Kevin M. Kruse @KevinMKruse Historian. Author/editor of White Flight; The New Suburban History; Spaces of the Modern City; Fog of War; One Nation Under God; Fault Lines. Nov. 03, 2018 2 min read

Yes, the Republicans were fantastic on black voting rights in the 1860s.

But how about now?

What happens if we look at what's going on now instead of what happened a century and a half ago? If we look at the 2010s instead of the 1860s?

In 2013, the Republican majority on the Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act in the landmark case of Shelby v. Holder.

As @fivefifths noted here, the results of that wrongheaded decision have been devastating to minority voting rights.  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/07/how-shelby-county-broke-america/564707/ 

The GOP in North Carolina was especially egregious.

Republicans there instituted a series of new voting restrictions that federal courts later struck down as unconstitutional, because they targeted African Americans "with almost surgical precision."  https://www.thenation.com/article/the-supreme-court-wont-reinstate-the-countrys-worst-voter-suppression-law/ 

The intent was clear at the time.

One NC GOP Party county chair bragged -- on camera to @TheDailyShow! -- that the state's voter ID law was meant to keep the ballot from “a bunch of lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything."  http://nation.time.com/2013/10/25/republican-activist-resigns-after-racially-charged-daily-show-comments/ 

By the time the 2016 campaign rolled around, it was clear that the Republican campaign to suppress black votes in North Carolina had worked incredibly well:  https://www.thedailybeast.com/north-carolina-gop-brags-racist-voter-suppression-is-workingand-theyre-right 

And, sadly, North Carolina wasn't an outlier.

As @AriBerman has documented in his tireless work on the subject, there have been GOP campaigns to limit the voting power of minorities across the country.  https://www.npr.org/2018/10/23/659784277/republican-voter-suppression-efforts-are-targeting-minorities-journalist-says 

And as an aside, @mschlapp, you really should read Ari's book Give Us the Ballot.

It really sounds like you'd be surprised by a lot of the history in it!  https://www.amazon.com/Give-Us-Ballot-Struggle-America/dp/1250094720 

With this year's midterms, we've seen major efforts to limit the black vote.

As @ProfCAnderson has noted, @BrianKempGA has been one of the more egregious offenders -- restricting the black vote in crude ways to help his own gubernatorial campaign.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/11/opinion/sunday/brian-kemp-enemy-of-democracy.html 

And in Kansas, Kris Kobach has done the same thing -- curbing voting rights as secretary of state and then trying to profit from that in his own gubernatorial campaign.

His restrictions were so egregious a judge ordered him to take remedial law classes:  https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article213415624.html 

I mean, we could go on and on.

There's a lot of great work out there on this by journalists if you want to read more.

Here's a recent piece by @JamilSmith, for instance:  https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/republicans-suppressing-black-votes-738059/ 

Listen, I'm an American political historian. I *love* when people talk about our past.

But right now, on the issue of the Republican record with black voting rights, I'd say the 2010s are a lot more relevant than the 1860s.

At the risk of enraging PBR fans again, I'll leave you with this:


You can follow @KevinMKruse.



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