Just a Reminder for the Civil Rights Revisionists

And a reminder for the new Glenn Beck "champions of racial tolerance"....

To support the claim that Republicans were actually the architects of civil rights, conservatives often point out that a “higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats supported the civil-rights bill.” But this ignores the “distinct split between Northern and Southern politicians” on the issue. When this is taken into account, the facts show that “in both the North and the South, Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act at a higher rate than the Republicans.”

(June 1, 1999) in the Washington Times, R.D. Davis, a member of the black leadership network Project 21 and a writer and radio talk show host in Huntsville, Ala., commented that, "History tends to unilaterally and falsely depict Republicans as racists when Southern Democrats truly deserved this title." In defense of his argument he cites the voting record of Democrats and Republicans on the 1964 Civil Rights Act. On this monumental piece of legislation, Republicans supported the bill 27-6 in the Senate (82%) and 138-34 in the House (80%) while Democrats supported the bill 46-21 in the Senate (69%) and 152-96 in the House (61%). On the surface it would indeed appear that the Republicans, and not the Democrats as commonly assumed, were the champions of civil rights in the 1960s.

However, a slightly more careful analysis of the Civil Rights Act voting record shows a distinct split between Northern and Southern politicians. Among the southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia), Senate Democrats voted 1-21 against the bill (5%) while Republicans voted 0-1 (0%). In the House, southern Democrats voted 7-87 (7%) while southern Republicans voted 0-10 (0%). Among the remaining states, Democrats voted 145-9 in favor of the bill (94%) while Republicans voted 138-24 for the bill (85%).

In both the North and the South, Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act at a higher rate than the Republicans.