Only Tea Party favorite Artur Davis was one of the scant few faces of color in attendance at the True the Vote National Summit in Houston earlier this year.
They readily embraced his declaration that their efforts to curb voting abuses had nothing to do with race.
“This is not a billy club,” Davis told the audience, waving his driver’s license. “My mother, my father and grandfather were raised on the banks of the Alabama River, at the turn of 20th century. They can tell you what a billy club was and it’s not this. This is not a fire hose. I’m from Birmingham, Ala. I used to count on a lot of senior citizens to work the polls for me. I used to organize a lot of my elections. They can tell you what a water hose is. This is not Jim Crow.”
Maybe, but the aggressive way that True the Vote has trained its tea party recruits to monitor voters is uncomfortably similar to tactics once employed by White Citizens Councils in Davis’ very own Birmingham. There’s no question the indiscriminate voter purging they’ve facilitated smack of Jim Crow illiteracy tests because they fall disproportionately on blacks and Latinos, who are forced to jump through added hoops because they lack a car, or a birth certificate, or the multiple forms that need to be filled out.
Davis was once a rising star within Democratic circles who spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
He switched allegiances following his Alabama gubernatorial loss and instead spoke at this year’s Republican National Convention, spouting all the Tea Party-preferred rhetoric.
Like the “Patriot” and “Minutemen” predecessors, the Tea Party is characterized by extreme political views, especially on issues such as immigration. Better organized and funded than their predecessors, the Tea Party has been wise to employ softer language when dealing with race-related issues.
Their politics are not racist, they say. And if you don’t believe them, just ask Artur Davis.
Davis isn’t the sole black voice proclaiming voter fraud truly exists.
Anita Montcrief is a black woman who once worked with The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and now has made it her mission to expose the communist agenda she says it had, as carried out through President Obama. She appears regularly in right wing media to discuss the subject. Recently, she was incensed by an article about True the Vote’s reputation for voter intimidation written by News 21 investigative reporters.
“Every time blacks are used as pawns in the voter fraud game, it ignores the blood spilled for our rights, including the right to vote,” she wrote for Breitbart.com.
Montcrief has been on tour for a while, ever since going AWOL from ACORN, claiming to expose the no longer existing organization for trying to implement a “socialist wish-list” to upend the nation. The New York Times has already debunked her ACORN screeds line for line.
Asked recently by The Root about his change of politics, Davis said: “I really believed that Barack Obama being elected would change race in this country. I believed that it would change the way we regarded each other around racial lines. And I believed that it would make this the kind of country where African-Americans could aspire to hold office without their color being a disqualifier.”
Now, True the Vote and its tea party patriots are the people Davis is entrusting with changing the way we regard race.