I am a DEMOCRAT; not a REPUBLICAN. That could change some day…
People that believe that the Democratic Party is free of sin are either naive or hypocrites.
Tired of being in the partisan crossfire and finger pointing I’d like to make a couple of things clear. Many liberals like to point their finger at conservatives and moderates with disdain accusing anyone who is not a Liberal of a myriad of abuses.
The facts remain that:
The Republican Party was founded by anti-slavery activists in 1854, the GOP dominated politics nationally and in most of the northern U.S. for most of the period between 1860 and 1932. There have been 18 Republican U.S. presidents, the first being Abraham Lincoln, who served from 1861 until his assassination in 1865.
Reagan first mentioned AIDS in response to a question at a press conference, on Sept. 17, 1985. On Feb. 5, 1986, he made a surprise visit to the Dept of HHS where he said, “One of our highest public health priorities is going to be continuing to find a cure for AIDS.” He also announced having tasked Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to prepare a major report on the disease. Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, Reagan dragged Koop into AIDS policy, not the other way around. Democrats also mislead other Democrats about AIDS funding: They forget the success Democrats had in convincing Reagan to spend more money. The administration increased AIDS funding requests from $8 million in 1982 to $26.5 million in 1983, which Congress bumped to $44 million, a number that doubled every year thereafter during Reagan’s presidency.
Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. Some like to roll their eyes at his motives but his courage in emancipating African Americans cost him his life.
By the 1870s the South was heavily Democratic in national and presidential elections, apart from pockets of Republican strength. It was the "Solid South". The social system was based on Jim Crow, a combination of legal and informal segregation that made blacks second-class citizens with little or no political power anywhere in the South.
In the 1930s, the New Deal under President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) , a realignment occurred. Much of the Democratic Party in the South shifted towards economic intervention. Civil rights for blacks was not on the New Deal agenda, as Southerners controlled the key positions of power in Congress. Jim Crow was indirectly challenged as two million blacks served in the military during World War II, receiving equal pay in segregated units, and equally entitled to veterans' benefits.
The Republican Party, nominating Governor of New York Thomas E. Dewey in 1944 and 1948, supported civil rights legislation that the Southern Democrats in Congress almost unanimously opposed.
The States' Rights Democratic Party (usually called the Dixiecrats) was a segregationist political party in the United States in 1948. It originated as a breakaway faction of the Democratic Party in 1948, determined to protect what they portrayed as the southern way of life beset by an oppressive federal government.
The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Their enrollment was followed by the Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school system by Orval Faubus (Democrat) , the Governor of Arkansas. President Dwight D. Eisenhower (Republican) placed the Arkansas National Guard under federal control and sent 1,000 U.S. Army paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division to assist them in restoring order in Little Rock.
It was George Wallace (Democrat), not John Tower, who stood in the southern schoolhouse door to block desegregation! The vast majority of Congressional GOP voted FOR the Civil Rights Act of 1964-65. The vast majority of those who opposed to those acts were southern Democrats. Southern Democrats led to infamous filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
It wasn’t till the 60’s that the Democrats decided to flip and try to take the moral high ground from the GOP and focus on civil rights.
Before the interstate highways that we take for granted were built, you’d have to travel from New York to California on local roads.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, Interstate Freeway System, Interstate System, or simply the Interstate) is a network of controlled-access highways that forms a part of the National Highway System of the United States.
The system is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower (Republican), who championed its formation. Construction was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, and the original portion was completed 35 years later, although some urban routes were cancelled and never built. The network has since been extended, and as of 2012[update], it had a total length of 47,714 miles (76,788 km), making it the world's second longest after China's. As of 2011[update], about one-quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the country use the Interstate system. The cost of construction has been estimated at $425 billion (in 2006 dollars)
Some claim the Dixiecrats, as a whole, defected from the Democrat Party when President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (no thanks to Democrats), and became Republicans which they claimed were more accepting of segregationist policies.
The idea that “the Dixiecrats joined the Republicans” is not quite true, as you note. But because of Strom Thurmond it is accepted as a fact. What happened is that the **next** generation (post 1965) of white southern politicians — Newt, Trent Lott, Ashcroft, Cochran, Alexander, etc — joined the GOP.
So it was really a passing of the torch as the old segregationists retired and were replaced by new young GOP guys. One particularly galling aspect to generalizations about “segregationists became GOP” is that the new GOP South was INTEGRATED for crying out loud, they accepted the Civil Rights revolution. Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter led a group of what would become “New” Democrats like Clinton and Al Gore.
There weren't many Republicans in the South prior to 1964, but that doesn't mean the birth of the southern GOP was tied to “white racism.” That said, I am sure there were and are white racist southern GOP. No one would deny that. But it was the southern Democrats who were the party of slavery and, later, segregation. It was George Wallace, not John Tower, who stood in the southern schoolhouse door to block desegregation! The vast majority of Congressional GOP voted FOR the Civil Rights of 1964-65. The vast majority of those opposed to those acts were southern Democrats. Southern Democrats led to infamous filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The stance is what won Goldwater the South in 1964, and no doubt many racists voted for Goldwater in the mistaken belief that he opposed Negro Civil Rights. But Goldwater was not a racist; he was a libertarian who favored both civil rights and property rights.
Switch to 1968.
Richard Nixon was also a proponent of Civil Rights; it was a CA colleague who urged Ike to appoint Warren to the Supreme Court; he was a supporter of Brown v. Board, and favored sending troops to integrate Little Rock High). Nixon saw he could develop a “Southern strategy” based on Goldwater’s inroads. He did, but Independent Democrat George Wallace carried most of the deep south in 68.
By 1972, however, Wallace was shot and paralyzed, and Nixon began to tilt the south to the GOP. The old guard Democrats began to fade away while a new generation of Southern politicians became Republicans. True, Strom Thurmond switched to GOP, but most of the old timers (Fulbright, Gore, Wallace, Byrd etc etc) retired as Dems.
Why did a new generation white Southerners join the GOP? Not because they thought Republicans were racists who would return the South to segregation, but because the GOP was a “local government, small government” party in the old Jeffersonian tradition. Southerners wanted less government and the GOP was their natural home.
Jimmy Carter, a Civil Rights Democrat, briefly returned some states to the Democrat fold, but in 1980, Goldwater’s heir, Ronald Reagan, sealed this deal for the GOP. The new ”Solid South” was solid GOP.
BUT, and we must stress this: the new southern Republicans were *integrationist* Republicans who accepted the Civil Rights revolution and full integration while retaining their love of Jeffersonian limited government principles.
In the end, we the people have to hold both party's feet to the fire.