During Saturday's edition of MSNBC's AM Joy program, host Joy Reid disagreed with Black Republican Caucus of Florida chairman Sean P. Jackson, when he said that if it was not for Republicans, African-Americans would still be enslaved.
“Sean, Abraham Lincoln is long dead. Let’s talk about the current Republican nominee,” Reid said. “I think the reason African-Americans have civil rights is because African-Americans fought for them.”
“Republicans are the ones that passed it when Democrats continually turned it down,” Jackson replied.
“No, that’s not true, either,” Reid interrupted before taking the argument to Twitter, where she posted: “Sean dear, a historian you are not.”
“I get that you revere your political party,” the liberal host added. “But history IS easily looked up. Have a nice day.”
She then linked to an article written by Harry Enten of The Guardian website on August 28, 2013, that asked the question: “Were Republicans Really the Party of Civil Rights in the 1960s?”
Enten began by noting that many people in the Republican Party claim the GOP “has a long history of standing up for civil rights compared to Democrats,” who “were less likely to vote for the civil rights bills of the 1950s and 1960s.”
However, he stated, “a closer look at the voting coalitions suggests a more complicated picture that ultimately explains why Republicans are not viewed as the party of civil rights.”
Focusing on the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Enten admitted that about 80 percent of Republicans in both houses of Congress voted for the measure, while about 65 percent of Democrats supported the bill.
He then asserted that more than 90 percent of the voters in the North and East sections of the nation came out in favor of the law, while less than 10 percent of those in the South supported the measure.
“You can see that geography was far more predictive of voting coalitions on the Civil Rights than party affiliation.”
Enten also stated:
You don't need to know too much history to understand that the South from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 tended to be opposed to minority rights.
This factor was separate from party identification or ideology. We can easily control for this variable by breaking up the voting by those states that were part of the Confederacy and those that were not.
Nevertheless, Noel Sheppard stated in a NewsBusters post on October 8, 2011, that Al Sharpton ridiculed Republican Herman Cain on MSNBC's The Last Word for saying blacks have been brainwashed into voting for Democrats, but the reverend ended up proving the Republican presidential candidate's point.
Seconds after claiming "What [Cain] does not have is the right to rewrite history by saying that blacks were brainwashed by becoming Democrats," Sharpton showed his ignorance of the subject by stating: "We went with a party that stood up for the Civil Rights Act of '64 and Voting Rights Act of '65."
“Not surprisingly,”Sheppard noted, “Sharpton's quite unaware of who voted for these pieces of legislation.”
The House version of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was supported by only 61 percent of that chamber's Democrats versus 80 percent of the Republicans.
More importantly, he stated, it was the Republicans who ended a Democrat filibuster preventing a vote on this bill in the Senate.
“Eighty-two percent of Republicans voted for cloture versus 66 percent of Democrats, and in the final Senate vote on the Act, 82 percent of Republicans voted 'Aye' versus 69 percent of Democrats,” Sheppard noted.
“Quite contrary to what Sharpton and most liberals think,” he continued, “a greater percentage of Republicans than Democrats supported this Civil Rights Act.”
“The same is true for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, when 94 percent of Senate Republicans voted in favor of the bill versus 73 percent of Democrats.”
The final vote on the House's version was even more stark, as only one Senate Republican voted against it compared to 17 Democrats.
“No matter how you slice it,” Sheppard stated, “both of these landmark pieces of civil rights legislation had greater support from Republicans than Democrats.”
So regardless of whether the voting support for civil rights is defined by ideology, geography or history, Reid needs to expand her horizon to more than just one item she googled online.
Still, given the cellar-dwelling ratings that she and the rest of the programs on MSNBC attract, Reid is apparently preaching to the choir when it comes to such matters.