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The Southern Strategy and Politics Today

Mar 11, 2016 | by admin

The Republican Southern Strategy began in the 1950s and 1960s and still impacts voting patterns in the United States today. Maybe we need to choose our presidents based on what they will do to help our communities and the citizens of the United States and not based on race, or political party.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Republican Party decided to oppose desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement. Their strategists realized that they could use the discontent among white racists in the southern states to gain political support and win elections. This became known as the Southern Strategy.

As a presidential candidate in 1960, Richard Nixon promoted the Southern Strategy and allegedly used coded language that appealed to racism, causing white racists to join the Republican Party. There were three presidential candidates in this election: Richard Nixon was the Republican candidate; Hubert Humphrey was the Democratic nominee; and George Wallace was a third party candidate.[1]

The Southern Strategy really came about because Wallace was a true racist and Nixon found a way to use this strategy to sway the votes of these racist citizens so their racism worked in his favor. The Southern Strategy must have worked very effectively because in the 1960’s there were some Democrats called the “Dixiecrats” who had been fighting for Jim Crow laws. This Southern Strategy got those Dixiecrats to convert over to become Republicans. This strategy continues to change the way people vote, causing many people to only vote because of the party and not based on the issues at hand.

This Southern Strategy also caused a major shift in the voting pattern in African American communities, causing them to change their support to the Democratic Party, the party that helped legislate laws such as the Voting Rights Act.[2]

Republicans continued their Southern Strategy into the late 20th century, using the issue of racism as a way to gain support for their political party in the states where segregation continued as an issue. In addition to segregation, Republicans also played on other types of Southern values to win votes. These values pertained to gun control, religion and distrust of other cultural lifestyle and values that are different.

Even today, the Southern Strategy influences how African Americans vote. Most African Americans have registered as Democrats ever since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. This made a difference, because Barrack Obama who is now President had the support of most African Americans because of his color. This instance was not bad because President Obama has worked for equality and rights for all, despite the lack of help in office from Republicans.

But as for the Southern Strategy, I feel it causes a double standard in racism. When one race does something that another does not like or is offensive to them, this causes an eruption in that social group, even when it is fine when one of their own does it.

A candidate should be viewed by what their thoughts and actions are on subject matters related to racism. For example, what does a presidential candidate say and do in view of so many shootings of African Americans by Caucasians? Therefore you have to consider what each candidate thinks about the situation or what they can do.

As of today, maybe we need to be open and choose our presidents based on what they will do to help our communities and the citizens of the United States and not based on race, or political party. Don’t consider only one’s own self or their economic status, but think about the whole country. Maybe these things could help to reduce the negatives of race and other differences.

 

[1] Raymond, Ken. “Nixon’s Southern Strategy: The Democrat-Lie Keeping Their Control Over the Black Community.” Black Quill and Ink RSS. 20 June 2011, at http://blackquillandink.com/?p=6082.

[2] Wise Greek, “What Is the Southern Strategy?” at http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-southern-strategy.htm.