At a symposium at Vanderbilt University Tuesday, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said he thinks every black person should vote Republican at least once to send the message that African American issues should matter on both sides of the aisle.
Smith's comments came during a discussion on “Perceptions of (In)Equality” at the Impact Symposium hosted at Vanderbilt Tuesday. Citing the Civil Rights legacy of both parties, Smith said he has a "dream" that every black person will vote for the other side at least once:
What I dream is that for one election, just one, every black person in America vote Republican. Because from what I’ve read, and I’m open to correction, but from what I’ve read, Barry Goldwater is going against Lyndon B. Johnson. He’s your Republican candidate. He is completely against the Civil Rights Movement. Lyndon B. Johnson was in favor of it. What happens is, he wins office, Barry Goldwater loses office, but there was a senate, a Republican senate, that pushed the votes to the president’s desk. It was the Democrats who were against Civil Rights legislation. So because President Lyndon B. Johnson was a Democrat, black America assumed the Democrats were for it.
Smith explained that by voting Republican, the black community would demonstrate to the Democrats that they don't have them "under their thumb" and would make Republicans realize that meeting the needs of African Americans is important:
Black folks in America are telling one party, "We don’t give a damn about you." 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.
Like fellow sports commentator, Charles Barkley, Smith has earned a reputation for at times challenging politically correct premises on cultural issues, particularly race. In March of last year, Smith came to the defense of Dallas owner Mark Cuban for saying that he would walk to the other side of the street if he saw a black guy wearing a hoodie. Despite being labeled an “Uncle Tom,” Smith stood by his defense, saying, “not every single issue is race related.” In July, Smith was disciplined by ESPN for suggesting that women sometimes play a role in provoking domestic violence at the height of the Ray Rice controversy.
Partial transcript, video via Breitbart News. This article has been updated.