Skip to main content

 What's been missing from this heated discussion are actual facts.
And those facts are best presented by election results and political votes, although polls and party affiliations are important as well.

  So I'm going to try to shed some light on this discussion. You are more than welcome to add more data to the discussion, but flames will be ignored.

 One thing is for certain - there is no undeniable way of measuring this. No matter what your metric is, someone is going to disagree. Some will say you can measure by straight party affiliation. Others by polls (although which polls, and how they ask the questions is highly debatable).
   However, the one thing we can all agree on is election results. No matter how you arrive at it, elections are where the rubber meets the road.

  While this may be controversial to some, I'm going to focus my data concerning election results from two years: 1964 and 1994. Post-Civil Rights Act and Post-NAFTA.
  The first one is obviously about race. The second is obviously about working class jobs.
  Note: I'm not the only to chose these two events. People from both sides of the debate have also been using these two events to prove their points.

  If you know any better metric, feel free to post your data below.

 A few words for perspective: while 89% of Republican voters in 2012 were non-Hispanic white, 60% of Democratic voters were also non-Hispanic white.
   Religion is the most clear demarcation for voting preference.

1964

  The Democrats went from controlling 32 state legislatures in 1964 to just 23 in 1966.
That's a significant loss, however, they only controlled 25 state legislatures in 1962.
This was less than the 1970's average, but more than the 1950's average.
The Democrats recovered to owning 37 in 1974.
   All in all, the changes here were within normal fluctuations.

 OTOH, the governorship changes lasted slightly longer.
The Democrats went from having 33 state capitols to 25 and continued to keep dropping to 18 in 1969. By 1974 the Democrats recovered to 36 state capitols.

  The congressional impact was similar to the state level.
The Democrats in the House went from 295 to 248 between the 89th and 90th Congress. They didn't fully recover until the 94th Congress.
   The Senate had almost no immediate impact. The Democrats dropped from 68 to 64 between the 89th and 90th Congress, but continued dropping until they reached 54 in the 92nd Congress. They recovered to 61 senators in the 94th Congress.

1994

  The Democrats went from controlling 25 state legislatures in 1992 to 18 in 1994, which doesn't sound that bad until you factor in the GOP went from controlling 8 to controlling 19.
  More importantly, the Democrats never controlled so many state legislatures again until 2009, while the GOP never controlled less than 14 state legislatures.

  The governorships weren't quite so bad. The Democrats went from 29 in 1993 to 19, while the GOP went from 19 to 30. The Democrats didn't managed to equal that number until 2008, while the GOP never went below 21.

  In the House, the Democrats went from 258 to 206 between the 103rd and 104th Congress. They didn't recover until the 111th Congress.
  The Senate impact was most immediate and dramatic of any comparison. The Democrats went from 57 to 48 between the 103rd and 104th Congress. The Democrats never recovered until the 111th Congress.

Conclusion

  The electoral losses by the Democrats on the state level post-NAFTA was both larger and more permanent than post-Civil Rights Act. This is a fact.
  The Democrats in the House, after a much longer period of time, managed to recover from NAFTA, but almost immediately lost those gains again. The same is true in the Senate.

Inconvenient Facts and Exploding Myths

  The southern white's shift to the GOP actually began long before 1964. Ike won the South for the GOP for the first time since Reconstruction.
   What is going to upset a lot of pre-conceptions is this:

 the biggest problem with the thesis comes when you consider what had been going on in the interim: Two civil rights bills pushed by the Eisenhower administration had cleared Congress, and the administration was pushing forward with the Brown decision, most famously by sending the 101st Airborne Division to Arkansas to assist with the integration of Little Rock Central High School.
   It’s impossible to separate race and economics completely anywhere in the country, perhaps least of all in the South. But the inescapable truth is that the GOP was making its greatest gains in the South while it was also pushing a pro-civil rights agenda nationally. What was really driving the GOP at this time was economic development. As Southern cities continued to develop and sprout suburbs, Southern exceptionalism was eroded; Southern whites simply became wealthy enough to start voting Republican.
 A lot of people forget that many of the most racist politicians in the 1960's were southern Democrats.
   In fact, the Congressional voting record for the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act showed that Republicans supported the act by a far larger percentage than Democrats. (roughly 80-20% for Republicans versus 65-35% Democrats)
  Southern Democrats were almost unanimously against the Civil Rights Act.

   When you consider this simple fact, it is illogical in every way that you can blame the Democrats demise in the south on them being insufficiently racist for white voters.

 But the assertion that white Southerners began voting Republican in 1964 is simply incorrect, whether for president, Congress, or statehouses. The development of the Southern GOP was a slow-moving, gradual process that lasted over a century, and is just being completed today.
  According to the CBS/NYTimes polls, white identifying with the Democratic Party dropped from 34% to 31% between 1992 and 1994. Interestingly, the Democrats had a bigger drop in the Midwest than in the South and the total drop was from among non-college graduates.
EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 04:27:45 PM PST

  •  So, he asks timidly, what is your conclusion (0+ / 0-)

    as to how this will play out in 2014 and 2016?

    The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

    by Persiflage on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 04:40:42 PM PST

  •  Ahem. (8+ / 0-)

    A lot of people forget that many of the most racist politicians in the 1960's were southern Democrats.

    No, we don't.

    The whole point of the "race explains the vote shift" view is, there was a change in Party principles around 1965.  Dems followed Johnson and abandoned the Dixiecrats.  Nixon then wooed those disaffected Dems.

    There's so much good stuff here, but you ignore this simple historical perspective...

  •  The problem is finding a situation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, limpidglass, AJayne

    where there is a head to head choice. In 1964 the employment situation had not yet become a chronic issue. There weren't any major upheavals about race in 1994. An even bigger issue is that with 30 years separation the electorates didn't represent a lot of the same people.

    NAFTA was a major issue for unions and people living in string union areas were much more likely to get oppositional input. The South has of course always a non to anti union region.

    •  And the effects of NAFTA were not widely felt by (0+ / 0-)

      workers nationwide until a long time after the 1994 election. Even now, with many recognizing the incredible shift in buying ability of the many as opposed to the few, enough time has passed that many (most?) don't connect that shift to NAFTA, instead (individually) laying it on the shoulders of the administration in power at the time it became obvious to them.

  •  well (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, gjohnsit, doroma

    last time they had the choice, they voted for a white man and a party that has done nothing to create jobs

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 04:43:40 PM PST

    •  True (0+ / 0-)

      But one does not equal the other.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 04:52:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A lot of truth to this (6+ / 0-)

    When I became old enough to register to vote in Louisiana, the general practice was that everybody registered as a Democrat, because the Democratic primary would essentially be the election, and so if you didn't register Democratic, your vote essentially didn't count.  

    As I remember it, those most vehemently racist in the South for many years were all Democrats.  Certainly, the most racist politician in the New Orleans area in the 1960's was Leander Perez, a Democrat.  And, of course, George Wallace was a long-time Democrat.  In the 1960's, there was a real split in the Democratic Party, between "liberal" Northern Democrats and conservative -- and sometimes openly racist -- Southern Democrats.  

    There was some movement to Republicans on a national - not local -- level in the late 60's with Nixon.  But as I recall it, that had more to do with Democrats being associated with "anti-war hippies" than with race.  And it did not filter to state or local elections.  

    As I remember it, the big shift in the South toward voting Republican came around 1980 with the so-called "Reagan Democrats" -- essentially, white working-class voters.  And that had less to do with race than with a lot of dissatisfaction with the stagflation under President Carter, as well as his seeming ineptitude in the international arena after the disastrous and nationally humiliating attempt to free the hostages.  

    I don't doubt that some racists have found a home in the Republican party.  But I think that to attribute the massive shift of Southern white voters to the Republican party entirely to racism is rewriting history.  

    •  I remember this too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CA148 NEWS, VClib
      As I remember it, the big shift in the South toward voting Republican came around 1980 with the so-called "Reagan Democrats" -- essentially, white working-class voters.
      I remember the news media talking about this a lot.
      I don't doubt that some racists have found a home in the Republican party.  But I think that to attribute the massive shift of Southern white voters to the Republican party entirely to racism is rewriting history.
       Thank you. I think this is very important. Some people who will go unnamed have basically said that we can simply forget whites who vote Republican because they are all racists.
        No proof is given.
      So if they are all racist then we don't have to pay attention to what they say and think.

        Well, what if they aren't just a bunch of racists? What if they do have something to say worth hearing? Most importantly, what if we can offer them something to change their voting habits without sacrificing our values?

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:01:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Candidate Whose General Election Campaign (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      limpidglass, mcstowy, AJayne, jfromga

      opened in Philadelphia Mississippi, a town famous for one thing.

      There was a lot of race to 1980.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:10:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not that simple (5+ / 0-)
    The electoral losses by the Democrats on the state level post-NAFTA was both larger and more permanent than post-Civil Rights Act. This is a fact.
    So, you basically conclude that NAFTA was responsible for the Democratic party's losses in 1994.  I can't agree at all - the health care debacle was far and away the primary factor in that election.

    Second, I don't think you can compare today's Republican Party and Democratic Party with those in existence in the 1950s and 1960s.  Like Strom Thurmond, many so-called southern Democrats became Republicans as the civil rights movement gained pace.  Here's a partial list:

    Democrats who switched to Republican 1960s

    Third, while the Republican Party of the 1950s and 1960s had its Goldwater / McCarthy / Thurmond racists and white supremacists, it was mostly ruled by people like Eisenhower, Nixon, Rockefeller, Hatfield.  Hell, even MA had John Volpe as a Republican governor back then, and Maine had Republican John Reed.

    None of these Republicans I just mentioned would ever get past a primary in today's Republican Party.

    As for me - the answer is that white males care more about jobs.  However, especially in the south, they see the Democratic Party as championing things like civil rights, affirmative action, and immigration reform,  all of which they perceive as taking jobs away from them. So, in this respect, race and jobs are linked together, and explains the success of Republican dog whistling tactics.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:05:50 PM PST

    •  Clinton Himself Blames Gun Control More than Healt (3+ / 0-)

      for 94, or at least he did the last time I heard him speak on it. A little of both let's say.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:12:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  covering for Hillary (0+ / 0-)

        blaming her pet project for the Democrats' electoral woes wouldn't be good for her presidential campaign (ongoing since 1992). Can't give the Republicans hostages to fortune they could use against her to divide the Democrats.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:29:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Switching parties (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies

      I don't know if you remember or not, but the number of Democrats that switched to be Republicans after the 1994 election was HUGE. The list is far larger than the 1960's list.

       I'm not going to disagree with you than the GOP is far less moderate than it was in the 1950's and 60's. You'll get no argument from me.
         The question here is why?

       I believe that too many people say its all because of racism, when I believe I've shown that this statement doesn't hold much water.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:13:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, the question is why (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan, AJayne

        Okay, many switched after 1994.  Why?

        Given the health of the economy and low unemployment rate, it wasn't jobs. It was the health care debacle and gun control issues, not NAFTA. I defy you to find one of the people on your list that switched because of NAFTA.

        I don't say it's all because of racism, but racism was behind the Southern Strategy and is part and parcel of the appeal to white voters, especially in the South.  

        Why don't I have a job? Why didn't my kid get into college? It's because of affirmative action.

        Why don't I have a job? It's because all the wetbacks stole them from real Americans.

        Why can't my kid get a job? It's because he went to  government schools, where he had to go to school with a bunch of blacks. Give me a voucher so I can send him to a white private school.

        Why don't I have a job? It's because the job creators are taxed too much to pay for welfare, for Obamaphones and for health care so that blacks and wetbacks can have free health care.

        You can't separate the two.

        Why don't

        Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

        by absdoggy on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:37:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          absdoggy
          I defy you to find one of the people on your list that switched because of NAFTA.
          I doubt any of the politicians switched parties because of NAFTA. I also doubt that any of them switched because of health care of guns.
             I'd bet that ALL of them switched because they thought it would help them get elected.

           The question here isn't why politicians switched parties. The question is why the voters did.

           I agree that the GOP uses plenty of scapegoating, and uses it well.
             But by admitting that, we are talking about something other than the hopeless, traditional racism that some here point to.
             To put it another way, it isn't the "racism for the sake of racism" like the KKK. We are talking about people who have problems and are looking for person/people to blame.
             The significance of that is that they are easy to manipulate and don't really care who they blame.

          It also means their minds can be changed.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:27:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think we are agreed, except: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AJayne

            Yes, their minds can be changed, but it's very hard, because as you say - they are looking for someone to blame.  And in the end, it's easier to believe African-Americans and Hispanics and the welfare mothers and all of the other Republican boogeymen are at fault, versus blaming the rich white guy (who you want to be) for your problems.

            Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

            by absdoggy on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:49:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  miitias, right wing religious activism (0+ / 0-)

          in politics, neoconfederacy movements, the southern strategy, a bunch of threads with related issues, mostly rolling back to the antagonism with race and perceived federal interference in local affairs.

          Go to talk to any white rural or suburban voters and NAFTA might come up in a list of right wing talking points about loss of state's rights.  But I really wish more people were down here just talking to people, listening in on conversations where people assume it's ok to say anything because it is all white people in the room.   NAFTA sure doesn't come up in those conversations.

  •  the narrative of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, Deep Texan, AJayne

    "NAFTA caused instant massive white flight from the Democrats" is at least as suspect--if not even more so--than the narrative that the Civil Rights Act caused racist Democrats to shift over to the Republicans en masse.

    I don't buy that NAFTA was so odious that people instantly fled the Democratic party. Whatever jobs were lost were certainly not lost instantly, so the impact must have been delayed.

    If NAFTA was so egregious, we should have seen similar instant flight from other, non-white Democratic demographics--the working class is certainly not composed entirely of white Boomer males. And yet we didn't.

    And I think the Perot boom was driven as much by Kulturkampf as anything else. Bush Sr. failed to hold together the conservative coalition that he inherited from Reagan. Many of the libertarians (i.e. crypto-Republicans) that were turned off by the patrician moderate New England Republican Bush Sr. were recaptured by the folksy, born-again conservative Southern Republican Bush Jr.

    There were so many other things going on in 1994--the defeat of Clinton's health care plan, for one thing. Democratic corruption scandals, for another. Then, too, the conservative media machine was coming to power during the late 80s (after Reagan abolished the Fairness Doctrine). The Democrats were totally unprepared for FOX News and right-wing AM radio--indeed, at the time that kind of media consolidation was unprecedented. The GOP had a giant machine to turn out an enormous base of low-info voters and keep their resentments permanently stoked, which the Democrats could not easily match. That was a huge reason the Republicans held on to power as long as they did. And even then, before 9/11 they were slipping. To ascribe it all to NAFTA, as you do, is to draw far too strong a conclusion.

    Unfortunately, people often vote based purely on their resentments and sheer tribalism.

    An astonishing 40% of the electorate voted to reelect Herbert Hoover at a time when 25% of the country was out of work. A vanishingly small percentage of those people were the 1%--many were middle-class (some working-class). They were fearful of Roosevelt's promises of government intervention in the economy and wary of his coalition, which included many non-WASP urban immigrants. The same resentments the GOP has stoked since Nixon's day.

    The success of the Republicans can't be entirely laid at the doorstep of Democratic incompetence. What the Republicans offered had to have been attractive to a huge number of people--and what they offered, as Lee Atwater told us on his deathbed, was racism.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:15:04 PM PST

    •  the conservative realignment has been over 30 yrs (0+ / 0-)

      we all know that right? we have specific opportunities to not only remain competitive but to eventually demolish republican strangleholds. especially if they keep up the crazy. we have to remain patient. i think it's happening slowly. maybe we can have a woman president next and move on to the next level of enlightenment (a Latino president).

      -You want to change the system, run for office.

      by Deep Texan on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:18:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You're framing it around issues (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, TomP, doroma, jfromga

    people don't vote issues, they vote by culture.

    Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

    by happymisanthropy on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:53:53 PM PST

  •  1993 tax increase (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    That was a bigger deal, at the time, than NAFTA.

    o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

    by tarkangi on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:20:24 PM PST

    •  You could be right (0+ / 0-)

      But it doesn't change that catagory.
        We are still talking about two economy based issues.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:28:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just can't agree with much of what you wrote (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AJayne, doroma, Berkeley Fred, jfromga

    First of all, who the heck is forgetting that the biggest racists in the 1960s in government were Democrats? We talk about that here all the time. They were the Dixiecrats. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Sam Ervin of North Carolina, and Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Those guys were probably the most vocal opponents of the Civil Rights Act. All Southern Dixiecrats.

    That's the whole point of the Southern Strategy. It was to win the racist Southerners away from the Democratic Party.

    Second, I remember the 1994 election. As I recall, it had very, very little to do with NAFTA, and much, much more to do with cultural issues like Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Which is why the Republican Party continued with the trend of using discrimination of the LGBT community for more than a decade after that.

    Third, state politics and federal politics in the South are two distinctly different machines. The Democratic Party in the South means a very different thing than the national Democratic Party. The latter is much, much newer than the former.

    The Democratic Party at the state level in the South often stands for something completely different than the national party, which is why it managed to maintain state control through much of the South for decades. Heck, North Carolina just went to the Republican Party at the state level for the first time in over a century just a couple years ago. Comparing the two is apples and oranges.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:27:19 PM PST

  •  See, it's not either/or. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AJayne

    The Republican neo-Confederates have successfully and falsely linked the job losses and falling income inflicted by über-capitalism and the destruction of unions with race. Conservatives/neo-Confederates have managed to blame immigrants and people of color (who of course have suffered even more than whites from predatory corporate economics) for the economic carnage.

    The real answer is honest populism. Send the Banksters to prison, restore unions, restore the minimum wage to where it would be if it kept pace with inflation, and shine a bright light on the corporate crime wave responsible for our suffering.

    •  There is no separate 'race' issue in America (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfromga

      Every economic / political / social issue, to a greater or lesser degree, has a racial component to it. Even foreign policy - compare how we treated Cuban versus Haitian refugees.

      Ask most self-avowed racists today, and they probably would say they support the 13th Amendment. It's when you get into the specifics of undoing racial discrimination and its effect that you start getting resistance / pushback. For example: literally everyone supports the result Topeka v. Kansas, but forced-busing? NIMBY! Look at the pushback on affirmative action. Make it easier to vote? Fraud!

      The South is more strongly anti-union; think that has nothing to do with race? The nightmare of post-Civil War Southern leaders was and is the possibility of class solidarity between races. Some unions outside the South avoided racial separation, but far too few.

      To this day, Republican opposition to things like extending unemployment insurance or funding food stamps is still driven by a gut-reaction against those damned welfare queens. Who could Reagan have been referring to by that? Even though there are more poor whites than blacks, a nontrivial amount of those whites in the lower classes have imbibed the GOP propaganda, and--this is key--they won't be able to let it go until they let go of the underlying racial animus that's behind it.

      Government, in particular the federal government, has been the main instrument for pushing America towards greater racial and economic equality. Conservatives, the wealthy, and racists hate that, which is why they want to ensure the federal government does as little as possible, and sabotage anything it does end up doing (except the military).

      We are all in agreement that the Democratic Party should push for more worker-friendly economic policies. The question is how much will white working class voters respond to that, especially when such policies will benefit minorities as well. The New Deal showed they would vote Democratic as long as minorities weren't included; hopefully things will be different in the future, but I fear it won't be as much as we hope.

      •  Not quite sure I agree about the New Deal. (0+ / 0-)

        It's certainly true in that in the Deep South the FDR coalition was only possible by averting its eyes from (or actively abetting) brutal racism and Jim Crow. But many of the New Deal pro-labor policies greatly benefited the African American diaspora from the South to the industrial heartland during the WWII era.

        I live in a ferociously racist 99.5% white region of Northern Appalachia, yet working class folks here are desperate to hear a populist, pro-labor message from Democratic politicians. Instead we're getting cynical 'Republican lite' anti-tax horseshit from Andrew Cuomo. It's very depressing.

  •  Turnout (0+ / 0-)

    It matters. 1964 was a presidential election year. 1994 was a mid-term election.

  •  The Most Recent WaPo / ABC News Poll I Could Find (0+ / 0-)

    Has Ds and Rs precisely tied at 41% on the question of who handles the economy better.

    On the other hand, in that same poll, the question of "Which political party, the Democrats or the Republicans, do you trust to do a better job helping the middle class?" the Democrats win pretty handily--47% to 34%.

    The difference is alarming and confusing.  Are there a significant number of people who think that a healthy economy should exclude a healthy middle class?

  •  I think that you have established (0+ / 0-)

    some dates and picked two events without looking at enough time and enough trends to really understand how much race continued to play into the longer trends.

    Unions began integrating earlier than many other institutions,  starting in the 1930's in the CIO.   Why are unions so universally despised in the south, have trouble gaining popular support, is it just because of wages?   Unions are a 'northern' institution for a reason and not just the prevalence of manufacturing entities.

    The civil rights movement didn't start suddenly with the passage of the Civil Rights Act.  Significant pushes were made after WWI to improve legal rights and then you have WWII and Truman, integrating the armed forces, a major change years before school integration.   And what do southerners do way out of proportion to their numbers in the population, you might have guessed it, they serve in the military.

    And religion being the single greatest predictor, don't forget how segregated churches are to this day, especially in the South.  

    So the trends were there for a long time,  but the reasons behind the trends, don't ignore the history.  And race never hides very deep in the reasons that things are done certain ways in this country.

    I admire your diaries and your research, but this time I really disagree with your conclusions.  Conservative southern whites, suburban or rural,l aren't driven by economic issues half as much as they are by social issues, and race remains right at the top there.  If poorer whites were driven by economic issues more would be defecting from the Republican Party.

    Here's a NYT's piece with a voting graph.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/...

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site