The Black Louisiana Senator Who Switched to the GOP Reacts to the Voting Rights Act Apocalypse

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 26 2013 6:46 PM

The Black Louisiana Senator Who Switched to the GOP Reacts to the Voting Rights Act Apocalypse

168754577
Louisiana state Sen. Elbert Guilllory and guests attend Laissez Louisiana Film Rouler on May 14, 2013, in Baton Rouge. He says the Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act is "a reminder to the black community that voting rights carry some serious responsibilities."

Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Last week, with great fanfare, Louisiana state Sen. Elbert Guillory switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP. This happens with some frequency in the South, and Guillory was a registered Republican before he sought office, but this was news anyway—Guillory is black, and capped off his party switch by denouncing his old party.

So I talked to Guillory this morning to get his reaction to the gutting of the Voting Rights Act. "I'm not really grossly upset by the decisions that were made yesterday, especially the one dealing with voter rights," he said. "It's a shot across our bow. It's a reminder to the black community that voting rights carry some serious responsibilities. Even voting at 10, 15 percent, 20, 30 percent in elections. Staying home. Barbecuing. Going to the hairdresser. Voting is too serious. If we're serious about our rights in America, we've got to vote, it's a basic responsibility. And the court has left the door open. If there's a problem, we can challenge it. But more than anything, it's a kick in the pants I think."

Advertisement

The kick came swiftly. As PBS reports, six of the states previously subjected to pre-clearance have, in the past 24 hours, announced that they'll move ahead on voter ID laws. Guillory's advice to black voters can be taken in a number of ways. They might not take it as advice to rush into the GOP.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 2:05 PM Paul Farmer Says Up to Ninety Percent of Those Infected Should Survive Ebola. Is He Right?
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 22 2014 2:27 PM Facebook Made $595 Million in the U.K. Last Year. It Paid $0 in Taxes
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 2:59 PM Netizen Report: Twitter Users Under Fire in Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.