Why Conservative Blacks Aren’t Black Conservatives

Conservative BlacksWithin the Republican Party, there is what I call this mystery of the black conservative. Let me explain.

Over the years, I have had a running conversation with leading conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, Ollie NorthMike HuckabeeHaley Barbour and others. They would argue that there was this growing trend of “conservatism” within the black community. I told them all categorically that this was bunk.

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0 thoughts on “Why Conservative Blacks Aren’t Black Conservatives

  1. Stingo says:

    If blacks only hear “racism” when someone says “conservative” what does it matter how we define conservative? There is no racism in the actions of conservatives either. It’s nothing but accusations by Democrats and media to scare black. How do we get beyond that?

    1. Damani says:

      A good start would be to deal with some of the facts posted in this thread.

  2. Eddie Huff Eddie Huff says:

    Raynard is right. I have been saying for years that we need to stop using the term Conservative in conversations with black folks. But who listens? The insde the “Beltway” D.C. GOP folks seem to know it all and are having such great success in their “outreach” efforts.

  3. cordeg says:

    Good thoughts, but picking something larger than a mere nit, “[T]raveling a path toward redemption” doesn’t really do the old coot justice. After leaving the Democratic Party (the SECOND time — the first time he became a State’s Rights Democrat — aka “Dixiecrat” — and then went back to the mainline Democrats) to become a Republican, Strom Thurmond became the FIRST Southern US Senator to repudiate his erstwhile segregationist positions, the FIRST to hire African Americans on his legislative staff (i.e., rather than just as valets or drivers), and the FIRST to vote to appoint African American judges to Southern courts — in addition to lending support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other anti-racist policy positions common among his Republican colleagues. You could reasonably say that leaving the Democratic Party and becoming a Republican made a better man of Thurmond. Some of us like to think this effect would be widespread if more people made the jump.

    1. Damani says:

      @ cordeg.

      It is VERY likely that Thurman supported Black colleges because his BLACK DAUGHTER attended one. I am not one to say that people cannot change, but his latter day voting record may have been strongly influenced by the increasing number of Black voters resulting from the Voting Rights Law, which of course he opposed.

      What are the “other anti-racist policy positions common among his Republican colleagues.” to which you alluded?

      1. cordeg says:

        arrgh. i just got done writing a complete response to you and accidentally clicked where i shouldn’t have and moved off the page — going ‘back’, of course, left me with nothing of what i had written. i’m not about to recapitulate the whole thing again, but let me say that your theory sounds tidy, but isn’t supported by the facts. his daughter first heard of (and met) Strom when she was 16 and he was a lawyer. he personally helped pay for her to go to South Carolina State (an HBCU despite the name) while he was Governor of the state and a Democrat, but had nothing good to say at that time about federal largesse HBCUs garnered. he didn’t become a Republican until she was about 40, and it was a few years more before he came around to the side of supporting increased federal funding for HBCUs. the fact is that he claimed his erstwhile segregationist positions weren’t “heart-felt” but merely part of being a Democrat in the south, saying that once he became a Republican he no longer felt a requirement to defend segregation and he simply slowly trended toward the long-standing Republican position on civil rights. while popular mythology today has it that the South went Republican in response to the Modern Civil Rights Era, the facts at the detailed level don’t support this. the South began to become a two-party region when millions of Northern laborers migrated to a rapidly industrializing “New South”. the Northern influx was so large that it significantly altered the demographics of the region, with several Southern states doubling and even tripling their population over the next couple of decades. the South went “Red” not because all the Democrats became Republicans, but because imported Republicans began to exert their new influence in the politics of the region. but counties that had been Unionist during the Civil War resumed being GOP strongholds, the cities that had always been Democratic strongholds remained as such, and almost no Democratic politicians actually “switched” parties (and so their Democratic supporters tended to stay as well). of all those who switched parties across the entire 20th century, almost all had done so over war policies (WWII, Korea, and Vietnam) or opportunistically when the GOP took over congress in 1994-95 (a matter of being in the majority party rather than a matter of principle). [it is a sad fact that when i enlisted the US Senate Historian — yes, we pay for such a job to exist — in researching the “party switch” talked about so often on the “news”, he informed me that i was the first person to ever broach the subject to him or his predecessors in that office — most people just repeated the story without every bothering to research whether it was based on facts] Strom was one of the few who switched in the throes of the Modern Civil Rights Movement, but rather than pollute the GOP with his old Democratic segregationist positions, he instead began to moved toward the historical Republican positions. it is true that within a year of his switch he did vote against the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but it should be noted he was 1 of only 2 Republicans who did so (94% of his Senate Republican colleagues voted “Aye” compared to only 73% of Senate Democrats), and in the years that followed he left those days behind him. in the event, the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, 1965, and 1968 were only necessary because the Democratic Party had spent the preceding century undermining, overturning, and flouting earlier Civil Rights legislation overwhelmingly backed by Republicans (who authored almost all of them from 1866 to that time) — in the courts, in legislatures, by threats and intimidation, by lynchings, and by resort to fists, clubs, guns, and bombs. meanwhile, the Democratic president who pushed the 1964 Act had himself only a few years earlier used his power as Senate Majority Leader to substantially water-down the Republicans’ Civil Rights Act of 1960 before allowing it to come to a vote, had opposed the Republicans’ Civil Rights Act of 1957, and had actually started his Senate career giving his first floor speech in opposition to Republican federal anti-lynching legislation. he was johnny-come-lately to the right side of civil rights, and though the popular Democratic myth has it that he made a “heroic” choice to push the 1964 Act, he actually told Robert Kennedy that majority public opinion had moved to the civil rights side, and he simply recognized that politics demanded he give them what they wanted — more opportunistic than heroic. yet i’m guessing that you have believed that LBJ could change, while Strom was merely throwing a bone to his long-graduated daughter or anticipating a latent movement in South Carolina political mood.

        1. Damani says:

          cordeg, I had intended to reply to your message. I thank you for it. Time is limited now but let me begin with this and I will return.

          Your comment that ” his daughter first heard of (and met) Strom when she was 16 and he was a lawyer. ” has nothing to do with when HE knew she was his daughter and further does not contradict my “tidy theory” that one reason he supported HBCUs was because his daughter attended one. Segregationists either supported no education for Blacks or separate facilities (always with inferior facilities and inadequate funding).

          You cite comments by Thurman that he was just going along to get along as a defense (but you do not accept the same standard when you talk about LBJ). Also, I am aware of interviews in which Thurman said he had no regrets and would not apologize for his segregationist positions. And, yes, Johnson used racist language and was not pro-civil rights until late in the game. Acknowledged.

          So let us level the field of discussion. We both acknowledge that politicians usually follow the polls and I contend that in the South that public opinion was – back then – strongly against desegregation and voting rights. So, if we are going to make comparisons of “the two Parties”, then we should compare apples to apples.

          You cited voting stats in the Senate without distinguishing between the South and the rest of the country. If the positive comparison of Repubs to Dems is your point, then Repubs in the South should have been advocating for Civil Rights and voting rights in their campaigns. Don’t you think? But that is speculative.

          One FACT we do have is that a HIGHER percentage of Southern Dems than Repubs (0%) in the House of Representatives voted FOR the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [ http://en DOT wikipedia DOT org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964 – scroll down to “By party and region”]

          And when we look at NON-South Dems and Repubs in THE SENATE, we find that 98% of Dems voted Yea and 84% of Repubs voted Yea. In the Senate there was only one Southern Repub and he (Tower) voted against the bill. His Texas Dem colleague (Yarborough) voted “Yea.”

  4. Damani says:

    Mr. Jackson, you have not been reluctant in the past to criticize or hold accountable your party. I am sure you have suffered for it within Party ranks, but you have given a strong and accurate assessment of the importance of tradition in the thinking and behavior of African-Americans. I congratulate you for your courage.

    Unfortunately for Republicans, Conservatism has a VERY LONG history of deeply inbedded racism – whether it was Conservative Democrats or Conservative Republicans.. THAT, to me, is the elephant in the room. It is understandably difficult for the GOP – which has BECOME THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY of the USA – to confront the ugly side of this history.

    For example, one of the grandfathers of modern US Conservatism, William F, Buckley wrote in the National Review (echoing John Calhoun).

    “In his most notorious editorial, “Why the South Must Prevail,” Buckley drew on Calhoun’s championing of the “concurrent voice” to defend voting restrictions since “the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically,” even if it meant violating the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. Buckley repeated the argument in his book Up From Liberalism(1959), suggesting that African Americans needed to be properly educated and trained before they were brought up to the level of the enfranchised whites who were holding them down. And just as Calhoun had defended the “positive good” of slavery, so Buckley defended Jim Crow as being born of “custom and tradition … a whole set of deeply-rooted folkways and mores.”

    http://www DOT newrepublic DOT com/article/112365/why-republicans-are-party-white-people#
    I expect some here will cry about the source of the quote, but that does nothing to deny that Buckley wrote what he wrote.

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