on CNN below:

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