CORRECTION: The original headline on this story mistated Boehner's remarks about black and Latino voters. He suggested blacks and Latinos won’t show up and vote for either presidential candidate.
House Speaker John Boehner is the most prominent Republican to admit, out loud, that his party's strategy for winning in November isn't looking for ways that the GOP can win over some black and Latino voters; rather, it is betting they won't vote at all. Boehner wasn't talking about voter ID laws, which are being pushed by Republicans and criticized as disenfranchising minority and poor voters, but he did tell a luncheon hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in Tampa on Monday that the Republican Party was counting on apathy from the Latinos and blacks who are choosing Democrats over Republicans by record margins in recent polls. As Talking Point Memo's Benjy Sarlin reports, Boehner said:
“This election is about economics…. These groups have been hit the hardest. They may not show up and vote for our candidate, but I’d suggest to you they won’t show up and vote for the president either.”
Perhaps he meant that those groups would vote third-party, but it doesn't seem all that likely. Less prominent Republicans have made essentially the same case in other terms. Doug Priesse, chair of the Franklin County, Ohio, Republican Party, indicated restrictions on early-voting hours and voter ID laws were meant to keep blacks from voting. In an e-mail sent earlier this month to The Columbus Dispatch's Darrel Rowland, Priesse said:
"I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine…. Let’s be fair and reasonable."
Priesse is on the elections board and voted against keeping polls open in the weekends. In June, Pennsylvania House Republican leader Mike Turzai conceeded that the point of voter ID is to help Republicans win when he said, "Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done."