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Author Topic: Difference between Southern Dems and Republicans?  (Read 850 times)
MillennialMAModerate
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« on: August 12, 2017, 04:34:08 pm »
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Following up on buritobr'a post regarding Democrats in the South.

I've read up quite a bit on politics in the pst hundred years and I've found a lot of times during the administrations of especially Truman, JFK and LBJ that the Democrats had OVERWHELMING majorities in both houses and there were a lot of times that intiatives those Democrat Presidents wanted to get passed were stopped in their tracks by "Southern Democrats" (Not just racial issues either).

In reading up on "Southern Dems" in the past 100 years but especially from 45-80, they were very conservative in nature. So if that's the case then what separated them from Republicans of the time?

Can someone explain this for me?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 04:04:28 am by MillennialMAModerate »Logged


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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 11:25:43 pm »
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Conservative Republicans were generally isolationist on foreign policy and more open to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but not so much for rural areas.

Dixiecrats were unabashed hawks and tended to be hostile to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but very open to ones that modernized rural areas that had pretty much no electricity up to that point.
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2017, 02:01:59 am »
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Since the south was a one party situation, that meant all interests were voiced through the Democratic party. Those interests were of course labor, business and agriculture primarily. Suppressed turnout meant that only the elites really had any political power or influence as the turnout was low in many states like Mississippi. It varies by state since some states had populist traditions that flowed into a more pro-New Deal stance, where in others that was not the case. A good example to look at was Texas, where as late as the early 1960's, you had the Progressive and Conservative business factions warring with each other and JFK's trip to Dallas was part of a multi-city swing to both mend fences and to boost his standing in the state.

As time went on, the business wing would start to drift towards voting like their counterparts in the rest of the country, starting with Eisenhower and generational politics played a big role as you got more removed from people who personally witnessed the Civil War and its aftermath. Anyone born prior to the 1930's would have probably grown up hearing someone raving about Yankee Republicans burning and decimating the South. Afterwards that begins to fade, tribalist opposition to the GOP goes with it and soon practical policy concerns on issues of business, civil rights and other issues take far greater priority than legacy voting.
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2017, 04:49:05 am »
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The Dixiecrats feared that FDR packing the Supreme Court would lead to a pro-Civil Rights SCOTUS and they didn't want a Northerner like FDR to have that much power because of lingering North-South distrust from the Civil War.

The Dixiecrats and the rest of the party were united by their opposition to the interests of big business, wall street, robber barons, etc.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 05:47:51 am by darklordoftech »Logged
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2017, 01:51:09 am »
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Conservative Republicans were generally isolationist on foreign policy and more open to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but not so much for rural areas.

Dixiecrats were unabashed hawks and tended to be hostile to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but very open to ones that modernized rural areas that had pretty much no electricity up to that point.

The Dixiecrats being hawks when it came to WWII is ironic considering who's been in the news for defending the Robert E. Lee statue. By the way, what states did the isolationists tend to come from?
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2017, 04:14:49 am »
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Conservative Republicans were generally isolationist on foreign policy and more open to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but not so much for rural areas.

Dixiecrats were unabashed hawks and tended to be hostile to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but very open to ones that modernized rural areas that had pretty much no electricity up to that point.

I would add some other areas where Southern Dixiecrats were very supportive of reforms and New Deal: transportation, agriculture (including irrigation), well - an education (for whites only, of course) too. That's why many of them were rated relatively high by liberal organisations in 1st phase of New Deal (1933-36). There were very few really economically conservative Democrats (George Terrell and his like) in Congress then. But on social and racial issues many Southern Democrats were to the right of even very conservative Republicans. And when FDR programs went further then simple "salvation from Depression" - southern opposition increased markedly.
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2017, 10:00:36 am »
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Conservative Republicans were generally isolationist on foreign policy and more open to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but not so much for rural areas.

Dixiecrats were unabashed hawks and tended to be hostile to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but very open to ones that modernized rural areas that had pretty much no electricity up to that point.

I would add some other areas where Southern Dixiecrats were very supportive of reforms and New Deal: transportation, agriculture (including irrigation), well - an education (for whites only, of course) too. That's why many of them were rated relatively high by liberal organisations in 1st phase of New Deal (1933-36). There were very few really economically conservative Democrats (George Terrell and his like) in Congress then. But on social and racial issues many Southern Democrats were to the right of even very conservative Republicans. And when FDR programs went further then simple "salvation from Depression" - southern opposition increased markedly.
And did southerners just adopt conservative economic views that Republicans held as they started switching affiliation? That's one part of the story I never really understood. The south would elect moderate-to-liberal senators up until the 1980s, such as Howell Heflin and John Sparkman.
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2017, 07:38:55 pm »
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Conservative Republicans were generally isolationist on foreign policy and more open to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but not so much for rural areas.

Dixiecrats were unabashed hawks and tended to be hostile to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but very open to ones that modernized rural areas that had pretty much no electricity up to that point.

The Dixiecrats being hawks when it came to WWII is ironic considering who's been in the news for defending the Robert E. Lee statue. By the way, what states did the isolationists tend to come from?

Not ironic at the time. Many of them still rang badly from stories about the Civil War and saw themselves as avengers.

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« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2017, 01:55:34 am »
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Conservative Republicans were generally isolationist on foreign policy and more open to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but not so much for rural areas.

Dixiecrats were unabashed hawks and tended to be hostile to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but very open to ones that modernized rural areas that had pretty much no electricity up to that point.

I would add some other areas where Southern Dixiecrats were very supportive of reforms and New Deal: transportation, agriculture (including irrigation), well - an education (for whites only, of course) too. That's why many of them were rated relatively high by liberal organisations in 1st phase of New Deal (1933-36). There were very few really economically conservative Democrats (George Terrell and his like) in Congress then. But on social and racial issues many Southern Democrats were to the right of even very conservative Republicans. And when FDR programs went further then simple "salvation from Depression" - southern opposition increased markedly.
And did southerners just adopt conservative economic views that Republicans held as they started switching affiliation? That's one part of the story I never really understood. The south would elect moderate-to-liberal senators up until the 1980s, such as Howell Heflin and John Sparkman.

Well, partially, IMHO.. But - not all and not always. Generally even now former Democratic state legislators, who switched to Republican party, are part of "moderate wing" of Republican caucus. That tendency is clearly seen in ACU's ratings of state legislators - former Democrats are, frequently, too much "porkers" for ACU. Of course - there are exceptions, but not that many: most of the really (including economy) conservative Southern Democrats (which existed in 1960th and 70th, and, in some cases, were more conservative then mostly urban Southern Republicans of those days) are dead or long retired. Though i can name few cases, where Democratic legislators were as conservative as Republicans even before switching, and continue to do so (Holley and Dial in Alabama, Fannin - in Louisiana, Smith, Bounds, Reed and some other - in Mississippi)
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 03:17:03 am by smoltchanov »Logged

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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2017, 02:09:02 am »
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Conservative Republicans were generally isolationist on foreign policy and more open to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but not so much for rural areas.

Dixiecrats were unabashed hawks and tended to be hostile to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but very open to ones that modernized rural areas that had pretty much no electricity up to that point.

The Dixiecrats being hawks when it came to WWII is ironic considering who's been in the news for defending the Robert E. Lee statue. By the way, what states did the isolationists tend to come from?

Not ironic at the time. Many of them still rang badly from stories about the Civil War and saw themselves as avengers.


Are you saying that the Dixiecrats saw the fight against Hitler as a continuation of the Confederacy's fight against the Union?
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« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2017, 04:07:48 am »
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By the way, what states did the isolationists tend to come from?

Generally, most of them were in the Midwest. It had a large German population, which was somewhat hostile to war with Germany in both World Wars. On top of that, there was also something of a Jeffersonian tradition of opposition to standing Armies, etc that existed in the portions of the GOP that came from Free Soil Democrats and the like though all the varying groups that poured into the GOP when it was formed gets rather confusing. There were a large number of Jeffersonian/Jacksonian types who formed a significant portion of the GOP, and especially what became known as its conservative wing in the early 20th century.
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2017, 05:38:00 pm »
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Since the south was a one party situation, that meant all interests were voiced through the Democratic party. Those interests were of course labor, business and agriculture primarily. Suppressed turnout meant that only the elites really had any political power or influence as the turnout was low in many states like Mississippi. It varies by state since some states had populist traditions that flowed into a more pro-New Deal stance, where in others that was not the case. A good example to look at was Texas, where as late as the early 1960's, you had the Progressive and Conservative business factions warring with each other and JFK's trip to Dallas was part of a multi-city swing to both mend fences and to boost his standing in the state.

As time went on, the business wing would start to drift towards voting like their counterparts in the rest of the country, starting with Eisenhower and generational politics played a big role as you got more removed from people who personally witnessed the Civil War and its aftermath. Anyone born prior to the 1930's would have probably grown up hearing someone raving about Yankee Republicans burning and decimating the South. Afterwards that begins to fade, tribalist opposition to the GOP goes with it and soon practical policy concerns on issues of business, civil rights and other issues take far greater priority than legacy voting.

Texas is a fascinating example. Between Coke Stevenson, Allan Shivers, John Connally, Lyndon Johnson, and Ralph Yarborough, there was a wise variety. Shivers, I believe, was conservative on every issue but civil rights.
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2017, 06:14:06 am »
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Since the south was a one party situation, that meant all interests were voiced through the Democratic party. Those interests were of course labor, business and agriculture primarily. Suppressed turnout meant that only the elites really had any political power or influence as the turnout was low in many states like Mississippi. It varies by state since some states had populist traditions that flowed into a more pro-New Deal stance, where in others that was not the case. A good example to look at was Texas, where as late as the early 1960's, you had the Progressive and Conservative business factions warring with each other and JFK's trip to Dallas was part of a multi-city swing to both mend fences and to boost his standing in the state.

As time went on, the business wing would start to drift towards voting like their counterparts in the rest of the country, starting with Eisenhower and generational politics played a big role as you got more removed from people who personally witnessed the Civil War and its aftermath. Anyone born prior to the 1930's would have probably grown up hearing someone raving about Yankee Republicans burning and decimating the South. Afterwards that begins to fade, tribalist opposition to the GOP goes with it and soon practical policy concerns on issues of business, civil rights and other issues take far greater priority than legacy voting.

Texas is a fascinating example. Between Coke Stevenson, Allan Shivers, John Connally, Lyndon Johnson, and Ralph Yarborough, there was a wise variety. Shivers, I believe, was conservative on every issue but civil rights.

And wasn't especially liberal even on them.  You could add Wilbert "Pappy" O'Daniel or congressman George B. Terrell (who, basically, was anti-New Dealer even in 1933-34, when even almost all conservative Democrats ardously supported it) or such Democratic governor candidates as J. Evetts Haley (1956) or Edwin A. Walker (1962) to your list as well... Texas didn't produced so many racists as, say, Mississippi, but basically not because people there were more "enlightened", but - because there were considerably less (percentagewise) Blacks in the state...
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2017, 09:04:56 am »
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When just as many politicians who are center-left oppose civil rights as politicians who are center-right (as I would argue was the case in the first half of the Twentieth Century) and vise versa, where do some of you get off labeling support for civil rights as "liberal"?!
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2017, 01:04:15 pm »
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When just as many politicians who are center-left oppose civil rights as politicians who are center-right (as I would argue was the case in the first half of the Twentieth Century) and vise versa, where do some of you get off labeling support for civil rights as "liberal"?!

Well, you are mostly correct, IMHO. I meant that Shievers wasn't especially "progressive" on Civil Rights issue too. But generally voting on Civil Rights Issues until late 60th was mostly regional, not ideological: vast majority of Southerners, including many economic liberals - against (mostly because their white voters were against too, and few blacks already voted), big majority of Northern congressmen (including majority of very conservative Republicans) - for, the last may be because there were few Blacks in their districts, so the problem wasn't acute for them (in the South it was - 2 North Carolina congressmen, who refused to sigh "Southern manifest" and were almost immediately replaced by segregationists, come to mind immediately)
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2017, 08:37:42 pm »
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When just as many politicians who are center-left oppose civil rights as politicians who are center-right (as I would argue was the case in the first half of the Twentieth Century) and vise versa, where do some of you get off labeling support for civil rights as "liberal"?!
It depends what your definition of "liberal" is. If it's anyone who's center-left or further to the left, you would be correct.
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2017, 01:08:11 am »
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When just as many politicians who are center-left oppose civil rights as politicians who are center-right (as I would argue was the case in the first half of the Twentieth Century) and vise versa, where do some of you get off labeling support for civil rights as "liberal"?!
It depends what your definition of "liberal" is. If it's anyone who's center-left or further to the left, you would be correct.

There were a lot of economic populists in Southern states before and right after WWII for example, almost all of them were called "liberals" (sometimes - even "progressives") in their time. AFAIK - none of them were racially liberal. After all - one of the most ardent New Dealers from the South was Theodore Bilbo.... Right now people usually presuppose racial liberalism as a neccesssary condition for person to be called one, but it wasn't always so. The same with other characteristics: i am reasonably sure that majority of FDR coalition in Congress was pro-life and never thought about something so "alien" as "gay, lesbian and transgender person's rights".... This notion was almost (mostly, at least) economically-based
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2017, 02:10:34 am »
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Conservative Republicans were generally isolationist on foreign policy and more open to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but not so much for rural areas.

Dixiecrats were unabashed hawks and tended to be hostile to New Deal measures that were good for urban areas, but very open to ones that modernized rural areas that had pretty much no electricity up to that point.

The Dixiecrats being hawks when it came to WWII is ironic considering who's been in the news for defending the Robert E. Lee statue. By the way, what states did the isolationists tend to come from?

Not ironic at the time. Many of them still rang badly from stories about the Civil War and saw themselves as avengers.


Are you saying that the Dixiecrats saw the fight against Hitler as a continuation of the Confederacy's fight against the Union?

No, they saw the South as having a strong martial heritage and having a role as the vanguard of the American military. The South had been intent on putting itself as the center of the American military against foreign threats since the Spanish-American War and had put explicit callbacks to their military heritage in the Civil War every time. The ideological justification was the South's martial culture as a warrior people, that they'd stand up to the Spaniards/Germans/whatever the enemy of the day is just like Lee and Longstreet and Beauregard did in grandpa's day.

The association of the South with the US military was extremely strong and continued for decades after WWII.

Also, you don't see many Southerners, even Klansmen types in the 1940s sympathizing with Nazi Germany...even pre-war, overt admiration for Hitler's Reich was limited to mostly German-American communities and, outside of Texas, you weren't going to find many German-Americans in the South. German supremacy didn't really align well with Southern celebration of Anglo-Saxon supremacy.
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« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2017, 09:14:34 pm »
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When just as many politicians who are center-left oppose civil rights as politicians who are center-right (as I would argue was the case in the first half of the Twentieth Century) and vise versa, where do some of you get off labeling support for civil rights as "liberal"?!
I was referring to the term in a historical context, as that of Madison or Napoleon. Typically, if I called Shivers a staunch Southern conservative, that would imply opposition to civil rights, at least to the level of that of LBJ in the 1940s and 1950s, which Shivers was not by any means.
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