Black Louisiana state senator explains switch to GOP (VIDEO)

A state senator in Louisiana explains in a new video why he switched to the Republican Party, arguing that the GOP should be the new home for African-Americans like him.

In the video, state Sen. Elbert Guillory says Democrats use social programs like welfare and food stamps to monopolize the black vote. He urges them to "please join with me today in abandoning the government plantation and the party of disappointment."

"You see, at the heart of liberalism is the idea that only a great and powerful big government can be the benefactor of social justice for all Americans," Guillory says. "But the left is only concerned with one thing: control. And they disguise this control as charity. Programs such as welfare, food stamps -- these programs aren't designed to lift black Americans out of poverty. They were always intended as a mechanism for politicians to control the black community. The idea that blacks -- or anyone else -- need the government to get ahead is despicable."

Guillory closes the four-minute video with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., whom he calls a “Republican leader.” While some have claimed King was a Republican -- including his nice, Alveda King -- the historical record doesn't back up that claim, and King’s son has denied his father belonged to the party.

Guillory switched to the GOP in late May, becoming the latest in a small wave of Southern Democrats who have changed sides in recent years. Where Guillory differs, though, is in his race. In fact, he became the first black Republican state senator in Louisiana since Reconstruction.

Guillory represents a district west of Baton Rouge and is considered a potential candidate for lieutenant governor in 2015. His switch wasn't all that unexpected, given his conservative politics and that he was a Republican until first being elected as a Democrat in 2007.

The video has caught on quickly in conservative circles, with Breitbart.com posting it Monday and Rush Limbaugh featuring it Tuesday. It has been viewed nearly 40,000 times since it was posted on Sunday.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · June 18, 2013