The latest to do so was Sen. Ted Cruz who defended Jeff Sessions for Attorney General by saying that Democrats are the party of the KKK.
“The Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan,” Cruz said. “You look at the most racist — you look at the Dixiecrats, they were Democrats who imposed segregation, imposed Jim Crow laws, who founded the Klan. The Klan was founded by a great many Democrats.”
You know what, he’s right. Like it or not, Democrats were the party of the KKK. Back in the early days of segregation, yes, Democrats were the ones who supported it. That’s all indisputable — and shameful — factual history of the political party.
As I’ve said many times about this topic, anytime they use the lines “the GOP is the party of Lincoln” or “Democrats were the party of the KKK,” all they’re really doing is proving that the modern day Republican Party is built on racism.
You see, I don’t have to go back 50 or 60+ years to point to racism within the GOP, all I have to do is point to the current leader of their party, Donald J. Trump. This is a man who’s been proudly backed, praised, and supported by the KKK, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and white supremacists such as David Duke.
But there’s much more to it than that.
Cruz’s inclusion of Dixiecrats is actually the first sign that his statement is blatantly ignoring factual history. The Dixiecrats mainly consisted of former Democrats who were upset that their party began embracing equality under Harry S. Truman. In the one and only presidential election the party ran a candidate, they chose Strom Thurmond who carried Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina.
The inclusion of Thurmond (a staunch segregationist and racist) is also incredibly important because he would remain a Democrat until 1964. Now, what happened in 1964? That’s right, that was the year LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act.
So, when former Dixiecrat candidate Strom Thurmond left the Democratic party, which one did he join?
Oh, that’s right — he became a Republican. Another infamous racist and segregationist, Jesse Helms, also left the Democratic Party in 1970, joining Thurmond in the GOP. George Wallace, another strong believer in racism and segregation also left the Democratic party in 1968, joining the American Independent Party.
Fun Fact: The American Independent Party made Donald Trump their candidate for the 2016 election.
This is all part of what’s commonly known as the “Southern strategy.” It was a calculated and deliberate move by the GOP to pander to white racism (especially in the South) by those who felt betrayed by the Democratic Party embracing equality and civil rights.
I’m not making up any of these facts, nor am I twisting any sort of reality. As the saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.”
If the modern day GOP wasn’t built on the racism it began pandering to during the implementation of the “Southern strategy,” then why did racists and segregationists like Thurmond and Helms become Republicans during this time? Why did the party that once ran Wallace enthusiastically embrace Trump this past election?
Then there’s always the fact that David Duke, a former grand wizard of the KKK, actually won an election as a Republican in 1989. For the record, Duke was a former Democrat who became a Republican (the party he was affiliated with when he won his election) — and was also once a member of the American Nazi party.
There’s no way anyone can look at the factual history of this nation’s two largest political parties and deny the reality that the two parties switched ideologies during the 50’s and 60’s — which is why racists and supporters of segregation like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms became members of the GOP during this time. It would have made absolutely no sense for these two bigots to have joined a party that wasn’t appealing to their shameful, racist beliefs.
But that’s why people like Cruz like to bring up that “Democrats were the party of the KKK.” They have to ignore the last 50+ years of American history. Otherwise, for them to recognize the truth about the last 50+ years would undoubtedly prove that the modern day Republican Party eagerly built itself on the disgusting and shameful racism Democrats left behind decades ago.