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Author Topic: 1964 Election in the South: The Southern White Vote?  (Read 1090 times)
Calthrina950
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« on: December 28, 2017, 03:21:11 pm »

As is implied in the title. Several months ago, I had posted a thread, trying to determine the breakdown of the white vote by state in the 1964 presidential election. That is, I was trying to find out exactly which states saw Goldwater winning the white vote, and which states saw Johnson winning it. However, I didn't get any real, definitive answers. In that time since, I found this document (http://www.crmvet.org/docs/6411_src_election.pdf), which appears to have been written by the Southern Regional Council shortly after the election. According to that document, Johnson would not have carried Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and (probably) North Carolina without black voters. Is this true? Looking at the county maps in some of these states, especially TN, AR, and NC, I would have figured that the white vote went to Johnson. How did those states' demographics look at the time?
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 04:58:58 pm »

As is implied in the title. Several months ago, I had posted a thread, trying to determine the breakdown of the white vote by state in the 1964 presidential election. That is, I was trying to find out exactly which states saw Goldwater winning the white vote, and which states saw Johnson winning it. However, I didn't get any real, definitive answers. In that time since, I found this document (http://www.crmvet.org/docs/6411_src_election.pdf), which appears to have been written by the Southern Regional Council shortly after the election. According to that document, Johnson would not have carried Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and (probably) North Carolina without black voters. Is this true? Looking at the county maps in some of these states, especially TN, AR, and NC, I would have figured that the white vote went to Johnson. How did those states' demographics look at the time?
I'm pretty sure that Johnson narrowly lost the white vote in Florida, because he only won it by less than 3%, but I would have thought he would've won the white vote in every other Southern state he won - especially Arkansas, Tennessee  and North Carolina, which he won by double digits.
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 06:09:45 pm »

I still don't understand how Johnson only got 13% in Mississippi.  Any Democrat is guaranteed a floor of around 42% without winning more than 10% of whites.
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 06:24:44 pm »

I still don't understand how Johnson only got 13% in Mississippi.  Any Democrat is guaranteed a floor of around 42% without winning more than 10% of whites.

That was because African-Americans were still largely barred from voting at that time. From what I understand, white voters go about 88% Republican or so in that state, even today.
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2017, 06:25:02 pm »

I still don't understand how Johnson only got 13% in Mississippi.  Any Democrat is guaranteed a floor of around 42% without winning more than 10% of whites.
Blacks were essentially disenfranchised in MS (and for the most part in AL) until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (and even then it wasn't until the late 1970s that Blacks voted at near normal rates). Johnson probably won around 10% of the White vote, ranging from the 34.5% he won in Itawamba County (which was just 6.8% Black) to < 5% in many Black belt counties were Blacks were disenfranchised. In Jefferson County for example Johnson won 5% and 4 years later, Humphrey won 63%.
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Calthrina950
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2017, 06:25:49 pm »

As is implied in the title. Several months ago, I had posted a thread, trying to determine the breakdown of the white vote by state in the 1964 presidential election. That is, I was trying to find out exactly which states saw Goldwater winning the white vote, and which states saw Johnson winning it. However, I didn't get any real, definitive answers. In that time since, I found this document (http://www.crmvet.org/docs/6411_src_election.pdf), which appears to have been written by the Southern Regional Council shortly after the election. According to that document, Johnson would not have carried Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and (probably) North Carolina without black voters. Is this true? Looking at the county maps in some of these states, especially TN, AR, and NC, I would have figured that the white vote went to Johnson. How did those states' demographics look at the time?
I'm pretty sure that Johnson narrowly lost the white vote in Florida, because he only won it by less than 3%, but I would have thought he would've won the white vote in every other Southern state he won - especially Arkansas, Tennessee  and North Carolina, which he won by double digits.

That is what I would have thought as well, and on my prior thread, someone had told me that Johnson would still have won Virginia even without black voters.
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2017, 06:31:03 pm »

I recall reading that the only Southern state he won the white vote was his native Texas.
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2017, 06:36:16 pm »

As is implied in the title. Several months ago, I had posted a thread, trying to determine the breakdown of the white vote by state in the 1964 presidential election. That is, I was trying to find out exactly which states saw Goldwater winning the white vote, and which states saw Johnson winning it. However, I didn't get any real, definitive answers. In that time since, I found this document (http://www.crmvet.org/docs/6411_src_election.pdf), which appears to have been written by the Southern Regional Council shortly after the election. According to that document, Johnson would not have carried Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and (probably) North Carolina without black voters. Is this true? Looking at the county maps in some of these states, especially TN, AR, and NC, I would have figured that the white vote went to Johnson. How did those states' demographics look at the time?
I'm pretty sure that Johnson narrowly lost the white vote in Florida, because he only won it by less than 3%, but I would have thought he would've won the white vote in every other Southern state he won - especially Arkansas, Tennessee  and North Carolina, which he won by double digits.

That is what I would have thought as well, and on my prior thread, someone had told me that Johnson would still have won Virginia even without white voters.
Looking at the county map and knowing the demographics of 1960's Virginia, I'm quite sure Johnson won the white vote, although possibly very narrowly.
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2017, 06:37:05 pm »

I recall reading that the only Southern state he won the white vote was his native Texas.
I'm certain he also won it in Oklahoma as well. and almost definitely in Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, too.
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2017, 06:39:37 pm »

He won the white vote in every state he won except Florida and Virginia.
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2017, 06:44:57 pm »

He won the white vote in every state he won except Florida and Virginia.
He even won the white vote in Idaho, which he won by less than 2%?
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2017, 06:45:28 pm »

I recall reading that the only Southern state he won the white vote was his native Texas.
I'm certain he also won it in Oklahoma as well. and almost definitely in Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, too.


Nope. "A solid black vote had saved Johnson from defeat in the border and rim states of Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina."
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2017, 06:51:31 pm »

I recall reading that the only Southern state he won the white vote was his native Texas.
I'm certain he also won it in Oklahoma as well. and almost definitely in Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, too.


Nope. "A solid black vote had saved Johnson from defeat in the border and rim states of Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina."
I'd have to see actual numbers, not just the words of an author.
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2017, 07:05:45 pm »

He won the white vote in every state he won except Florida and Virginia.
He even won the white vote in Idaho, which he won by less than 2%?

I was only talking about the South in that post.

I recall reading that the only Southern state he won the white vote was his native Texas.
I'm certain he also won it in Oklahoma as well. and almost definitely in Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, too.


Nope. "A solid black vote had saved Johnson from defeat in the border and rim states of Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina."

I seriously doubt it considering how few blacks could actually vote in the hyper-disenfranchisement system that existed.
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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2017, 07:10:17 pm »

He won the white vote in every state he won except Florida and Virginia.
He even won the white vote in Idaho, which he won by less than 2%?

I was only talking about the South in that post.

I recall reading that the only Southern state he won the white vote was his native Texas.
I'm certain he also won it in Oklahoma as well. and almost definitely in Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, too.


Nope. "A solid black vote had saved Johnson from defeat in the border and rim states of Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina."

I seriously doubt it considering how few blacks could actually vote in the hyper-disenfranchisement system that existed.

This is why I don't trust the words of an author, I need to see actual data.
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« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2017, 07:39:32 pm »

I still don't understand how Johnson only got 13% in Mississippi.  Any Democrat is guaranteed a floor of around 42% without winning more than 10% of whites.

Mississippi's White vote has fluctuated back and forth though, Carter probably almost won it in 1976 and 1980 and Clinton would have won a solid chunk in 1992.
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« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2017, 10:30:24 pm »

I still don't understand how Johnson only got 13% in Mississippi.  Any Democrat is guaranteed a floor of around 42% without winning more than 10% of whites.

Mississippi's White vote has fluctuated back and forth though, Carter probably almost won it in 1976 and 1980 and Clinton would have won a solid chunk in 1992.

Given how close Mississippi was in 1976 and 1980, it's doubtful Carter even won a quarter of whites there in either year.
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« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2017, 10:41:45 pm »

I still don't understand how Johnson only got 13% in Mississippi.  Any Democrat is guaranteed a floor of around 42% without winning more than 10% of whites.

Mississippi's White vote has fluctuated back and forth though, Carter probably almost won it in 1976 and 1980 and Clinton would have won a solid chunk in 1992.

Given how close Mississippi was in 1976 and 1980, it's doubtful Carter even won a quarter of whites there in either year.
According to exit polls, Clinton won 24% of MS whites in 1996, so Carter probably won at least 30% in 1976 and 1980.
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« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2017, 12:08:27 am »

I still don't understand how Johnson only got 13% in Mississippi.  Any Democrat is guaranteed a floor of around 42% without winning more than 10% of whites.

The black vote was severely repressed.  Think about Mississippi voting today if the electorate was almost all white.  The results would be similar.

I still don't understand how Johnson only got 13% in Mississippi.  Any Democrat is guaranteed a floor of around 42% without winning more than 10% of whites.

Mississippi's White vote has fluctuated back and forth though, Carter probably almost won it in 1976 and 1980 and Clinton would have won a solid chunk in 1992.

But blacks were voting in much greater numbers by 1976 and 1980.  Ford almost won Mississippi and Reagan actually won it.  Maybe Carter got something like 35% of the white vote but I wouldnít call that ďalmost winningĒ. 

Anyway, itís hard to know to how much of the white vote Johnson carried in the Southern states he won in part because itís hard to find out the black share of the electorate.  This was pre-Voting Rights Act.  I donít think the Jim Criw voter suppression was quite as brutal in the border and rim South as it was in the Deep South, so there were blacks voting, but the black vote was still probably smaller in comparison to later.  I doubt Johnson carried whites in Florida.  The others (minus Texas) were all probably very close.

1976 was well after the Voting Rights Act and I had a thread sometime back about Carter and the Southern white vote.  People tended to agree with my conclusion that Ford beat Carter among whites in every ex-Confederate state except Georgia, Arkansas, and Tennessee.  Data was also found stating that Ford carried the Southern white vote outright 52-46.

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« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2018, 01:00:25 am »

I just read nearly all of Kevin Phillip's "Emerging Republican Majority", which I had not yet had the chance to read.

In describing the 1964 election, Phillip's states that because Goldwater made a mad dash for the Dixiecrats, which were basically black belt fiscal conservatives who had long formed the dominant core of the Democratic Party in the South due to not only black but poor white disenfranchisement, that Mountain based Republicans, long the sole holdout for the party in the region rebelled and Goldwater lost a crap ton of votes, counties and turnout in heavily Republican places like East Tennessee/Western NC, that a normal Republican would not have lost.

The core base of what Phillips describes as "Dixiecrat" is basically a racist, fiscally conservative middle class southerner in the Deep South. They resided in the black belt or in the cities and were very race and class conscious. They formed the core of Thurmond's base in 1948 and represented the bulk of Goldwater's Southern Support in the 1964, while poorer whites in less diverse areas of the Deep South remained largely loyal to the Democrats of the New and Fair Deals because of class (some rebelled in 1964, but many stayed loyal until 1968 when they formed the core base that voted for Wallace, by which point a lot of the upscale white areas that voted for Thurmond and Goldwater were Republican enough that they voted for Nixon allowing him to win TN, VA etc when the Mountain vote normalized).

To the point of the racial and class consciousness at work, the black belt whites were the most loyal in 1928, while it was the poor up country whites joining with people of similar economic standing in the mountains to vote for Hoover, because of anti-catholic bigotry. I was not aware of this dichotomy between the dissent in 1928 versus 1948, before reading this book, but it makes sense since the presence of the black population, ingrained hostility towards what was seen as "the party of blacks".  In 1928 that was clearly the Republican Party still, while 1948 with twenty years of post-war Civil War whites dying off (an element Phillips doesn't consider) and both parties unreliable on the race issue, led to the first dissent by upper class whites from the Democrats since the days of the Whigs, when said group formed the contingent of "state's rights Whigs". Meanwhile the Southerners who benefited from the New Deal, poor upcountry whites who rebelled over Catholicism in 1928 (less so in 1960 surprisingly), became the base of the New Democrats in the South and largely stuck with them, or returned to them with Jimmy Carter and many with Bill Clinton (after which many of them had died or were dying off rapidly) .

While strides were made, the black belt whites of the outer south remained Democratic much longer, largely because they were ingrained in partisan warfare with Mountain Republicans who often got 30% or more of the statewide vote compared to the Deep South were Republicans were not a threat. Meanwhile, Mountain Republicans being ingrained in partisan warfare with bourgeoisie black belt whites (who had long dominated the dominant Democratic State Party establishments by this point) loathed the idea of a Republican fawning over said group and rebelled or stayed home. Mountain Republicans were also more isolationist and thus didn't fancy Goldwater's foreign policy either. Goldwater also suffered greatly with many voters because of his positions on Social Security (Florida) and Agriculture (it is aid that his farm policies decided NC).

That is why Goldwater collapsed in the Outer South and won the deep south where pre-VRA, those higher end Dixiecrats were still the dominant voting base. Goldwater cut too narrow of a conservative base in the South, while a "normal Republican for the time", who wasn't viewed as a hawk and wasn't seen as thirsting too much for Plantation Owners and didn't seem to threaten Social Security and Agricultural policies, would thus be able to unite a white conservative majority and dominate the South, which basically describes Richard Nixon and the people today call the  "1968 Southern Strategy".

Ironically the book refers to Goldwater's campaign as "the Southern Strategy" and stresses its short comings and need to be rejected while still moving in the direction of "conservatism".
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« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2018, 01:07:28 am »

Mississippi is much more poorer and while disenfranchisement was at its highest, the state's poorer whites were still more powerful as witnessed by that success of Theodore Bilbo and his war with the Pat Harrison and others, who represented more of that upscale Black belt demographic.

The reason for the uniformity of the white vote in Mississippi, compared to some other state is because this state more than any other witnessed polarization along racial lines. While some outer South states were indeed more tolerant of blacks and black voting (relatively speaking), the deeper south and the higher the African American population percentage was, the more militantly racist and repressive both the conservative and populist wings of the Democratic part were. Mississippi took all of this to the absolute extreme to the point that Goldwater basically won both economic groups without exception, hence the 87% and Mississippi had the highest rate of disenfranchisement.

This thought process is not new, for instance the same logic applied pre-Civil War. The larger the African-American percentage, the greater the demand for expansion of slavery into the territories and the greater the repression of speech, press and assembly, out of fear of a slave revolt.
 
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« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2018, 02:57:49 pm »

I just read nearly all of Kevin Phillip's "Emerging Republican Majority", which I had not yet had the chance to read.

In describing the 1964 election, Phillip's states that because Goldwater made a mad dash for the Dixiecrats, which were basically black belt fiscal conservatives who had long formed the dominant core of the Democratic Party in the South due to not only black but poor white disenfranchisement, that Mountain based Republicans, long the sole holdout for the party in the region rebelled and Goldwater lost a crap ton of votes, counties and turnout in heavily Republican places like East Tennessee/Western NC, that a normal Republican would not have lost.

The core base of what Phillips describes as "Dixiecrat" is basically a racist, fiscally conservative middle class southerner in the Deep South. They resided in the black belt or in the cities and were very race and class conscious. They formed the core of Thurmond's base in 1948 and represented the bulk of Goldwater's Southern Support in the 1964, while poorer whites in less diverse areas of the Deep South remained largely loyal to the Democrats of the New and Fair Deals because of class (some rebelled in 1964, but many stayed loyal until 1968 when they formed the core base that voted for Wallace, by which point a lot of the upscale white areas that voted for Thurmond and Goldwater were Republican enough that they voted for Nixon allowing him to win TN, VA etc when the Mountain vote normalized).

To the point of the racial and class consciousness at work, the black belt whites were the most loyal in 1928, while it was the poor up country whites joining with people of similar economic standing in the mountains to vote for Hoover, because of anti-catholic bigotry. I was not aware of this dichotomy between the dissent in 1928 versus 1948, before reading this book, but it makes sense since the presence of the black population, ingrained hostility towards what was seen as "the party of blacks".  In 1928 that was clearly the Republican Party still, while 1948 with twenty years of poorer Civil War whites dying off (an element Phillips doesn't consider) and both parties unreliable on the race issue, led to the first dissent by upper class whites from the Democrats since the days of the Whigs, when said group formed the contingent of "state's rights Whigs". Meanwhile the Southerners who benefited from the New Deal, poor upcountry whites who rebelled over Catholicism in 1928 (less so in 1960 surprisingly), became the base of the New Democrats in the South and largely stuck with them, or returned to them with Jimmy Carter and many with Bill Clinton (after which many of them had died or were dying off rapidly) .

While strides were made, the black belt whites of the outer south remained Democratic much longer, largely because they were ingrained in partisan warfare with Mountain Republicans who often got 30% or more of the statewide vote compared to the Deep South were Republicans were not a threat. Meanwhile, Mountain Republicans being ingrained in partisan warfare with bourgeoisie black belt whites (who had long dominated the dominant Democratic State Party establishments by this point) loathed the idea of a Republican fawning over said group and rebelled or stayed home. Mountain Republicans were also more isolationist and thus didn't fancy Goldwater's foreign policy either. Goldwater also suffered greatly with many voters because of his positions on Social Security (Florida) and Agriculture (it is aid that his farm policies decided NC).

That is why Goldwater collapsed in the Outer South and won the deep south where pre-VRA, those higher end Dixiecrats were still the dominant voting base. Goldwater cut too narrow of a conservative base in the South, while a "normal Republican for the time", who wasn't viewed as a hawk and wasn't seen as thirsting too much for Plantation Owners and didn't seem to threaten Social Security and Agricultural policies, would thus be able to unite a white conservative majority and dominate the South, which basically describes Richard Nixon and the people today call the  "1968 Southern Strategy".

Ironically the book refers to Goldwater's campaign as "the Southern Strategy" and stresses its short comings and need to be rejected while still moving in the direction of "conservatism".

This is an interesting analysis. Did the book say anything about which Southern states saw the white vote go to Goldwater, and vice versa (of the ones that Johnson won)?
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« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2018, 04:05:02 pm »

I think the fact that the election happened post-CRA but pre-VRA is critical here. While obviously black Southerners fared the worst by far under pre-VRA conditions, among white Southerners the elite Dixiecrats who controlled Southern politics (and Congressional Committees) to a ridiculously corrupt and authoritarian degree would have felt the most threatened by much of JFK and LBJís domestic agenda in 1963-1964 - not just civil rights legislation, though that was the predominant factor for them ofc.

When that was combined with a growing urban-suburban white middle class, itís easy to see how the still near-absolute electoral power wielded by the Dixiecratic elite could intersect with the Southern/Sun Belt regional base and targeting of an aggressively hard-Right Republican candidate and campaign that also opposed the Great Society - civil rights legislation included. Populist white LBJ loyalists didnít stand a chance in the Deep South of that year.
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« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2018, 04:55:27 pm »

One other thing I would add is that the Encyclopśdia Britannica online article about the 1964 presidential election states that Johnson's margin of victory in Tennessee and Florida, and in "other states", was provided by black voters. So, there is three sources (the SRC document I posted earlier, Judgment Days, also posted here, and the Britannica) which say that without black voters, Johnson would have lost those other Confederate states he won besides Texas.
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« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2018, 12:51:27 am »

I still don't understand how Johnson only got 13% in Mississippi.  Any Democrat is guaranteed a floor of around 42% without winning more than 10% of whites.
Blacks were essentially disenfranchised in MS (and for the most part in AL) until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (and even then it wasn't until the late 1970s that Blacks voted at near normal rates). Johnson probably won around 10% of the White vote, ranging from the 34.5% he won in Itawamba County (which was just 6.8% Black) to < 5% in many Black belt counties were Blacks were disenfranchised. In Jefferson County for example Johnson won 5% and 4 years later, Humphrey won 63%.

The Charts from "The Emerging Republican Majority":

Mississippi                   % of Pop 1960        % of Reg Voters 1964
Jefferson Country           68%                           0%
Clairborne                       70%                           1%
Holmes                           65%                            0%

By State (1964)
Alabama    23%
Arkansas   49.3%
Florida       63.7%
Georgia     44%
Louisiana   32%
Mississippi   7%
NC              46.8%
SC              38.8%
TN              69.4%
TX              57.7%
VA              45.7%

I would say African-Americans were critical to LBJ in every state he won save for states were the population was too small to account for the margin of victory.

The best way to think about the black belt counties is that of a wealthy white elite dominating counties. You have counties with maybe 50,000 blacks of voting age, 30,000 whites of voting age casting only 5,000 white votes. Levels of disenfranchisement that reached 80% to 90% of all voters.

That is how Republicans could win the PV during the Solid South era. SC would go 90% Dem, but cast very few votes relative to its population, so it could be countered by a few extra percent in PA, NY and ILL.
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