In my previous editorial entitled, How to Defeat the Left’s Anti-God and Anti-Liberty Agenda, I shared my experience of watching a college football game with 20 other Black Americans, all of whom were Democrats. Because of their insults, I became curious to know why my friends were so emotionally triggered when I described myself as a Conservative-Republican. I don't have a PhD. However, I've conducted some PhD-level research I would like to share with you.

Senator Goldwater’s Presidential Campaign and the Black Electorate

Senator Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign, in 1964, marked a seismic shift in the voting pattern of Black Americans. Goldwater, from Arizona, received just 6% of the Black vote, which gave the Democratic Party a landslide victory. Since 1964, the percentage of Blacks voting for a Republican presidential nominee has never risen above 15%.

Here’s where things start to get interesting. On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. Racist, pro-segregationist Democratic senators filibustered the bill and voted against it. Goldwater, a Republican Senator, also opposed the civil rights legislation but did so based on Constitutional grounds. Yale University Professor Robert Bork wrote a 75-page opinion on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which Senator Goldwater used to form his decision. Goldwater’s opposition to the legislation was based on: (1) Title 2-Public Accommodations and (2) Title 7-Employment.

Follow me as I connect a couple of dots: Do you remember Senator Goldwater’s nickname? He was referred to as “Mr. Conservative.” What was the title of the book Senator Goldwater wrote in 1960? It was entitledThe Conscience of a Conservative.

To add insult to injury, at the 1964 Republican Party National Convention, held at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, whom did the Republican Party nominate as their presidential candidate to run against the Democratic nominee, President Johnson? It was “Mr. Conservative,” Senator Barry Goldwater.

The party of Lincoln and the party of Emancipation chose, as their presidential candidate, an individual who sided with the racist Democrats in opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. When this occurred, African-Americans left the Republican Party en masse to join the Democratic Party. Becoming politically homeless, many of my staunch Republican family members became Democrats in 1964. I remember, as a young boy, hearing the word “conservative,” racist and Barry Goldwater being used in the same sentence. The Goldwater campaign and the GOP made the Democratic Party appear to be heroes to Black Americans.

Senator Goldwater Wasn’t a Racist

With his “no” vote, Senator Goldwater sided with the racist Democrats. Actually, throughout his life, Senator Goldwater demonstrated that he was an integrationist who was a champion of African-Americans. For example:

  • At the age of 37, Barry Goldwater inherited his family’s retail store and hired Black cashiers and clerks before it became commonplace.

  • Goldwater was an early member of the Phoenix chapter of the NAACP and the Urban League and reached into his own pocket to make up the Urban League’s operating deficit when it first started.

  • Goldwater founded the Arizona Air National Guard in 1946 as a desegregated unit. This was two years before President Truman desegregated the armed forces.

  • Goldwater desegregated the Senate cafeteria in early 1953, demanding that his Black legislative assistant be served along with every other Senate employee, after learning she had been denied service.

  • Goldwater voted for the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Act.

  • In 1991, Goldwater received the “Humanitarian Award for 50 years of loyal service to the Phoenix Urban League.”

Dr. King’s Press Release on the GOP’s Nomination of Barry Goldwater

On July 16, 1964, Senator Goldwater accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. On the very same day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, issued a press release regarding Senator Goldwater’s nomination. Take this into account: Dr. King delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech just 11 months earlier, on August 28, 1963. So, at the time of this news release, Dr. King had acquired a household name. Because of Senator Goldwater’s opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, with a deep sense of urgency, Dr. King urged all Americans to vote against Mr. Goldwater. As a result, Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in a landslide victory.

When you use the word “conservative,” make sure you consider your audience. If you choose to use the term “conservative” as part of your outreach strategy, your earnest attempt at diversity engagement will not be an effective or pleasant experience.

The word “conservative” has such a racist tinge, it will generate swift opposition from Blacks and young people, and now you know why.

A former member of President Trump’s Coalition Advisory Board, KCarl Smith is the President and CEO of KCarl Consulting Group, empowering freedom advocates with the confidence, knowledge and skills to trump the race card. His column appears every Thursday in 1819 News. To contact KCarl or request him for a speaking engagement go to views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to .