Monday, November 11, 2013

White Republican Pretends To Be Black. Wins Local Election.

Black people are about as likely to vote for Republicans as we are to buy a Downton Abbey box set[1] for our grandma for Christmas, a fact hardly lost on party insiders. You'll remember the party's 2012 post-mortem mentioned ways of reaching out to "the blacks" by reminding us that they're "the party of Lincoln" and that "MLK was a Republican" and whatnot. The GOP also promised they'd actually "go into black communities to talk about how Conservative policies can benefit them".

I suppose this latest controversy from the (sometimes) "great state of Texas" falls under the "community outreach" category.
A white anti-gay activist won a local election after leading voters to believe he is African American.

Dave Wilson, who unsuccessfully ran for Houston mayor in 2011, narrowly won a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees after pretending to be black in his predominantly African American district, KHOU 11 News reported Friday.

KHOU offered details on how Wilson, a conservative Republican, misled voters on his race:

Wilson, a gleeful political troublemaker, printed direct mail pieces strongly implying that he's black. His fliers were decorated with photographs of smiling African-American faces -- which he readily admits he just lifted off websites -- and captioned with the words "Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson."

One of his mailers said he was "Endorsed by Ron Wilson," which longtime Houston voters might easily interpret as a statement of support from a former state representative of the same name who's also African-American. Fine print beneath the headline says "Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins," a reference to one of Wilson's relatives living in Iowa.

Wilson, who had previously made a name for himself in Houston politics by sending out thousands of mailers attacking an openly gay mayoral candidate, defeated 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin by just 26 votes.

"I'd always said it was a long shot," Wilson said.

Austin, Wilson's opponent, called the tactic "disgusting," and told the Houston Chronicle that he will seek a recount of the extremely close race.
I'm sure some of you are expecting me to light into the GOP and Mr. Wilson for intentionally carrying out a campaign of deception. And some of you are likely expecting me to rip the Houston area voters (of which my mother is one) who voted for this guy simply "cause he black", or because that's what they thought.

Nope, not gonna do either.

I'm gonna actually give Mr. Wilson props for pulling off a ruse that likes of which we haven't seen since The Distinguished Gentleman. That was some seriously clever sh*t right there, and here's why.

Most People Have No Clue Who Runs In "Super Local" Elections Of This Level - Let's face it, I doubt any voters even know what Houston Community College Board of Trustees actually is, let alone how many seats it is comprised of. These are "super local" elections that hardly get media coverage, especially in a city the size of Houston. Sure, your typical voter cares about mayors, councilmen, judges, and schoolboards, but beyond that? Most people are simply gonna vote for a name the recognize, or along party lines.

People Vote Via Name Recognition - Wilson was a longshot mayoral candidate in 2011, which means people probably remember his name from a ballot then, if nothing else. Combine this with all the flyers he sent out, as well as the person he (cleverly) name-dropped, and the name is cemented in peoples' consciousness. I honestly don't think the fact that he sent out flyers implying he was black had anything at all to do with this.

I Don't Blame The Voters - Again, this is a super-local election in the 4th largest city in America. The voters simply checked off the guy whose name they recognized, and kept it pushin'. It doesn't make these people dumb, it makes them typical. If you can name your local community college board of trustees without consulting The Google, then you earn the right to call these people embeciles. Otherwise, shush.

I Blame The Black Guy Who Lost - Bruce Austin prolly thought he had this election sewn up and took his electorate for granted, based entirely on his own name recognition. Wilson simply outworked him by sending out more flyers.[2] Did the fact that the flyers had black people prominently displayed help a little? Prolly. But maybe not. Who knows.

Better luck next election, Mr. Austin.

Question: Is Dave Wilson guilty of misleading voters? Are the voters just dumb/racist? How do you typically decide who to vote for in these "super local" elections?!?

[1] Not saying there aren't black people checkin' for Downton Abbey (like my grandmother), I'm just saying there aren't many.

[2] Although I gotta admit, if I saw that Fisher Price© My First Flyer shown above in my mailbox, my Negro Antennae™ would immediately go up.

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