Allen West blames Democrats for racism prior to the Southern Strategy, paints the modern-day Democrats as Conservative oppressors.
Allen West took to Facebook this last week, regurgitating the racist trope of Southern Strategy denial rhetoric. When Candice Owens and Ben Shapiro denied realignment happened, it was easier to forgive their ignorance because of their age. They didn’t live through major historical events, like Nixon’s presidency, the end of the Conservative Coalition, and the Republican Revolution. However, Allen West was born in 1961, so he should have known better.
Will Smith is producing a movie called “Emancipation.” West’s video was directed towards Will Smith pulling movie production out of Georgia because of Georgia’s new Jim Crow voter laws.
What did he say?
Allen West said that the Republicans were the ones who stood up and fought against slavery. The Democrats implemented the policies of Jim Crow, segregation, and slavery. He reminded Will Smith that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, and the first Black member in the house of representatives was a Republican from Georgia, Jefferson Long.
While technically, these things are true, Allen West used these talking points out of context, ignoring that the Republicans from back then were liberals and the Democrats from back then were conservatives.
Even in 1861, it was a widely known fact that the Southern Democrats, who fought for slavery, were Conservatives. And the Republicans who fought for emancipation were liberals. Of course, they called liberals ‘radicals’ in those days.
The dishonesty of Southern Strategy Denial rhetoric.
Every modern-day conservative who denies that party realignment happened uses the terms ‘Republican’ and ‘Democrat.’ It’s dishonest. Replace those terms with ‘Conservative’ and ‘Liber, and it’s easy to see how Conservatism has always been about oppression.
Perhaps Allen West was already aware of this, which is why he never actually used the words ‘Southern Strategy, Conservatism, or Liberalism.’
Perhaps he used the rhetoric in the way he did to further spread falsehoods on the history of America, to fuel the hate and division currently plaguing our country.
Republicans have been using Southern Strategy Denialism for several years now to lure the Black and brown vote into their party, which is the only way they can win as the demographics of America are rapidly changing.
The idea Republicans have is if they distort the truth about history, those who haven’t taken the time to read and learn, well believe them. This tactic has one major flaw. The modern-day Republican Party is the party of Conservatism.
Conservatives are the modern-day oppressors.
Allen West’s history lesson.
West cited Jefferson Long as the first Black Republican in Georgia. He left out plenty of details. From the Georgia Encyclopedia, Black people had completely lost any power within the Republican party by 1884, and not one other Black person served in the House of Representatives until 1972.
Allen West was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1961, at the height of the Civil Rights Era. When he was born, Ernest Vandiver was the governor and part of the Dixiecrat faction, a Conservative Democrat.
Directly following Vandiver, Carl Sanders was elected governor of Georgia. Carl Sanders was a Liberal Democrat. He fought to end segregation in Georgia. During the 1960s, Sanders was even called too progressive for Georgia.
I wonder how Allen West can explain how one Democrat was oppressive. Then the next worked towards civil rights. It’s because, in the 1960s, it wasn’t about Republicans and Democrats. It was about Liberal and Conservative. During that time, there both parties had liberal and conservative factions.
The Conservative Coalition.
In the 1930s, avid racist, future Dixiecrat, and staunch conservative Richard Russell started the Conservative Coalition.
The conservative Coalition was composed of both Democrats and Republicans throughout the civil rights era and through the Southern Strategy. Initially, this bipartisan group opposed the New Deal and then later civil rights. While conservative southern Democrats are blamed for blocking civil rights measures in the 1950s and 1960s, they couldn’t have done it without the help of conservative Republicans.
The evidence is littered all through the historical records, but further proof is the amount of conservative Southern Democrats in congress who switched parties during the civil rights era.
Those switchers include Strom Thurmond and dozens of other Representatives and Senators from the Southern States, who fought against civil rights and felt as the increasingly liberal Democratic Party no longer represented them.
The biggest party switcher of them all.
Ronald Reagan was one Democratic. He was also a racist that spent his presidency attacking the Black community with racist policies and dog whistle rhetoric.
Ronald Reagan was a Democrat. He switched to a Republican in 1962 and opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Republican. Even after he was elected president in 1988, he vetoed the Civil Rights Restoration Act.
If Allen West was honest.
He would have said in his video to Will Smith, Liberal Republicans fought against slavery, and Conservative Democrats teamed up with Conservative Republicans to keep Jim Crow and Segregation in place.
If Allen West were honest, he would have admitted that oppression is a Conservative legacy, not the legacy of Democrats or Republicans.
But Allen West isn’t honest. Instead, he used revisionist history to manipulate the masses in a deceitful attempt at division politics. Perhaps it worked for those who truly don’t know history, but something tells me Allen West knew better.