As tempting as it is for politicians and political parties in America, they should not confuse the fight with civil rights with their own economic and political causes. It is tempting because if they win the day, they are seen as the political group that brought greater civil rights to Americans and thus makes those Americans more likely to vote for them. However ultimately that approach only weakens the cause of civil rights.
As with many political matters, civil rights are not a single issue for many voters. They tend to weigh the costs and benefits of multiple political positions. For example: if a voter agrees with the advancement of civil rights in principle, but as a small business owner is worried about the economic rhetoric of those who are its most vocal advocates, he will more often choose his economic interest first. What he starts to do, and this is exactly what has happened, is associate the women’s movement or Black Lives Matter with a certain economic platform. He begins to think that people who stand for civil rights want to make his business life tougher for him. This is why civil rights groups and movements should stay to their core reasons for being and sacrifice a broad platform in favor of a broad tent of supporters. Thy will have a greater chance of achieving success.
At a more politically active level, the attachment of the civil rights movement to a specific party prevents potentially like – minded groups and politicians from working together to insure that all Americans are being treated equally. After all, why should the CATO Institute or the Charles Koch Institute not come together with a group like Black Lives Matter to fight for a more accountable justice system that is less heavy handed and incarcerates less people? All three of these groups share these goals, but how many of their grassroots activists would they enrage by working with the other? At the individual level in Congress there are some notable exceptions like Senator Rand Paul, Senator Kristin Gillibrand and Senator Corey Booker who do work together on these issues, but how many more stay in the shadows lest they are accused by blind partisans of working with Big Business or conversely of working with “socialists”?
Civil rights are too important an issue to tie to other political platforms. They matter greatly to the harmony of the nation and they guarantee that all Americans can enjoy the freedoms given to them by the Constitution. The more people have equal access to the freedoms they are guaranteed, the more independently they can then decide what concepts, i.e.; more taxes, less taxes, more spending less spending, make sense for them. These issues should not be tied to one’s religion, ethnicity or gender.