Cardie, on Apr 7 2003, 12:23 PM, said:
There's got to be some reason that the South suddenly went Republican in the late sixties, after being solidly Democrat (read Dixiecrat) since the War of Northern Aggression.
The war of what now? Need I remind you which state was the first to secede from what Union, now?
Um, let me check.... yeah. I mentioned the 1948 election here and (I think) in another thread recently. After that, Southern Republicans (no longer Dixiecrats) simply were allowed to exist because the Republican party did the same thing to their racism as waiters did to Rhea's Moroccan friend --simply looked the other way.
Now, when these politicians, who tacitly represented their constituency's beliefs, lumps and all, switched parties, the votes went with them. Why? Because there was, and still is, a lot of power tied up in having your senator on the right committees, and Southern senators like Thurmond tend to dominate all the right committees.
A lot of it, too, had to do with registered voting. I mean, there's stories all over the South of black voters turning out to vote, and being told they forgot to pay a poll tax by a certain date, or that they needed to bring some identification with them, or that they couldn't vote for some other reason. Either that, or they simply were discouraged from registering to vote. And if you think it didn't happen, believe me, it did.
Institutional racism was actually one of the many reasons for such vigourous protest against the Vietnam war. Due to the Selective Service passing over students who were registered at any college, university, or post-secondary institution, the majority of the draft quotas came from poorer neighbourhoods-- specifically those dominated by black or Hispanic populations. The reason for it is no different than the $300 'substitution' fee applied to the Union draft in the Civil War-- a rich man's war, a poor man's fight.
The LBJ administration, however, was critical (if I recall) in passing civil rights legislation and making it stick in the South. This was a double betrayal to the Southern constituencies who pressed the supremacy issue to their Senators: not only was civil rights against their notion of order..... but LBJ was from Texas. What kind of Southerner loyal to the Lost Cause and the Ol' South would support civil rights legislation? Only a Democrat would do such a thing. (Ironically, both FDR and JFK had tacitly refused to take on the matter throughout their administrations, both of which --and I only say this because it's interesting, not because I'm trying to draw a causal connection-- had their administration cut short by death.)
Nixon and the lame-duck administrations simply allowed civil rights to continue on its course --after events like Selma, Alabama and the Watts riots, middle America started to realize the importance of civil rights and make it a part of their own.
But one of the curious things about the twin national political machines of the Democrats and Republicans is their ability to enhance certain issues in certain areas, and obfuscate the differences, even contradictions, in their approach to the Union as a whole. Republicans under Nixon, Ford and after remained neutral on the course of civil rights, while their national party did what it could to build what's become known as "the emerging Republican majority". Liberals will consume themselves time and again -- I've never heard of a liberal political organization in my studies of American history that didn't. The safe bet, then (or so went the Republican thinking) is to stay right of centre, and slightly conservative. That Reagan came along and tipped the balance way the hell over is later stuff. At the time, all Nixon had to do was present a less liberal, 'pinko' sounding agenda than George McGovern, in the right states of the Union, to dominate the Electoral College. He played the game in '68. That's how he won. That's why the USA didn't get out of 'nam until 1975, after Nixon shoulda been in jail.
I'm rambling again. Am I liberal yet?