What if voting African-Americans stayed 80-90% Republican from 1932-1946?

raharris1973

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In the 19th century, clear majorities of those African-American able to cast their votes, voted for the Republican Party. Some in 1912 turned to Wilson but I think were turned off by his administrations actions and went against him in 1916.

Through 1932, a majority of African-Americans who could exercise their right to vote remained loyal to the Republicans which voiced more rhetorical support for civil rights and more opposition to lynching, was the Party of Lincoln, and opposed the Democrats, identified with the white south.

This changed from 1934 on.

The African American vote split in the 1930s \between the two parties depending on whether they lean more towards economic priorities as generally lower-income voters (see the African-American support for Wilson in 1912), or the more historically friendly party that advances their social and legal interests better.

African-Americans moved to being an 80-90% Democratic group between 1934 and ~1964 -- and African-Americans were overwhelmingly pro-Democratic. The Democrats began to absorb black voters in 1934-1936 over shared working-class views, and while African-Americans liked Republicans' sympathy for their civil rights views, they were more concerned economically. This was the tipping point at which over 50% of African-Americans began voting for Democrats. To summarize a complex process, the absorption of African-Americans into the party over class issues caused a shift in the civil rights plank as well, which, along with some other factors, OTL helped turn the national party pro-civil rights.

So that's what happened in the real world. Here's the what-if. What if African-American voters can't/won't overcome their distrust of the Democratic Party in significant numbers (no more than 10-20%) all through the Depression and WWII? What election outcomes would this change between 1932 and 1946?

I don't think it can or would change any electoral college votes for FDR in any of his 4 Presidential elections. However, could it enlarge Republican minorities in Congress or shift any Governorships?

Without grassroots movement of African-Americans towards the Democratic Party, would African-Americans have any more difficulty joining CIO-affiliated multi-racial labor unions? Would the Democratic Party's northern wing, led by folks like Hubert Humphrey, still push for a Civil Rights plank in 1948, or would they not bother? Would the Republicans feel any need to get more active on any issues of particular Civil Rights, social, legal, or economic concern on behalf of their loyal African-American constituency by 1948 and beyond into the 1950s and 1960s, or could they just take it for granted and say "Lincoln" since that's all they've needed to do so far.
 
The basic problem is that you have to say *why* Balcks would not shift to the Democrats. If its' "No New Deal." that has consequences well beyond the effect on the Black vote.
 
Would take more than short term changes, like a different presidential candidate. TR Roosevelt represented the last stand of the liberal or progressive factions of the Republican party/voters. Here I am using the 19th Century political meaning of these two terms & not the modern redefinitions. Had somehow the liberal/progressive voters collected in the Party of Lincoln, that originated out the anti slavery movement, instead of dispersing among Communist, Socialist, and other Populist voting groups the Republicans might have remained attractive to the African American vote.
 
The basic problem is that you have to say *why* Balcks would not shift to the Democrats. If its' "No New Deal." that has consequences well beyond the effect on the Black vote.

Yes. A post-1932 Democratic Party that had no New Deal wouldn't be the P32 Democratic Party that we know. And an America with no New Deal wouldn't be the America that we know, either.

For that matter, since the New Deal was part of a global expansion of state power, we can probably assume that a world with no American New Deal would also be one with no welfare-states, Keynesian spending etc. anywhere. IOW a whole other planet.
 
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