Tag Archives: Dixiecrats

Yes, Sen. Cruz, but the Democrats have evolved

Oh, how I hate it when someone I detest is correct … even if he doesn’t tell the whole story.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas delivered a historical truth this week while talking to the Fox News Channel. The Republican said that the Democratic Party is the party of the Ku Klux Klan. He said Democrats — not Republicans — have a history of racism and scorn of minority Americans.

Sure, Ted. I get that. Southern Democrats resisted the enactment of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts of the 1960s; prior to that, some Democrats bolted their mainstream party to form something called the “Dixiecrat Party,” and then ran the late Sen. Strom Thurmond for president in 1948; Thurmond would later leave the Democratic Party to become a Republican. What’s more, Democratic history of racial intolerance goes many years before that.

Indeed, President Lyndon Johnson faced fierce opposition from within his Democratic Party to enact the civil rights legislation. He enlisted political help from his Senate Republican friends to push them through to his signature.

But times and policies can change. They did with the Democratic Party. Democrats “evolved” over time.

It’s one thing to talk about historical perspective. It’s quite another to relate politics and policy in real time.

Cruz’s comments came after Senate Republicans shut down a speech by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was reading a letter by the late Coretta Scott King;¬†Warren used the letter to state her opposition to Jeff Sessions becoming the next U.S. attorney general.

Sen. Cruz spoke correctly about Democrats’ sordid history. It’s understandable, too, that he would ignore how the Democratic Party has evolved into a more inclusive organization.

It’s also understandable that he would ignore how his own Grand Old Party has become, well, a bit less inclusive.

I think it’s fair to wonder what President Abraham Lincoln would think today of the political party that carries his name.