The Corner

U.S.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s False Statement about the Civil Rights Act

Continuing in her relentless career of not knowing things, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in the course of making an grotesque implicit comparison of herself with the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., advised the noted scholar Stephen Colbert that important activism is bound to be unpopular. She said: “If you think activism is inherently divisive — I mean, today is Martin Luther King Day. People called Martin Luther King divisive in his time. We forget he was wildly unpopular when advocating for the Civil Rights Act.”

No.

As a matter of fact, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — and the people supporting it — were pretty popular in their time. From Pew Research:

A Gallup poll in October 1964 reported that the public approved of the new law by nearly two-to-one (58% to 31%). And in April 1965, Gallup found a whopping 76% in favor of a then-proposed equal rights voting law.

What’s more, following the events in Selma:

By a 48% to 21% margin, a Harris poll in May 1965 found its respondents saying they sided more with the civil rights groups involved than with the state of Alabama.

King himself polled pretty well during his advocacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with his favorable ratings reliably outpacing his unfavorable ratings. That changed toward the end of his life, when King took a more radical turn on economic issues, with that loose talk about “democratic socialism.”

Which is to say: King was in reality far from “wildly unpopular” when he was working for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and for the more general cause of desegregating public institutions. He grew unpopular when he starting indulging the kind of batty tomfoolery with which Representative Ocasio-Cortez associates herself.

Those are facts worth knowing.

In other news, the Solon of the Bronx also insisted that the world is going to end in 12 years because of climate change. As I like to do when encountering such predictions, I will happily offer the representative a substantial wager on the question.

Most Popular

White House

The Damning Inspector General’s Report

It is hard to believe that the run-up to the presidential-election year has plumbed such a depth of farcical degradation. It must be that Trump’s influence has contributed to unserious responses, but he can’t be blamed for the unutterable nonsense of his opponents and the straight men of the political class ... Read More
White House

The Damning Inspector General’s Report

It is hard to believe that the run-up to the presidential-election year has plumbed such a depth of farcical degradation. It must be that Trump’s influence has contributed to unserious responses, but he can’t be blamed for the unutterable nonsense of his opponents and the straight men of the political class ... Read More
Elections

Diversity Panic Hits the Democratic Field

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An Asian guy, two black guys, three white women (one of whom spent much of her life claiming to be Native American), a Pacific Islander woman, a gay guy, a Hispanic guy, two elderly Caucasian Jews (one a billionaire, the other a socialist), a self-styled Irishman, and a ... Read More
Elections

Diversity Panic Hits the Democratic Field

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An Asian guy, two black guys, three white women (one of whom spent much of her life claiming to be Native American), a Pacific Islander woman, a gay guy, a Hispanic guy, two elderly Caucasian Jews (one a billionaire, the other a socialist), a self-styled Irishman, and a ... Read More
World

The U.K. Elections Were the Real Second Referendum

In the end, it wasn’t close at all. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party met a fate to which it has been accustomed for most of the last half-century. Once again, the British roundly rejected socialism. Boris Johnson and his conservatives will form the next British government. This was no slight rejection. Labour ... Read More
World

The U.K. Elections Were the Real Second Referendum

In the end, it wasn’t close at all. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party met a fate to which it has been accustomed for most of the last half-century. Once again, the British roundly rejected socialism. Boris Johnson and his conservatives will form the next British government. This was no slight rejection. Labour ... Read More
World

Well . . . .

So much for my prophecies of doom. Britain's Conservatives won, and they won with a very healthy parliamentary majority, breaking through Labour’s “red wall” across the industrial (and post-industrial) Midlands and the North. The BBC: Leave-voting former mining towns like Workington, which was seen as ... Read More
World

Well . . . .

So much for my prophecies of doom. Britain's Conservatives won, and they won with a very healthy parliamentary majority, breaking through Labour’s “red wall” across the industrial (and post-industrial) Midlands and the North. The BBC: Leave-voting former mining towns like Workington, which was seen as ... Read More