Perhaps that, and by occupying a seat in government they can effectively block the agenda from the other side from seeing the light of day. As an example, the worthless George Santos is not likely to push forward anything at all to benefit anyone, but his ass is in the chair for that district, so nothing from the other side of the aisle will happen.
Plus, occasionally, even if the agenda is no progress on anything at all, a golden opportunity floats into view (Supreme Court nominations).
Because pretending to be racist to get votes is racism.
This is why it is most unhelpful to define racism in such a way that it hinges on knowing the secret workings of another mind. Because doing so only allows racists an out, whereby the sincerity of their beliefs relative to words and actions somehow matters. As if an oppressive racial system built upon a known lie is somehow less harmful than one built upon a sincerely held, but no less false, belief of one’s own racial superiority.
This is more or less what James Baldwin said in “The Fire Next Time”; that and that Africa was de-colonizing and the US had to establish diplomatic relations with people who up until then wouldn’t have been allowed to use the white restroom.
and the fact that Africa was clearly liberating herself and therefore had, for political reasons, to be wooed by the descendants of her former masters. Had it been a matter of love or justice, the 1954 decision would surely have occurred sooner; were it not for the realities of power in this difficult era, it might very well not have occurred yet. This seems an extremely harsh way of stating the case— ungrateful, as it were— but the evidence that supports this way of stating it is not easily refuted.
I would guess proximity. Not to downplay the immense grassroots efforts in the civil rights movement, already mentioned upthread, which lead to that proximity. There’s something special about seeing people face to face. The unfamiliar is perceived as dangerous; the familiar, not so much.
My mother had a story about her first introduction to one of her classmates at school. The girl asked her, “What church do you go to?” Mom replied, “I’m Jewish.” The girl followed up, totally innocent, “Where are your horns?”
For my part, I went to the same schools, ate the same food, sat at the same tables, used the same restrooms, spoke the same dialect, saw the same movies, swam in the same pools, and played the same games as other kids. Not so for my father, on account of his race, or to a lesser extent my mother, on account of her religion. Aunts and uncles had to travel hundreds of miles by bus to marry because miscegenation was a criminal offense against the State. The worst I got in school were some lighthearted Hitler/Holocaust jokes. It was never questioned that I was a human being, same as everyone else.