Now, you’re making things up.
Carl Sandburg
1

You started by claiming that liberals were at fault for anti-civil rights activism.

Now you’re claiming that I attributed all racism — a larger subject — to conservatives.

Neither statement is accurate.

Civil rights is a social liberal imperative; not the only social liberal imperative, but a central one. But you can hold socially-liberal views and still be a conservative in other policy matters. The Republican Party used to have rather a lot of people in it who were socially liberal and fiscally conservative. (Today, not so much, thanks to purges, rightward-lurching and the embrace of extremist politics which have little to do with traditional conservative politics. Or rationalism, for that matter.)

But classifying civil rights as a lefty impulse isn’t to say that racism didn’t exist on the left. Racism has existed in the US everywhere on the political spectrum from its founding. And racism gains expression through a lot more policy questions than just civil rights.

The drug war is a great example of this. Nixon started the drug war specifically to suppress Black voting by corralling large numbers of them in prisons. Follow-on legislation in many states stripped the right to vote from felons even after they had paid their debt to society. Where were Democrats when Nixon was putting his plan into motion?

Democrats lurched rightward to embrace this new prohibition and to strip liberties from the citizenry.

19th Century Americans would have been astounded to see the US Government intervening to dictate what could, and what could not, be placed in citizens’ mouths, with long prison sentences for those showing defiance. Otherwise socially-liberal politicians jumped on board the drug war with both feet — knowing its principle effect would be to suppress and persecute minorities.

The civil rights movement has been relatively quiet on the question of the drug war since Nixon started it. But it hasn’t been quiet on the subject of extrajudicial beatings and killings by the police or the planting of drug evidence on suspects. Those things, and corruption of police and politicians, drew civil rights advocates’ ire. But they have been slow to connect the dots; they are all results of the drug war, whose impetus has, from the start, been to depress voting for left-leaning politicians and get around the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There is no better way to strip civil rights from citizens than to imprison, disenfranchise and kill them, after all.

The drug war violates libertarian principles. Libertarians exist mostly as a right-wing phenomenon in the US. So social liberals and libertarians tend to agree, from different positions on the political spectrum, that the drug war needs to stop. But the Democratic Party has moved so far to the right, that message can’t be expressed in the party platform; and libertarians have never been very numerous in the Republican Party. The drug war rages on, to the point where we incarcerate more citizens per capita than any other nation on Earth. It is a peculiar distinction for the nation that passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Corruption may be the worst outcome of the drug war. We are now enjoying the Presidency of a man whose business empire profited from Russian mafia money which he helped to launder. As always, mafia money comes from theft, gambling, prostitution and drugs. The war on drugs led directly to the rise of Trump and the mainstreaming of neofacism. Drug war corruption has now reached even the White House.

The right wing does not bear sole responsibility for the drug war. But the Republican Party has benefited from it far more than the Democrats, a fact Nixon predicted.

There are many nuances to glean from the US political spectrum, a fact I know very well (and you, with your rush towards sweeping generalizations, do not). I never blamed the right wing for all racism. But it’s a fact that the right wing is where Southern Democrats landed; and their racist and anti-civil rights agenda is flowering under Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions.