Speed Reads

Don't Know Much about History....

GOP mocked for celebrating 'record number' of Black Republican candidates

The Republican Party's official Twitter feed celebrated Black History Month on Sunday by touting the "record number of Black Republicans running for office and winning at all levels." That number was "over 40," and those races were "GOP primaries for local and federal office."

This tweet presumably was meant to showcase the GOP's inroads with Black voters, but not everybody was impressed with the "over 40" number, which is under one candidate per state.

The GOP was also reminded of all the Black Republicans elected across the (smaller) United States after the Civil War, before Jim Crow laws effectively quashed Black voting rights across the South for three generations. "They can't even get their own history right," University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck sighed at the GOP, quoting the History Channel: "In all, 16 African Americans served in the U.S. Congress during Reconstruction; more than 600 more were elected to the state legislatures, and hundreds more held local offices across the South."

Today's Republican Party is significantly different than the one Abraham Lincoln launched on the national stage — and today's Democratic Party has also changed a lot since its Jim Crow/Dixiecrat days. 

But if you are not familiar with Reconstruction, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me host Peter Sagal suggested you will probably still have to check out your own books on the subject. "In 1868, Black freedmen made up a majority in the [South Carolina] legislature's lower house," he tweeted. "Teaching what happened to them and why is now illegal in many states."

The GOP does have Black Republicans in prominent offices they can point to, including Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Virgina Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears. And the Republican National Committee was led by a Black Republican for the first two years of the Obama presidency. But that RNC chairman, Michael Steele, doesn't seem thrilled with the direction the party has taken.