Robert Powell = Sista Souljah

You can almost set your watch to it. At some point during election night coverage on an 24 hour news network, a Republican operative will respond to a media exit poll stating African-Americans vote Democratic by a wide margin by stating the party has to do a better job getting their message out to African-Americans. I don’t believe it Republicans really mean it. Maybe not all Republicans (Gov. Chralie Crist comes to mind) but as a party, it doesn’t seem they want to do the heavy lifting (or any lifting for that matter) to repair this void in their electoral maps.

Which brings me to Robert Powell.

Officer (as of 11pm 3/26) Powell is now infamous for pulling over NFL running back Ryan Moats and his family as they rushed to the hospital to say goodbye to a terminally ill family member. Video from the police car’s on board camera recorded Powell threatening to arrest Moats for running a traffic light as he and others in the car tried to explain their rush to the hospital and methodically holding the occupants there as hospital security guard confirmed the story to write a ticket. The family did not make it into the hospital in time to say goodbye. Because Moats is a football player in football crazy Texas, this has become news. The Dallas police chief has apologized to the family and Powell is on paid administrative leave.

If Republicans were serious about the African-American vote for a moment, they would be tripping over each other setting up press conferences (with the Moats family in attendance) decrying this abuse of power and calling for the termination of the officer (which will probably happen anyway). They don’t even have to mention race, black people will get it. And this case is so egregious, only the most unrepentant racist would dare call this racial politics. Texas governor Rick Perry should be all over this, it is perfect.

But that would mean Republicans actually care enough about the African-American vote to make their own version Sista Souljah. Sure worked well enough for Bill Clinton in 1992.