No, the title is not a mistake. With 95 percent of African-American voters aligned with the Democratic Party, Republicans can’t claim to be the party OF that demographic. However, without question, The GOP is the party FOR black voters. Throughout history, and more so today, black voters’ preference for the Democratic Party is difficult to comprehend. Let’s take a hard look at which party is really working for black Americans.
African Americans know the Republican Party was founded in 1854 by Abraham Lincoln and other opponents of the expansion of slavery. The party was birthed by opposition to slavery. It was Lincoln’s Democrat successor, Andrew Johnson, who vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and strongly resisted the 14th Amendment which ensured equal rights and protection of all blacks in America. Subsequently, Republican president Ulysses S. Grant implemented the dismantling of the KKK and protected black voting rights. Conversely, the next Democratic president, Grover Cleveland, won the office in 1892 by campaigning against civil rights of black Americans. Democrat president Woodrow Wilson declared that segregation was a “benefit” to the nation. Although Democrat FDR’s New Deal was a net positive for African Americans, black laborers were explicitly excluded from receiving benefits from Social Security and protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It was Republican President Eisenhower who implemented and enforced the elimination of segregation among federal employees. He also ordered the National Guard to protect black students during the integration of public schools. Democratic president Kennedy publicly advocated civil rights, but his actions were inconsistent in deference to his party’s base. Lyndon Johnson was the first Democratic president to actually make significant strides in African-American civil rights. However, a nation-wide backlash led by Alabama’s Democratic governor George Wallace was unsuccessful only as a result of the coalitions LBJ built with Republican legislators. Even though civil rights support waned somewhat within the Nixon and Reagan administrations due to the unrest of the 60’s, governor Romney and other Republican leaders relentlessly championed affirmative action, fair housing, and civil rights as the Republican tradition. For decades, Democrats have taken the black vote for granted and gerrymandered prolifically in order to create small districts of black majority voters with virtually no black influence in most others.
It would seem that this rich century-and-a-half history of Republican support for African Americans has been largely ignored in favor of the long-standing Democratic assurances of big-government assistance programs and overly protective policies. These programs and policies have created disincentives for career progression of people of color. Such Democratic actions are aimed at those seemingly trapped in the lower socioeconomic levels. Unfortunately, this system is a continuous cycle of generational economic stagnation. While blacks make up 12 percent of Americans, they represent only 5 percent of the nation’s wealth. Most have limited access to credit for starting a business and seldom rise to social networks that enhance mobility. Meanwhile, whites receive 76 percent of all merit-based scholarships and grant funding that provide well-paying careers. Statistically, blacks earn only 60 cents for every dollar that whites earn. Blatant discrimination can only account for a small part of this inequality. The injustice comes primarily from over-dependence on government assistance and under-utilization of economic opportunity.
President Obama made little, if any, advancement in the status of African Americans in the nation’s economic system. Apparently, being the first black president didn’t override the institutionalized Democratic proclivity for government assistance programs taking precedence over economic growth that enhances the lives of all people.
If we are to ever have the opportunity to free minorities from the history of socioeconomic disadvantage, the time is now. And, once again, it can be the Republican party that champions the advancement of African Americans. In just less than three years, President Trump has done more to elevate the status of all minorities than any other president in the last several decades. With unemployment for black Americans at a historic low, many economists believe Trump has been better for blacks than any other president including Obama. However, Democrats in Congress are maintaining a rocky relationship with the president largely because they don’t want the president and Republicans in general to win over the black vote.
The Republican party platform will never abandon free market capitalism for artificial protectionism such as endless affirmative action and forced diversity. But the party will consistently protect opportunity for minorities to compete fairly and equitably. The best employment environment for minorities is one where business is prospering, and all employees are benefiting from it.
Although, there is much improvement yet to be gained for most black Americans, the Republican party is determined to uphold its tradition of support. In 2016, black voters continued their allegiance to the Democratic Party with only 16 percent of them voting for Trump as they discounted Republican promises to raise the quality of life for their race. Now that the president has essentially made good on his promises of bettering their economic opportunities, it would benefit them to support his reelection and continue the advancement of all Americans, but proportionally greater for African Americans. Black America has a critical choice in this next general election–vote Republican and continue the breakout from institutionalized dependency or vote Democratic and return to the status quo.