It comes to my attention recently that there exists a popular but quiet following to the belief that, at some point, the Republican and Democrat parties switched sides...more specifically on matters of Racial Equality. Call me naive but I had never heard something like that and had no idea it existed as an ideology. That said I've done my homework and found the necessary evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the switch is a myth, the Democratic Party did not suddenly, or even over time, gradually become the Republican Party and Vice a Versa. It's simply not true but I can respect the attempt to pull this one off, it has to be incredibly inconvenient to admit that your Party has championed Slavery, Jim Crow laws, Segregation and Black Codes.
It seems that the confusion begins with the Civil Rights Bills of the 1950s and 1960s. It seems that Republicans were cast as the opposition to Civil Rights. The issue here is that the public records for voting counts don't reflect that Republicans were against it.
Democrats actually filibustered (Obstructed the legislature) the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and attempted to deadlock the voting until the Republican Minority Leader led the fight to end it. Now I've taken into account that SOME
Democrats helped push the bill through the House of Representatives and the Senate and ultimately it was Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson who signed the Bill into Law. I was almost surprised to see this because it stands as a contradiction to the idea that Democrats opposed Racial equality...until you do your homework on L.B.J.
President Lyndon B. Johnson is attributed with saying...some really disgusting things about Black people. Unfortunately for the purposes of this debate, not many can be verified and thus aren't worthy of citing here. There is one statement made by L.B.J. that is
acknowledged even by Snopes
as being accurate:
"These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don’t move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there’ll be no way of stopping them, we’ll lose the filibuster and there’ll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It’ll be Reconstruction all over again
While his sentiment is nasty, the statement about the Civil Rights Act is actually accurate. The Law did virtually nothing to solve the serious issues facing Black Americans at the time and merely issued a blanket freedom that wasn't worth the paper it was written on. It did serve as a stepping stone in the charge for racial equality but inn today's America the Civil Rights Act has done little to solve racial inequality, residual effects from racist policies and practices still exist and Black America still suffers from it.
"The legacy of the Civil Rights Act’s failures abound: America is still hemorrhaging from the racism of police bullets, health disparities and environmental catastrophes. The black unemployment rate has been twice the white unemployment rate for 60 years, segregation is on the rise in public schools across America, and an unprecedented number of black and brown bodies have been mass incarcerated as a result of the war on drugs
After the passage of the act, Americans quickly confused the death of Jim Crow for the death of racism. The result: They blamed persisting and progressing racial disparities on black inferiority.
So if L.B.J. was Racist (And he was) and the Democratic Party was the party of the KKK, Slavery, Jim Crow, Black Codes and overall Racism...how is it that Republicans are painted as the party of Racism? With the fact remaining that Martin Luther King Jr. was a solidified Republican...it's confusing. The answer is difficult to understand but I'll try to break it down.
It's not that any one Republican government official suddenly became a Democrat or Vice a Versa, it's that the South gradually started voting Republican at one point and the North began gradually voting Democrat. Mind you this was AFTER the a Democratic President suddenly championed the Civil Rights Act after being such a devout Racist. What would racist voters do if their favored government officials suddenly did a 180 degree turn on the political position that most of them voted them into office for? I'd wage that they'd go as far as to change parties. Now, it wasn't that the Civil Rights Act was what turned the South against the Democrats or minorities against Republicans. Those patterns, as Trende showed
, had been developing for a while. It was, however, a manifestation of these growing coalitions. The South gradually became supporters of the conservative party, while the north became supporters of the liberal party. Now yes, Barry Goldwater was a Republican presidential nominee that ran against L.B.J. and many have touted that he was a devout racist and that because he was nominated by the Republican Party as a Presidential nominee that this equates to the Republican Party supporting Racism. In truth, Barry Goldwater was likely psychotic but still, I defer to M.L.K. and the NAACP on this one
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said that although he did not regard Senator Goldwater as a racist, the Senator “articulates a philosophy Which gives aid and comfort to the racists.”
Roy Wilkins, executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Negroes “generally will be disappointed at the nomination.”
“Senator Goldwater himself is not regarded as a racist in their minds,” he said, “but they note with dismay that among his supporters are some of the most outspoken racists in America.
Goldwater was definitely a mistake and it cost the Republicans a great deal of support at the time and rightfully so. More care and consideration should be leveraged when making a final decision on who will lead a political party in the race for Presidency. That said, he wasn't a white guy who ran on a platform of "Let's make em slaves again".
While the South may indeed be more Republican than it once was and the North may indeed be more Democrat...that does not equate to the Democrat Party taking up the mantle of equality while the Republican Party dawning the cape of Racism. The Republican Party was created for the specific purpose of defeating Slavery expansion...the Democrat Party opposed that. Both parties have made movements towards racial equality (One could argue that it's still not enough) but nothing...and I mean absolutely nothing can change the history of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is not a party of slavers anymore...and that's because of concessions that Racial inequality had to end...not because they suddenly became morally righteous. Had they held onto their political positions, we wouldn't have Democrats anymore, their party would have died with the death of segregation and Jim Crow. They adapted with the times and stopped pushing racist agendas.
And before anyone says it lol. I'm not a Republican, never have been, never will be. I've never voted in any government election and likely never will, never registered to vote and have no political affiliation. This is a 3rd party account of what it looks like to view this issue without any dog in the fight and without any favor for either side.