Every weapon has been used to suppress Black political power—from terror, at the hand of the KKK, to voter ID laws. Smearing Black candidates is one of the tools that appears to be making a comeback this political season, as Black politicians seek a voice in government.
The competition for two open seats on the Charlottesville City Council turned ugly when a local newspaper smeared a Black candidate, according to Feministing.
The news outlet said Nikuyah Walker, an independent in a Democratic-dominated city council and the only Black female in the race, was called “unabashedly aggressive” in an article focused on shooting her down. It was done, Feministing said, under the guise of analyzing all the candidates. The motive was to stop Walker, who’s seen as a progressive who wants to disrupt the Democrats’ stranger hold on political power.
Here are other smear cases this political season:
—Virginia gubernatorial race
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, who ironically needs the Black vote to win his tight race, omitted Justin Fairfax, the Black candidate for lieutenant governor, from a group of campaign fliers that lists Democrats running for statewide office.
—Virginia lt. governor race
Meanwhile, Fairfax, who dismissed Northam’s slight as a “mistake,” is also getting hit from the right. His Republican opponent, Jill Holtzman Vogel, raised a question during their last debate about whether Fairfax can “talk intelligently” about issues.
—Cincinnati City Council race
A Cincinnati Enquirer article about City Council members with tax problems showed “mug shots” of six incumbent Black City Council candidates on the front page and pictures of two White councilmembers on an inside page. Casual observers assumed that the Black candidates were found guilty of some crime.
—St. Paul, Minnesota mayoral race
The St. Paul Police Federation has come under fire for suggesting in a political flier that St. Paul mayoral candidate Melvin Carter is somehow responsible for an increase in gun violence. According to the mailer, “Over 100 shots have been fired since August 15 when Melvin Carter’s guns went missing.” That’s a reference to the theft of two guns from the candidate’s house during a robbery over the summer.