The 2016 election’s most powerful exchange occurred last night and it wasn’t between the candidates, but two on-air pundits.
The explosive conversation began when conservative columnist S.E. Cupp explained GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s tactics included “…to sort of scare this very small part of the electorate who thinks that all of their problems are the fault of people who don’t look like them.”
It would be conservative journalist and Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord’s push back that would lead into an amazing five minutes that encapsulated our nation’s racial issues related to the current election.
The exchange shows the disconnect between the two very different ideologies. While Van Jones addresses the concerns and fears of today, Lord is trapped in the past; giving a defense that sounds more appropriate for a Facebook page commenter than a CNN panelist on Super Tuesday.
Lord’s attempt to divert the conversation from racial politics to placing blame on “leftists” is a tired tactic that you have likely seen your racist uncle use verbatim:
“You’re right and you don’t hide and say that’s (the KKK) not part of the base of the Democratic Party. That has been… they were the military arm, the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party according to history.”
Virginia State Senator Stephen Martin made similar comments in 2013, claiming the Democratic Party was the founding entity of the Ku Klux Klan.
While discussing the issue with Politifact, Martin backpedaled his original statement:
“What I should have said is it was started by Democrats, not by the Democratic Party,” the Senator would tell Politifact. “It wasn’t an official subdivision of the party, obviously… It was definitely founded by Democrats.”
What Lord can’t seem to grasp is that the Democratic Party today is not the same party of over fifty years ago, as explained in the same Politifact piece by University at Buffalo Associate Professor of History Carole Emberton:
“Although the names stayed the same, the platforms of the two parties reversed each other in the mid-20th century, due in large part to white ‘Dixiecrats’ flight out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By then, the Democratic Party had become the party of ‘reform,’ supporting a variety of ‘liberal’ causes, including civil rights, women’s rights, etc., whereas this had been the banner of the Republican Party in the nineteenth century.”
Look no further for an example of this than former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond.
Thurmond was a Democrat from 1954 to 1964. It was after the July signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that Thurmond switched to the Republican Party in September of the same year.
Lord’s declaration that Van Jones’ (rightfully) calling out Trump’s racially charged rhetoric as what is “dividing people” is absolutely ludicrous.
No problem has ever been solved by sweeping it under the rug. Lord’s selective memory on history doesn’t help either.