The Southern Strategy

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Politician 101: if the truth is unpopular, then lie. A perfect example of that is the Democrat/Media narrative that after the Civil Rights act of 1964, all the racists democrats all switched sides, and that's why despite the progressive democrats being the Party of the KKK, immigrant and minority oppression, and so on, they suddenly became saints, and the Republicans became all the racists (and why they started winning the South). Only none of that actually happened, and anyone with a cursory understanding of politics or history laughs at the idea. (Yet the partisan democrats, and gullible rubes, still repeat it).


No one denies that there was this "southern strategy", but the left has tried to pervert it from attracting disenfranchised conservative voters from all over, to targeting (and capturing) racists.

Historically, the Republicans had driven civil rights, including the civil rights act of 1957 which was there to strengthen Brown vs. Board of education and voting right protections. While this was the first civil rights act since 1875, it was thus most significant. But it rarely gets mentioned in leftist circles. Then JFK wanted to pretend that Democrats cared about civil rights too (even though he had been a Hitler sympathizer and pro-fascist). So he copied the Republican passed Civil Rights Act of 1875, and the civil rights act of 1957, with their own copy, and created The Civil Rights act of 1964 which didn't do much of anything, other than say what had already been the law for 90 years.

The Democrats of course opposed this, and, it was the Republicans that broke the deadlock and voted for it in greater numbers than the Democrats did (and got it passed). The Democrats and Media pretended it mattered, and took credit.

This had little effect on voter roles (which I'll get into in a minute). It alienated a few Democrats because their party wasn't listening to them, and Strom Thurmond switched parties in a huff (which is probably where the Democrat fiction of a mass switch comes from: one alienated high profile Southerner). But since the 1964 act had no teeth and just reiterated what was already on the books and the Republicans had previously passed, it wasn't like lifelong racists were going to move to the party that was responsible for more on civil rights than the Democrats. They just aren't that stupid... and people are stubborn.

But Democrats know how to take a good idea and push it until it becomes a bad one. And then they pushed for the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Between welfare and taking credit for "Civil Rights", the racist Johnson said, “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for 200 years.” Not that he really wanted to do anything to help blacks, he just wanted to appeal to their racism. This goes with a longer quote of his from the same time.

❝ These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don’t move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there’ll be no way of stopping them, we’ll lose the filibuster and there’ll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It’ll be Reconstruction all over again. ❞

The Democrats just wanted to shut up the uppity blacks, and there were MLK riots in 1968, so Johnson wanted to give them another act, not out of any particular caring, just pandering and thus, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was created. While the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibited discrimination in housing, and you could (and people did) sue civilly, the 1968 act added federal criminal punishment -- which changes surprisingly little, since 99% of the enforcement is done via civil suit. But it looked good on paper, and that's what counts to Democrats (the feels, not the thinks). In the end, the 1968 act, started the delusions with "hate crimes" and fascination with quotas, and they replaced big government discrimination of blacks, with big government discrimination on anyone who is not a protected class and listed as such.

The Basics

The Republicans (according to all those involved in this re-positioning) realized that the Democrats radical cultural marxism (and identity politics) was alienating a good percentage of their voters (not just in the south, but in rural America and the South), so they devised as part of this strategy, "we need to not alienate and belittle them and make ourselves more appealing than the progressive big government types".

Southern conservative democrats were upset over civil rights (racism) AND democrats all over were getting alienated at the federal intrusion (federalism and activist anti-conservativism), and felt alienated by their party's betrayal. Remember back then you still had conservative and moderates Democrats. The Republicans tried to pickup these anti-federalist and the conservative democrats by not playing identity politics (that the entire South was bigots), or that the government wasn't the cure to everything (since the South still had bitter memories of "reconstruction" and northern carpet baggers, and rural places remembered the failures of the New Deal). That was their Southern Strategy, to attract the disaffected Democrat voters, who were disaffected by the big federal intrusions, welfare programs, quotas and selective definitions like "hate crime". (Making it more a crime to beat up a black person than a white person).

The DNC, being bitter clingers to their ideologies, had to do something to blame the voters who were leaving and the RNC for their failures (as they've always done). So they convinced people only bad people would leave: they had to be racists, bigots and bad folk. So the Republican's Southern Strategy was re-invented as, "the RNC convinced the south that they were more welcoming to racists, and all the lifelong racists switched parties immediately, and that's why the Republicans was beginning to win more elections. Since the Press is provincial liberals that don't get out of their coastal enclaves much (at least not to rural America, or to the south), they believed what they were told, and repeated it. And the urbanites that never had been to the South, or talked to actual people outside the big cities, were easy to convince of "others".

So it's not that there wasn't a southern strategy... it just wasn't what 95% of the people use it to mean.

🗒️ NOTE:
Ironically, Jimmy Carter had his own Southern Strategy -- and it was to do what the Democrats accuse the Republicans of doing. Jimmy Carter was recognizing and targeting the George Wallace voters in the south, in both 1976 and 1980. Since he was from the party of life long racism and the KKK, he was successful at doing exactly what the Democrats accuse Republicans of: winning all the southern states with the exception of Virginia. Carter successfully formed a winning coalition in those states by appealing to two seemingly disparate voting groups: African Americans and rural whites who had voted for George Wallace -- e.g. the racists. [1]

Did it work?


Imagine this, you're a lifelong Democrat first, and racist second -- are you going to switch sides to the party that did more for civil rights and to end slavery than the Democrats? The Republicans saw blocks of alienated voters (in Conservative Democrats getting alienated with more and more radical and federalist moves by the DNC), and the Republicans went after some of them. No doubt. There were certainly a few racists in that block (but there were more racists outside it, that stayed democrats to the end). And if the Democrats sold it as, during a big appeal to the disaffected South, Republicans picked up a few of the Democrats many racists, I'd say, "sure", and have no argument. But that's not what they sell. Still, if it was a strategy, it wasn't an effective one: the racists stayed put, or were statistically irrelevant.

Were they successful?" (at attracting voters, let alone the small subset that were racists). And the answer is: not really.

  • 1968 - when this supposedly started: Nixon didn't carry the South in 1968. George Wallace (D) (running as independent) did carry the South, and was definitely the racist candidate, and came lovingly back to his Democrat party after the election.
  • 1972 - Nixon carried everything in a landslide, but that was because a Northern catastrophe ran against him (McGovern was a left wing extremist that had his VP bow out in scandal). The only State that went for McGovern was Massachusetts.
  • 1976 - Carter carried every Southern state, Ford didn't get any. This is 8 years into the Southern Strategy, why weren't the racists voting Republican?
  • 1980 - Reagan won in a landlslide, but Georgia still went for Carter. Carter was desperate in his massive loss, and kindled the "Republicans are Racist" by accusing Reagan's state and individual rights messages as being dog whistles for rolling back civil rights gains. (Something that never happened). It was that campaign dirty trick that popularized the "Republicans are the racists" meme's, that prey on those who don't know better.
  • 1984 - To prove the landslide in 1980 wasn't a fluke, Reagan won even bigger in 1984. Much of that was Mondale was a northern buffoon that couldn't even win the primary (it was given to him by superdelegates) -- and picking Geraldine Ferraro, another Northern Carpet-bagger from Mass., was an exceptionally lousy ticket, and it performed accordingly. (They were nicknamed, "Fritz and Tits").
  • 1988 - Bush crushed Dukakis, and Dukakis only won the primary by leaking a tape that got Joe Biden thrown out of the race (plagiarism). But the nation was still wallowing in the afterglow of the Reagan economy pulling us out of the Carter malaise, and Dukakis had major blunders like "Willie Horton" affair which was pilloried in an ad Revolving Door (where Dukakis supported furloughs of those with life sentences, even after a few of them committed kidnapping and rapes, and were still at large). Then he rode in a Tank to show his understanding of the military, and that event (politician playing dress-up) is still used to warning to politicians, "don't have a Dukakis moment".
  • 1992 - Clinton carried more of the South than George Bush. This is 24 years after the Southern Strategy, and still there was no marked swing in voting patterns in the south going to Republicans.
  • 1992 - Clinton carried more of the South than George Bush. This is 24 years after the Southern Strategy, and still there was no marked swing in voting patterns in the south going to Republicans.
  • 1996 - Clinton still got more electoral votes in the South than Dole, though things were shifting a little. But Democrats got caught in campaign scandals (what else is new), and the economy was hot, it seems the South is slightly less tolerant of liars than the north.
  • 2000 - Bush carried the South -- finally, 32 years after the Southern Strategy was created, a Republican carried the South. The fact that he was seen as a Southerner (with his drawl/twang) and Chaney was a midwesterner didn't hurt, Democrats had burned themselves with the Lewinsky scandal and Gore was an caustic idiot and Joe Lieberman was a Northerner. No evidence that racial policies played any more of a part in this campaign than the prior 8. (Nixon's first term it mattered, but that was because
  • 2004 - Bush carried the South, again -- but come on, could you have a worse candidate for the South than John Kerry, an anti-military activist, Northern millionaire from Massachusetts, along with philandering John Edwards? Those two couldn't have beaten a black souther candidate in the South.
  • 2008 - Obama did not carry the south - but this was probably more about his big government federalism, and being a corrupt Chicago community organizer that went to Harvard. He did carry Florida in 2012.

So if there was a huge swing of voters and representatives, they never showed up at the polls. (At least not nationally).


So the facts are:

  1. the southern strategy according to people that were there, was to go after disenfranchised democrat voters (most weren't racists), and they were more disenfranchised over big government federalism, than over the last in a series of civil rights acts passed by Republicans.
  2. it wasn't really effective, and what effect there was, was from voters disenfranchised at the radical moves towards leftist extremism more than racism
  3. the claim that all the racists switched parties, is a delusion. No one has shown evidence of it -- and there's lots of evidence that most stayed in their party (the DNC), because the Republicans had supported civil rights in higher numbers than the democrats. However, some conservative democrats did switch, because the Democrats started their purges of moderates/conservatives in their party.

When you think about the absurdity of the claim, it falls apart -- lifelong Democrats and racists are going to switch parties to the one that did more for civil rights because they're pissed over a minor addendum to a fair housing law that the Republicans passed in 1875? And they don't show to the polls for 30+ years? And why would Republicans appeal to a few racists, when there were masses of disaffected voters frustrated at Democrats tax and spend policies?

Far more likely was a generational thing. The old racist guard slowly died off (voting Democrat), and new kids of the South, who is traditionally individualist and anti-Big Government, shifted more and more towards the party that would protect their interests.


📚 References
  1. President Carter's Southern Strategy: The Importance of Wallace Voters in 1976 and 1980 -