Wisconsin Governor and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker derisively dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement on Friday, by saying it was ridiculous to ask him to meet with members of the group. When a reporter asked Walker if he would sit down and talk with organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement, Walker responded by saying:
That’s a ridiculous question. I’m going to talk to voters. It’s a ridiculous question.
Walker went on to say that instead of discussing Black Lives Matter, he would talk about “things that matter” to voters. Walker made his comments at a “Politics and Eggs” forum in Manchester, New Hampshire.
In an attempt not to sound too dismissive, Walker argued that his objection to meeting with the group was based on the fact that he didn’t know who they were, and that he would have similar reservations about meeting with “the tea party.”
Still there was something of a Freudian slip quality to Walker following up his rejection of talking about Black Lives Matter, by stating he wanted to talk about “things” that matter. You know, things, not black lives. Implicit in his statement was that black lives don’t matter, so what’s to talk about?
From a purely Machiavellian political point of view Walker is probably correct. Black voters are too few in number to matter in the Republican primaries in New Hampshire, or in the Iowa GOP caucuses. In fact, they don’t carry much weight in the Republican Party in any state. Walker can afford to dismiss the Black Lives Matter activists, because his campaign is mostly about attracting angry white voters.
Black people don’t matter to a Republican running for president until the general election. Even then they are only viewed as adversaries whose votes should be suppressed to minimize damage to the GOP. Republican candidates do not usually seek to attract black voters, but they will exert considerable effort to make it harder for African-Americans to vote.
Black Lives Matter activists have caused discomfort for several presidential candidates including Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. While many of the candidates have appeared awkward in dealing with the Black Lives Matter movement, none have been quite as blatantly dismissive as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. If he becomes the Republican nominee, black lives should be prepared to matter, by voting to defeat Scott Walker in the 2016 election.