The Times found that nearly 20% of Trump supporters did not approve of freeing the slaves, according to a January YouGov/Economist poll that asked respondents if they supported or disapproved of “the executive order that freed all slaves in the states that were in rebellion against the federal government”—Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.The Republicans need to own it that they are the party of white supremacy. Democrats need to stand firm: these views have no place in mainstream politics.
And I'd say this is a sad indictment of what had been a noble history.
For a very brief period after the end of the Civil War, Republicans truly fought for the rights of black Americans. Frustrated by reports of abuses of and violence against former slaves in the postwar South, and by the inaction of Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, a faction known as the Radicals gained increasing sway in Congress.
The Radicals drove Republicans to pass the country’s first civil rights bill in 1866, and to fight for voting rights for black men (though not yet women) at a time when such an idea was still controversial even in the North.
Furthermore, Republicans twice managed to amend the Constitution, so that it now stated that everyone born in the United States is a citizen, that all citizens should have equal protection of the law, and that the right to vote couldn’t be denied because of race.
This article concludes:
Now the GOP is at a crossroads. It’s possible that the turn toward Trump and his ideas this year will be remembered as an aberration, and that a new generation of Republican politicians will find a way to be more than just the party of white resentment — rediscovering their roots as the party of Lincoln.
But it’s also quite possible that Trump is just the beginning, and that the party will increasingly play to white voters by appealing to racial tensions. It’s up to Republican voters and leaders to decide just what they want their party to be.
UPDATE: Ta-nehisi Coates argues that the polls back Hillary up.
Was Hillary Clinton being truthful or not?
Much like Trump’s alleged opposition to the Iraq War, this not an impossible claim to investigate. We know, for instance, some nearly 60 percent of Trump’s supportershold “unfavorable views” of Islam, and 76 percent support a ban on Muslims entering the United States. We know that some 40 percent of Trump’s supporters believe blacks are more violent, more criminal, lazier, and ruder than whites. Two-thirds of Trump’s supporters believe the first black president in this country’s history is not American. These claim are not ancillary to Donald Trump’s candidacy, they are a driving force behind it.
When Hillary Clinton claims that half of Trump’s supporters qualify as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic,” data is on her side. One could certainly argue that determining the truth of a candidate’s claims is not a political reporter’s role. But this is not a standard that political reporters actually adhere to.