African-Independent political party movements can be understood in the context of the two-party system era. This is demonstrated by the theory of black electoral participation by Ronald Walter. According to Walter, there are two broad strategies that characterized the nature of African-American participation. These are: dependent leverage; this refers to paternal relationship between the Republican Party and the black political elites after the end of the Reconstruction period. Despite the fact that the Republicans retreated from promoting black policy interests, African-Americans still remained loyal to the party. This was due to lack of viable alternative and easy access to political patronage (Weiss 37).
African-Americans tried to develop an effective political strategy after the New deal period and since the post-Reconstruction retreat from supporting civil rights issues on the section of the Republican Party. During the era of Roosevelt and Democratic Party, the African-American pupation made up forty- five percent of the membership of Republican Party but they found themselves increasingly marginalized within the party. The Republican Party ignored their civil rights issues and also supported white democrats over black Republican candidates. Republican Party also supported the expansion of segregated facilities in the cities. This dissatisfaction resulted in the formation of Lincoln Independent Party (LIP) that was made up of educated African-American Elites and self-made descendants of slaves led by W.E.B Dubois. LIP did not manage, however, to be an electoral success hence it trigged local realignment and culminated in the blacks deserting the Republican Party (Weiss 38). This resulted in the total integration of the African-Americans into the Republican Party. This entry of African-Americans into party politics of the Democratic Party was not smooth or easily accomplished. This is because the Southern whites were not prepared to surrender the control of the party.
The African-Americans turned away from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party because republicans demonstrated little concern towards the real issues of the blacks. They only used the black race issue when it served their interests. Blacks considered their support for the party as blind loyalty and partisanship and they started looking for a political party that could guarantee them their privileges with which any patriot was entitled.
The idea of Roosevelt courting the blacks was considered as an economic one. This is because in his political career, Roosevelt had not shown any sensitivity to problems and issues afflicting the blacks. While he served in the New York Senate, he made mockery of a story about the nigger, in reference to the blacks; he also paid little attention to his Negro constituents. He had also supported the occupation of Haiti. His choice of a running mate, John Garner, a captive of Texas spirit, was an insult to the blacks. This scenario presented a strand dilemma to the black voters. They had to choose between a known quantity, the Republican Party that had proven sorely disappointing and Roosevelt, whom they had considered as the oppressor to the blacks. Roosevelt and the New deal however provide the blacks with new opportunities within the Democratic Party and they started supporting Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. The blacks were motivated by the path breaking government employment opportunities offered by the New deal. The New Deal increased the number of African-Americans receiving pay checks. The blacks were also appointed to high level government positions. The blacks acknowledged the pioneering innovations by the new administration and they voted for the Democratic Party (Weiss 32).
Weiss, Nancy J. Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Blacks for Fdr. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1983. Print.