Democrats won’t win a statewide Texas election anytime soon.But if they finally do — in 2022, maybe even 2018 — they can thank blunders like the one a Dallas Republican made last month.Speaking at a “Battlefield Dallas County” rally meant to stir up support against Dallas’ Democratic majority, a veteran Republican get-out-the-vote organizer said Republicans don’t want black Democrats voting.To be exact, speaker Ken Emanuelson, co-founder of the Dallas Tea Party, said May 20: “I’m going to be real honest with you. The Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they’re going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.”As you might expect, Emanuelson’s comment drew the attention of Democrats’ Battleground Texas organization and U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, a Fort Worth Democrat who represents both cities.In a campaign email, Veasey called it a “cowardly attack.” He warned that the Republican Party “discounts communities of color at their own peril.”OK — so that was the political-rhetoric version.Veasey said Tuesday that he took it as more than a careless comment, particularly given that Democrats had to mount a legal fight to draw a new congressional district that would improve representation for African-American and Hispanic voters.“You hear things like that on talk radio all the time, and it’s unfortunate,” he said.“When you see how redistricting is handled and how voter ID got pushed through — you get the feeling it’s more than just an insensitive comment.”Emanuelson, 43, a former spokesman for school vouchers and a party get-out-the-vote organizer since at least 2000, has been in the middle of controversy before.The Libertarian Party of Texas has criticized him for operating partisan Tea Party and Grassroots Texans websites that exclude third-party conservatives.On Facebook, he wrote that he should not have spoken for the party.Emanuelson wrote that he meant to say: “It is not, in my personal opinion, in the interests of the Republican Party to spend its own time and energy working to generally increase the number of Democratic voters.”He added that the party “absolutely must expand and build bridges into all communities.”Once, Republicans built that bridge. Sort of.In 1996, Veasey, then 25, voted in the Republican primary.He has said he crossed over only to vote against U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm in his presidential campaign and then returned to the Democratic side to support President Clinton.Something else happened in 1996.Republicans began their now-17-year sweep of Texas.
Bud Kennedy’s column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @BudKennedy