It is not uncommon to hear pundits talk about Black voters’ unfaltering loyalty to the Democratic party, regarding the Black vote for Democrats as an inevitability. Indeed, for the past few presidential races, 90% of Black voters have chosen the Democratic candidate.
However, 100 years ago Black voters had this same loyalty for the the Republican Party. Even as recent as the 1960’s, only two-thirds of Black voters identified as Democrats. So why did this party shift occur?
According to some political scientists, Barry Goldwater happened. Goldwater, the Republican nominee in the 1964 presidential race, is considered the forefather of the Tea Party movement.
Goldwater opposed the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which appealed to Southern White segregationists, and ushered in a conservative movement that overtook the Republican party. Black voters, in turn, realizing the Party of Lincoln had become hostile to them, did not take long to switch parties.E
Even today, Black Americans have switched towards the Republican party for various reasons. Just last year, two students relaunched Howard University’s student Republican Chapter. And, the infamous Ben Carson was once a Democrat, back in the day. While jobs, the economy, education reform and criminal justice policy remain hot topics on the political debate floor, upcoming state elections over the next two years could have an impact on the temperature of our Congress. Let’s know the facts and vote in favor of policies most beneficial to our community, taken at more than just face value.
PushBlack fam, it is important that we keep this in mind in our fight to hold our politicians accountable and ensure that our votes are not taken for granted. Party lines do not necessarily determine community support. And while tradition may call for support, present records should be the ultimate, defining factor.