What is the conservative argument that the Democratic and Republican party have consistently been center-left and center-right as opposed to the general consensus that there was a flip in the 1960s?

Posted: July 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

I am unaware of this argument. While the terms left and right, like liberal and conservative, are historically ambiguous and relative, it is, I believe, pretty clear that the Southern Democrats, at least, of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow eras, were center-right to far right or “conservative” socially, if not economically. The KKK was a Democrat institution, founded by six Confederate veterans from Pulaski, TN. “Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest became Grand Wizard, claiming to be the Klan’s national leader.” (1) “Lifting the Klan mask revealed a chaotic multitude of antiblack vigilante groups, disgruntled poor white farmers, wartime guerrillabands, displaced Democratic politicians…even a few freedmen and white Republicans who allied with Democratic whites or had criminal agendas of their own.” (2) The Republican party was more liberal, at least by the standards of the day. “Many scholars have identified more than 1,500 African American officeholders during the Reconstruction Era (1863–1877).” (3) All were Republicans.

From 1900 to the 2010s, the parties began a slow, but inexorable shift. Sped largely in part by FDR and Truman, then Kennedy and Johnson, the Democrat Party became more and more liberal, while the Republican Party moved rightward. While it is true that more Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than Democrats, the vote was more along geographical lines than party.

(Were Republicans really the party of civil rights in the 1960s? | Harry J Enten)

Note the numbers in the final graph: 95% of House Democrats from UNION states (the North) voted for the Act; 98% of Senate Democrats from Union states voted for it. Only 9% and 5% of Democrats in the old Confederate states respectively voted for it, and not a single Southern Republican did. More Democrats from the South voted for the bill than southern Republicans.

If you look at the lists here (Party switching in the United States – Wikipedia), you can see how many Democrat politicians switched to the Republican Party, most notably, Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, and, of course, David Duke. Note how the vast majority of them are from southern, old Confederacy, states. When we used to talk about the “Solid South”, it was a South that was solidly Democrat. This is no longer the case at all:

“Although Republicans gradually began doing better in presidential elections in the South starting in 1952, Republicans did not finish taking over Southern politics at the nonpresidential level until the elections of November 2010. Today, the South is dominated by Republicans at both the state and presidential level. Republicans control all 22 of the other legislative bodies in the former Confederacy, and all but one in a border state. There are currently no white Democratic congressmen from the Deep South…Arkansas’ governorship finally flipped GOP in 2014 when the incumbent termed out, as did every other statewide office not previously held by the Republicans. Many analysts believe the so-called ‘Southern Strategy’ that has been employed by Republicans since the 1960s is now virtually complete, with Republicans in firm, almost total, control of political offices in the South.” (Solid South – Wikipedia)

In a state “trifecta”, one political party holds the executive (governorship), a majority in the state senate, and a majority in the state house. Every old Confederate state but Louisiana, North Carolina, and Virginia have state trifectas; the Republican Party is in control of everything, and in those three exceptions, only the executive branch is held by a Democrat.

The Solid South is solid once again. Solid Republican.

Ask yourself: In the ongoing conflict over the status of Confederate war memorials, why is it mainly people from the “Party of Lincoln”, which fought those Confederates, and white supremacists who are upset with their removal? Why are so many modern Republicans in favor of monuments to old racist Democrats? How about replacing them with the real heroes, the “good guys”, like Lincoln, Sherman, Grant, etc., all good Republicans? And why is it that today’s KKK supports the Republican Party, not the Democrats?

Conservatism: “…a political and social philosophy that promotes retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. By some definitions, conservatives have variously sought to preserve institutions including religionmonarchyparliamentary governmentproperty rights and the social hierarchy, emphasizing stability and continuity, while the more extreme elements called reactionaries oppose modernism and seek a return to ‘the way things were’.” (4)(emphasis mine) MAGA?

(1) Klux Klan – Wikipedia

(2) ibid.

(3) List of African-American officeholders during Reconstruction – Wikipedia

(4) Conservatism – Wikipedia

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