EW Jackson's 'Slavery' Comments and Conservative Voters

GOP candidate E.W. Jackson (Twitter)
GOP candidate E.W. Jackson (Twitter)

E.W. Jackson's recent controversial comments against his own race and government programs are a ploy to gain white voters, writes Jamelle Bouie in the Daily Beast.

His most recent statement concerns his disdain for the anti-poverty programs passed by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. During a rally in Newport News, Virginia—just a few miles from his stomping grounds of Chesapeake—he told a Republican crowd that Great Society programs like Medicare and Medicaid are to blame for today's problems among black families. "[T]he programs that began in the '60s, the programs that began to tell women that 'you don't need a man in the home, the government will take care of you,' and began to tell men, you don't need to be in the home, the government will take care of this woman and take care of these children.' … "

All of this raises a question: why talk in these terms? If the goal is to pull black voters away from the Democratic Party—or at least sow the seeds of doubt—there's nothing to gain from comparing social programs to slavery, and the party itself to a plantation. Not only is it a nonsense analogy, but it's a not-so-subtle attack on the agency of black voters. They haven't chosen the Democratic Party, they're simply unable—and incapable—of doing anything else.

But that assumes a (relatively) honest motivation—political engagement. The other possibility is far more cynical; Jackson and others aren't trying to appeal to blacks as much as they are talking to white conservatives.


Read Jamelle Bouie's entire piece at the Daily Beast.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.