Mark Schmitt wrote for Vox about Jeff Sessions, Republicans, and black voters:
At first glance, it seems almost inexplicable that Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions appears to be floating effortlessly toward confirmation as attorney general, a full 30 years after the Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination to be a federal judge because of his history of racism. There’s no evidence that Sessions’ attitudes have changed. Republicans controlled the Senate then, as they do now. And surely public attitudes about race have changed dramatically, for the better, since the Reagan era. Haven’t they?
To understand why Sessions faced enough opposition in 1986 to derail his nomination, but doesn’t face the same resistance today, we need to look back at who opposed Sessions, and why. The answer shows just how dramatically the parties have aligned along racial lines, with consequences that go well beyond the Sessions nomination itself.