There’s a lot of talk on Twitter and right-wing media about Republicans being the “party of Lincoln” and the heroes of the Civil War. Yale professor and Pulitzer Prize winner David Blight explains why that’s ridiculous—

Lincoln Would Not Recognize His Own Party by David W. Blight

He would see the Republicans as the antithesis of everything he fought for.

By David W. Blight

Dr. Blight, a professor of history at Yale, is the author of “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.”

Opinion: NY Times; July 23, 2019

Lincoln Would Not Recognize His Own Party by David W. Blight

In fact, the Republicans have not been the party of Lincoln on race relations for at least 60 years, since President Dwight Eisenhower reluctantly sent National Guard troops to Little Rock, Ark., and established a small civil rights commission. A few years later, a number of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. But by then the party had long since allied itself with corporate interests over those of everyday Americans.

In 2012, I took part in the Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage, an annual trip to Alabama led by Representative John Lewis. On a Sunday afternoon I walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma next to Kevin McCarthy, now the Republican House minority leader, his wife and children at his side.

At the time, Representative McCarthy seemed to embrace the nature and purpose of this excursion to the sites of some of the transformative events of the civil rights struggle. I saw him smiling, even singing along with the ever-present freedom songs that animated that amazing experience.

Today, that memory makes me wonder: What does Mr. McCarthy — or any Republican, for that matter — tell his children about his place in a party that continues to sink deeper into the grips of Donald Trump and his personal brand of racial divisiveness?

Last week a reporter asked Mr. McCarthy if the president was a racist, following his derogatory comments about four Democratic congresswomen. Mr. McCarthy not only vehemently denied the charge, he also insisted that the furor over the president’s remarks was not a problem for Republicans, because it was the “Party of Lincoln.”

(read the rest of the article via PDF for free at the link below or, if you prefer, at The New York Times, here.)

Lincoln Would Not Recognize His Own Party by David W. Blight

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