Debunking the Claim That Republicans and Democrats Switched Sides on Race
Introduction: Revising History
Various leftist political factions have filled historical reportage with inaccurate claims that persist; for example, it is claimed that in establishing the guiding document for the United States, the Founding Fathers, who composed the Constitution, thought that blacks were only three/fifths human. Even Condoleezza Rice, an educated, accomplished former Secretary of State, misspoke when she said, "In the original U.S. Constitution, I was only three-fifths of a person." Such a misstatement by a sophisticated and knowledgeable person just shows how widespread and deep some errors have been carved into the culture. The Three/Fifths Compromise focused on representation to congress not on the humanity of each individual person.
Then there is the false assertion that "Nazis" are right wing. The term "Nazi" is short for National Socialist German Worker Party, translation from the German, "Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei." The right wing has never endorsed "socialism." Along with "fascism," the term by definition includes statism or government control of the lives of citizens—the antithesis of the right wing stance.
Confronting an Inconvenient History
When confronted with inconvenient history of their party regarding the issue of race, the United States Democratic Party members and its sycophants insist that the Republican and Democratic Parties simply switched positions on race, after the Republicans had ushered in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This ludicrous claim can easily be laid to rest with a few pertinent facts.
President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, signed the civil right bill in to law; however, Johnson himself had labored tirelessly against earlier civil rights legislation. By signing that bill, Johnson merely demonstrated that he had come to believe that the way for Democrats to get and keep power in future was to pacify and humor blacks, instead of denigrating them and segregating them from whites.
After Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation followed by a bloody Civi War to end slavery, Democrats had been lobbying for and passing legislation such as the Jim Crow laws and Black Codes for over a century—all designed to keep the black population from enjoying the fruits of citizenship.
Allegedly, Johnson quipped, “I'll have those ni**ers voting Democrat for the next 200 years.” That infamous statement clearly reveals where Johnson's loyalties lay: with acquiring power for the Democratic Party and not for the African American citizens.
In a feeble endeavor to deconstruct Johnson's racist position, David Emery at snopes.com labels the claim regarding Johnson's remark "unproven." But then as he continues his biased analysis, Emery reveals other suggestions that make it clear that Johnson's beliefs rendered him the consummate racist. For example, Emery offers the report, in which according to Doris Kearns Godwin, Johnson quipped:
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.
After much useless bloviating, David Emery admits, "Circling back to the quote with which we started, it wouldn't have been entirely out of character for LBJ to have said something like, 'I'll have those niggers (sic) voting Democratic (sic) for 200 years'"; however, Emery doubts it, of course.
House and Senate Vote Tally for the Civil Rights Act 1964
The following is a breakdown of the voting tally in the House and Senate for the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
Democrats: House 153 out of 244 = 63%
Republicans: House 136 out of 171 = 80%
Democrats: Senate 46 out of 67 = 69%
Republicans: Senate 27 out of 33 = 82%
While 80% of the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, only 63% of the Democrats voted aye. Also while in the Senate, 82% percent of Republicans voted for the bill, only 69% of Democrats did.
Attempt to Rehabilitate by Geography
In order to try to rehabilitate the Democrats' negative voting record on civil rights, leftists have pointed out that when one accounts for geographical positioning of the members of the house and senate, the voting tallies this way:
The original House version:
Southern Democrats: 7–87 (7–93%)
Southern Republicans: 0–10 (0–100%)
Northern Democrats: 145–9 (94–6%)
Northern Republicans: 138–24 (85–15%)
The Senate version:
Southern Democrats: 1–20 (5–95%) (Ralph Yarborough of Texas voted yea)
Southern Republicans: 0–1 (0–100%) (John Tower of Texas voted nay)
Northern Democrats: 45–1 (98–2%) (Robert Byrd of West Virginiavoted nay)
Northern Republicans: 27–5 (84–16%)
This set of votes shows that no southern senate Republicans voted for the act, but there was only one southern Republican in the senate. And also no house Republican voted for the act, but again there were only ten southern Republicans in the house. This low number of Republicans in the house and senate when converted to percentages skews the reality of the fact that the overall vote, which is the vote that counts, clearly outs the Democrats as opposers of the act. And the Democrats' main reason for voting against the act was based on race, especially in the south; however, all of the Republican senators, both north and south, who voted against the act, did so because they favored Senator Barry Goldwater's position, who remained against the act, not because of racial animus but because of his belief that it was unconstitutional in usurping states' rights, especially in the area of private business (see below).
The senate Republicans voting against the act were Bourke B. Hickenlooper (IA), chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee; Norris Cotton of New Hampshire (NH), Edwin L. Mechem (NM), Milward L. Simpson (WY), and a John G. Tower (TX).
The history of the Republican Party begins with the fact that the party was established primarily for the abolition of slavery. Yet over a century later, modern-day Democrats such Charlie Rangel are pushing the notion that the Republican and Democratic parties simply "changed sides" in the 1960s on civil rights. This facile excuse is widely spewed by Democrats when confronted with their own undeniably racist past. However, the facts do not bare out but rather reveal the persistent inaccuracy that the parties simply switched sides.
Three Events Misrepresented by Democrats
The persistent fantasy of the two party switching sides is partially based on three significant events that have been twisted and spun by Democrats and their sycophants in the biased liberal media:
1. Barry Goldwater’s position regarding the Civil Right Act of 1964. Goldwater did oppose that bill in its final form because he argued that it was unconstitutional, in that it usurped state and individual rights. Goldwater had helped found the Arizona’s NAACP, and he had voted for earlier versions of the civil rights legislation. Thus, Goldwater's opposition was not similar to the Democrats' opposition based on racism; Goldwater's opposition was based on the interpretation of the Constitution that guarantees basic individual rights.
2. The Southern Strategy. With this strategy, the Republican Party were attempting to demonstrate to southern Democrats that by continuing to vote for racist/socialist Democrats they were voting against their economic interests. What gave Democrats the opening to use this strategy against Republicans was that the Republicans utilized racist political bigots, who were, in fact, Democrats themselves, to help win votes for Republicans. This strategy prompted the GOP opponents to misrepresent the Republican's purpose and thus label it primarily racist, when it was, in fact, based on economic growth.
3. The American South turning to Red from Blue. This claim falls apart with the fact that the “Deep South” took 30 years to begin changing from Democrat to Republican. It was only in the peripheral South, which includes Tennessee, Texas, and Georgia, that many working-class transplants, relocating from the northern states as well as from other parts of the United States, understood that the Republican Party offered policies that promoted business, commerce, and entrepreneurial success. Those transplants, after all, had relocated south to improve their financial status through their new jobs. Racism at this point in the country's history had begun to wane as a political force. But the Democratic Party has continued to foment and fabricate unrest between the races in order to employ racism as an issue against their opponents in the Republican Party.
Democratic Policies Have Kept Blacks in Poverty
The main reason the Democratic Party hatched the idea that the parties simply switched positions was to gain power. Reverend Wayne Perryman explains:
Many believed the Democrats had a change of heart and fell in love with blacks. To the contrary, history reveals the Democrats didn’t fall in love with black folks, they fell in love with the black vote knowing this would be their ticket into the White House.
The economist Thomas Sowell has also shed light on the subject: "some of the most devastating policies, in terms of their actual effects on black people, have come from liberal Democrats." Sowell emphasizes that the "minimum wage laws" everywhere they have been established have a "track record of increasing unemployment, especially among the young, the less skilled and minorities."
According to "How the Welfare State Has Devastated African Americans," the "War on Poverty," the programs established by the Johnson administration brought about conditions which furthered the rise of poverty among black families. By discouraging marriage, these policies have resulted in out-of-wedlock birthrates that have skyrocketed, "among all demographic groups in the U.S., but most notably African Americans."
The U.S. out-of-wedlock birthrate in the 1960s hovered around 3% for whites and close to 8% for all Americans; that rate was around 25% for blacks. But, by the mid 1970s those rates had increased to 10% for whites, 25% for all Americans, and over 50% for blacks. Then by late 1980s, the birth-rate of unmarried black women had become greater than for married black women. Today the out-of-wedlock birth rate for blacks has climbed to almost 75%. The Census Bureau has linked poverty is closely associated with out-of-wedlock births.
Unfair Race Policies Have Been Unsystematized
There is no argument that stands up against the fact that racism as an issue of public policy has been unsystematized since the passage of the civil rights acts of the 1960s. No more Jim Crow laws or Black Codes anywhere call for racial discrimination as they had before the passage of those civil right laws. Before the passage of those bills, not only did racist laws exist, they were enforced by legal authorities as well as the Ku Klux Klan, which functioned as a "terrorist arm of the Democratic Party" to oppress black citizens.
Still, leftist historians such as Carole Emberton, an associate professor of history at the University at Buffalo, continue to use, "the party lines of the 1860s/1870s are not the party lines of today" bromide to attempt to separate the Democratic Party's engagement from the Ku Klux Klan, in the same breath as admitting, "that various 'Klans' that sprung up around the South acted as a 'strong arm' for many local Democratic politicians during Reconstruction."
Democrats continue to employ the fallacious claim that racism is still a "systemic" problem. They peddle this fiction so they can insist that only the Democratic Party is willing to fight against that fantasized systemic blight on society. But again and again, the Democratic Party's policies have been used as Lyndon Johnson used them to placate blacks by making them think they are getting something that no political party even has the power to give: financial security and equality with guaranteed outcomes.
Political parties, when in power, can help the voting public only by instituting policies that encourage financial success and individual freedom. They cannot guarantee that success. They cannot legislate individual success through identity politics.
The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party
Democrat Strategy to Gain Power
The Democratic Party and its allies continue to employ the false claim that the two parties exchanged positions on race, in an attempt to gain power and to rehabilitate the party's racist past. Party members and its minions continue to tie most issues to race because that tactic seems to have worked for gaining power. But when voters look at the basic facts, that claim begins to lose its strength.
For example, citing the voter ID issue as a racist Republican strategy simply bolsters the evidence that Republicans are, in fact, not racist. A majority of black citizens and voters also are in favor of the voter ID laws. However, the Democrats vehemently and inaccurately continues to rails again voter ID laws because they know that those laws would impede voter fraud—a staple in the machine to elect Democrats to government.
Democrats have been attempting to whitewash their racist past for decades; to do so, they often fabricate history. For example, as a candidate for the presidency in 2000, Al Gore falsely stated to the NAACP that his father, Al Gore, Sr., had lost his senate seat because he voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Gore, Sr., voted against that act, as he supported and joined in the filibuster against that act. Gore, Sr. then sponsored an amendment that would take the teeth out of the enforcement power of that bill, just in case it passed.
Dinesh D'Souza: "Majority of Dixiecrats Never Switched"
Dixiecrats Became Republicans?
Democrats also point to the rise of the Dixiecrats that supposedly shows that racist Democrats became Republicans. However, it is a fact is that only two Democrats-turned-Dixiecrat, left the Democratic Party for the Republican Party: Senator Strom Thurmond traded in his party alliance with the Democrats to join the Republicans in 1964—not because he continued to support racism, but because he began repudiating it. Frances Rice explains: "Thurmond was never in the Ku Klux Klan and, after he became a Republican, Thurmond defended blacks against lynching and the discriminatory poll taxes imposed on blacks by Democrats."
Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr. of Virginia abandoned the Democrats for the Republican Party in 1974. But again, like Thurmond, Godwin abandoned his racist past and served as Virginia governor first while a Democrat and then as a Republican.
Did the Old Racist Democrats Become Today's Republicans? (Urban Legend)
Racism: Democrats and Republicans Switch Sides?
Democrat Hypocrisy About Racist Past
West Virginia's Robert Byrd, a former Ku Klux Klan Exalted Cyclops and long serving Democratic senator, did renounce his earlier support for segregation and racism; however, Byrd was the only senator to vote against confirmation to the Supreme Court of Justice Thurgood Marshall, a Democrat. Byrd also joined 47 of his fellow Democratic senators as he voted against Justice Clarence Thomas, a Republican. Neither a black Democrat nor a black Republican could pass muster with the former Klansman.
Senator Christopher Dodd praised Byrd highly by stating that Byrd would have been "a great senator for any moment." To this potentially inflammatory remark, the Democrats remained silent. Then later after Senator Trent Lott spoke kind words of Senator Strom Thurmond, the Democrats with their usual hypocrisy lambasted Lott unmercifully. It made no difference that Thurmond had never served as a member of the Ku Klux Klan while Byrd had risen to the high position of Exalted Cyclops.
Regarding Democrat hypocrisy, Alex Knepper has remarked: ". . . being a Democrat means that you can promote segregation, join the KKK, vote against both black Supreme Court nominees, and use the word “ni**er” on national television — and still be remembered as a promoter of black interests." The Democratic Party has raised hypocrisy to an art form in its pursuit of power.
Despite Lack of Blatant Racism, Democratic Policies Harmful to Everyone
It is most unlikely that the majority of the members of the Democratic Party are racists today. Yet, it remains unconscionable that so many Democrats label Republicans racist and bigot in pursuit of political power against their opponents. Democrats cannot legitimately deny the many studies that offer support to the argument proffered by Republicans that Democratic policies are detrimental not only to black citizens but to all citizens.
The basic Democratic Party philosophy is based on grabbing the financial rewards from certain groups—namely, "the rich"—to give to others—namely, "the poor." In practice this Robin Hood falsehood ultimately means taking form those who earn and redistributing it to friends and allies of the redistributors. Such a system cannot possibly succeed. It can only create victims whose ability to produce becomes atrophied by the false promises of pandering politicians.
Democrats will continue to play the race card because they have become utter failures at convincing the majority of the electorate that their policies work. Citizens have become dissatisfied with the actual theft of their earnings, as they have watched while decade upon decade has demonstrated that their shabby, crime filled cities are, in fact, the result of Democrat policy fecklessness.
The brilliant economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out repeatedly that the policies of Democrats have prevented the black population from rising out of poverty. Many of the poorest cities in country have been run by Democrats for decades. According to Investor's Business Daily,
When Democrats are in control, cities tend to go soft on crime, reward cronies with public funds, establish hostile business environments, heavily tax the most productive citizens and set up fat pensions for their union friends. Simply put, theirs is a Blue State blueprint for disaster.
Perhaps it is time that African Americans try a different tactic and realize as Rev. Perryman says that the Democratic Party is interested only in their vote not in their welfare.
Postscript: The Ultimate Hypocrisy
If all of the above is not enough to convince the electorate, especially the African American community, that the Democratic Party is not that community's friend, then they might want to consider the Democratic Party's support for Planned Parenthood. According to the D. C. McAllister,
Planned Parenthood is one of the greatest perpetrators of violence against African Americans in this country. It’s founded on racism, perpetuates racism, and kills more than 850 African Americans every day.
Please try to imagine the outcry against them, if it were Republicans, who vehemently supported this institution of black genocide.
- Natalie Wolchover, "Why did the Democratic and Republican Parties Switch Platforms?" LiveScience, September 24, 2010.
- David Emery, "Civil Wrongs," snopes.com, updated: Jul 27, 2016.
- Mona Charen, "Whitewashing the Democratic Party's Racist Past," NRO, June 26, 2015.
- Kevin D. Williamson, "Desegregation, before Brown," NRO, April 29, 2013.
- Steven Hayward, "The 'Southern Strategy' Debunked Again," Powerline, April 30, 2013.
- Harry J, Enten, "Were Republicans really the party of civil rights in the 1960s?" The Guardian, August 2013.
- Gerard Alexander, "The Myth of the Racist Republicans," CRB, March 20, 2004.
- Thomas Sowell, "The Left Doesn't Care Whether Minimum-Wage Laws Actually Help the Less Fortunate," National Review Online, July 23, 2015.
- Steven Nelson, "Census Bureau Links Poverty to Out-of-Wedlock Births," U. S. News, May 6, 2013.
- Erin Anderson, "Democrat Poll Workers Plead Guilty to Voter Fraud," Empower Texans, May 25, 2017.
- David Horowitz and John Perazzo, "How the Welfare State Has Devastated African Americans," Discover the Networks, 2012.
- Walter E. Williams, "The True Black Tragedy: Illegitimacy Rate of Nearly 75%," cnsnews.com, May 19, 2015.
- Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., 1990, print.
- David Almasi, "Majority of Black Voters Surveyed Support Voter ID Laws," The National Center for Public Policy Research, June 6, 2014.
- Terry M. Neal, "Gore Stresses Family Civil Rights Record," Washington Post, April 26, 1999.
- R.D. Davis, "Blacks 'Gored' By a Lie: Al Gore Sr., the GOP and the Civil Rights Act of 1964," Project 21, May 1999.
- Frantz Kebreau, "See How Many Dixiecrats Became Republicans," YouTube, August 27, 2012.
- Frances Rice, "Republicans and Democrats Did Not Switch Sides on Racism," National Black Republican Association, June 18, 2012.
- Sean Gorman, "State Sen. Stephen Martin says Democratic Party created the Ku Klux Klan." PolitiFact, June 2013
- Wolfgang Saxon, "Mills Godwin Jr., 84; Ruled Virginia as Democrat and Republican," The New York Times, February 2, 1999.
- Alex Knepper, "Remembering Byrd's Racism," FrumForum, June 29, 2010.
- Theo Lippman, Jr., "Who in 1967 voted against Thurgood Marshall," The Baltimore Sun, October 19, 1991.
- "How Decades Of Democratic Rule Ruined Some Of Our Finest Cities," Investor's Business Daily, March 9, 2016.
- Wayne Perryman, "The Racist History of the Democratic Party," History News Network, February, 2004.
- D. C. McAllister, "If Planned Parenthood Thinks Black Lives Matter It Should Stop Killing Them," The Federalist, September 22, 2016.
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes