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. Feb. 01, 2019 3 min read

This is going to stun a lot of people, but Matt Schlapp has the facts wrong.

I know, I know. Let's dig in.

First of all, yes, Jackie Robinson was a registered Republican.

During the postwar realignment of the parties over civil rights, there remained a significant chunk of black voters in the GOP.

As late as the 1960 race, GOP nominee Richard Nixon took 32% of the black vote.

But all that changed in 1963-64, as the Democratic Party -- long the home of segregationists -- increasingly became seen as the party of civil rights, thanks to JFK and LBJ's public embrace of the cause.

That longer shift is detailed in this thread:

Meanwhile, the GOP's image moved in the opposite direction, thanks in large part to Sen. Barry Goldwater -- who voted against the 1964 CRA -- emerging as LBJ's opponent in the 1964 election.

The change here was swift and stark.

Goldwater himself wasn't a bigot, but his stance against the Civil Rights Act rippled throughout the party.

As I've noted before, the change in the Republican party platform on matters of civil rights, just between 1960 and 1964, is striking:

Though conservatives were on the rise, the GOP still contained a good number of moderates and liberals, who hoped to make a stand at the 1964 RNC.

NY Gov. Nelson Rockefeller tried to win the party back from "extremists" but was heckled and harrassed. 

For black Republicans, the 1964 convention was a nightmare.

Here's a great piece by @mattdelmont on it, with a nice shout-out to @LeahRigueur's must-read book on black Republicans in this era. 

With the Goldwater candidacy and, more important, the rise of conservatism within the Republican Party, Robinson began to have serious doubts about his future in the GOP.

He wasn't shy about sharing them. (Again, from @mattdelmont:)

But there were still moderates in the party, and Jackie Robinson hoped that after the disastrous defeat of Goldwater -- a race in which the GOP share of the black vote plummeted to single digits (see below, from @pbump) -- the party might reverse its course on civil rights.

Nixon's nomination in 1968 finished what Goldwater's run had begun.

We have to remember, this was a "new Nixon." After a decent record on civil rights in the '50s and early '60s, he reversed course to catch up with his party.

See here for more details:

Robinson had held out hope that the Republicans might turn away from the conservative path that Goldwater set them on -- perhaps by nominating a moderate like George Romney -- but Nixon's nomination dashed that hope and convinced him to walk away for good.

I'll pause to note for @mschlapp that Robinson surely knew Democrats had been the party of slavery and Jim Crow, but he also knew that Strom Thurmond -- the original Dixiecrat -- was now a key player in the GOP.

That mattered more for him in '68, and most black voters too.

And so, in the 1968 election, Robinson threw his full support to the Democrats.

Notably, the Democratic presidential nominee that year was Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who back in 1948 had led the charge for civil rights at the Democratic convention -- the very charge that prompted Strom Thurmond and other segregationists to leave. 

And so, naturally, Jackie Robinson went all in for Hubert H. Humphrey ("HHH"), a proven civil rights champion, in the 1968 presidential campaign.

In his last years, Robinson became more outspoken, showing sympathy for Black Power protests and contempt for what he saw as false patriotism.

"I cannot stand and sing the anthem," he wrote in 1972. "I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world."

So, yes, @mschlapp, Jackie Robinson *would* absolutely hate Donald Trump.

And furthermore, it's pretty clear that if he were alive and active today, Donald Trump would absolutely hate Jackie Robinson.

And, seriously, if you enjoyed anything in this thread, be sure to read @LeahRigueur's book: 

You can follow @KevinMKruse.


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