TCBH! Election Issue, Part III: Lying Lines Republican Route to White House
It’s bad enough that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lies repeatedly on the campaign trail and top Romney surrogates like John Sununu crassly engage in race-baiting that elicits no rebuke from Romney.
But the Republican Party’s penchant for prevarication and prejudice in pursuit of the U.S. presidency is reaching a new low – yet again – with actions by a GOP aligned group called Raging Elephants.
This group is funding billboards in Texas and Tennessee trumpeting the factually flawed assertion that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Was a Republican,” and is urging black voters to "VOTE REPUBLICAN."
A Raging Elephants’ billboard campaign in Memphis links that MLK-was-a-Republican line with requests to vote for a black female Republican congressional candidate running there.
This King-was-a-Republican claim resurrects a similar fraudulent claim mounted in 2008 by a group called the National Black Republican Association. That Association placed billboards in South Carolina, Florida and Denver pushing the same flawed contention about Dr. King.
There is no historical evidence that the decidedly non-partisan Dr. King worked for either Republicans or Democrats. There is evidence that King’s father publicly identified himself as a Republican, however many blacks during the early-to-mid-20th Century did, understandably identifying politically back then with the party of slave-emancipator Abraham Lincoln.
Dr. King’s son, Martin Luther King III, in 2008, told the Associated Press that it was “disingenuous to imply that my father was a Republican. He never endorsed any presidential candidate and there is no evidence he ever even voted for a Republican.”
David Garrow, author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography on Dr. King, has told reporters that it is “simply incorrect to call Dr. King a Republican.”
However Dr. King’s niece, conservative activist Alevda King, contends her uncle was a Republican and subscribed to Republican values. Her contention is curious, considering the fact that the policies and platforms of the contemporary Republican Party oppose most things that Dr. King fought for like ending America’s foreign wars and eliminating poverty in America.
Politifact, sorting through competing claims about Dr. King’s alleged covert Republican alignment, stated “…evidence shows that a claim that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican is simply False.”
University of Pennsylvania Professor Dr. Mary Francis Berry, a past chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, reminds that from the end of the Civil War up to the middle 1930s more blacks were registered Republican than Democrat due partly to Democrats then being the party publicly aligned with preserving legalized segregation.