Jackie Robinson’s Vote

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In 1964, Republican, Jackie Robinson voted for Lyndon Johnson. Robinson was not just any Republican either; he was good friends with Nelson Rockefeller and at one point, was close to Richard Nixon as well.

Yet, in 1964, the Republican Party was openly racist. The party nominated Barry Goldwater and Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, arguably one of the most transformative pieces of legislation in the modern era. Robinson couldn’t support Goldwater and when he attended the GOP Convention that summer, he and the few other blacks in attendance were treated as if it was 1864, not 1964. So Robinson didn’t fret or waver: he voted for Lyndon Johnson, even though Johnson’s political history was conservative on civic equality. Johnson had opposed civil rights laws as a Congressmen and was a segregationist as well historically.

Johnson went on to trounce Goldwater, the Civil Rights Law was passed and soon, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and then the Fair Housing Act of 1968. It was a strategic vote by Robinson and one that history has proven was correct. He, a long time Republican, had voted to advance an interest, not a party.

Yet now, many voters face a similar scenario. The GOP is poised to nominated Donald Trump, a man who not only has made racist statements repeatedly during this campaign, but who has never apologized for any of the statements. He has created mass division in the country based on immigration and security issues, using Hispanics and Muslims to advance his racial madness. A vote for Trump is a vote for hate is the current mood for many.

The alternative, on the Democratic side, might be Hillary Clinton, though Bernie Sanders, her opponent, is not yet done mathematically. But Clinton is not exciting the masses and she has her own baggage that many voters cannot seem to ignore. It is a tough call for many voters and the paradox they face is endless: Lesser of two evils? Be practical, pragmatic, against Trump? She is bought and paid for by Wall Street bankers. Incrementalism must end. It is, I must admit, madness.

In 1964, Jackie Robinson made his decision. He didn’t waver. He was right. Johnson wasn’t perfect, was known to use the ‘n-word” pretty regularly, but he delivered. That was then, this is now. Does it matter? Should progress be risked for a chance at greater progress? Or is this foolishness?

Numbers runner. Cigar smoker.

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