Rep. Alexandria Ocaiso-Cortez (D-N.Y.) received more than she bargained for on Tuesday after prompting Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) with a snarky remark about the history of political parties in the United States.
What is the background?
On Sunday, Cruz tweeted his belief that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be “ashamed” of the modern-day NAACP for having “lost their way.” Cruz was responding to the NAACP’s advisory warning against travel to Florida.
In response, political scientist Norman Ornstein charged that Cruz “would’ve been first in line to filibuster” the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act.
“Nonsense. That shameful filibuster was led by Democrats—your party,” Cruz fired back. “My party—the Republicans—proudly voted for the Civil Rights Act in much higher percentages than the racist Dems.”
What did AOC say?
The New York congresswoman inserted herself into the dialogue by prompting Cruz to explain what allegedly happened to the landscape of U.S. political parties in the mid-20th century.
“Why don’t you go ahead and tell people what happened to the parties after that, Ted,” she snarked.
So that’s exactly what Cruz did. “Sure,” he obliged, before going on to provide a historical survey of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
“First, the Dem party founded the KKK. Then the Dem party wrote Jim Crow laws. Then the Dem party filibustered the Civil Rights Act,” Cruz explained.
“Today, the Dem part filibusters school choice—trapping millions of Black kids in failing schools. Today, the Dem party pushes abolishing the police, which results in many more Black lives murdered. Today, every Dem senator voted against my bill to stop DC from throwing 40% of Black kids out of schools bc of vax mandate,” he continued.
The history of the Republican Party, on the other hand, looks much different.
“The Republican Party was founded to oppose slavery. Our first Republican President was Abraham Lincoln, who won the Civil War and ended slavery,” Cruz noted. “It was Republicans who voted for the Civil Rights Act in a much higher percentage than racist Dems.”
“Today, we produced the lowest African-American unemployment EVER, under the Trump economic boom,” he continued. “Today, we produced the lowest African-American poverty levels EVER, under the Trump economic boom.”
To make matters worse for Democrats, Cruz pointed to former Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s racist yearbook controversy and the eulogy that then-Vice President Joe Biden gave at the funeral of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), a former KKK member.
Is there truth in what AOC suggested?
The suggestion implicit in Ocasio-Cortez’s response is the claim that Republicans and Democrats essentially “switched” parties in the 1960s, with Republicans embracing racism to win the South while Democrats eschewed it.
But that is a myth.
The truth is that Republicans were electorally competitive in the South for decades before the civil rights movement; only one of the 21 Democratic senators who opposed the Civil Rights Act ever became a Republican; and it took two generations after the Civil Rights Act — until 1994 — before Republicans held a majority of congressional seats in the South.
Why Did the Democratic South Become Republican?www.youtube.com
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