Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How the GOP became the 'White Man’s Party, Part Two.

Part two of  the article by Ian Haney-Lopez at, "How the GOP became the 'White Man’s Party,'" continues with "The Rise of Racially Identified Parties."


"The Rise of Racially Identified Parties.

"The Republican Party today, in its voters and in its elected officials, is almost all white. But it wasn’t always like that. Indeed, in the decades immediately before 1964, neither party was racially identified in the eyes of the American public. Even as the Democratic Party on the national level increasingly embraced civil rights, partly as a way to capture the growing political power of blacks who had migrated to Northern cities, Southern Democrats—like George Wallace— remained staunch defenders of Jim Crow. Meanwhile, among Republicans, the racial antipathies of the rightwing found little favor among many party leaders. To take an important example, Brown and its desegregation imperative were backed by Republicans: Chief Justice Earl Warren, who wrote the opinion, was a Republican, and the first troops ordered into the South in 1957 to protect black students attempting to integrate a white school were sent there by the Republican administration of Dwight Eisenhower and his vice president, Richard Nixon. Reflecting the roughly equal commitment of both parties to racial progress, even as late as 1962, the public perceived Republicans and Democrats to be similarly committed to racial justice. In that year, when asked which party 'is more likely to see that Negroes get fair treatment in jobs and housing,' 22.7 percent of the public said Democrats and 21.3 percent said Republicans, while over half could perceive no difference between the two.

"The 1964 presidential election marked the beginning of the realignment we live with today. Where in 1962 both parties were perceived as equally, if tepidly, supportive of civil rights, two years later 60 percent of the public identified Democrats as more likely to pursue fair treatment, versus only 7 percent who so identified the Republican Party. What happened?

"Groundwork for the shift was laid in the run-up to the 1964 election by rightwing elements in the Republican Party, which gained momentum from the loss of the then-moderate Nixon to John F. Kennedy in 1960. This faction of the party had never stopped warring against the New Deal. Its standard bearer was Barry Goldwater, a senator from Arizona and heir to a department store fortune. His pampered upbringing and wealth notwithstanding, Goldwater affected a cowboy’s rough-and-tumble persona in his dress and speech, casting himself as a walking embodiment of the Marlboro Man’s disdain for the nanny state. Goldwater and the reactionary stalwarts who rallied to him saw the Democratic Party as a mortal threat to the nation: domestically, because of the corrupting influence of a powerful central government deeply involved in regulating the marketplace and using taxes to reallocate wealth downward, and abroad in its willingness to compromise with communist countries instead of going to war against them. Goldwater himself, though, was no racial throwback. For instance, in 1957 and again in 1960 he voted in favor of federal civil rights legislation. By 1961, however, Goldwater and his partisans had become convinced that the key to electoral success lay in gaining ground in the South, and that in turn required appealing to racist sentiments in white voters, even at the cost of black support. As Goldwater drawled, 'We’re not going to get the Negro vote as a bloc in 1964 and 1968, so we ought to go hunting where the ducks are.'

"This racial plan riled more moderate members of the Republican establishment, such as New York senator Jacob Javits, who in the fall of 1963 may have been the first to refer to a 'Southern Strategy' in the context of repudiating it. By then, however, the right wing of the party had won out. As the conservative journalist Robert Novak reported after attending a meeting of the Republican National Committee in Denver during the summer of 1963: 'A good many, perhaps a majority of the party’s leadership, envision substantial political gold to be mined in the racial crisis by becoming in fact, though not in name, the White Man’s Party. "Remember," one astute party worker said quietly . . . "this isn’t South Africa. The white man outnumbers the Negro 9 to 1 in this country."' The rise of a racially-identified GOP is not a tale of latent bigotry in that party. It is instead a story centered on the strategic decision to use racism to become 'the White Man’s Party.'

"That same summer of 1963, as key Republican leaders strategized on how to shift their party to the far right racially, the Democrats began to lean in the other direction. Northern constituents were increasingly appalled by the violence, shown almost nightly on broadcast television, of Southern efforts to beat down civil rights protesters. Reacting to the growing clamor that something be done, President Kennedy introduced a sweeping civil rights bill that stirred the hopes of millions that segregation would soon be illegal in employment and at business places open to the public. Despite these hopes, however, prospects for the bill’s passage seemed dim, as the Southern Democrats were loath to support civil rights and retained sufficient power to bottle up the bill. Then on November 22, 1963, Kennedy was assassinated. His vice president, Lyndon Johnson, assumed the presidency vowing to make good on Kennedy’s priorities, chief among them civil rights. Only five days after Kennedy’s death, Johnson in his first address to Congress implored the assembly that 'no memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long.' Even under these conditions, it took Johnson’s determined stewardship to overcome three months of dogged legislative stalling before Kennedy’s civil rights bill finally passed the next summer. Known popularly as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it still stands as the greatest civil rights achievement of the era.

"Indicating the persistence of the old, internally divided racial politics of both parties, the act passed with broad bipartisan support and against broad bipartisan opposition—the cleavage was regional, rather than in terms of party affiliation. Roughly 90 percent of non-Southern senators supported the bill, while 95 percent of Southern senators opposed it. Yet, heralding the incipient emergence of the new politics of party alignment along racial lines, Barry Goldwater also voted against the civil rights bill. He was one of only five senators from outside the South to do so. Goldwater claimed he saw a looming Orwellian state moving to coerce private citizens to spy on each other for telltale signs of racism. 'To give genuine effect to the prohibitions of this bill,' Goldwater contended from the Senate floor, 'bids fair to result in the development of an "informer" psychology in great areas of our national life—neighbor spying on neighbor, workers spying on workers, businessmen spying on businessmen.' This all seemed a little hysterical. More calculatingly, it could not have escaped Goldwater’s attention that voting against a civil rights law associated with blacks, Kennedy, and Johnson would help him 'go hunting where the ducks are.'

"Running for president in 1964, the Arizonan strode across the South, hawking small-government bromides and racially coded appeals. In terms of the latter, he sold his vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a bold stand in favor of 'states’ rights' and 'freedom of association.' States’ rights, Goldwater insisted, preserved state autonomy against intrusive meddling from a distant power—though obviously the burning issue of the day was the federal government’s efforts to limit state involvement in racial degradation and group oppression. Freedom of association, Goldwater explained, meant the right of individuals to be free from government coercion in choosing whom to let onto their property—but in the South this meant first and foremost the right of business owners to exclude blacks from hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and retail establishments. Like Wallace, Goldwater had learned how to talk about blacks without ever mentioning race.

"No less than Wallace, Goldwater also demonstrated a flair for political stagecraft. A reporter following Goldwater’s campaign through the South captured some of the spectacle: 'to show the country the "lily-white" character of Republicanism in Dixie,' party flaks filled the floor of the football stadium in Montgomery, Alabama, with 'a great field of white lilies—living lilies, in perfect bloom, gorgeously arrayed.' To this tableau, the campaign added 'seven hundred Alabama girls in long white gowns, all of a whiteness as impossible as the greenness of the field.' Onto this scene emerged Goldwater, first moving this way and then that way through 'fifty or so yards of choice Southern womanhood,' before taking the stand to give his speech defending states’ rights and freedom of association. If these coded terms were too subtle for some, no one could fail to grasp the symbolism of the white lilies and the white-gowned women. Much of the emotional resistance to racial equality centered around the fear that black men would become intimate with white women. This scene represented 'what the rest of his Southern troops—the thousands in the packed stands, the tens of thousands in Memphis and New Orleans and Atlanta and Shreveport and Greenville—passionately believed they were defending.' Goldwater made sure white Southerners understood he was fighting to protect them and their women against blacks.

"How would Goldwater fare in the South? Beyond his racial pandering, that depended on how his anti-New Deal message was received. The Great Depression had devastated the region, which lagged behind the North in industry. Federal assistance to the poor as well as major infrastructure projects, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) that brought electricity for the first time to millions, made Southerners among the New Deal’s staunchest supporters. Yet despite the New Deal’s popularity in the South, Goldwater campaigned against it. While he was willing to pander racially, Goldwater also prided himself on telling audiences what he thought they needed to hear, at least as far as the bracing virtues of rugged individualism were concerned. Thus he made clear, for instance, that he favored selling off the TVA, and also attacked other popular programs. As recounted by Rick Perlstein, a Goldwater political biographer, at one rally in West Virginia, Goldwater 'called the War on Poverty "plainly and simply a war on your pocketbooks," a fraud because only "the vast resources of private business" could produce the wealth to truly slay penury.' Perlstein singled out the tin-eared cruelty of this message: 'In the land of the tar-paper shack, the gap-toothed smile, and the open sewer—where the "vast resources of private business" were represented in the person of the coal barons who gave men black lung, then sent them off to die without pensions—the message just sounded perverse. As he left, lines of workmen jeered him.'

"Another factor also worked against Goldwater: he was a Republican, and the South reviled the Party of Lincoln. If across the nation neither party was seen as more or less friendly toward civil rights, the South had its own views on the question. There, it was the local Democratic machine that represented white interests, while the GOP was seen as the proximate cause of the Civil War and as the party of the carpetbaggers who had peremptorily ruled the South during Reconstruction. The hostility of generations of white Southerners toward Republicans only intensified with the Republican Eisenhower’s decision to send in federal troops to enforce the Republican Warren’s ruling forbidding school segregation in Brown. Most white Southerners had never voted Republican in their lives, and had vowed—like their parents and grandparents before them— that they never would.

"Ultimately, however, these handicaps barely impeded Goldwater’s performance in the South. He convinced many Southern voters to vote Republican for the first time ever, and in the Deep South, comprised of those five states with the highest black populations, Goldwater won outright. The anti-New Deal Republican carried Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, states in which whites had never voted for a Republican president in more than miniscule numbers. This was a shocking transformation, one that can only be explained by Goldwater’s ability to transmit a set of codes that white voters readily understood as a promise to protect racial segregation. It seemed that voters simply ignored Goldwater’s philosophy of governance as well as his party affiliation and instead rewarded his hostility toward civil rights. In this sense, Goldwater’s conservatism operated in the South less like a genuine political ideology and more like Wallace’s soft porn racism: as a set of codes that voters readily understood as defending white supremacy. Goldwater didn’t win the South as a small-government libertarian, but rather as a racist.

"If in the South race trumped anti-government politics, in the North Goldwater’s anti-civil rights attacks found much less traction. Opposing civil rights smacked too much of Southern intransigence, and while there was resistance to racial reform in the North, it had not yet become an overriding issue for many whites. That left Goldwater running on promises to end the New Deal, and this proved wildly unpopular. To campaign against liberalism in 1964 was to campaign against an activist government that had lifted the country out of the throes of a horrendous depression still squarely in the rear view mirror, and that had then launched millions into the middle class. More than that, though, to campaign against liberalism in 1964 was to attack government programs still largely aimed at whites—and that sort of welfare was broadly understood as legitimate and warranted

"Goldwater’s anti-welfare tirades produced a landslide victory, but for Lyndon Johnson. Voters crushed Goldwater’s last-gasp attack on the New Deal state. Outside of the South, he lost by overwhelming numbers in every state except his Arizona home. Voters were offended by his over-the-top attacks on popular New Deal programs as well as by his penchant for saber rattling when it came to foreign policy. Goldwater especially suffered after the release of 'Daisy,' a Johnson campaign ad that juxtaposed a little girl picking the petals off a flower with footage of a spiraling mushroom cloud, sending the message that Goldwater’s militarism threatened nuclear Armageddon. In the end, the Democrats succeeded in making Goldwater look like a loon. 'To the Goldwater slogan "In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right," the Democrats shot back, "In Your Guts, You Know He’s Nuts."' The country as a whole, it seemed, had solidly allied itself with progressive governance, and big-money/small-government conservatism was finally, utterly dead.

"Or at least, this was the lesson most people took from the 1964 election. But like the clang of a distant alarm barely perceptible against the buzzing din of consensus, a warning was rising from the South: racial entreaties had convinced even the staunchest Democrats to abandon New Deal liberalism. If race-baiting had won over Southern whites to anti-government politics, could the same work across the country?"

(Excerpted from “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class” by Ian Haney López. Copyright © 2014 by Ian Haney López. Reprinted by arrangement with Oxford University Press, a division of Oxford University. All rights reserved.  Ian Haney-López is a law professor and the author of "Dog Whistle Politics: How Fifty Years of Coded Racial Appeals Wrecked the Middle Class." Follow him on Twitter @DogWhistleRace.  MORE IAN HANEY-LOPEZ.)

Next: Tricky Dick And The Southern Strategy.


For those of you who thought that Goldwater was a nice guy, a Republican that JFK liked, and one that wouldn't get along with today's were wrong.

Goldwater was a Conservative and we've proven over and over that Conservatism is a crime; and that includes the racist Goldwater and any other Conservative politician, Consymp, and fellow traveler.


"This president, I think, has exposed himself over and over again as a guy who
has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture….I’m not saying
he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe,
a racist."

Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck.


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