Sadly, the Black Organization for Leadership Development (BOLD), a political group strongly supporting the re-election of Democrat Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, has decided to utilize the “race card” in this election. Obviously, there is a strong concern that African Americans are not excited about Edwards and will not flock to the polls in huge numbers for this election. Thus, BOLD is airing radio advertisements and distributing flyers linking both President Donald Trump and Republican gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone to David Duke.
In the commercial, BOLD member and New Orleans Councilman Jay Banks, says that Rispone and Trump as just like Duke and “they do not care about you or anyone who looks like you.” Ironically, while employing shameful mudslinging, Banks implores voters to “vote against hatred.”
The advertisement is a lie and has no place in Louisiana politics today. Radio stations should have refused to air the commercial. Of course, Rispone has no history of racism or affiliation with the KKK, an organization founded by Democrats. In fact, the highest-ranking political leader ever affiliated with the KKK was a Democrat, the late Senate Majority Leader, Robert Byrd of West Virginia.
Trump has delivered the lowest African American unemployment rate in our country’s history. He has also repeatedly denounced David Duke, who endorsed him in the 2016 presidential race. In this election, Duke is now supporting a Democrat for President, U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.
For BOLD and other supporters of Governor Edwards, the real record of Rispone and Trump is of no concern. They know these men are no racists and they also know that David Duke has no political power in Louisiana. They are only using this smear because of the effectiveness in stimulating a strong turnout in the African American community throughout the state.
Rispone denounced the attacks as “disgusting,” and he called on the Governor to denounce the racist smear. According to Rispone, “The Governor has to answer for that.” Not surprisingly, the Governor has said nothing about the efforts of his supporters to connect the President and his opponent to a notorious racist.
This silence should tell all Louisiana voters everything we need to know about John Bel Edwards. He is desperate to retain his position as Governor and he knows it will be a very close election. Rispone should expect the Governor will hurl a barrage of hateful attacks between now and Election Day.
This is exactly how Edwards won the Governor’s race in 2015 and it is the same formula he is trying to use in this election. Hopefully, the voters of Louisiana will overlook the unfortunate attacks from the Governor, and, instead, focus on his unfortunate record in office.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org