By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead accused Alabama State Senator Vivian Figures (D) of playing the race card for her racially charged comments crediting racism for the rise of the Republican Party in Alabama in an interview with al.com.
Chairman Armistead said, “Sen. Figures really should be ashamed of herself for playing the race card. I guess she figures when you can’t win elections in Alabama because voters don’t subscribe to your policies the next best thing is to trash your opposition in hopes of turning voters away from your opponent.”
Chairman Armistead said, “I have made no secret of the fact that I am recruiting African Americans to the Republican Party. Apparently Sen. Figures and the Democrats are getting nervous and feel they need to solidify their base by using these scare tactics. But, I’ve got news for Sen. Figures. Not all African Americans are falling in lockstep with Barack Obama and the Democrat Party. His liberal policies have hurt African Americans more than any other group and Sen. Figures’ statement is nothing more than an effort to try to change the conversation from the failures of Obama’s administration.”
The Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party continued, “Chairman Bill Armistead said, “Senator Figures owes Alabama Republicans an apology for her offensive remarks accusing us of racism. Alabama opposes the liberal policies being put in place by Obama’s administration, especially the so-called Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). We opposed the same measure when Bill Clinton pushed it in the 1990s when it was referred to as ‘Hillarycare’. Senator Figures would be well served to pay more attention to history.”
Chairman Armistead said of Figures, “It is unfortunate to see her making statements that are more akin to statements that we have become accustomed to hearing from people like the Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Minister Louis Farrakhan head of the National of Islam. I am very disappointed in Sen. Figures and hope that she will apologize for making this racial statement.”
Chairman Armistead suggested that Figures should spend more time trying to bring jobs to her district. Armistead said that, “Would be a much greater contribution to African Americans than trying to scare them into voting Democrat again.”
Over the last twenty years many populations in Alabama (particularly in majority White rural areas) have turned away from their historical tendency to vote Democrat.
Senator Figures told al.com of the rise of the Republican Party: “I think it’s racism. At its core I just do. I don’t think that before Obama ran and won we heard state Republicans making so many statements about national issues that they would have little say over. We didn’t hear that with (Jimmy) Carter or Bill Clinton. I think it’s just basic racism and I’m not someone who uses the race card and I’m someone who had thought that we were beyond that kind of thing.”
Armistead said, “Alabama opposes the liberal policies being put in place by Obama’s administration, especially the so-called Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). We opposed the same measure when Bill Clinton pushed it in the 1990s when it was referred to as ‘Hillarycare’. Senator Figures would be well served to pay more attention to history. Alabama has not voted for a Democrat in a national election since 1976, and we quickly repented and elected Ronald Reagan to the Presidency in 1980. We don’t vote for our elected officials based on race, but based on their policies. Alabama is a Republican state and we vote for Republicans in overwhelming fashion. It certainly has nothing to do with President Obama’s race.”
White people in Alabama have been trending heavily toward the GOP in recent elections. If Chairman Armistead and the Minority GOP could see any success at their efforts in cutting inroads into the (to this point) staunchly Democratic Alabama Black population, there is little likelihood that Democrats could ever be competitive in Alabama again.