4
| News |

Tom Tancredo: Were his comments about Obama and election literacy tests at tea party convention racist?

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Former Wesword profile subject Tom Tancredo's well known for his ability to stir things up -- even at already controversial events like at the first National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, where his keynote remarks prompted the New York Daily News to publish an article headlined, "Tea Party Convention's Racial Brouhahah: Obama Won Because Jim Crow-era Law Not on Books -- Tancredo."

This assertion is open to interpretation, as is almost everything said by the former Colorado rep and onetime presidential aspirant. According to the Daily News, Tancredo told the crowd that President Barack Obama was elected partly because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote." He argued that "people who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House."

As the Daily News points out, literacy tests were once used to prevent African-Americans from voting -- although Tancredo's remarks appear to refer to immigrants, illegal or otherwise.

Does that mean Tancredo believes illegal aliens swayed the vote to Obama? And what about the folks who voted for John McCain (who loss in 2008 Tancredo praised)? Were all of them highly educated scholars? Or did his supporters include a percentage of barely functional morons who couldn't pass a literacy test, either?

Whatever the case, the Daily News piece is accompanied by a reader poll asking if Tancredo's remarks were racist. The options: "Yes. It was clearly code language for keeping minorities from voting;" "No. All he was calling for was a more informed electorate;" and "Not sure."

The results at this writing? "Yes" is winning with 68 percent, followed by "No," with 30 percent, and "Not sure" trailing with 2 percent.

Which of these voters do you think could pass a literacy test?

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.