December 22, 2014
What, Me Racist?

This from Richard Hofstadter’s 1965 book, The Paranoid Style in American Politics:

Goldwater’s departure from the Republican pattern was compounded by his position on civil rights. One of the oldest, though hardly the most efficacious, of the traditions of many conservatives in the North — and even to a degree in the South as well — has been a certain persistent sympathy with the Negro and a disposition to help him in moderate ways to relieve his distress. This tradition goes back to the Federalist party; it was continued by the Whig gentry; it infused the early Republican party. By adopting “the Southern strategy,” the Goldwater men abandoned this inheritance. They committed themselves not merely to a drive for a core of Southern states in the electoral college but to a strategic counterpart in the North which required the search for racist votes. They thought they saw a good issue in the white backlash, which they could indirectly exploit by talking of violence in the streets, crime, juvenile delinquency, and the dangers faced by our mothers and daughters.
I had forgotten that it was Goldwater in 1964 and not Nixon in 1968 who first embraced and named the racist strategy that ever since has been at the heart of Republican electoral strategy.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at December 22, 2014 07:42 PM
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Great find!

Posted by: Racer_X on December 29, 2014 3:43 AM
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