prev next

Jerry Shenk


Racial Politics: Democrat's Shameful Legacy

by Jerry Shenk
 

The left constantly mocks rural Americans (e.g.: Pennsyltucky), regards the entire South as ignorant hicks, and then can't understand why Democrats lose elections in rural areas and the South.

Undaunted, liberal Democrats blame "racism," a comical rationalization which allows invidious losers to "win" by feeling even more justified, self-righteous and superior.

It requires irremediable ignorance -- or intellectual dishonesty -- to perpetuate the myths that Republicans and Democrats "switched places" on racial issues in the 1960s, that Democratic electoral losses in the South are consequences of that change, and that political realignment in the South is evidence of Republican bigotry and racism.

Eighty percent of congressional Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 compared to only 61 percent of Democrats. For decades following the Act's passage, Democrats continued to control a majority of Southern governorships, Senate seats, and state legislatures.

Save one member, Senate segregationist "Dixiecrats" remained Democrats, including Al Gore, Sr. and former-Klansman Robert Byrd.

It's preposterous to believe that white Southerners were so enraged by the 1964 Act that they became Republicans, but then waited thirty years until 1994 to express their "fury" in House elections.

Republican Dwight Eisenhower -- a champion of civil-rights legislation who forced genuine desegregation of the military and federal agencies -- won a larger share of the Southern vote in 1956 than Civil Rights Act critic Barry Goldwater did in 1964.

Mississippi elected one Republican governor during the entire 20th Century — in 1992. Alabama didn't elect a Republican governor until 1987. Louisiana waited until 2014 to fire its last Democratic senator, years after electing a man of color as governor.

Black voters' party realignment began with FDR's New Deal, but FDR also won white Southern voters. In fact, black voters continued switching to the Democrats at a time when Democratic lawmaker Lyndon Johnson still opposed civil rights and anti-lynching legislation.

Presidential elections from 1968 to 1988 reveal no Republican Southern dominance. Republicans won the South in 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988 while doing well in the rest of the country, including two 49-state victories. Republicans lost the South in 1968 and 1976.

The Republican "Southern strategy" had no racial component. It was designed to attract Southern working-class transplants from the Midwest and Northeast — and it didn't succeed until long after white racism became a fringe issue.

A new generation of Southern Republicans emerged only after Southern Democrats joined Northern colleagues in abandoning traditional Jeffersonian democratic principles, granting ever-expanding powers to the federal government.
Democrat George Wallace blocked a schoolhouse door. Barack Obama encourages racial politics. For years, Democrats have exploited race to politically profit from racial divisions, yet, having controlled America's worst cities and the African-American vote for decades, Democrats have created many but solved no problems in black communities.

There was no 1960s Democrat/Republican party switch on racism and civil rights, however, after more than a century of party opposition, Democrats are dishonestly claiming sole credit for the difficult work of achieving black civil rights — successes impossible without historical support from white Republicans beginning with Abraham Lincoln, to and beyond the 1960s.

http://www.ldnews.com/opinion/ci_27252089/cries-over-gop-dem-southern-party-switch-just



Share   Share

Featured Columnists
Featured Audio Links