Image: George Wallace, Democrat
From Part 1…There are few issues that demonstrate the intellectual dishonesty of the Left more than the issue of race.
The fact that race is still a major issue in 21st century America is entirely the fault of the Left. A new farce…er…piece is out in Politico magazine, written by Doug McAdam and Karina Kloos, entitled “Race and the Modern GOP.”…
More from Kevin Williamson:
The conventional Republican wisdom of the day held that the South was backward because it was poor rather than poor because it was backward. And their strongest piece of evidence for that belief was that Republican support in the South was not among poor whites or the old elites — the two groups that tended to hold the most retrograde beliefs on race — but among the emerging southern middle class, a fact recently documented by professors Byron Shafer and Richard Johnston in The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Postwar South (Harvard University Press, 2006).
Which is to say: The Republican rise in the South was contemporaneous with the decline of race as the most important political question and tracked the rise of middle-class voters moved mainly by economic considerations and anti-Communism.
Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics has been following the trend of political coalitions and has this to add:
The South made clear that it would not reflexively back nominees that were too liberal, urban, and ethnic as early as 1928, when the Democrats nominated New York Governor Al Smith, a liberal Catholic from New York City, and Republican nominee Herbert Hoover came 7,000 Alabama votes away from carrying a majority of states from the Old Confederacy. He won 47.6% of the South’s popular vote.
Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard adds this:
Another factor in the drift of the Southern Democrats away from the Northern Democrats and to the GOP has to do with the great social and economic changes in the South since World War II. The South has grown by leaps and bounds economically.
The Republican Party has always been the party of business development. So is it a huge shock that the South, as it has gone from an agricultural region to a high tech and industrial leader, would become partial to the Grand Old Party?
So clearly, the shift of the Deep South to the GOP could be seen as early as 1928, but wasn’t completed until the death of the Dixiecrats (Democrats for those of you not paying attention) in the 1980s and 1990s.
For those of you keeping score at home, this means Politico is not only wrong that the GOP shifted overnight in 1964, but is also wrong concerning the reasons for the shift.
The shift of white southerners to the Republican Party was largely due to the fact that Republicans are the party of economic growth, limited government, traditional morality, anti-communism, and strong national defense.
The only reason the South as a region was in the Democrat column for so long was race.
That’s right folks. Poor white southerners voted Democrat because they agreed with the Democrats on their racist antipathies towards blacks while ignoring ideological similarities with the national Republicans. This coalition begins to breakdown with the New Deal and the Democrats’ shift to the far Left.
The transition was slower because of race, but the seeds are there as Williamson, Trende, and Cost have documented.
And as Ann Coulter noted in her book Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America:
And yet—just as with the Tea Partiers today—when Americans opposed Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs, liberals accused them of racism—of really opposing LBJ over civil rights. Here’s a thought: Maybe they were angry about the massive, wasteful government spending on expensive federal programs wrecking society.
Or maybe they were upset about intrusive rulings out of the Warren Court having nothing to do with race but discovering new rights for pornographers, atheists, and criminals. Or maybe they were alarmed by the Democratic Party transforming itself into the party of acid, amnesty, and abortion—as an anonymous Democratic senator told journalist Bob Novak in 1972.
Back to the hackery of the Politico.
They go on to claim that the GOP owes its existence to the white backlash against civil rights. They quote Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney denunciations of welfare, and then assume they are referring to black people.
And another doozy: the claim that voter ID laws are designed to suppress black voters.
Because what racial hit piece would be complete without a denunciation of efforts to crackdown on voter fraud? Are the Politico writers claiming that cracking down on voter fraud is racist because only blacks commit voter fraud? Wouldn’t that be a racist claim?
This long-winded crapfest from Politico is nothing more than an exercise in intellectual laziness. Nonsense like this is why political observers such as Hugh Hewitt and Kevin Williamson have pronounced the intellectual Left is dead.
But reviewing at least the last hundred years or more of history, can anyone really claim the “intellectual Left” was alive to begin with?
The Left largely exists in an intellectual vacuum: an article such as McAdam and Kloos’ “Race and the Modern GOP” is just one more hefty piece of evidence.