GOP election tactics come as no surprise to Wisconsin's Black voters
MILWAUKEE >> Recent revelations about Republican election strategies targeting minority communities in Wisconsin's biggest city came as no surprise to many Black voters.
A Wisconsin election commissioner bragged about low turnout in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods during last year's elections. Weeks later, an audio recording surfaced that showed then-President Donald Trump's Wisconsin campaign team laughing behind closed doors about efforts to reach Black voters in 2020.
Many people who voted this past week in the state's primary election said they had long felt targeted by Republicans. The difference now is the public display of strategies that at best ignore the priorities of Black voters and at worst actively look to keep them from voting.
“It's a plan that they devised and carried out with quite a lot of precision,” said lifelong Milwaukee resident Dewayne Walls, 63. “It's a repeatable pattern that's going to continue to happen over and over as long as they have that plausible deniability and as long as they have the power in Madison” — the state capital.
Walls and other Black voters said they are tired of the countless hurdles that disproportionately try to keep them from being heard at the ballot box. Voters said their experiences with the GOP have been as voices to silence, not to win over.
“The Republican Party needs a lot of work. All of them need to actually step into our shoes, go in our neighborhoods, work our jobs, do the things that we're doing on a daily basis and see how they feel about what's going on once they experience it,” said Valeria Gray, 59.
She described the relationship between Milwaukee and much of the rest of the state as one divided by race.
“It doesn't look like it's gonna ever go anywhere,” she said.