by Michael Schwartz
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
I have never seen this message better stated than in this video. Louisiana State Senator Guillory’s defection from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party is an important event. It’s an opportunity for Republicans to set history straight and introduce our vision of our country’s future to a new generation of voters. In order to represent our vision, we need to know the facts.
I’ve had conversations with left-leaning friends and read articles by left-leaning authors who have no problem stating matter-of-factly that Republicans are the racist party. When you point out the horrible and racist history of the Democratic Party, their response tends to be along the lines of, “they used to be, but then they all went out and re-registered as Republicans”. Let’s take a look at some numbers and events to see if their claim stands up to reason.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act was the final version of a piece of federal legislation that made it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, or sex. It was the federal law that made it illegal to have “white only” restaurants and made it illegal to fire someone because they are African American. The act, in effect, ended the Jim Crow laws passed by Democrats in the 19th century which were still being enforced in the 1960s. Read the text of the law here: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=97&page=transcript
A whopping 31% of Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted against the law and 37% of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against it. But these numbers do not tell the whole story. Democratic leadership in key Senate committees like the Judiciary Committee and Rules Committee made attempts to prevent a vote on the bill. Fortunately they were unsuccessful, but after the bill made it to the Senate floor, 18 Democrats and 1 Republican attempted a filibuster. Eventually a watered-down bill was offered and it gained enough votes to break the 14+ hour filibuster being performed by Democratic Senator Robert Byrd. Getting this landmark legislation passed was a task and the difficulty was due almost entirely to segregationist, racist Democrats.
Once the history of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is heard, the response from the left is usually along the lines of “yeah, but now all the racist, southern states are the ‘red states’ who all stopped voting for Democrats years ago.”
Let’s look at how Republican the so-called “red states” really are. Take a look at the number of elected governors in 10 southern states in the post-Civil War era since the mid-1860s:
— Mississippi has elected 6 Republican governors (three in a row after the Civil War and only three since 1992) and 30 Democratic governors.
— Florida has elected 8 Republican governors (depending on what you call Crist, it is 7) and 29 Democratic governors.
— Georgia has elected 4 Republican governors (2 directly following the Civil War and only 2 since 2003) and 38 Democratic governors.
— Texas has elected 6 Republican governors (2 directly following the Civil War and only 4 since 1980) and 30 Democratic governors.
— Louisiana has elected 10 Republican governors (4 were right after the Civil War and only 3 since 1991) and 33 Democratic governors.
— Tennessee has elected 10 Republican governors (3 directly after the Civil War and only 4 since 1975) and 28 Democratic governors.
— South Carolina has elected 8 Republican governors (3 directly after the Civil War and only 5 since 1979) and 36 Democratic governors.
— Kentucky has elected 8 Republican governors (only two Republicans since 1950) and 30 Democratic governors.
— Arkansas has elected 7 Republican governors (4 directly following the Civil War and only 2 since 1981) and 38 Democratic governors.
— Alabama has elected 6 Republican governors (2 right after the Civil War and only 4 since 1987) and 36 Democratic governors; (including George Wallace 3 different times and his wife once).
I picked governors because it is a statewide election, unaffected by gerrymandered districts. It is important to know that these same states during the same time period had state legislatures mostly controlled by Democrats and federal representation to the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate that was mostly Democratic. There is a pattern, clearly.
So by this point in the discussion I usually hear, “well … that was true before Nixon and his ‘southern strategy’ when all the disenfranchised racist Democrats went out and re-registered as Republicans to vote for Nixon which is how the Republicans won the south.”
A closer look at presidential races since the 1960s simply doesn’t show this to be the case. But before I jump into the numbers, the 1964 Civil Rights Act was indisputably championed by the Republican Party. Does it logically make sense that racist Democrats became frustrated with the Democratic Party when they opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, so they quit in order to join the Republican Party who was responsible for the 1964 Civil Rights Act victory?
No. Maybe support a third party, but not side with their enemy.