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Thread: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

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    Senior Member JerryBobCo's Avatar
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    When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    Here's a question for the political historians among us.

    When I was in school, we learned about the 'solid south'. It referred to the fact that ever since the war of northern aggression, the southern states almost always voted democrat. I suppose it had to do with the fact that Lincoln was a republican.

    Now, it seems to be just the opposite. With the possible exception of Florida, it seems that the south, including Texas, pretty much votes republican in national presidential elections. When did that change happen?

    Was it during the 60s civil rights era, with Martin Luther King and LBJ's Great Society, or did it happen later? I can remember in the 70s being told that the republican party was very small and weak in Texas, and most of our governors were democrats. I wasn't especially politically astute then, so I just didn't notice or pay attention. Now, though, the republicans definitely have the upper hand.

    I suppose I could google it, but thought it better to let someone more informed than me answer this.
    Jerry

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    Member Virginia Boy's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    I don't know when, time wise, but it was when the Demos. became so liberal.
    My Paternal Grandfather, was a tobacco farmer, very little education, ultra
    conservative,( if you don't work, you don't eat), and a staunch Democrat.
    He said he only voted for one Republician, (Eisenhower for President), in his life.
    But, I am sure that if he was alive today, he would vote Republican.

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    Senior Member Make_My_Day's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    I could be wrong, but I'll try to answer this from what I have heard over time. Southern Democrats were primarily a racist bunch (left over from the slave era), so in the '60's when the Democrat party decided to give all their support to passing legislation that the S.D. didn't like, they moved to the Republican party, because there was nowhere else to go. They were basically social conservatives anyway, so the move was not that difficult.
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    Senior Member cpj's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    Not sure. But I remember one of my history teachers talking about the "Dixiecrats". DINO's, would be a more modern term. Folks that had a D by their name, but voted more along the lines of conservatives.
    That don't confront me, as long as I get my money by next Friday.

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    Senior Member breamfisher's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    My understanding is it's pretty much around the time when Eisenhower was in office. LBJ probably forced them fully away.
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    Senior Member Eli's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    Some traditions are mind bogglingly powerful.

    I know a family, mother, father, and two sons, who are all hunters, all very hard workers, all reasonably intelligent, and all not to far removed from being hardcore racists.

    All four of them voted for Obama. Why, because their families have always voted democrat.

    If you were to lay out every single item on Obama's to do list, they'd disagree with 98% of the crap he's got on there, not to mention them calling him a dirty no good N-word all the way to the polls, but they voted for him anyway, and as far as I know are planning on voting for him again, just because that's what their family has always done.

    Sometimes I simply don't understand......CAN'T understand my fellow human beings.
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    Member Virginia Boy's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpj View Post
    Not sure. But I remember one of my history teachers talking about the "Dixiecrats". DINO's, would be a more modern term. Folks that had a D by their name, but voted more along the lines of conservatives.
    I have always heard that a Dixiecrat, was a person who would sleep with a person of another race, but would not eat with them.

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    Senior Member Teach's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    I grew up during the changeover, and it began with JFK- - - -the first cracks in the southern Democrat solidarity began with a very few protest votes against a Catholic. LBJ kicked the rebellion into high gear when he supported integration. The hardcore racists in the Democrat party would have lynched him if they could.

    BTW, the war didn't turn the south Democrat- - - -"Reconstruction" with the political abuses of the carpetbaggers accomplished that little task! The rebs were ready to get back to the business of being one country again, but 30 years of reprisals and punishment hardened their resolve to hate everything yankee forever!
    Jerry
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    Senior Member bisley's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    I think it started with Ike's first candidacy. I discussed this with my dad, when I first became interested enough to vote (Reagan's first run).

    He told me that he and his whole family and everybody he knew were staunch FDR Democrats all through the depression and WWII and for awhile after that. He even voted for Adlai Stevens (a liberal's liberal in that time ) the first time, when he ran against Ike. He just could not see himself ever voting for a Republican. He changed his mind and voted for Ike the second time, and although he would never let anyone call him a Republican, I know for a fact that he never voted for another Democrat in a national election.

    Basically, the voters didn't really change much - they just voted for the conservative minded folks who thought small government worked pretty well, without all the social experiments and cradle-to-grave government supervision of people's lives. The parties are what changed, but all of the people did not change with them.

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    Senior Member Jeeper's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    Quote Originally Posted by bisley View Post
    Basically, the voters didn't really change much - The parties are what changed, but all of the people did not change with them.
    Agreed

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    Senior Member snake284's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    It started under Kennedy. It excellerated under Johnson. When Ronald Reagan beat Carter, it got into full swing. The South is a very patriotic part of the Country. When Carter let the world push us around it enraged many southerners. Then when Ronald Reagan took over and went hardlined against many of our enemies, the South loved it. Then when fellow southerner, Bill "Slick Willy" Clinton got caught with his hand in Monica's cookie Jar, it was the last straw for many Southerners. Bush carried the South both in 2000 and 2004. I don't see a Dummycrat winning in the South in the forseeable future.
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    Senior Member robert38-55's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    Quote Originally Posted by Teach View Post
    I grew up during the changeover, and it began with JFK- - - -the first cracks in the southern Democrat solidarity began with a very few protest votes against a Catholic. LBJ kicked the rebellion into high gear when he supported integration. The hardcore racists in the Democrat party would have lynched him if they could.

    BTW, the war didn't turn the south Democrat- - - -"Reconstruction" with the political abuses of the carpetbaggers accomplished that little task! The rebs were ready to get back to the business of being one country again, but 30 years of reprisals and punishment hardened their resolve to hate everything yankee forever!
    Jerry
    Teach is correct on this. I live in NC from 1960 to 1987. My mom and Dad were Republicans, hard core, but I do remember interacting with a lot of Southern Democrates.
    "It is what it is"

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    Senior Member snake284's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    I agree Robert, Teach got it right, but I think a lot of us each got it some right. Like someone said it began under Ike. I can agree with this partailly too because it's when my dad switched. His family were Southerners and always voted for Democrats. This is in the period when Democrats began to turn into Dummycrats and it was changing slowly at first. By the 1980s the change was in full swing. Many congressmen were changing parties and the Republican party was gaining strength in Dixie. Now just look, 50-60 years later it's the Republican stronghold. Also Teach is right about why the South turned Democrat too. Many people don't remember why the Clan got started. After the war, one of my heros and my great grandfather's namesake, Nathan Bedford Forest was a very dedicated Mason. He demmitted Masonry to help form the Clan. He didn't want to tarnish the name of Masonry. Anyway, the intention of the Clan at that time was to protect the poor white Southerner from the Carpet Baggers and Scalliwags. Forest was one of 3 or 4 founders of the Clan, however when they got out of control and started raping and pillaging and killing blacks, Forest got out. This was not his intention. I hear liberals bad mouth him to this day without taking time to read their history. Actually, the real cure for liberalism is a History Book. Because if you read history you see why Liberalism won't work.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
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    Senior Member robert38-55's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    Quote Originally Posted by snake284 View Post
    I agree Robert, Teach got it right, but I think a lot of us each got it some right. Like someone said it began under Ike. I can agree with this partailly too because it's when my dad switched. His family were Southerners and always voted for Democrats. This is in the period when Democrats began to turn into Dummycrats and it was changing slowly at first. By the 1980s the change was in full swing. Many congressmen were changing parties and the Republican party was gaining strength in Dixie. Now just look, 50-60 years later it's the Republican stronghold. Also Teach is right about why the South turned Democrat too. Many people don't remember why the Clan got started. After the war, one of my heros and my great grandfather's namesake, Nathan Bedford Forest was a very dedicated Mason. He demmitted Masonry to help form the Clan. He didn't want to tarnish the name of Masonry. Anyway, the intention of the Clan at that time was to protect the poor white Southerner from the Carpet Baggers and Scalliwags. Forest was one of 3 or 4 founders of the Clan, however when they got out of control and started raping and pillaging and killing blacks, Forest got out. This was not his intention. I hear liberals bad mouth him to this day without taking time to read their history. Actually, the real cure for liberalism is a History Book. Because if you read history you see why Liberalism won't work.
    Good point Snake284 and right on about the history books. The thing about today's history books is that I feel they are distorted,and don't speak the exact truth. I doubt that there is anyone in the south or deep south who is not somewhat familiar with the name,Nathan Bedford Forest. I just feel that the history books that are being used in todays schools, donot have the whole truth and nothing but the truth written in them. Maybe the writers and publisher's of todays history books feel that if they just simply leave out something, then it will eventually go away.
    I remember as a very young lad, not old enough to understand politics,and other wordly issues, my Dad ( God rest his soul), and this was under the LBJ administration, was always ranting about Southern Democrats, this and that, Southern Bells, this and that, Southern Babtist, this and that, and on and on and on. Again, I lived in NC from 1960 to 1987 and I know for a fact, that the political demographics converted over the years from Mostly democrats to Republican. Now I haven't visited NC or the South since 1997 so I don't know what the political demographics are now.
    Last edited by robert38-55; 04-02-2012 at 01:59 PM.
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    Senior Member Dr. db's Avatar
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    I didn't leave the Democratic Party. It left me.

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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    The Dems began to really lose the south when LBJ supported the Civil Rights Act and Goldwater opposed it. LBJ won by a landslide, but Goldwater made inroads in the South, inroads that Nixon exploited with his Southern Strategy. The idea was that both parties had sure support in the north: the Dems knew that they would win the cities and the GOP knew that they would win the country. But the South was up for grabs, and the GOP certainly did grab it.

    However, in the next few decades the idea of a solid republican south will probably begin to diminish. Democrats always to well in cities, and the South is urbanizing. Democrats also do well with immigrants, and the South is getting more of those. Obama's 2008 victory in Virginia and North Carolina probably won't be repeated this year, but in coming elections those states will definitely become more competitive.

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    Senior Member Dr. db's Avatar
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    In the early 70s George H W bush was running for Senate in Texas

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    Senior Member Dr. db's Avatar
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    Against Lloyd Bentsen. Last two weeks of the campaign Bentsen basically said, "If you elect Bush you will have tow Republican Senators for the first tine since Reconstruction." It worked.

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    Senior Member rbsivley's Avatar
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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    My Mother's family were Democrats for years. She changed parties several years back. I remember Grandmother in the guest bedroom had a one picture of George Wallace on one wall and his wife Lurleen on another wall.
    Randy

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    Re: When did the solid south turn from democrat to republican?

    Southern Democrats were moraly conservative. The Democratic party shifted from representing moraly conservative rural population to a moraly liberal urban population. IMO the Republican parties lack of fiscal discipline over the last decade is showing a simalar shift, but in the fiscal sense.

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