Thursday on MSNBC, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said if Democrats didn’t pass racial equality legislation like the Civil Rights Act, he would be in a cotton field, not Congress.
Host Katy Tur asked, “Congressman, indulge me on a question of 2020. This comes from something I read in a Politico piece by Tim Alberta. He spoke to a number of black voters in Detroit, well-off black voters who were frustrated with the Democratic party. One man, a 53-year-old real estate agent, said Democrat or Republican, we’re still in the same position. No matter if it’s a Republican or a Democrat sitting in the White House, we stay chasing that so-called American dream, but we can’t reach it because things aren’t even. They never have been. They never will be. This whole piece is about disillusionment with black voters toward the Democratic party by saying nothing really changes for them. It doesn’t matter who is in office. What is your response?
Clyburn said, “My response to that would be, please take a little time and study your history. Don’t tell me nothing ever changed. I am 79 years old, at least for another 30 days. And I know how much change has taken place in this country. For him to tell me there would be no difference if Goldwater got elected rather than Lyndon Johnson, is he telling me the Civil Rights Act of ’64 did not make a difference? The Voting Rights Act of ’65 did not make a difference? Elementary Secondary Education Act, Medicare, Medicaid, Higher Education Act, all of these things came about as a result of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Program. He was a Democrat. He beat a Republican who thought otherwise. So I would say to that gentleman, just look around yourself and see where you were, where your family was in 1964, and where you are today. So don’t tell me nothing ever changes. That kind of defeatism would have me still in a cotton field, and I’m far from there.”
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