Tuesday’s primary elections were of significant proportions. Seven of the most influential states held their primaries, as candidates battled it out to see who would move forward to the general elections in November. Among these states were California, Iowa, New Mexico, South Dakota, and others, all of which are poised to make a major impact on who will have controlling authority of Congress for the next two years. As Republicans continue to face the detriment and degradation that has come with the first year and a half of the Trump administration, the president’s party is holding their breath in hopes that they are able to maintain control of the legislature. However, at the same time that concerned GOP lawmakers try not to ruffle any feathers, there are some in the party that have continued making outlandish, divisive, and racially-fueled statements, further tearing away at the little credibility the Republican party retains.
Among the most recent examples of GOP controversy was seen in the claims made by a lawmaker from South Dakota, which, as mentioned above, held their primary elections on Tuesday. Republican state Rep. Michael Clark was caught on a Facebook thread, stating that business owners should have the ability to turn away people of color at their discretion.
This lawmaker's name is Michael Clark. He is a freshman state representative for South Dakota's 9th State House District, and he replaced a Democrat who retired in 2016. This race is winnable.
South Dakotans, show this racist asshole the door. https://t.co/pIOr1As69F
— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) June 5, 2018
According to an article by the Argus Leader:
‘A South Dakota lawmaker on Monday said businesses should be able to turn away customers based on race. In a Facebook comment, state Rep. Michael Clark, a Hartford Republican, said business owners should have the final say in who they serve.
Clark later pulled the Facebook comment. And an hour after the Argus Leader published a story about the comment, he issued an email apology to a reporter.’
"If he wants to turn away people of color, then that('s) his choice," South Dakota state Rep. Michael Clark said. https://t.co/h7Wq5Lr4Ra
— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) June 5, 2018
Regardless of any apology letter that was sent out in order to do some damage control for the clearly racist comment made by the lawmaker, the Facebook post sparked outrage among Democrats and other opponents. Considering the fact that the ill-advised and poorly timed comment came on the very day the state held their primaries, it is clear how extensively damaging it was not only to Clark’s own reputation, but furthermore his chances at retaining public office.
State Rep. Michael Clark needs to step down immediately or @SDGovDaugaard or should call for his resignation. Discriminatory, racist views shouldn't be tolerated in the South Dakota State Legislature. https://t.co/eAmpSVCfMB
— Andy Howes (@_AndyHowes) June 5, 2018
Clark’s comment on Facebook came shortly after a Supreme Court ruling regarding a baker in Colorado who had refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing his religious beliefs as the reason for declining to provide the service. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the baker, iterating that the conflict in religious beliefs was justifiable for refusing service. Clark, however, took it a step too far.
Come join the Republicans they say. What do you have to lose they say. The GOP’s always telling us about the racist Democrats in the 1800’s yet they forget to mention the racist Republicans in 2018. Case and Point: Michael Clark SD State Rep. @clarkmic https://t.co/upflux1Bps
— Tim Black ™ (@RealTimBlack) June 5, 2018
After posting in support of the decision and the baker, Clark responded to a user’s comment, claiming that the business owner has the right to turn away anybody he wants, even if that means turning away people of color.
As if the GOP did not have enough to worry about with the upcoming elections, a faux pas of this magnitude was the last thing they were hoping for, especially on such a crucial voting day.
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