I haven’t really commented on the fact that ACORN is dissolving itself as a national structure, mostly because it’s been covered much more thoroughly elsewhere. Naturally, the national media have been fairly silent on the matter, but given their history of covering for ACORN related scandals I don’t think anyone should be surprised that they wouldn’t cover ACORN breaking apart so that its local chapters can distance themselves from the corruption.
Then Matthew Vadum at the American Spectator reminded me of some history. Vadum brings us to BigGovernment.com, where historian Michael Zak has compared the dissolution of ACORN to the similar dissolution of a corrupt Democratic group: the Ku Klux Klan.
ACORN does indeed operate like the Mafia, but it more closely resembles another organization that began as an affiliate of the Democratic Party, the Ku Klux Klan. Aside from intimidating some bank executives, ACORN does not engage in violence, but like the KKK it has vote fraud as a top priority.
Democrats used the Klan to suppress their political opposition, with vote fraud and intimidation and violence. Klansmen aimed at African-Americans, nearly all Republicans in those days, and at white Republicans who tried to help them. Once threatened by the KKK, Republicans could in many cases save their lives only by publicly swearing allegiance to the Democratic Party. According to a southern governor, “Few Republicans dare sleep in their houses at night.”
Like ACORN, the Ku Klux Klan operated with impunity until Republican politicians and journalists sounded an alarm. In 1869, Nathan Bedford Forrest, the KKK’s Grand Dragon, ordered the Klan disbanded. Why? The national organization was getting too much attention, so Klansmen would have to soldier on in state-level organizations, such as the Red Shirts in South Carolina and the Men of Justice in Alabama. Nonetheless, most members of these spin-off groups considered themselves to be Klansmen.