The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, November 08, 2003

GOP Southern Strategy: do they really prefer the Confederate flag to killing affirmative action?

Howard Dean's little local difficulty about those guys in their pickup trucks - or NASCAR dads as the breed is also confusingly termed by aficionados - has naturally drawn attention to the continuing success of the Republican Southern Strategy. The GOP victories in the governor's races in Mississippi and Kentucky last week has also been something of a reminder.

Now, in terms of general outlook and style, the present-day GOP may fit a certain tranche of Southern society like a glove: as the old GOP of Eastern bankers, the Taft Republicans in the late 40s and early 50s or the somewhat more progressive Eisenhower Republicans - who initiated what became the Civil Rights Act of 1957 against stiff resistance from the Party of Treason in the Senate, don't forget - never could.

But, on the issue of race, have Southern voters got much for their loyalty to the GOP? When the current Administration had the opportunity to help kill off the diversity ground for affirmative action in the Michigan University cases [1], it choked, despatching a disgraceful amicus brief which gave (In)Justice O'Connor the cover to do her worst.

Why? Instead of shoring up the base won by the Southern Strategy, the GOP seem set on trying to increase their share of the black vote. As I detailed in my piece on January 21 , the GOP share of the black vote (in presidential elections) is so small that even a large percentage increase won by, say, kow-towing on affirmative action, could be wiped out by a small percentage decrease in the white vote angered at the tactic.

Is there any evidence that the AA kow-tow has actually won black votes for the GOP? Perhaps Southern whites (as evidenced, say, by voting in the MS and KY governor's elections) don't realise that the Bush Administration has failed them on AA?

Not for the first time, US politics leave me puzzled.

  1. Much discussed here - search on grutter.

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