Martin Luther King, Jr: What He Had To Say About Republicans

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You would think that ABC News would check a few of the facts they throw out into the world, but apparently not. Once it goes out to the public, people think it is true, and why not? After all, the news used to be pretty much straight-forward.

Here’s what ABC reported that Republican National Committee woman from North Carolina Ada Fisher said:

‘Most people don’t talk about the fact that Martin Luther King was a Republican.’

That might be, because he was not a Republican. Fisher is so wrong! Republican have taken up this mantra and spread it all over Twitter and the internet, especially since this marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s march on Washington.

The myth that King is a Republican may have started with his niece, Republican activist Alveda King. Republicans ate it up, even buying billboards to spread this loathsome lie.

Here is what is true. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a Republican. He wasn’t a Democrat either. Now, that is a surprise. I would have sworn he was a Democrat, because he represents so many of the Democrat values.

King kept himself separate from politics more or less, and he never publicly endorsed a politician of any party. In an interview he gave in 1958, King said:

‘I don’t think the Republican party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses … And I’m not inextricably bound to either party.’

In King’s autobiography, he commented on the Republican party. In Chapter 23, he writes about the 1964 Republican National Convention:

‘The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism. All people of goodwill viewed with alarm and concern the frenzied wedding at the Cow Palace of the KKK with the radical right. The “best man” at this ceremony was a senator whose voting record, philosophy, and program were anathema to all the hard-won achievements of the past decade.’

Senator Goldwater was not a racist, but he couldn’t get his head around poverty, and he probably didn’t try. His beliefs were more supportive of the racist. At a moment in time where people were so concerned about civil rights, Goldwater was clearly out of step.

His candidacy for president and belief system supported extremists of all flavors. Goldwater wrapped himself in the American flag.

Due to this, King spoke out publicly about Goldwater:

‘I had no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that did not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy.’

To prevent racist Goldwater from winning the elections, King did criss-cross the country, stumping for Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Biographer Nick Kotz said that King was “maintaining only a thin veneer of bipartisanship.”

When Johnson won, King called Johnson’s win a “great victory for the forces of progress and a defeat for the forces of retrogress.”

King also spoke about Ronald Reagan, the hero of today’s Republicans:

‘When a Hollywood performer, lacking distinction even as an actor can become a leading war hawk candidate for the Presidency, only the irrationality induced by a war psychosis can explain such a melancholy turn of events.’

Dave Garrow’s biography of King won a Pulitzer Prize. He said that “It’s simply incorrect to call Dr. King a Republican.”

However, Garrow said that King did hold some Republicans in high regard, including Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller, and he did not hesitate to criticize Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War.

King’s son Martin Luther King III said this about his father in 2008::

‘It is disingenuous to imply that my father was a Republican. He never endorsed any presidential candidate, and there is certainly no evidence that he ever even voted for a Republican.’

Garrow maintained that he had little, if any, doubt that King voted for Kennedy in 1960 and Johnson in 1964.

Featured Image Courtesy Of ThinkProgress.org

h/t ThinkProgress.org