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  • Writer's pictureBrianna Lyman

The Parties Never Switched, But Voters Did

The Founders never intended for the United States to have political parties, but like most things in life, nothing goes as planned. 

The first political parties originated soon after the first Congress, and by the third Congress, clear political lines had been drawn. However, by the early 19th century, most Americans were Democratic-Republicans, and for a time, there was an overall feeling of political unity. 

However, all good things come to pass, and by 1828 Andrew Jackson is President. Jackson was a highly disliked political figure known for his excessive veto powers. As Democratic-Republicans became disillusioned by Jackson and his excessive use of power, a party sprang up in opposition, known as the Whig Party. 

The Whigs promoted economic and industrial growth and the use of high tariffs. They believed having high tariffs would free the US from dependence on foreign imports and would help prevent a negative balance of trade.  

While the Whigs were united for the better part of two decades, the 1850’s ushered in an era that would come to define both America and the Republican party. As states began entering the Union, the question became whether or not they were to enter as slave states or free states. Whigs were divided over whether or not the states should decide if they’re free or slave states or whether Congress should decide. As a result, the Whig party dissolved into factions, and one faction became what is known today as the Republican party. 

In 1861 Lincoln became the first Republican president. While his legacy was freeing the slaves, initially he was not concerned with slavery. For Lincoln, the goal was to keep the union together without throwing off the electoral balance. In fact, Lincoln would have been OK keeping slavery in already existing slave states so long as no new states become slave states. However, the South seceded a year later, and the Civil War began. With this, Lincoln decided the only way to restore the union was unconditional surrender and the abolishment of slavery. 

Despite uncertainties facing the nation following the end of the war, one thing remained certain: the political system of the United States would be dominated by two parties; the Republicans and the Democrats. 

Liberals and Democrat apologists agree on the facts: the Republican party did free the slaves. The issue, however, lies in their argument that the platform of the Republican party and the Democratic party switched, and that in some parallel universe current Democrats would really be Lincoln Republicans. 

Here’s the Republican party platform through the years:


· Taxes should be equal and cut down

· Reduce national debt by improving credit 

· Natural born citizens and naturalized citizens deserve respect and protection and immigration should be fostered by “just policy”

· Says Democrats ‘economic system’ degrades American labor to foreign standard

· Says Democrats burden people with unnecessary taxes

· Pro free trade but not foreign entanglement

· Strong Navy

· States still retain states’ rights (albeit certain issues like Slavery, and in later years, Civil Rights)


· Stronger immigration laws

· Says FDR is abusing his presidential powers

· Says the New Deal is abusing federal authority when it comes to state and federal relations

· Says New Deal is making people dependent on the government

· Democrats are creating the welfare state

· Wants to remove government from free enterprise and eliminate hampering regulations

·  “We condemn the present new deal policies which would regiment and ultimately eliminate the colored citizen from the country’s productive life and make him solely a ward of the federal government”

Clearly the party’s platform has been consistent and steadfast on issues such as taxation, immigration, foreign relations, small business and civil rights. If the party hasn’t changed, then what did?

Voting habits!

Following the Civil War, up until the Great Depression, blacks voted consistently Republican. In fact, between 1896-1932, Republicans consistently won and hade an electoral majority albeit two presidential elections. However, Democrats won in a landslide in 1932, bringing along sweeping ‘progressive’ legislation. Notwithstanding the fact that much of the ‘progressive’ legislation was written in a way that essentially prevented blacks from utilizing the policies, Democrats began targeting the black community as a voting bloc. When FDR came to office, blacks were severely hurting from the Great Depression.

However in 1936, the Congress of Industrial Organization (CIO) pledged to end discriminatory practices on the basis of race and color unlike other labor organizations. In 1941, prominent civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph threatened to march on Washington if the federal government didn't take action to end employment discrimination in the defense industry. FDR, feeling pressured, sign an executive order and established the Fair Employment Practice Committee. Despite black voters having already heavily shifted their voting habits in the 1930's, FDR's new legislation was a key player in the voting switch that followed, in which black voters believed the Democrats were the party of economic success.

On the other hand, we have some Southern  Conservative Democrats who don’t like big government. With FDR’s progressive platform, they felt isolated from their party. However, Republicans, remaining steadfast in their beliefs that the government should be small, opposed FDR’s progressive policies and thus served as a new party for some Southern Democrats. 

Despite a shift in the voting pattern, Republican leaders and the party continued to remain steadfast in their efforts to limit government and promote equality. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 which sought to protect the voting rights of black Americans received 80% of Republican support in the Senate, and only 46% of Democrats vote. 

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 received nearly 80% support from Republicans, with only 60% support from Democrats. 

What we see here is that the Republican platform never changed. When you have large swaths of Republicans voting in favor with civil rights legislation, it wasn’t because the parties switched. It’s because they were sticking true to party principles.  

Around the same time, Reagan comes into the scene, giving his “A Time for Choosing” speech. He outlines the platform of the Republican Party: he says we have an unbalanced budget that needs fixing, too much foreign debt, too much government spending, we have to take the government out of the economy, and we have to lower taxes. The things Reagan listed were things echoed from 1868 up through today. 

Looking at the present situation, what do Republicans stand for? Small government, lower taxes, economic growth, domestic production, equality, legal immigration and empowerment. 

Now Trump, in true Republican fashion, said ‘Democrats haven’t done anything for blacks in decades and yet blacks vote for Democrats at a rate of upwards of 90%. Let’s  change that.’ 

So what did he do? 

He created opportunity zones which offer tax incentives to investors who invest in low income areas. These opportunity zones bring jobs, tax revenue and help build up local communities. 

He secured permanent funding for HBCU’s, the first president to do so. Why didn’t Democrats do this before if they apparently care about black students getting a good education?

Under Trump, blacks have seen the lowest unemployment rates (pre-COVID-19). Why? Because Republican policies help provide economic advantages.

The Republican party platform never waivered. Republicans have been consistent and diligent in their efforts to help every American, to keep government small, and to promote equality. 

Remember, the Democrats consistently tried to undermine the black community through slavery, government dependence, and lack of interest in promoting civil rights. 

Democrats have always been on the wrong side of history when it comes to equality, but suddenly we’re supposed to trust that they’ll fix it now? 

This November, #WalkAway from Democrats.


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