The Right Opinion

Five Decades of Lies Help Dems Create Monolithic Black Vote

By Larry Elder · Apr. 11, 2013

As recently as 1956, nearly 39 percent of blacks voted Republican in that year's presidential election. After the Civil War, Abe Lincoln's Republican Party easily carried the black vote – where blacks were allowed to vote. Unwelcome in the Democratic Party, most blacks voted Republican and continued to do so through the early part of the 20th century. It wasn't until 1948, when 77 percent of the black vote went to Harry Truman, who had desegregated the military, that a majority of blacks identified themselves as Democrats.

Yet, as a percentage of the party, more Republicans voted for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did Democrats. For his key role breaking the Democrats' filibuster and getting the act to pass the stalled Senate, Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen, a conservative from Illinois, landed on the cover of Time magazine. President Lyndon Johnson called Dirksen “the hero of the nation.” The Chicago Defender, then the country's largest black daily newspaper, applauded Dirksen's “generalship” for helping to successfully push through the bill.

Older black voters sometimes explain they're opposed to Republicans because of the “racist” Southern strategy. But Richard Nixon speechwriter Pat Buchannan, credited with inventing the “Southern strategy,” considered the Democratic Party the party of the racists. Buchanan said: “We would build our Republican Party on a foundation of states' rights, human rights, small government and a strong national defense, and leave it to the 'party of [Democratic Georgia Gov. Lester] Maddox, [1966 Democratic challenger against Spiro Agnew for Maryland governor George] Mahoney and [Democratic Alabama Gov. George] Wallace to squeeze the last ounces of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice.'”

But before that, another pivotal event occurred that helped the GOP-as-racist meme. In 1960, during the presidential campaign, Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested following a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in Atlanta. Hundreds of other protestors were released, but King was jailed on a trumped-up probation violation for failing to have a Georgia driver's license.

King's aides reached out to then-Vice President and Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon. They also reached out to the Democratic nominee, John F. Kennedy. Bobby Kennedy called the Atlanta judge handling the case. Shortly after that call, the judge released King. Nixon, according to Harry Belafonte, a King supporter, “did nothing.” Is that true?

Nixon, it turns out, had a much closer relationship with King than did Kennedy. In the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, Calif., records show considerable handwritten notes and correspondence between Nixon and King. This includes a 1957 letter from King acknowledging their previous meetings, which thanked Nixon for his “assiduous labor and dauntless courage in seeking to make the Civil Rights Bill a reality,” and praised him for his “devotion to the highest mandates of the moral law.”

But in 1960, on the eve of the election, Nixon was in a tough spot. Nixon's public silence might be misconstrued as acceptance of King's arrest. On the other hand, as a candidate for his boss's job, Nixon worried about the political costs of appearing ungrateful if he chastised President Dwight Eisenhower for not taking stronger action. Eisenhower, however, was content to let the Justice Department handle the matter.

According to historian and presidential biographer Stephen Ambrose, while Nixon made no public comments, he telephoned Attorney General William Rogers to find out if King's constitutional rights were being infringed, thus opening the door for federal involvement. Nixon, a lawyer, was concerned about the ethics of calling a judge to get him to release someone.

Nixon, writes Ambrose, told his press secretary: “I think Dr. King is getting a bum rap. But despite my strong feelings in this respect, it would be completely improper for me or any other lawyer to call the judge. And Robert Kennedy should have known better than to do so.” That Bobby Kennedy, also a lawyer, nevertheless made a phone call to the judge did not alter the issue of whether it was appropriate. In retrospect, an easy call, but not at the time.

Two million pamphlets titled, “'No Comment' Nixon Versus a Candidate With a Heart, Senator Kennedy,” were distributed in black churches. Never mind that in 1956 Nixon revealed he was an honorary member of the NAACP. Or that Nixon pushed for passage of the '57 civil rights bill in the Senate. Or that Time magazine wrote that Nixon's support for civil rights incurred the wrath of one of his segregationist opponents, Sen. Richard Russell, D-Ga., who sarcastically called Nixon the NAACP's “most distinguished member.”

But the GOP-is-racist meme can be heard nightly on MSNB-Hee Haw and in political science and history classes all over the country. Actor Morgan Freeman calls the tea party racist. Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., tells us that the GOP wants to “literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws.”

Keeping blacks ignorant of history remains crucial to this caricature of the Republican Party – and to the monolithic Democratic black vote. Not so black and white, is it?



BeeGeeKay in Joliet, IL said:

I heard a caller yesterday on Michael Medved's show explain that blacks, er African Americans, saw "the federal government" defeat Jim Crow and provide Civil Rights, and since Democrats obsequiously support move government, blacks colloquially support the Democrats. To bad they don't think a little harder about Republican limited-government individual opportunity, versus unsustainable (and poisonous) Democrat handouts.

Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 8:50 AM

PH in DE said:

You would think after the decades of damage done by the Democrats nationally and in cities such at Chicago and Detroit, among others, that blacks would connect the poverty, gang wars and disintegration of hope and opportunity for them with the policies of the Democratic party that caused them.

Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Tad Petrie in Westerville, OH said:

I have absolutely had it with black AND white voters who CONTINUALLY elect and re-elect liberal politicians and then complain about how everything sucks! I just do not get why people can’t or WON’T accept the FACT that liberal politicians are only going to tax and spend and destroy the economy and eventually our society! A prime example is the Congresswoman that represents the 3rd District of Ohio where I live, the somewhat less than “Honorable” and thoroughly INCOMPETENT Joyce Beatty. Mrs. Beatty is a freshman and since being elected, has done NOTHING except schmooze with the Congressional Black Caucus, suck up to the President, and complain about conservatives who want to cut government spending, and oh yeah, go on vacation! There is NOTHING on her website, (, telling about her activities in Congress concerning issues that are faced by the people of the 3rd District! She has done NOTHING to address problems like insanely high taxes, high unemployment caused by the President’s feckless economic and energy policies, or anything else to earn her salary! She has however given a USELESS on the House floor advocating for the end of our 2nd Amendment rights, a speech about how much Paul Ryan’s budget sucks and how the budget proposed by the Congressional Black Caucus will save the day! (It WON’T by the way!) And this is the kind of INCOMPETENT representation we in the 3rd District of Ohio are stuck with because of the aforementioned voters that I have had it with!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 9:34 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

The KKK was a Democrat organization. But the Democrats lie so easily, embrace the ideology of Marx, and lying is easy when you kick out God and follow Satan.

Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Dan D. in Chicago replied:

The KKK is a Democratic organization the same way Nazis were a Republican one. The KKK itself may have left leaning policies, but I can guarantee you that it has nothing to do with the Democratic Party. And not that it means much but, I can also say with a lot of certainty that the vast majority of Klan members today identify towards the conservative end of the spectrum.

Friday, April 12, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Rob H. in Louisville replied:

To claim that the KKK was not a democratic organization is nothing short of ignorant or a complete denial of the facts of history. Then in the same breath to claim at the Republican Party has anything in common with the National Socialist party of Germany is absolutely absurd. The Nazi's advocated many of the policies that are currently championed by the Democratic Party, such as government health care, confiscation of guns, bans on smoking, and categorizing of people by race and class.

Having grown up in Georgia and Alabama, and now living in Kentucky, I can assure you that all of our old racists are true blue Democrats. Old people in the south always vote democrat to this day and are the continuation of the boys club that have kept democrats in power in local communities in the south. The rise of conservatives in the south is due to younger people that have grown up with integration.

Dan, you are ignorant, stupid or both. People like you, living in Democratically controlled Northern towns, that have impoverished black communities, love to look down on southern conservatives while at the same time carrying on the worst characteristics of our grandfathers.

Friday, April 12, 2013 at 8:57 PM

TOD-the tool guy in Brooklyn N.Y. said:

The commies, here, are intelligently evil. They found a way to power by infiltrating the Democrat Party. Their mob rule is explained well, by Larry's examples, here, and by Ann Coulter's book. Community organizers have a dark, shadowy leader, whose name is satan!

Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Dick Boas in Long Pond, PA said:

Larry: Thank you for this piece. It's too bad that our educational system has created a generation of people who ars unable to read. The black "minority" is 13% of the population and has the honor of having 55% of aborted children. If we could only teach them to read. I heard a black man say that blacks can now sit at the lunch counter but they can't read the menu. How do we fix this? You. Dr. Sowell, Dr. Williams and the NAACP have not been able to repair this horrible problam. Again, thank you for your insight. Dick

Friday, April 12, 2013 at 3:22 AM

Justin Frahm in Ogden, Utah said:

I wish the GOP good luck in earning the black vote. Complaining alone will not do it. What policy changes are you going to implement?

Friday, April 12, 2013 at 9:38 AM

kvn in FL said:

National Black Republican Association

The site is an historical account about the party's root as the party to end slavery through today. Republicans started out as the party for blacks and civil rights supporters. Progs launched the War on Poverty to keep Blacks poor, dependent and angry. Then they focused their anger on TheRich(tm) white male that they associated with Republicans.
Progressives mistress is Miss Information.

Friday, April 12, 2013 at 8:21 PM

David in Ithaca said:

The civil rights issue split both parties, and realigned the electoral map. The Democratic party began to stop supporting southern segregationists, who then became the States Rights Democratic party, led by Strom Thurmond in 1948. Despite losing that presidential election, segregationists stayed with the Democratic party until 1963-64, when Kennedy and then Johnson supported the civil rights movement (admittedly, in an opportunistic grab of the black vote). Segregationists switched parties in the '64 election to spite the Democratic party and stayed because the Republican party assumed the mantle of the party of states rights. The author of this article does point out that the author of the southern strategy claimed to not be targeting these voters, but it is naive to think becoming the party of states' rights (which, between 1850 and 1960 the Republican party was not) directly after the fallout of the civil rights movement was not a calculated move to pick up the voters who had abandoned the democratic party for becoming federalists. If Republicans wish to address the issue of why blacks vote almost exclusively for Democrats, then they should address the acceptance of the electorate that believes that states' rights should trump constitutional protections of citizens. In the '60s it was the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act that this part of the electorate opposed, and this is why they switched parties. Today, this same portion of the electorate still opposes the Voting Rights Act, and the Republican party has supported this opposition. If Republicans want the black vote, the should support the constitutional rights of African Americans over states' rights, and stop claiming the Democrats straightforward analysis of the last 50 years of electoral shifts are lies.

Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 1:43 PM