TheGrio Daily

Why Is the GOP So White?

Episode 11

Why is the GOP so white?” Michael Harriot answers the age-old question, why is the Republican Party the party of whiteness?

You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:05] I’m Michael Harriot and welcome to theGrio Daily, the only podcast that actually knows what it sounds like when doves cry. So coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo. I think it’s something like that. Anyway, we’re here every day to give you a little mix of current events, politics, Black thought. And of course, we can’t leave the white people out. So on Wednesdays, it’s Wypipo Wednesday.  We dedicate a special day to investigating and interrogating whiteness. Because, you know, we believe in diversity and inclusion here at theGrio, four things that we do for white people witnesses. Maybe we should talk about why the Republican Party is the party of whiteness. Because I’m gonna keep it real. Like. White people really do like the Republican Party. 

Michael Harriot [00:01:06] I’m Michael Harriot, world-famous wypipologist and this is theGrio Daily. In the last 50 years, the majority of white people have voted for Republicans in the presidential primary. Even if you look at today, you know, according to Pew Research, well, about four out of every five white people vote Republican. And that’s it, right? There is no other demographic that votes for the Republican Party. The majority of Asian voters vote for the Democratic Party. The majority of Hispanic voters vote for the Democratic Party. The majority of Black voters vote for the Democratic Party. So, you know, even though we like to think of the Democratic Party as the party of Black people, it’s not, it’s just that the Republican Party is the party of white people. They don’t have any other solid constituency. 

Michael Harriot [00:02:10] Their voters are white evangelicals, white conservatives. I’m going to see who else. White people who like American flags. White people who wear flip. White people who wear cowboy boots. White people who like red and white hats with the times new roman font. All kinds of white people. But the Republican Party is just the party of white people, and I understand why that is. But we’ve got to go back. Right. Because you hear a lot of reasons from Republicans why Black people should support them. First of all, they always say. That Republicans were the people who gave Black people the right to be free, like now remember our Juneteenth episode? Black people freed ourselves, just like the white people in the South decided they didn’t want to be part of America anymore. But it wasn’t like it was a bunch of white people in the North or a bunch of abolitionists who were just wanting Black people to be free. No, for the large majority of the country, white people really didn’t care. Which is why slavery persisted so long because white people weren’t willing to fight to end it. It was just that white people in the South were willing to fight to keep it. 

Michael Harriot [00:03:34] Let’s not have the idea that, you know, the North was just filled with Black people and the South was where racism resided now. It was just racist white people all over. But. After the Republican Party was founded. There’s also another myth that, you know, Black people really supported Republicans. Now, it’s kind of true, but it’s really something that we can’t verify because most of the Black people lived in the South after the Civil War and most of those people were prevented from voting. And the reason they were prevented from voting was because of the compromise of 1877, which gave us Jim Crow. Let’s disabuse ourselves of the notion of Republican and Democrat for right now, because there’s another thing that you need to know about. See, Black people voted for Republicans, but Republicans didn’t support Black people. Because when we talk about the Republican Party, we’re not talking about one giant swath of people across the country because you don’t know about the Lily-white. In 1888, there was this texan named Norris Wright Cuney. He was a Black Republican and he was elected chairman of the Texas Republican Party. And it was like the first time a Black person had held this elective position because, of course, you know, Black people wasn’t voting for that long. 

Michael Harriot [00:05:12] Well anyway, the white Republicans, those same Republicans who told you they ended slavery and they fought for Black people’s right, those Texas Republicans fought Cuney because of course, he was Black. And so they used the Jim Crow laws to just kick Black people out of the state convention. And they called themselves the Lily-white movement. Well, that took root all over America. There was Lily-white parties in North Carolina, in Virginia. I don’t want to confuse this with Lil Wyte, who’s probably a white SoundCloud rapper that I’ve never heard of. I bet you there’s a rapper named Lil Wyte. So when this Lily-white movement took over, especially in the South. The Democrats started gaining power. So what did the Republicans do? They weren’t going to solicited Black people, naw they didn’t need us that bad. What they started doing is recruiting white people and the only way they can recruit white people in the South was to be more racist than the Democrats. So, when you talk about those Democratic KKK members, notice you never read about the Republicans who convicted them. Notice you never read about the white movement of Republicans who fought the KKK tooth and nail to preserve Black freedom is because there are only two parties. White people and everybody else, the southern conservatives and everybody else. 

Michael Harriot [00:07:08] Another thing that, you know, your favorite Republican will tell you is that Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. But that’s kinda not true, right? So. When the Voting Rights Act was passed, there were 94 Southern Democrats in the House of Representatives. Seven voted for the bill. Right. So that kind of proves that Democrats were racist. Right. But there were ten Southern Republicans who represented those Confederate states. They were in the House of Representatives, too. So those white Republicans, of course, they supported the Voting Rights Act, right? Nope. Zero Republicans in the South voted for the Voting Rights Act in the House of Representatives. It was not Democrat and Republican. It was white people versus everybody else. Now in the North, the House Democrats supported the Voting Rights Act. Oh. that’s not what Republicans said on Twitter. Right. It was not Democrats versus Republicans. It was just white people in the South versus everybody else, racists versus everybody else. The name of the party does not matter. 

Michael Harriot [00:08:32] Republicans, you know, white people, southern conservatives will tell you that Black people voted Republican before they were lured to the Democratic plantation. But that’s not actually true. You see this? This is a chart of the Black vote since 1936. See, it started with FDR in the thirties. And all the way up until today, there was never. A party that had the majority of the Black vote. Until Republicans got racist. So the Democratic Party didn’t lure Black people with, you know, promises and lies. The Republicans were so racist that the Black vote was split up until they explicitly said. “I mean, we don’t like Black people.” And that’s why the Republican Party is the party of white people. It is not that the Democratic Party is the party of Black people. The Democratic Party is the party of again, everybody else except white people. And it’s been that way. Since the beginning. 

Michael Harriot [00:09:59] So remember when someone asked you why we think Republicans are racist? Tell them you don’t know. Ask Republicans why they act so racists. Thank you for listening. And remember, don’t forget to download theGrio app. Listen, subscribe and listen to the podcast every day. We’re here every day. And look, I’m telling you that they’re really all my neck about you downloading this app. Like, even if you listen to it on like Spotify, whatever, just download the app, right? Like, this helps us out. I’m not asking you to pay for this podcast. I’m not asking you for a donation. I’m not even asking you to. You know, wear a Michael Harriot is the greatest podcast ever. T-shirt. Those are coming, those have been sent to print yet? All I’m asking you to do is just download theGrio app. Subscribe, listen to us daily. And as always, we’ll leave you with another blank saying, I trust the republican as far as I can throw them. So let’s see how far we can throw them. Peace and we out. 

Michael Harriot [00:11:07] Thank you for listening to theGrio daily. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app. Subscribe to the show and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcasts at theGrio dot com. 

[00:11:30] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified.