Charles Kuffner has linked to and commented on this interesting story from the Dallas Morning News investigative blog. Briefly, members of the Texas Democratic Party have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the 2010 armed raid by the Texas Attorney General’s office on the group Houston Votes.
So, why do I say that Abbott has played the race card?
In the body of the story, there’s this press-release response from the Abbott campaign, claiming that the executive director of Houston votes admitted that the group’s members had “fraudulently signed voter registrations and illegally collected information to sell to ACORN-linked Project Vote.”
There’s no mention of race within that sentence. But there is the word “ACORN.” On the right (and especially on the extreme fringe of the far right, e.g., among white supremacists who communicate their views online), “ACORN” is understood to mean “black,” or more particularly, to refer to a defined class of poor African-American voters who bear the brunt of white supremacist hatred. Illustrations of this odd but patently successful re-branding of ACORN by racists abound, most of them too vile and profanity-laced to cite politely (the link is to a follow-up story about Abbott supporter Ted Nugent’s description of President Obama as an “subhuman mongrel ACORN community organizing gangster.”) This story describes how the ACORN slander translated into racially-motivated threats in specific instances.
The well-placed (and baseless) smearing of Project Vote with the “ACORN” slander in a press statement is deliberate – it sends a message to the more openly bigoted hardcore racists in Texas, letting them know that Greg Abbott is on their side.
For those of you making use of web readers, the cited links are: