Letter to the Editor

African American voters justified in fear of GOP

Saturday, October 19, 2002

To the editor:

Rush Limbaugh, commenting Oct. 16 on a statistic to the effect that 94 percent of the African American vote rebounds to the benefit of the Democratic Party, tried to make a connection to the result of the recent election in Iraq. Limbaugh correctly attributed the lopsidedness of both results to fear on the part of both sets of voters. Where Limbaugh went wrong was in assuming that the fear of the GOP on the part of African American voters was unjustified.

The Democratic Party outside of blighted Dixieland became, in the era of the New Deal, the upholder of labor, the unemployed and the poor. In the South, however, it continued as the defender of resentful whites were still ticked off at the outcome of the Civil War.

In the 1960s, the national center of the Democratic Party recognized it couldn't continue as the split personality that it was. Insurgent delegations of newly enfranchised African Americans and their supporters from the South began to unseat the old-line Dixiecrat delegations at national conventions. The unreconstructed whites were no longer in the catbird seat in the newly constituted Democratic Party of the South, and they resented it.

How ironic that the Republican Party, which had its birth in the struggle against slavery, began pandering to resentful Southern whites in its so-called Southern Strategy. Small wonder that Republican national conventions now resemble gatherings of Scandinavian albinos. African Americans have every right to fear the GOP now that it has turned its coat.


Tamms, Ill.