Friday, February 18, 2005

The Straight Story

About the history of Democrats, Republicans, and race. This NRO article is an excellent reference. The two biggest myths in politics and recent history are that the Democrats do not have a despicable history of virulent racism (KKK? Bull Connors?), and that the Nazis were not left-wingers (tip off: "Socialist Workers Party" is part of the name). If I'm not mistaken, Jonah Goldberg is working on a book substantiating the left-wing credentials of the 20th century fascists...


Anonymous said...

What does it say that the old white supremacist Confederacy that once made up the Democratic Party is now solidly Republican?

Matteo said...

It says that times and demographics have changed, radically. There has, after all, been a massive migration from the rust belt to the sun belt in the last 40 years. It says that the Democratic racist South has ceased to exist.

What do you think it says?

I hope you are not implying by your question that the South is just as virulently racist as ever, and the Republicans have taken over that role. That would be just plain ignorant, and blindly ideological. And who wants to be ignorant and blindly ideological?

Anonymous said...

I'm saying that the Republican Southern Strategy that played to the Civil Rights backlash in the South catered to Dixiecrat sentiments. Both Nixon and Reagan used 'state rights' code to advantage. The Civil War Republicans were a northern radical party. The point is that the firsts Murdock points out are accomplishments of northern progressives who bear a closer resemblance to the same northern liberals who were so overtly disdained this past election. It's not clean cut, but it is disingenuous to suggest that party labels unify this expanse of history.

Tradition has it that Lyndon Johnson said Civil Rights would lose the South for Democrats for a generation. Some of that generation is still with us. The parties weren't nearly so divided between liberal and conservative, but when the Democrats moved left, blacks moved into the Democratic party and the South became solidly Republican. So, yes, Republicans did assume that role. Southern attitudes didn't change overnight with the realignment, and northern migrations certainly do not explain the shift. Electoral maps make pretty clear that north/south still overrides party distinctions.

That's not to say that a new realignment isn't taking place and all that isn't just ancient history. Affirmative action is slowly dying. Race isn't the motivating factor it once was. Republicans are courting blacks along the lines of religion and choice. There are trial balloons floating to guage a Condi Rice presidential bid -- I suspect Murdock is part of that effort. And the Democrats may come along some sort of populism to peal away some NASCAR votes. Nevertheless, Murdock's piece is historically misleading.