Commentary

Two new editorials provide history lessons to GOP chief Woodhouse

As noted in this space on Monday, North Carolina GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse was way off base in an absurd weekend Twitter rant in which he attempted to link the Democratic Party of 2017 with the conservative racists who ran it in 1898 during the infamous Wilmington coup d’état. Now two major state newspapers have weighed in to provide a little extra schooling for Woodhouse.

Here’s the Wilmington Star News in this morning’s lead editorial, “Republican leader’s 1898 tweet a pathetic overture”:

“Following Woodhouse’s logic, perhaps Democrats should start tweeting about the GOP’s role in the Great Depression and the number of Republicans who opposed entry into World War II, giving aid and comfort to the Nazis. Should we blame contemporary Republicans for the burning of Atlanta and Charleston during the Civil War?

In 1898, the North Carolina Democratic Party consisted entirely of white men. The state Democratic Party in 2017 includes a large number of African Americans. In fact, more than 80 percent of black registered voters in North Carolina are Democrats.

In the 1960s, with Democrats like John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Terry Sanford supporting civil rights, and the attraction of Barry Goldwater and the GOP’s Southern Strategy, white Southerners began to exit the Democratic Party. Most black voters have long since pledged allegiance to the Democrats.

We’d suggest that if Tar Heel Republicans want to make inroads among black voters, they not only disavow these type of antics, but also stop pursuing voting limitations that disproportionately affect African-Americans, and draw election districts that can at least pass the muster of the courts.”

And here’s today’s Greensboro News & Record in “The hurt of history”:

“Yet, people and institutions can change, for better or worse. That’s why state Democrats wanted to ‘celebrate how far we’ve come.’ The country and the Democratic Party have progressed since 1898, when a racist insurrection in Wilmington was not opposed by the state or federal government and no one was punished for dozens of murders and the destruction and outright theft of homes and businesses.

If this history is unknown to anyone today, or sounds incredible, one reason is that the Democratic Party turned around so dramatically. After the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 under Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, many white, Southern Democrats felt betrayed. Some left their party and joined the other party — notably including Jesse Helms, who would be elected to the U.S. Senate five times as a Republican. They were replaced by newly registered black voters. The Democratic Party became the more progressive and more diverse of the two — and no longer the dominant party in the South.”

Public apologies are something Woodhouse has had a fair amount of experience with in recent years. Let’s hope he gets in some more practice soon.

One Comment


  1. Jim Aycock

    August 10, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Greensboro’s statement of “outright theft of homes and businesses” is not supported by the official race riot commission report which says, “(Economic and Social Losses): (4) Analysis of statistical data indicates that Wilmington’s black businesses and workers suffered losses after 1898 in terms of job status, income, and access to capital. (6) Analysis of deeds and tax records indicates that most black property owners in Wilmington retained ownership of holdings after 1898. No evidence was found to support the thesis that seizure of black-owned property by whites was widespread after 1898.” What happened is bad enough without exaggeration.

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