The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
The Yellow Dog Democrat - an evolving breed
On February 27, I recalled the era of the Solid South, and the comment  that
Mississippi (and one or two other states) would rather vote for a monkey than a Republican...
I had overlooked the story of the 1928 presidential election, when the solidity of the South was tested for the first time . Al Smith was, notoriously, Catholic and Wet, where large parts of the South were Protestant and Dry.
Senator Tom Heflin (J Thomas Heflin) of Alabama chose to support Herbert Hoover . Some of his constituents, sticking with Smith, said that they would vote for a yellow dog if he ran on the Democratic ticket .
From that, I would assume that a yellow dog Democrat was a politician of the worst type elected for his regularity alone.
My impression is that, these days, it merely means a fervently loyal Democratic supporter. Mostly, the definition appears online on sites selling Yellow Dog Democrat buttons!
Worthwhile URLs unearthed in the ploughing:
A Time piece of July 9 1928 on the Democratic Convention - which I'm pretty sure I've linked before, but is well worth doing so again. It mentions Heflin's Pope-baiting tirades and says sent his voting instructions to Alabama delegates (don't vote for Smith) by wire from a tour of speaking engagements with the Ku Klux Klan!
The Autobiography of James Still - Heflin was a neighbour. An AL history page; and an essay on the history of Alabama politics which says that Heflin's
contribution in four terms in the U.S. Senate was limited to introducing the resolution creating Mother's Day, railed against the dark conspiracy of Romanists and foreigners intent on sabotaging the country.
A report of an election meeting in Atlanta from the Constitution of September 27 1928, in which Franklin Roosevelt, then in his first campaign for Governor of New York, hacked away at Heflin. And a piece on the 1901 Alabama Constitution, in which Heflin had a part.
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