Republicans think Black people are stupid. At least that's what it looks like to me whenever Republicans trot out their tired “Democrats are the real racists" talking points, as if Black people are confused and just need Ted Fucking Cruz to set us straight.

Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing called "Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote," featuring testimony from voting rights activist Stacey Abrams; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler professor of African American Studies at Emory University; and Senator Raphael Warnock. These are Black people with a documented history of Blackness in America, but professional asshole Cruz thought it funny to troll them.

Twitter

Cruz declared:

Impressive candor for Senate Dems to hold a hearing on the history of Jim Crow laws.

Bull Connor
Nathan Bedford Forrest (founder of KKK)
George Wallace
Robert Byrd ALL Democrats.

Dems wrote Jim Crow. Sadly, they've got a lot of expertise in bigotry & discrimination.

I'd suggest Cruz go fuck himself, but no one deserves that.


You don't need even a single history degree to understand that white Democrats, especially in the South, have steadily defected to the GOP over the past 50 to 60 years. The obvious heirs to Bull Connor and George Wallace, in both rhetoric and policy, are Republicans such as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and former Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who specifically ran a Wallace-inspired campaign. Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are the political descendants of late Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who dedicated his life fighting against Jim Crow in all its forms.

Here's the thing: Both Democrats and Republicans were white supremacist parties prior to the Civil Rights Movement. They maintained the racist status quo. President John F. Kennedy wasn't picking fights with Senator Strom Thurmond over Jim Crow laws, but neither was Richard Nixon and certainly not Senator Barry Goldwater, who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Louisiana Senator John Kennedy didn't join the GOP in 2007, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination, so he could more freely advocate for civil rights. The current reckoning is over the Democratic Party steadily becoming a minority-centered, minority rights-focused party.

Historian Kevin Kruse dismissed Cruz as a "(Dinesh) D'Souza Cover Band, just joylessly slogging through the hits." This might've worked 20 years ago, when most Republicans at least pretended they weren't racist, but in our brave new MAGA world, a Republican might lose a primary if they brag too much about their party freeing slaves.

Because he's incapable of shutting up, Cruz ranted further about how Democrats are the real racists, with a followup tweet that explained that the "GOP, the party of Lincoln, was founded to END slavery. Dems ferociously defended slavery."

Cruz literally represents a former slave-holding state that seceded from the Union. That's key to remember, because the Grand Old Party that emerged in 1854 had little support from white Southerners. It was a predominately Northern-based political party. This is the very opposite of the modern GOP, which is dependent upon white Southern support. During the 2016 GOP primary in South Carolina, 38 percent of Donald Trump supporters and 35 percent of Cruz supporters said they wished the Confederacy had won the Civil War. You don't tend to see those numbers among Democratic primary voters.

So many of these basic facts are easily accessible through Google. You don't have to pore through card catalogs at the local library. Kruse noted:

"When Congress finally ended Jim Crow with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Texas had one senator from each party. Liberal Democrat Ralph Yarborough voted *for* both laws, while conservative Republican John Tower voted *against* both laws."

And the former Texas senator who signed the Civil Rights Act, knowing it would cost Democrats the South for generations, was Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Predictably, Cruz brought up former Democratic Senate leader Robert Byrd, who was once an “exalted cyclops in the KKK." (I think that means you're in charge of making the tea sandwiches.) Byrd apologized for his past. Cruz blames his own children for his errors. You might've also noticed that Robert Byrd is 103 years old and dead. Cruz should concern himself more with the current slate of racist GOP members.

Cruz noted that President Joe Biden gave a “gushing eulogy for Klansman Byrd ELEVEN YEARS AGO" (histrionic all caps are his). Byrd was not currently a Klansman when he died. He even endorsed Barack Obama for president with full awareness of his Blackness. The once and future mad king of the GOP promoted racist conspiracy theories about Obama's birth. If Cruz is doing guilt by association, he should indict himself for his relationship with former congressman and gross racist Steve King, who was co-chair of Cruz's 2016 presidential campaign.

The senator who derides “cancel culture" also condemns Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam because of his alleged Blackface Klansman period in college. Cruz was a vocal defender of former Alabama senator and attorney general Jeff Sessions, and that living Confederate monument is so objectively racist Coretta Scott King once read him for filth.

You know, maybe Ted Cruz should go fuck himself.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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