Friday, October 19, 2012

Where did all of the Dixiecrats go?

Democrats argue that Southern Dixiecrat racists fled from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party after the Civil Rights Act in 1964. That would of course be an odd thing to do, given that Republicans, who had a 100-year history of support for civil rights, voted for Civil Rights with much larger majorities than Democrats, who have a 150-year history of support for slavery, segregation, and the Ku Klux Klan.

The 150-year civil rights struggle can be summed quite accurately: it was a struggle of Republicans supporting civil rights against Democrats opposing it. By the mid-20th century, some Democrats had come around to the Republican view that blacks had civil rights.

The opponents of civil rights have always been Democrats.

But let's take a look at how many Dixiecrat segregationalists remained Democrats, and how many switched parties:

Dixiecrats who remained Democrats after 1964:

Orval Fabus
Benjamin Travis Laney
John Stennis
James Eastland
Allen Ellender
Russell Long
John Sparkman
John McClellan
Richard Russell
Herman Talmadge
George Wallace
Lester Maddox
John Rarick
Robert Byrd
Al Gore, Sr.
Bull Connor

Dixiecrats who became Republicans after 1964:
Strom Thurmond
Miles Godwin

So much for that trope.


  1. Apparently Johnson didn’t know what he was talking about when in 1964 he said "We have lost the South for a generation". Nixon won1968 due in part to his “Southern Strategy” designed to peel off the white racist vote that had been a mainstay of the Democratic Party since before the Civil War. The culture of racism is alive and well in the south, and there is no doubt that the people who maintain that racist confederate flag waving mentality are now Republicans.

    Sorry Mike, your racist apologetics and finger pointing just don’t hold up under even the most casual scrutiny.


    1. A little casual scrutiny:

      "WASHINGTON — The percentage of the nation’s black population living in the South has hit its highest point in half a century, according to census data released Thursday, as younger and more educated black residents move out of declining cities in the Northeast and Midwest in search of better opportunities.[...]

      The Rev. Ronald Peters, who moved last year from Pittsburgh to Atlanta, said it was refreshing to be part of a hopeful black middle class that was not weighed down by the stigmas and stereotypes of the past, as he felt it was in the urban Northeast. " (NYTimes, 3/4/2011)

    2. A little more casual scrutiny:

      Mitt Romney’s son Tagg said he wanted to “rush down to the debate stage and take a swing at" the President, adding “But you know you can't do that because, well first because there's a lot of Secret Service between you and him”, and guess what, not a peep from conservatives. For them, rushing the stage and pounding the first black president is just an amusing notion that elicits a chuckle of recognition.

      Now imagine the unending hysteria that you know would emanate from the right if a hypothetical Obama son said the same thing about Romney.

      Limbaugh consistently refers to Obama as man child, now if that’s not a euphemism for “boy” I don’t know what is.

      I could go on and on. We could trade anecdotes all day. The facts are the facts. Racism is alive and well in the Republican Party, and for those racists for whom the Republicans aren’t racist enough, there’s always the Tea Party.


    3. And if we were talking about a few select politicians instead of the population at large, you might have a point Mr. Egnor. Sorry, your egnorance is still showing.

    4. Racism is very rare where I am at in the South; you have to work pretty darned hard to find a dyed-in-the-wool racist under the age of 60.
      I have seen bigotry, but it was more of what social/progressive would never call racism; due to it being directed at "white" people.

    5. Racism is also alive and well in the Democrat Party. So did you think you somehow made a point?

    6. Yes black racism Is all you'll find in the south All your find in the north. When people hate themselves like blacks hate themselves and they invent all kind of Crazy religions Pretending that they are Hebrew or pretending that there is a long neck And making up their own black versions of these religions, They hate themselves of course they're going to hate white people.

    7. His assertion — that the Republican and Democratic parties “changed sides” in the 1960s on civil rights, with white racists leaving the Democratic Party to join the Republicans — has become conventional wisdom. It’s utterly false and should be rebutted at every opportunity.

      It’s true that a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, shepherded the 1964 Civil Rights Act to passage. But who voted for it? Eighty percent of Republicans in the House voted aye as against 61 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans favored the law, but only 69 percent of Democrats. Among the Democrats voting nay were Albert Gore Sr., Robert Byrd and J. William Fulbright.

      The Republican presidential candidate in 1964 also opposed the Civil Rights Act. Barry Goldwater had been an enthusiastic backer of the 1957 and 1960 civil rights acts (both overwhelmingly opposed by Democrats). He was a founding member of the Arizona chapter of the NAACP. He hired many blacks in his family business and pushed to desegregate the Arizona National Guard. He had a good-faith objection to some features of the 1964 act, which he regarded as unconstitutional.

      Goldwater was no racist. The same cannot be said of Fulbright, on whom Bill Clinton bestowed the Medal of Freedom. Fulbright was one of the 19 senators who signed the “Southern Manifesto” defending segregation.

      OK, but didn’t all the old segregationist senators leave the Democratic Party and become Republicans after 1964? No, just one did: Strom Thurmond. The rest remained in the Democratic Party — including former Klansman Robert Byrd, who became president pro tempore of the Senate.

      Former racists of both parties renounced their old views (as Kevin Williamson points out, Johnson himself voted against anti-lynching laws and poll-tax repeals), and neither party has a perfect record on racial matters by any stretch. But it is a libel to suggest that the Republican Party, the anti-slavery party, the party of Lincoln, and the party that traditionally supported civil rights, anti-lynching laws and integration, became the racist party after 1964.

      The “solid south” Democratic voting pattern began to break down not in the 1960s in response to civil rights, but in the 1950s in response to economic development and the Cold War. (Black voters in the north, who had been reliable Republicans, began to abandon the GOP in response to the New Deal, encouraged by activists like Robert Vann to “turn Lincoln’s picture to the wall. That debt has been paid in full.”) In the 1940s, the GOP garnered only about 25 percent of southern votes.

      The big break came with Dwight Eisenhower’s victories. Significant percentages of white southerners voted for Ike, though the Democratic Party remained firmly segregationist and though Eisenhower backed two civil rights bills and enforced the Brown decision by federalizing the National Guard. They also began to send GOP representatives to the House.

      These Republican gains came not from the most rural and “Deep South” regions, but rather from the newer cities and suburbs. If the new southern Republican voters were white racists, one would have expected that Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia would have been the first to turn. Instead, as Gerard Alexander notes in “The Myth of the Racist Republicans,” the turn toward the GOP began in Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Florida. Eisenhower did best in the peripheral states. Alexander concludes: “(T)he GOP’s southern electorate was not rural, nativist, less educated, afraid of change, or concentrated in the . . . Deep South. It was disproportionately suburban, middle class, educated, young, non-native southern, and concentrated in the growth points that were the least ‘Southern’ parts of the south.”

    8. Pure BS. If Nixon had a Southern Strategy, why did he push legislation that racist Democrats opposed?

  2. Census data on domestic migration patterns is not an "anecdote".

    1. True, but it also has nothing to do with what we're talking about.

    2. Frankly speaking, it's no surprise that you don't see a connection.

  3. Since you seemed to want to avoid this post, Mr. Egnor, let's just put it up here:

    The Southern Strategy doesn't disappear just because you want it to. Neither does the Council of Conservative Citizens or David Duke and all the other recent KKK guys who have run for office as Republicans. The Dixiecrats of yesterday are the Republican base of today. Deal with it. Bob Jones University's no interracial dating policy did not come about because the school is a hotbed of liberalism. Tony Perkins did not buy the KKK's mailing list because he's a Democrat. NARTH's Schoenewolf scandal was not the work of a liberal. The guys who show up at Tea Party rallies with pictures of Obama as an African witch doctor or slogans reading "Let's put the white back in the White House" are not Democrats. Voter suppression laws aimed at minorities are not being pushed by Democrats. Worldnetdaily's birther nonsense is not the work of Democrats. The billboards about voter fraud that have gone up in minority neighborhoods in several swing states were not put up by Democrats. Tommy Thompson's son didn't joke about sending Obama back to Africa because he's a Democrat. And you promoting ridiculous scare stories about black people mass rioting if Obama doesn't win doesn't make you a Democrat or a liberal either.

    Of course, you're the same genius who claimed that medical schools don't care about evolution even though its on the MCAT and the licensing exams, so I suppose your continued egnorance is not surprising.

    1. Your allegation that the Republican party today is racist is delusional. I won't bother to name all of the prominent Republican blacks (Thomas, Powell, Rice, West, Keyes, Cain, Blackwell, etc) You're just a race-baiter.

      Your Southern Strategy theory is bullshit. Nixon lost the deep South in 1968 to George Wallace, a typical racist Democrat. Wallace remained a life-long Democrat, and ran again for the Dem presidential nomination in 1976. He was shot while running for the DEMOCRAT presidential nomination in 1972.

      How the hell you put that together saying that Nixon collected the racist vote is beyond me. The racist was George Wallace, and he was one of you assholes.

      Nixon won by a 49 state landslide in 1972, and Jimmy Carter carried the South against Ford in 1976 (did all of those racist new Republicans jump back to the Democrat party to vote for Carter? Did Carter appeal to racists?

      Reagan won nearly all states by landslides in 1980 and 1984, and the "racist Republican" South voted for ... Bill Clinton in 1992.

      Your theory is bullshit. There is only one political party that has ever had a racist "Southern Strategy". Your Democrat party, for 150 years.

    2. Touched a nerve, did I? Try to look at it while thinking like an adult, Mr. Egnor. Of course people didn't mass-shift their political affiliations overnight, but over time the South most definitely did re-align. And racism having more of a home today in the Republican party than the Democrat doesn't mean everyone in the Republican party is racist (nor that you couldn't find a single racist in today's Democratic party). I notice you didn't even try to address any of my points. How about just one: could you explain for us why a prominent Republican like Tony Perkins would buy the KKK's mailing list if it was a mailing list of Democrats?

      I already addressed your silly claim about the first post-Watergate election. And if you knew more history, you might know that George Wallace repented of his racism and spent his later years apologizing for all the harm he had caused. I guess in addition to disagreeing with your church on evolution, you also don't like their position on forgiveness?

      Claiming there are no racial overtones to Ronald Reagan's "welfare queens" schtick, or George H. W. Bush's Willie Horton ads, or Jesse Helm's minority quota ads, or today's birter/marxist/muslim nonsense about Obama is transparently silly.

      Actually, forget just one. Why don't you try to dream up excuses for all of them? Why isn't it called the Council of Liberal Citizens? For that matter, why aren't Pat Buchanan and John Derbyshire considered liberals?

      Why does: "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." sound like something that came out of a conservative's mouth, and not a liberal's?

      People who want things to stay the way they are are *by definition* conservative. (You know, it's the "conserve" that makes it conservative). During the civil rights era, advocates of continued segregation wanted to conserve things the way they were. Hence, by definition, they were conservative. (And it's not my Democratic party, I'm unaffiliated.)

      Of course, you're the same genius who once asked anyone to show you how natural processes could generate an increase in biological information, then when you were asked what precisely you meant by biological information, you dithered a bit before admitting you didn't actually know, and then proceeded to crow that your ability to ask a meaningless question somehow constituted a major victory over the "darwinists," so I suppose your continued egnorance is not surprising.

      Since you seem to have a lot of anonymouses (anonomi?) posting here, I'll identify myself as "Boo" for future reference.


      P.S. Also, acknowledging the fact that racism is still an issue in the US is not the definition of "race-baiter."

    3. Republican arguments against racial preferences are not racist.

      Arguing that generations of dependent fatherless families ('welfare queens') should not be fostered by government is not racist. Bill Clinton was the president who actually signed welfare reform, for exactly the reasons Reagan cited.

      Willie Horton ads were first used by Al Gore, not George Bush. The ads were entirely legitimate-- Dukakis made state policy to allow furloughs to convicted murderers, and his policy had adverse consequences. In fact, your implication that this fact should have been covered up because of Horton's race is racist.

      Helms' opposition to affirmative action (a Republican initiative started under Nixon) is not racist. In fact, that's the point-- he opposed policies based on race. Affirmative action is racist.

      The "racist" opposition to Obama has been minimal. You forgot that he won the election in a landslide in 2008, despite an astonishing absence of experience or qualifications? If he were a white far-left community organizer from the Chicago Dem machine who had never held an executive position of any kind, would he have won election? Obama was elected largely because of his race. Which is racist.

      And your "Southern Strategy" answer is pitiful. Watergate had nothing to do with Wallace in 68 and 72, nor with Carter's relative success in the South (so southern racists were more upset with Nixon, whereas northerners and westerners who voted for Ford were ok with Nixon?), nor with Clinton in 92 (southern racists suddenly remembered Watergate in 1992, after having forgotten it under Reagan?)

      You are an asshole.

    4. Boo (?Radley)

      Do you support color-blind government policy?

    5. It's not that I'm an asshole (such Christian behavior, Mr. Egnor!), it's that I, unlike you apparently, am capable of thinking like an adult. An adult can see the obvious racial overtones to "welfare queens" and the Willie Horton ads and an ad that tries to stir up white resentment about jobs going to minorities because of quotas. Ironic that you would mention Colin Powell. Perhaps you should read his autobiography; specifically the part where he recounts how uncomfortable he was with the ugly racial overtones of the Willie Horton ads.

      Birtherism and all the other ridiculous accusations the right makes about Obama being a secret Muslim or not understanding American values or harboring an "anti-colonialist worldview" (keep in mind this country was founded on anti-colonialism) are all about painting him as an un-American "other" that anyone with two functioning brain cells can see is about race. And while most mainstream Republicans don't embrace them, those tropes have made inroads on the right. And in case you've forgotten, the right would be where we find conservatives, not liberals. As recently as May 2011, Gallup found that 23% of Republicans believed he was born in another country. Please don't embarass yourself further by claiming that birtherism has nothing to do with race.

      I didn't say Watergate had anything to do with the 68 or 72 elections. Learn to read. I referred to the first post-Watergate election; which was in 76. 76 is after 68 and 72. And once again, if you were capable of thinking like an adult you might be able to understand that racism being more prominent in the Republican party since Nixon's Southern Strategy does not mean that people in the South aren't capable of choosing a candidate based on other factors, like, oh I don't know... the economy in the 92 election, say.

      But hey, maybe I'm wrong. In which case I'm sure you can explain for all of us why Tony Perkins bought the KKK's mailing list if it was full of liberals, and why it's called the Council of Conservative Citizens instead of the Council of Liberal Citizens, and why John Derbyshire and his VDARE pals aren't considered leftists, and why everyone in Europe recognizes their neo-fascist parties as belonging to the extreme right, and why the judge's initial ruling in Loving vs Virginia doesn't sound like anything that would ever come out of a liberal's mouth, and KKK members who have recently run for public office are doing so as Republicans.

      You didn't get to rewrite science, and you don't get to rewrite history and political science either. Sorry.


    6. All of your batshit theories about hidden "racism" among Republicans doesn't change the fact that your party does racism on an industrial scale. Nothing subtle about it. You defend government mandated racism (affirmative action), you have a 200 year history of racism almost on a genocidal level, and race-baiting and stoking race hatred is at the core of your political strategy.

      Millions of people in the US harbor racial animus or fear-- probably most people do, in one form or another. The fact remains that the Democrat party has used racial fear and hatred for 200 years to advance it's political agenda. It's still using it.

      The Democrat party has devastated black American culture and family. Democrats enslaved blacks, segregated them, lynched them, wrecked the black family with welfare dependency simply to get black votes, drove crime rates to the sky in Democrat-governed cities with idiot policies on crime and general mismanagement, and now decimates black Americans economically, who have suffered disproportionately under Obama's idiot regime.

      Black Americans have nothing to fear from Republicans, who are and always have been the party of civil rights.

    7. @Mr. Radley:

      You didn't answer my question:

      Do you support color-blind government policy?

      Answer it.

    8. And Mr. Radley:

      Your 'guilt by association' claims regarding Perkins-- that he spoke before a racist group and solicited a mailing list from the KKK-- is risible. I point out that Perkins isn't a Republican office-holder.

      Let's apply the principle more broadly. Your current Democrat President was raised in significant part by a Communist (Frank Davis), cut his teeth in the Syndicalist Alinsky coterie in Chicago, was a lawyer for multiply-felony-convicted ACORN, worked happily and without protest in the most corrupt political organization in the country (the Chicago Daley machine), began his political career with a fund-raiser in the living room of an admitted bomber and domestic terrorist, and sat in the pews listening happily to a foaming racist anti-semite psycho preacher for 20 years, a preacher who your Democrat President describes as his spiritual father and closest counsellor and who baptized his children.

      And you implicate the Republicans with what Tony Perkins did?

      Let's apply the same standards of guilt by association to both parties.

    9. Perkins is a major influence in conservative circles. Why would he buy a Democrat mailing list? Tony Perkins gets invited to speak at CPAC. Trying to claim he isn't a prominent Republican figure is just more of your egnorance. And you are confusing "theories" with what most people call "facts." Although given your history of evolution denying I suppose that's not too surprising. The fact that 23% of polled Republicans believe Obama was born in a foreign country is just that, a "fact." Not "theory." Just like the fact that the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens calls itself, well, the Council of Conservative Citizens and not the Council of Liberal citizens, and the fact that Pat Buchanan, the Pioneer Fund, and VDARE are all on the right is a fact, not a theory.

      Denying evidence and repeating your same old false assertions over and over does not magically make them come true, even if you click your heels together. Sorry.


    10. By the way, folks, I'm pretty sure that Mr. Egnor is actually one Jason P. Wesolowski, of Buffalo, NY. I've been having political clashes with him on Facebook.. he's a dyed in the wool Fascist Christian-Republican Conservative.. and Mr. Egnor's writing looks and reads a WHOLE lot like Wesolowski's crap. Right down to repetition of the same old tripe without supporting evidence, or evidence that comes from badly skewed sources, such as right-wing blogger sites.

  4. You seem to ignore the fact that most of the south except texas voted republican in 1964 because of barry goldwater voting against the civil rights act.Now, it may be true that not many dixiecrats themselves switched parties, but voters definitely did switch parties because of race issues. Otherwise, why is the south today considered conservative and the north liberal?

    1. Why do you automatically assume that the south is racist today? The south has become steadily less racist as it became more Republican.

  5. i leave you all with this quote from Chris Matthews... gushing over Obama and on live television... 'for an hour there I ALMOST forgot the president is even black.'

    Yeah... those damned republicans, eh?

  6. Joey... the argument has always been that the dixiecrats became republicans... but when that is debunked... you simply change the argument... in typical fashion.

  7. up until 88 Duke was a Democrat. His KKK days were as a Democrat. He switched to the Republicans for a short time and currently is not affiliated with any political party. nice try though.

  8. Reagan never uttered the words welfare queen..

  9. Reagan never uttered the words welfare queen..

  10. Reagan never uttered the words welfare queen..

  11. Orval Fabus - Out of office after 1967
    Benjamin Travis Laney - Out after 1949 after losing to a much more liberal, pro-civil rights Democrat.
    John Stennis - Left office in 1989 having been one of the longest serving senators.
    James Eastland - out after 78. Defeated by a Republican.
    Allen Elander - Died in 72 while in office.
    Russel Long - Out in 87
    John Sparkman - Out in 79
    John McClellan - Died in 77
    Richard Russell - Died in 71
    Herman Talmadge - Out in 81
    George Wallace - long story - served multiple terms because of succession limits.
    Lester Maddox - out in 71 - never reelected due to succession limits in Georgia.
    John Rarick - out in 75 after being pushed out by his own party.
    Al Gore Sr. - out in 71 after losing to a republican
    Bull Connor - out in 72 from low state positions.

    So no, they didn't disappear from the democrats after '64. Many of them didn't make it far past the following decade.
    Really though, the ultimate purpose of this old article is to claim that the racists stayed in the democrat party. They did, but held little power. The people who voted these guys in, however, are still around and as a general rule, they vote Republican. I won't categorically call them all racists but when you look at the voting records, it's pretty clear who the Solid South is voting for these days and much of it is thanks to Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy which helped remove a number of that list from office.

    1. White racists have their own political party. Its active in about 4 states.

  12. This article fails to mention that republicans in the South also voted against the civil rights act and that northern democrats voted for it.

    And after the 1960's it isn't so much that the Dixiecrats became republicans so much as that Democrats lost popularity amount the racist populace.

  13. Nothing like "research". There were a total of TWO "Dixiecrats", only one of whom is mentioned here (Thurmond). No idea who this "Godwin" is but a quick search reveals he wasn't even in office until two decades later. The other Dixiecrat was Thurmond's running mate Fielding Wright. Both of them served out their terms, Wright then left office to practice law and Thurmond had to run as a write-in in his next re-election after the Democrats kicked him off the ballot.

    The rest of the lame list has nothing to do with "Dixiecrats".

    1. Nor does the blogger mention that Wallace ran with the American Independent Party, a far-right operation based in California. And back in 1964 he offered to switch parties and run with Barry Goldwater as his running mate (Goldwater declined).