Republican’s Southern strategy – More than just votes.

WPA House New Orleans – flickr

It should be rather obvious that the republican part is the party of white people. More specifically white people who are very religious, fairly rich and hold racist views of non-whites.

The common belief of those on the left is that this began with Nixon after the the civil rights acts were passed. But it goes back further than that. To end of Franklin Roosevelt’s fourth term. FDR had made a deal with the Dixiecrats. if they would support his New Deal legislation – the CCC WPA Social Security – the democratic party and the government would turn a blind eye with what they did and how they did it.

The democratic party at the 1948 convention had just approved a civil rights platform, one that was mild and vague and ambiguous enough not to offend the South. The liberal wing however were incensed by this and the them mayor of Minneapolis – Hubert Humphrey – vowed to take the fight to the delegates.

The liberals’ plank included anti-lynching and anti-poll tax legislation, ending segregation in the armed forces, supporting fair employment laws. All were positions the nominee-to-be, Harry Truman, supported. – SFGate

The convention roared it’s approval and the southern Dixiecrats walked out. They held their own convention and nominated Strom Thurmond as their candidate. Truman won the election of 1948 without the Dixiecrats though.

But FDR himself wanted to rid the party of the “reactionary elements” in the south and in 1944 said to one of his advisers, “. . . the time has come for the Democratic Party to get rid of its reactionary elements in the South and attract to it liberals in the Republican Party.” Lead by Wendell Wilkie. But Wilkie died before the 1944 election and the liberals that followed him fell apart.

So instead of attracting these liberals into the democratic party, it left the door open for the southern Dixiecrats. The southern states had their own reasons for hating the democratic party’s stance on unions and labor and social contracts. These things meant that they would have to treat blacks the same as whites and this they would never do. Unions had black members and so unions were anti-south. Equal education and voting was also considered anti south.

But what the politicians of the time neglected to consider was that outside the metro areas in the northern and central states, a lot of whites in held similar beliefs as those in the south. So when the civil rights acts were passed by congress and signed by LBJ, white resentment swelled from Alabama to Idaho and Oregon to Main in the predominantly white small towns and rural areas. Reagan’s meme of the “Welfare Queen” hit a nerve with those folks as well and the republicans knew it.

But overall demographics are changing and a party of all white christian males is on the decline and they know this as well.

A Republican strategist said something interesting and revealing on Friday, though it largely escaped attention in the howling gusts of punditry over Mitt Romney’s birth certificate crack and a potential convention-altering hurricane. The subject was a Ron Brownstein story outlining the demographic hit rates each party requires to win in November. To squeak out a majority, Mitt Romney probably needs to win at least 61 percent of the white vote — a figure exceeding what George H.W. Bush commanded over Michael Dukakis in 1988. The Republican strategist told Brownstein, “This is the last time anyone will try to do this” — “this” being a near total reliance on white votes to win a presidential election.

. . . . .

Blowing up the welfare state and affecting the largest upward redistribution of wealth in American history is a politically tricky project (hence Romney’s belief that he may need to forego a second term). Hence the Romney campaign’s clear plan to suture off its slowly declining but still potent base. Romney’s political-policy theme is an unmistakable appeal to identity politics. On Medicare, Romney is putting himself forward as the candidate who will outspend Obama, at least when it comes to benefits for people 55 years old and up. Romney will restore the $700 billion in Medicare budget cuts imposed by Obama to its rightful owners — people who are currently old.

He will cut subsidies to the non-elderly people who would get insurance through Obamacare — a program that, Romney’s ads remind older voters, is “NOT FOR YOU.” Romney’s repeated ads on welfare, blaring the brazen lie that Obama has repealed the welfare work requirement, hammer home the same theme. The purpose is to portray Obama as diverting resources from us to them.

In their heart of hearts, Romney and Ryan would probably prefer a more sweeping, across-the-board assault on the welfare state. But the immense popularity of the largest, middle-class social insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security force them into the divide-and-conquer gambit. They can promise to hold their disproportionately old, white base harmless and impose the entire brunt of their ambitious downsizing of government on young, poor, and disproportionately nonwhite Democratic constituencies. – New York Magazine

In other words to remove every piece of legislation that had been passed since FDR took office. Something the southern whites would like to see as well. Probably even more so since then they could bring back a defacto slave state and reinstate segregational policies.


9 thoughts on “Republican’s Southern strategy – More than just votes.

  1. So far the convention has been rather boring. There was nothing new in the speeches tonight. The same old gift but in different wrapping paper. There won’t be a first term for him. Thanks for the links.

  2. In line with what I just posted, I think the Republicans have a tall order expanding the GOP. They’ve promoted a few attractive minority candidates (well, Nikki Haley), but assiduously pursue a whiter and whiter base. They are walking a fine line between racism and classism, blaming all the nations ills on poor non-whites while depending on the votes of poor whites that have more in common economically with the darker-skinned people they despise. Bringing “those people” into the GOP will be a tough sell, and I suspect they plan to concentrate on the Hispanics.

    1. cmaukonen

      Well at least the cuban exiles and their offspring, who hate blacks as much as racist whites do.

      Remember I lived in Fl. since 1964.

      1. I don’t think there are enough Cubans to supply the votes they will need. They are already disenfranchising poor people of color, but they will have to bring some of them into the GOP tent without ticking off the white base. With the GOP’s anti-immigrant history, courting Hispanic-Americans will be tough, but courting African-Americans has to be even tougher.

        1. I think it will take many years for them to bring the party back to being competitive for a general election. They are only doing as well as they are right now because of the racial card. The younger generations are really turned off to them. If it wasn’t for Ron Paul’s stand on legalizing Pot there would not be as many younger activist in the party. I also think the general public is catching on to the neck and neck horse race theme of the news media and the Madison Avenue marketing of politicians. The 24 hour cable news outlets have lost viewers even Fox has less people watching them.

          1. cmaukonen

            I have found that the younger generation is turned off to politics and government in general. I mean more so than usual.

            1. Do you blame them with all the spin and nastieness? These kids have had to listen to the crazy uncles shout at them during holidays and now vast unemployment. It is junk science and lies that seem to be the order of the day to cover up the real problems. What kid wants to be part of that? The ones I know are very democratic with their voting and plan to vote for the current administration. Their republican parents just don’t know about it.

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