The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Inconvenient History: Jackie Robinson Was A Republican?

Posted on | February 22, 2013 | 15 Comments

by Smitty

Hip Hop Republican points to Jackie Robinson, the baseball great who at least started off as a Republican:

Jackie Robinson is remembered for breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, but he played a less heralded role in Republican politics and black community activism. Robinson was a vital voice of reason in the early ‘60’s as the black liberation movement in the urban north grew more radicalized. He struggled to preserve an older, conservative vision of social progress against a wave of left-wing extremism.
In his biography, Robinson described what drew him to Republican politics:

“I believed blacks ought to become producers, manufacturers, developers and creators of businesses, providers of jobs. For too long we had been spending too much money on liquor while we owned too few liquor stores and were not even manufacturing it.

Read the whole thing.

Wikipedia notes he veered left later:

Robinson was angered by conservative Republican opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He became one of six national directors for Nelson Rockefeller’s unsuccessful campaign to be nominated as the Republican candidate for the 1964 presidential election. After the party nominated Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona instead, Robinson left the party’s convention commenting that he now had “a better understanding of how it must have felt to be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany”. He later became special assistant for community affairs when Rockefeller was re-elected governor of New York in 1966. Switching his allegiance to the Democrats, he subsequently supported Hubert Humphrey against Nixon in 1968.

What can we learn from this? I’m by no means a scholar of the details, but it sure seems that, when adhering to basic conservative principles, the GOP succeeds, and when it gets caught up in the elitist stereotypes played to such great effect by the Obama campaign in 2012, the GOP gets whacked.

Update: more at Grand Old Partisan.


15 Responses to “Inconvenient History: Jackie Robinson Was A Republican?”

  1. Michael Zak
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

    See for my Grand Old Partisan article that Jackie Robinson was a Republican.

  2. Michael_Zak
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    See for my Grand Old Partisan article that Jackie Robinson was a Republican. @rsmccain @smitty_one_each @hhr

  3. Mark DeForrest
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

    Mark DeForrest liked this on Facebook.

  4. McGehee
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

    He would have done better to stick to rational ideas instead of falling into the drama ditch.

  5. G Joubert
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

    Many blacks were Republicans in the old days. MLK Sr and Jr were too. Of course that all changed when teh dems began pandering to them for votes.

  6. jakee308
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

    Well, he wasn’t a Republican Republican.

    Plus that was back in de olden days when blacks had to shuffle a little bit for the massahs.

    And we all KNOW who the massahs were then and are now dont we?


    (that right there in a nutshell is what we’re facing. libs/dems/progs et al have managed to take the party who fought slavery, prosecuted the civil war, oversaw the final almost world wide elimination of slavery, brought civil rights to those oppressed by said libs/dem/progs et al and yet WE’RE the party of SLAVERY and keeping the Black man down. Any group that can sell that successfully for over 50 years is going to be tough to fight by changing the “messaging” or our outsider imposed image)

  7. smitty
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

    Not sure that MLK Jr was a documented Republican. That’s a hand that may have been overplayed.

  8. Adjoran
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

    Robinson wasn’t alone in his exodus.

    In 1960, Nixon won 37% of the black vote. After the Civil Rights Act votes, no Republican has won more than Reagan’s 13% in 1984. It does us no good to point out that more Republicans voted for the bill than Democrats, black voters consider the conservative Democrats who filibustered and supported segregation to be one with modern Republicans.

    Unsettling, since in every “issues” poll done by Gallup since the ’80s, blacks come out as more conservative than whites on the average. Blacks are more likely to support tax cuts, the death penalty, the military, strong foreign policy, and oppose abortion than whites. But none of that matters in the voting booth.

    And given the way things are being passed along from generation to generation, it is difficult to see when they will change. Southern whites wouldn’t vote for Republicans after Reconstruction. After the last federal troops were withdrawn in 1877, it was more than 90 years before a Republican won a statewide election in a state which had been part of the Confederacy.

    So maybe in 2056?

  9. Adjoran
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

    Southern states don’t register by party, and there is no record of King declaring for any political candidate of any party. It may stem from a joke he made that was taken seriously – something along the lines of “they wouldn’t let me in, they must have known I was a Republican” which was dark humor, not a literal statement.

  10. surfcitysocal
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

    We lost an important voice. Makes one take stock of how we stand on issues. Thanks, Smitty.

  11. surfcitysocal
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

    There was a large exodus of black voters from the Republican party after the flood of 1927 and blacks were treated differently from whites during relief and flood control efforts, about which Coolidge refused to do anything.

  12. K-Bob
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

    Republicans are too busy trying to pry the Tea Party and Social Conservatives loose so that what’s left will look like the former Democrat party before the rise of the Communists.

  13. Dai Alanye
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

    Or was it Nixon’s “Southern Strategy?”

    Plus, the idea that blacks are more conservative than Whites falls to pieces when issues of welfare and affirmative action are considered. Once again shows the weakness of pollsters. [And my wife is one of their pollees!]

  14. Dai Alanye
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

    Anyone who’d back Rockefeller was simply an early RINO. Whom did Larry Doby favor?

  15. Bob Belvedere
    February 22nd, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

    I have no doubt, based on what I’ve read, that Mr. Robinson was a conservative. Sadly, like so many of his fellow conservatives of every color, he fell under the spell of the GOP version of Progressivism. He ended-up ingoring his instincts and that led him to be blind to the Right Reason behind Barry Goldwater’s ‘No’ vote on the Civil Rights Act.