Black Like Him?

Houston candidate hoodwinks voters into thinking he's black

Dave Wilson, noted white person
Dave Wilson, noted white person

What's the best way for a white Republican to win in an overwhelmingly black Democratic district? In the case of new Houston Community College trustee Dave Wilson, the answer seems to involve a bit of grifting. Detractors say that Wilson pulled off a narrow 26 vote win over longtime incumbent Bruce Austin by convincing voters that he's black.

Going into the race, Wilson was considered a long shot. He was, after all, an anti-gay activist best known for a fringe campaign against current Houston Mayor Annise Parker that mostly consisted of him reminding voters of how non-heterosexual Parker is. Hey, did you know that Parker is a gay, gay, homosexual, LGBT lesbian? Yes, Parker is a lesbian, says businessman Wilson.

Lucky for ol' Dave, lack of name recognition can sometimes help. A Dave Wilson can be anyone, so bland is the name. Why, he can even pretend that he's African-American. Carpe diem!

The key to Wilson's surprising win appears to be a series of fliers loaded with smiling photos of black families cribbed from the web, but absent any actual photos of Wilson's pale giblets. One of the mailers went so far as to tout the endorsement of Ron Wilson. Many Texans remember Ron Wilson as the former state representative who led the fight to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday or as an integral figure in the creation of the Texas Human Rights Commission. Dave Wilson remembers Ron as his basketball-playing cousin from Iowa – the one who just happens to share a name with the legendary Texas politician.

To be fair, Wilson did not temper his usual message for the fliers. He used the same sort of dog-whistle politics on the flier as he did in his collateral against Parker – calling Austin "unmarried" and "unsure," and reminding voters that Austin sought the support of the LGBT community. Probably by playing "It's Raining Men" at all of his rallies.

Although Austin fought back with fliers calling Wilson a "right-wing hate monger," it was too little, too late. Austin told KHOU, "I don't think it's good for both democracy and the whole concept of fair play. But that was not his intent, apparently."

Austin is requesting a recount, but Wilson's victory will likely stand. Maybe when he comes up for re-election in six years, Houston voters will be a little less forgetful. Of course, by then he'll probably be pretending he's Hispanic.

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