Whenever the topic of racism, slavery or the Confederacy is brought up, Republicans will almost always bring up how they’re the “party of Lincoln” and it was actually Democrats who were the racists and segregationists.
Historically, this is true. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and Democrats were the “party of southern racism” for many years.
Here’s the thing: Anyone using this argument is either willfully ignoring key historical facts, devoid of common sense, or completely ignorant about all the factors that disprove their notion that it’s Democrats, not Republicans, who are the real racists – particularly against African-Americans.
In fact, by using just three notoriously racist individuals from our past, Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond and George Wallace, it’s fairly easy to prove that the modern-day GOP is rooted in racism and bigotry.
Without going into too much detail, the shift in the two parties really began to show itself during Harry Truman’s presidency when he established the President’s Committee on Civil Rights, ordering the end of discrimination in the military in 1948. This growing push among Democrats to support civil rights for African-Americans spawned a party that lasted for exactly one year, the Dixiecrats. In fact, in the 1948 presidential election, Thurmond was the party’s candidate winning Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia.
Notice the “southern theme” of those states? Keep a mental note because that factors in again here in a bit.
By the time the 1960’s rolled around, the shift of the two parties was in full-swing. After all, this was the heart of the civil rights area, culminating with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was also around the time the “Southern Strategy” was born, a deliberate attempt by Republicans to target and pander to white racism.
Now that I’ve established all of that, let’s get back to Thurmond, Helms and Wallace.
All three of these men were Democrats.
In 1964 (Hm, what else happened that year?), Strom Thurmond ditched his ties to the Democratic party, officially becoming a Republican.
Then in 1968, George Wallace (still a staunch opponent of desegregation), ran for president under the banner of the American Independent party winning Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Notice the same “southern theme” (only larger this time) that we saw in 1948? That’s not a coincidence.
Finally 1970 rolled around, the year Jesse Helms eventually abandoned his ties to the Democratic party and became a Republican.
Now, why in the world would three extremely open racists and segregationists abandon the Democratic party if that party was still so racially bigoted? Not only that, but why would two of them become Republicans if the GOP was the party of “equality”? Then when you factor in the states Thurmond won in 1948 and Wallace won in 1968 were nearly identical (former members of the Confederacy/pro-segregation), and are currently now considered “strongly red states,” what rational person looks at all of that and doesn’t realize the very obvious correlation with all of this?
Hell, even David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the KKK, became a Republican in 1989 and won his election to Louisiana’s 81st district.
Just think about that: 27 years ago (a quarter century after the passage of the Civil Rights Act), the Republican party elected a former Grand Wizard of the KKK and well-known white supremacist.
But Republicans really want to try to argue that the modern-day version of their party isn’t rooted in racism?
I could write a small book concerning all the ties to indisputable racism in today’s GOP. The truth is, Republicans can no longer claim to be the “party of Lincoln” – those days are long gone.
But for someone to really look at all these indisputable facts I just listed (again, there are plenty of other examples, but I wanted to keep this somewhat short) and still claim that today’s GOP is the party of “equality,” while Democrats are the party of “racism,” only shows that they’re either in denial, willfully ignorant or just simply crazy.
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