Sunday, August 09, 2020

The Civil Rights Movement Was A Grassroots Illumination Of National Disgrace. BLM....?

Counterpunch |  Why did Richard Nixon win? 

Many historians point to his invention of a diabolical “Southern Strategy,” which employed racially charged issues such as law and order and welfare fraud to win racist votes in the eleven Confederate states. 

This story is wrong, too. While Nixon used racism, of course, he did not invent the Southern Strategy. Southern slaveholders invented it at the founding of the republic, and it has become a regular feature of American politics.

For example, the former Confederate states were part of the Democratic Party’s New Deal coalition. Southern support did not come for free. Franklin Roosevelt’s programs were confined in what historian Ira Katznelson has called the “southern cage.” That is why the Social Security Act did not apply to agricultural and domestic workers, the only jobs many African Americans in the south could get. This was FDR’s Southern Strategy.

In 1980, after the Republican National Convention, nominee Ronald Reagan chose to begin his campaign in Neshoba County, Mississippi. This small county is known for only one thing, the 1964 Ku Klux Klan murder of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. It was one of the worst atrocities of the civil rights era. When Reagan told the crowd, “I believe in states’ rights,” everyone knew what he meant. That was his 1980 Southern Strategy.
On July 26 of this year, Republican U.S. Senator Tom Cotton told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette he thought slavery was a “necessary evil.” Why? He was getting an early start on his 2024 Southern Strategy.

The outcome of the 1968 election had been decided four years earlier. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic Congress realigned the American political parties. They kicked the Confederacy out of the New Deal coalition by passing the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Medicare, and Medicaid in 1964 and 1965.

The southern states had nowhere to go except the Republican Party, which is what they proceeded to do. In 1968, Democrat Humphrey won only one of the eleven Confederate states. The rest split between Nixon and third-party candidate George Wallace, a former Alabama governor and a raw segregationist. Polls showed if Wallace had not run, his votes would have gone to Nixon by a two-to-one margin. Nixon’s electoral vote margin over Humphrey would have been even larger than it was.

Except when Jimmy Carter won one term due to the Watergate scandal. Republicans owned the White House for the next twenty-four years. And since 1964, no Democratic presidential candidate has won the majority of white votes in the South or nationwide.