Old-timers may remember the name John Doar from the 1960s.
He died the other day at 92. Doar was a young Republican lawyer from Wisconsin who served as the Justice Department’s point man during violent times in the South.
In Washington, Doar had seen how long-serving white Democrats from the South controlled most congressional committee chairmanships. They were the heirs of Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the Democratic Party who had formed the Confederacy, then retained power after the Civil War by disenfranchising black citizens through discriminatory Jim Crow laws and the ultimate terror, Lynch law.
In the South, Doar led the prosecution of Klansmen who killed black and white volunteers working to gain voting and other civil rights for black citizens.
Doar, a loyal Republican, called himself a “Lincoln Republican.”
For six years, the Republican leaders in Congress have been contemptuous of the first black president and have worked for his failure. And the heirs of those Southern white Democrats who ruled by Lynch law call themselves Republicans.
Aided by a Republican Supreme Court majority that gutted the Civil Rights Act, and now with a lock on state legislatures in the South — and some in the North, like Pennsylvania — it is the Republican Party that tries to prevent black citizens from voting.
A “Lincoln Republican” is a rarity in the Republican Party. Today it much more resembles the party of Jefferson Davis.
John N. Rippey