tv Lectures in History Political Right Since the 1960s CSPAN April 6, 2018 12:59pm-2:16pm EDT
c-span.org/landmarkcases. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span created by a public service by america's cable television company and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. next on lectures in history. emory university professor joseph crespino teaches a class and explores how the south became republican. focuses on the southern strategy efforts to appeal to conservative whites and how economic growth impacted this shift.
this class is about an hour and ten minutes. >> today i'm going to be talking about the southern strategy. the republican south and the origins of the modern right. we've been talking a lot in this class about the history of the american south and it's relationship to right-wing politics and to the american right from the 19th century onto the 20th century and in recent weeks, we have been talking about in particular, both the dixy revolt of 1948 and the rise of mass resistance. with the revolt, we talked about the third-party movement in 1948 which signals for the first time in national politics, the beginning of the crack up of the solid south. the solidly democratic south
that existed since the early 19th century. and we again to see a number of tensions over issues of race and civil rights that are driving that revolt. that are leading some southern conservative southern democrats to lead the democratic party. and we've also been talking in recent weeks about massive resistance. the reaction ordinary political movement that emerged in the aftermath and following the brown decision. on segregated schools. and we looked at the links between massive resistance and a conservative movement within the republican party trying to push the republican party to the right. we ended that lecture talking about -- with that picture of george wallace and he was one of the figures who merged out of the politics of massive
resistance. so we are picking up the story there. in the early 1960s, to look and see what was going on. it's clear by the 1960s that white southerners are fleeing the national democratic party. it is not clear, however, where they're going to go. what's going to happen to them. because the republican party in the 1960s was not yet the conservative party. we saw that with the gold waterism and the gold water nomination. there are many people in the aftermath of the debok l in 1964 thinking they went too far right and should recover the moderate voters and embrace the new republicanism that dwight eisenhower represented. so it is not clear that they are going to go to the republican party in the 1960s.
all right? and yet, one of the biggest stories over the course of particularly, the second half of the 20th century, the break up of the solidly democratic south and the emergence of the solidly republican south. you see it in the slides. this is the electoral map. you can see the solid democratic south going for the democratic candidate. and compare to the map in 2000. this is representative of the kinds of lektorial map-- electo. that is the big story. that the silently democratic south becoming the solidly republican south. how did it happen here in the 20th century that it went from the solid south in favor of the
republicans? that's the question for today. and the term oftentimes referred to this strategy of republicans to recruit conservative white southern democrats to the g.o. p. we refer to that as the southern strategy of the modern republican party. and what's important to remember about the southern strategy is people have been arguing about it senince the term was introduced. republicans and democrats were arguing about what the southern strategy was and how do you explain the growth of the republican party in the american south? okay? so what i want to do today is lay out for you kind of two different broad interpretive strains that we can talk about in talking about the rise of the modern republican party in the
south. and a good way to ask this question. to lay out these two -- two different possibilities is to ask the question that in building the republican party in the south, which george was most important? that's my question. which george was most important? was it george wallace? or george h.w. bush? one rooted around the politics of rage. as one biographers of wallace talked about and the other rooted around a politics of region going through enormous changes in the political economy. it's moving from being what franklin roosevelt described as the nation's number one problem
and then the most dynamic area of growth in the entire united states. okay? so let's sketch those out and how you would tell the story of george wallace and george h.w. bush as the most important figure in republican party growth. let's start with wallace. we left off talking about wallace in this picture, in 1963. standing in the schoolhouse door of the university of alabama, blocking or attempting not really blocking at all. he didn't block at all. but making this political show of standing up to the forces of the federal government and objecting to the enrollment of two african americanen students in the university of alabama. what is interesting about wallace and there are many interesting things about him. it is important to know about wallace's backgrounds.
and one of the films, who is doing the film on wallace? it is a great film that will tie in closely to what we are talking today. because one of the things that people, forget about wallace. he started off his political career as economic progressive and moderate on the issue of race in alabama. that is -- everybody in alabama was a strict segregation nis in the 1940s and '50s. and he believed in economic development and kind of had a progressive economic platform. wallace ran for governor in 1958 and ran against candidate john paterson and lost the election. he was convinced he lost because john paterson had got ton the right of him on race issues.
and presented himself as the most strident, strongest segregation nis in the race. this is the heart of massive resistance. everybody is running to the right in southern politics because of the supreme court's decision and school desegregation. wallace vowed -- this is one of the great falk stories about this. wallace vowing in the aftermath of the 1958 race that he would never be out-seg'd or sometime it is used by using the n word. he is elected in 1962 and he is elected and given an inaugural address and pledges segregation,
today, tomorrow and forever. and in the schoolhouse door he sets himself up as the foremost southern segregationist and then does something surprising. he is not content to be the foremost southern segregationist and his advisers believe that the same sentiments among the same resentment fuelling were felt by white people throughout the united states and tests that in the 1964 democratic primaries. he goes to wisconsin, and indiana, and runs and what is surprising is the amount of support he receives in white working-class neighborhoods in cities like milwaukee, and gary indiana and on the eastern shore of maryland. the support is in the 30s to low
40s in some cases. it shows how this phenomenon of massive massive resistance and resentment of the modern sieve l rights movement plays outside of the south. and this would be the politics that wallace charts out in '64 and follows it again in '68. he ran four times. one of the biographers calls him the biggest loser in political history. meaning, that he was an important loser. he lost, but he forged this coalition of white conservative southerners and working class whites outside of the south and forged a kind of politics of rage. that drove conservative white southerners out of the
democratic party, a democratic party that was increasingly liberal and committed to a civil rights agenda. so we see this, and i'm going to put up outside links scenes from wallace's campaign rallies in 1968 and '72. they received a lot of attention in the past year because of the similarities between the trump rallies in 2016 and wallace rallies in 1968. people turning out. protesters showing up. fights between wallace's supporters and the protesters. wallace from the stage just like trump did in 2016, stoking the anger of his supporters against the protesters there and you have incidence of violence breakout t. is erie how similar the scenes were in 2016 to 1968
in wallace's rallies. so he has a -- antiwar protesters, liberal bureaucrats, pointy headed college professors like me and all the like. and he showed two conservative politicians nationally that it had a national scope and it wasn't just a southern thing. that this thing had national legs. and this was the politics of resentment that conservative republican politicians would follow in the 1970s and '80s. so we already talked about gold water in '64 dancing around issues of law and order. that famous film that was produced and never shown. we talk about how ronald reagan in 1966 being e be elected of governor of california playing
around with issues of law and orderer and using the free speech protesters at berkeley and using the specter of watts with the african american community. and being lawless and threatening law and orderer. but the person who is driving that politics in america in the '60s and '70s is george wallace. and conservatives are paying attention. that's one story about how the republican -- how -- why conservative southerners go join the republican party. because george wallace showed the politics of rage and gave the play book to the republican party which they used to build the the party in the south. one problem with the
interpretation is the inconvenient fact that george wallace, himself, never joined the republican party. he was a democrat his entire political career. in fact, after the 1970s, he had this kind of quota to his career and announced his early segregation of politics and publicly apologized to civil rights leaders like john louis. miaculpa type thing and one re-election in the 1980s with the support of black alabama voters. he embraced the kind of economic populist agenda that he had begun his political career with in the 1940s and 1950s.
there's a story, "setting the woods on fire." it's a great documentary. it's a title from a hank william's song. "setting the woods on fire." hank williams is a native alabamaian. it is worth watching and it is long but it is a great documentary that captures this remarkable political life that george wallace lead. so the problem is that george wallace never became a republican. so it is odd to say that he was the most important figure of building the party but he was never a member of the story. so there's got to be something going on. another way you can tell the story is to say no, it is not george wallace, but it is a guy like this.
george h.w. bush. this is a picture of the bush, young bush family when they have just moved to west texas. george bush, was a member of a kind of a new england royalty. from connecticut, his father a republican. senator, united states senate from the state of connecticut. prescott bush. a hero of world war ii. where he was shot down as a fighter pilot. he returned from the war and went to yale. played baseball. graduated and set out to the -- to the south to kind of make a life for himself and pursue a career in business. that's what he did. moved to west texas and got involved in the oil industry and founded a company and made money in the oil business. in the 1950s and '60s.
bush was part of an important migration taking place in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. white collar, college educated professionals coming to the south from the north to the midwest. an important fact is this, the 1960s, the decade of the 1960s, it was the first decade in the 20th century in which more people moved to the states of the south than moved out of it. that had been the problem throughout the 20th century. that the south was impoverished and no opportunity particularly if you are african american. so you see those great migrations of white and black southerns out of the south. for black southerns moving to the north and expanding in the
1940s and '50s. leaving the region to try to pursue greater economic opportunities outside of the region because the south was so impoverished and because there was the lack of opportunity. that's changing in the 1960s. and changing and you begin to see the growth of what people -- what people would coin a term that republican pollster would coin to describe the south as the sun belt. the sun belt was a term -- going back to a man named kevin philips a pollster for richard nixon. a strategist pointing out the southern states for nixon's political future. referred to these states in the sun belt of the united states. so the states of the former
confederacy, right? combined with growth states like texas and southern california. that are booming in the second half of the 20th century, okay? and in 1940, what do you think is the largest state in the united states in 1940? what do you think? >> new york. >> new york is the largest state. by 1980, the largest state is california. right? so california is growing and of course, we talked about this in lisa's book. we read about this that what's happening in orange county. the kind of migration there of people to orange county. building suburbanen communities and getting jobs there. that kind of phenomenon happening in orange county also happening in metropolitan dallas. in the metroplex and atlanta
where cob county is growing and all of the suburban communities of the northern ark growing tremendously. why are they growing? why is the sun belt growing? what was driving it? well, a lot of it is a migration of industry from what can be called the rust belt. the northeast to the midwest to the south and southwest. this was an intentional strategy of southern politicians in concert with conservative businessmen who we talk about a little bit. who are organizing against the new deal in the 1930s and beginning to win battles politically by the late 1640s. and the congress passes the taft heartily act. labor laws passed, during the
new deal to provide for businesses greater protections against labor unions. so allows the act in 1947, allows for states to pass right to work laws. right to work laws were laws that were passed, that said you didn't -- you couldn't require workers to sign up with unions within a particular industry. and who were the first states to pass? states in the south and southwest eagerly trying to recruit industries from the north and midwest to build their economies. so they would talk about the positive business climate of the south. here in alabama, workers aren't going to have to be shoving sidewalks to get to work in january and february. but they also meant by positive business climate, that was a metaphor talking about the fact that hey, you should move your industry to alabama because we have right to work laws and officials who are going to make
sure you know don't have to deal with labor unions in alabama and georgia and mississippi. and that's one of the things growing in the sun belt. a migration of industry. another thing that is growing in the sun belt would be the defense industry. the same way it is growing -- that orange county, california is growing because of the defense factories and defense industries that are locating there. a lot of those defense industries locating in the south as well. that's the story of -- and one of the things that is important about the south and why is the south getting so much of these defense industry dollars? partly, because of the legacy of one party rule in the south. the south you only had a democr
democratic party and what it meant was people getting elected to congress and to the house of representatives in the south. they were getting elected as democrats and stay there for a long time. under the seniorty rules of the -- controlling where the defense dollars were spent. spent in the midst of the cold war. the military build up to combat the cold war. millions and millions and millions of dollars spent. and the a lot of that money is flowing to the south. and it's flowing to places like huntsville and the houston space center and space center in florida and military bases throughout the south. if you are driving to south georgia and military bases there. so the south is growing and the sun belt is growing because of
industry relocating and military build ups during the cold war that the south is benefitting from. those federal dollars are helping build the modern south and it's also benefitting from certain technological innovations. one of the big ones we take for granted is the technology of air-conditioning. it makes a big difference. who wants to live in the south? or north florida without air-conditioning? it is miserable, right? but, you build houses with air-conditioning and all of a sudden you can move to florida or your grandparents can move there and you can start retirement communities in florida, south carolina and texas and you can get a lot of people who want to move there and live there. air-conditioning does help build a sun belt. it helps build cities like phoenix.
people moving to these warm-weather climates that are more tolerable. but are desirable. when you can get nice weather throughout all the year and you don't have the messy winters and you can be comfortable in your home. technology like air-conditioning is important in the growth of the south and sun belt. and the sun belt plays a big story, major story in the conservative tilt. the conservative tilt. we see that in the book, how in orange county, they are skewing republican. that is true in texas, georgia, and in north carolina. and you can really talk about -- if you reflect on it, you can talk about a period in american political history aspect the sun
bett belt era. from 1964 to 2004, every american president elected came from the state of the sun belt, 1964, lyndon johnson, nixon, gerald ford but he doesn't count. he was not elected president and he is from michigan. he wasn't elected vice president. so he doesn't count. but jimmy carter, '76. ro ro ranld reagan. -- and it ends in 2008. obama in 2008 is the first president in 40 years who has not been a candidate from the
sun belt. and so -- i mean, it's not a humg deal but interesting that shows how the flow and the migration of population and capital from the north and the midwest to the south and the southwest is transforming american politics in the last decades of the 20th century, okay? and so with that, you have the potential for a young hard working, young hard working man like george h.w. bush to come to texas and carve out his political career. and that's what he does. a lot of the white collar education educational professionals comes and starting businesses and sees how the state legislatures and local politics are dominated by
these old boys, country old boy network existing in the democratic party. the democratic party in the south are dominated by the county courthouse networks oftentimes corrupt. and you have local political boss who dole out out pay tra naj and a lot of them come in and embrace the party. it is political reform. what the south needs is a two-party system. they need a competitive two-party system to break up the monopoly hold that the old courthouse ring-rung holds on the politics of georgia. and georgia was particularly problematic because they have a bizarre way of counting votes. the disproportionally gave power to rural areas over metropolitan so a handful of county in
southwest georgia and between them had a couple thousand of people would have the same voting power of full ton county with hundreds of thousands of people. that's the situation with the young reformers. so george bush comes to texas and he has a successful business career and he wants to do like his father did and get involved in politics. so he runs for a u.s. senate seat in 1964, against a liberal democrat c democratic. gold water ran a hard-edged come pain against yar borough and afterwards did soul searching about why he lost. and he realized he ran a
campaign he was not proud of. he was too hard right and conspiracy minded and he was doing the kinds of things that kind of the far right republicans were doing. he had a famously, a meeting with his minister and he decided to chart out a moderate kind of politics in 1966 when he ran again. this time for a congressional seat in a district out of houston where he moved his family and he won. and he went to washington and really kind of charted a moderate republican politics. famously voted in 1968 in the aftermath of martin luther king junior assassination and voted for a open housing law that received democratic and republican support. continued to work his way up through party ranks through nationally-appointed positions.
so in sum, if you talk about george h.w. bush as a key em blahmatic figure, you are talking about the story of the republican rise in the south is the story of the transformation of the south's political economy. the nation's number one economic problem in the south becomes the most dynamic area in the country of economic growth. and that the argument is that the republican party is benefitting from you know, a growing suburban, middle class and cities like atlanta or charlotte, dallas, you know, suburban middle class that identifies with the mainstream, fiscal and social conservativism of the republican party. that's the argument that says
george h.w. bush is the most important figure in the growth of the republican party. but, just like the george wallace story has holes in it, the george h.w. bush has problems with it too. and there's a lot it leaves out. one of the things it leaves out is it leaves out how difficult it was in the 1960s and 1970s for these clean-cut republican businessmen to actually get elected in the south and win office. they come down. they have a lot of money. it's a big priority of the national republican party to build a party in the south. there's a lot of support and talk about a growing, you know, elephants in the cotton field. the growing, the transformation of southern politics. the truth is republicans are not
winning a lot of offices. in the 1960s there's not a lot and why was that? why was it hard for republicans to win in the south? i think a lot of the it has to do with complicate the intersections of race and class within southern politics. one of the things -- one of the common knocks on the republican party in the south as it is growing in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. it was the country club party. it was a party of the business elite that couldn't connect with kind of, the mainstream of kind of of a region that was still disproportionately poor and working class. they couldn't connect essentially with those kind of george wallace voters. the white southerners who were
moved by george wallace's visceral appeals. and they had a very hard time defeating the democratic candidates emerging out of the dramatic changes in southern politic that is came about because of the civil rights movement. in 1964, the civil rights act and importantly for politics, the 1965 voting rights act which is breinging on line, thousands and thousands of african american voters in states in the deep south. who brought about the changes? the national democratic party and they are identifying with the democratic party. and what you see emerge in southern politics in the '60s and '70s. it is oftentimes said, one of the way, when people talk about the southern strategy, one of the famous quotes, it is not clear it happened because it is
a great story. it is too good to check. the story about lyndon johnson. that he signed the 1964 civil rights act and goes to his aide and said bill, i believe we just signed away the republican for the generation. because they embraced civil rights that it was going to open up the flood gates of -- that's how we tell the story. it happened because the democrats supported civil rights in '64 and boom, the republican party took off in the region. but it's not true. republicans sta republicans still had a hard time winning elections. even in a slight '60s and '70s, it didn't start to shift until the 1980s and the reason is because you had a republican party in the south that was seen as elite and disconnected from
the interest of the white working-class voters in the south. it is also true because you had the emergence of a new class of politicians in the south. the new south democrats. these were -- you know, white southern democrats who -- who had kind of learned the lessons of the civil rights era and pursuing a kind of moderate/democratic politics where they were winning the new black voters coming on line because of the voting rights act changes and they were also winning, you know, more progressive southerners, white southerners and working class voters. you can name a lot of these. two of the best ones would be jimmy carter and bill clinton who took the moderate democrat politics and used it in georgia
and wrote it to the white house. putting together a coalition of modern white voters and african american voters in the '60s and '70s. so they did well. republicans had a hard time beating them. so for republican candidates to win in the 1970s and '80s this is how the issues of race and class are connected. for republican candidates to beat jimmy carter and bill clinton and sam nunn, you have to put together a whole lot of white voters. you're not going to get the black vote. you are not getting that black vote. they are voting democratic and the gold water wing in the republican party is isolated.
you have 70% to 80% of the white vote to defeat a democratic candidates. to do that you have to touch people where they are sensitive. you have to get a large white vote, you have to feed your white voters that red meat polarizing issues of culture and religi religion and race. and that's what a lot of southern republicans -- that's the formula they need to succeed and to win into that's the formula that many of them follow over the course of the '80s and that's where you see the connection between candidates who, yes, they are building a party based out of the fundamental changes in the political economy of the region, but they're also having to embrace the politics of rage to actually get it done on election
day in many cases. now, one of the emblemmattic moments when people talk about the southern strategy, a editorialist, this kind of right-wing politics of racial -- that donald trump charted in 2016 is part of a 50-year campaign in the republican party going back to stoking racial issues. when they want to talk in shorthand about the southern strt, the moment they will always talk about or most often is 1980, when ronald reagan went to the county fair. let's pull this open a little bit. in the county, it is in east central mississippi and it is an annual summer fair. a county fair, a lot of rural areas have county fairs.
for a long long time, before 1980, the fair emerged as the place in mississippi politics where politicians go to give a speech. dating back to the 19th century, they would go to the fair and they have cabins they built around the racetrack. i grew up in a county close to that county and there was a distant cousin of minute running for a judgeship and one summer, i was 10 or 11 years old and he took us in the car and took us to the county and handing out flyers for him. hi he was giving a speech. i grew up going to that fair. this is a picture of ronald reagan in 1980 and a picture i had in the first book i published. when i show it had to my mother,
my mother looked at the picture and said that is betty sue so and so and picked out people in the crowd that she knew. it was a big political event every year, the fair. it is also the place where in june of 1964, three civil rights workers were murdered. james, michael and andrew goodman and their deaths and the hunt for the missing civil rights workers that took over the course of 1964, freedom summer when hundreds of civil rights volunteers tried to register and lead schools. it made international knews and their bodies discovered in the summer in a dam where they were
murdered. and murdered by clansman in the county. so reagan, so he wins the nomination in 1980 and the convention is in detroit. and the first campaign stop was at the fair. you read the speech, right? you read the speech in preparation for class today. you know that in that speech he gave he talked about that he's a supporter of states rights. and will states rights we know what it was about. we know it because it goes back to the secession itself when alexander steven said we are succeeding because we want to preserve the corner stone of white supreme si, it is inpolitic. it is impolitic to talk about
that and the resentment about segregation and civil rights in 1980. so you talk about state's rights. so that's the language of the segregationist to talk about the state's rights. reagan goes and reporters who are following him, this was not a standard speech. this was a speech given for this crowd. one of the great finds when i was writing this first book. one of the great finds, it's a history work, i'm going to get nerdy here. history work can be fun. you can go into the archives and you find stuff nobody found. it was controversial when rag began was there and people read the speech and i went to the archives of the republican matter in mississippi in mississippi state university and read the memos written by the state officials.
one thing i learn yesterday that one of the officials in the reagan campaign that helped arrange the event was paul manafort a southern rep for reagan. the local officials community indicating with national officials in the g.o.p., months before reagan won. they didn't know who was going to win. they said, the national office said where should our candidate come if they are going to campaign to mississippi and the local officials said you have to come to the county fair, it is the biggest political event and that's where our candidate can attract the george wallace-inclined voters. that was the actual phrase. and you'll see different people and paul writing in the "new york times" quoting the voters
but never footnotes him but imthe one who found it. i'm telling you, let be known. what does a republican campaign official mean by george wallace-inclined voters in 1980? well, it's that thing we've been talking b. the politics of rage. the politics of white resenten meant. and it is also a politic of class. that george wallace-inclined voters is the guy who drives the pick-up truck and never voted for a republican in his life. he's not a member of the country club. it is a racial class -- that george wallace tapped and that republicans need to tap to put together the numbers of white voters that they need to defeat democratic candidates.
that's what ronald reagan had to do in 1980. the first time since you had the republican governments in mississippi after the civil war. and it's not an easy -- now reagan, if i put up the 1980 electoral map, you will see red. he won in a landslide. it wasn't clear that reagan, as we said, a divorced hollywood actor is going to be able to win states in the south that he needs if he's going to beat this southern governor, jimmy carter. so going to a place like the county, allows the republican candidate, reagan to connect with those voters. and you see how republicans in that 1980 election are mobilizing not just kind of white working-class voters in
the south but the old ddixicrat. thought the republican party was too moderate. so one of the famous things that happens in 1980 in that campaign is that there's an event in jackson, mississippi, where the young congressman, trent introduces the main speaker rs speaking on behalf of the reagan campaign and who was it, strom thurmond. he sbichs twitches the allegian. the strongest to join in 1964 and he is there in jackson, mississippi speaking on behalf
of reagan. and trent lot, the young congressman says and introduces strom thurmond's if the country just voted. we voted for strom thurmond's in 1968 and if others would have voted, we wouldn't have these problems. he said that in 1980. trent lot said it again in 2002 in the u.s. capitol when he was giving a speech about strom thurmond's at his 100th birthday party. he lived to be 100. it caused an uproar. what are you talking about senator lot? all of these problems we've been having. what does that mean? what problems?
and it lead to lot stepping down. he was the minority leader soon to be the majority leader of the u.s. senate there in 2002. okay. so these issues of the southern strategy, they are closely connected to these older, to this older history that we've been talking about. now, just in conclusion, i want to offer one -- one thought or reflection on the southern strategy. and understanding right-wing politics today. it's important to remember that the republican/southern strategy, as important as it was building the party in the south, there were always limits to it. there were always republican politicians always had to be careful in trying to stoke too much the politics of rage. the politics of george wallace,
because they were fearful, if you pushed too far to the right, you're going to lose the moderate voters. the suburban moderate moderat r voters and one of the fascinating things about reagan in nashoba county in 1980, and a thing that people forget is that reagan went to nashoba county as the first campaign stop. but you know where he was the very next day? he had left nashoba county and he went to harlem to meet with the officials from the urban league to talk about kind of the conservative strategies for urban renewal, right? those were twinned and carefully paired to go to nashoba county to talk about state rights and then go to to harlem to talk about suburban rights. so you did not want to lose the
kind of the white suburban moderate voters across the country. this is true of reagan's politics of race throughout his career. it is that he would end up taking kind of the strong stances against strong conservative stances against the certain rifl rights issues, but also, oftentimes reverting to the center on the a lot of those issues. what it reminds you of importantly is that there was a always the sense of balance, right? that you cannot move too far to the right, and you can't go too far down the road without losing t the center. and it is offering an important point of reflection on the republican politics today, does that still hold true? u does it still hold true? and the question today of the e era of trumpism is whether donald trump has fundamentally changed the political calculus
of the modern republican party. and i mean, you know, trump did something that is unheard of in a general election. in american politics, one of the things that makes american politics exceptional is this iron rule that the candidates run to the left in a primary, and the republican candidates run to the right in the primary and in the general election, you have to come back to the center and put together the biggest tent that you can, because that is how you win election, right? but trump did not do that. he governed from the right wing, and we have people like steve bannon talking about trumpism in sup r port iing candidates to r right-wing candidacies, right? one thing that happened last night that reflects on these surprising results and maybe not surprising, but interesting results of virginia that the republican candidate who embraced trump loses by more
than people thought. so it remaineds to be seen if the new politics of trump is a new and ominous development in american history of whether or will it revert back to the older model? will it revert back to the model that helps sway in 1908 and ronald reagan clearly followed that you cannot push too far to the right without losing to the center or are we in a situation today where there is just no center left in american politics. all right. th that's all i got. you can applaud. they don't normally do that, but since other people are watching, make it look like you enjoyed it. so let's, you have questions, and normally, we have questions, and i know that you just interrupt me with, and then i will answer, but i know that we should take some time to write
down questions if you have thoughts or observations from the reading that we did that you would like to offer. yeah. >> yeah, so a with question from the lecture and you talked about how the economic growth in the south made the u sun belt more conservative, and i am curious if you made the attraction first before the aftfluence got there? >> well, they were recruiting professionals coming down and so it a little bit of the chicken and the egg debate, so what is happening in the argument of the george h.w. path to the the moderate republican south is that the region becoming more fluent, right, because the south is transforming in the decades, and so we forget how isolated politically and economically the south was as late as the 1950s,
and so, so you do have the growth of a middle-class pop u population that the one is naturally identifying with the republican party that is oriented around business and around kind of the social c conservative values and that kind of thing. so i think that, you know, it is attract iing certainly people w are interested in business and interested in growing the economy and they tend to skew this way. yeah, ethan, right here. sdwli know th >> i know that george wallace and strom thurman had started out conservative on their views, but later in their lives were they later different?
>> well, it is interesting, because george wallace, and he began as the person of the left economically. he embraces a kind of politics of reaction, and then he reverts to that and he apologizes, a thnd this is important, and this is one of the things that is striking about southern politics is who apologizes, and who are the southern segregationists who apologize and who don't, and is that because they are apologizing are nice er people? no, it all has to do with the politics of the region. democrats, former segregation ist democrats apologize and have that come to jesus moment, because they need the black voters to win the democratic primaries and they need to show how they have change and how they used to be this way and they are not anymore, but on the other hand, republican conservatives who were former
conservatives like strom thurman, you don't apologize. one, because you are not going after the black voters burk two, when you apologize, it is almost to your right wing voters and the right wing white voters, it looks like you are just fawning over black voter, and it looks like you are just, you are just trying to please them. it can potentially alienate your right wing conservative base, but in the republican party, and so famously strom thurman never had a mea culpa or a moment where he said, i was a segregationist back then and i was wrong and i see the error of my ways and now i'm a different person. that never happens for strom thurman and it never happens for other is segregationist republicans who make that change. yeah. >> when did the hispanic latino votes start to become relevant in the sun belt and how did both of the major parties react to
that? >> well, this is a big story, and in some ways the story of why the sun belt era ends in 2008. it ends because of the way that the hispanic vote is complicating politics in states like california and in texas and in florida in particular. so we have talked about how the politics of orange county looks a lot different now today than it did when lisa mcgivers was writing about it for the '50s she was writing about it. so it is not playing nout the deep south although there is a deep growing population in the states like south georgia and mississippi and alabama and we
have not fully felt the political impact of that yet, but it is certainly making, you know, the states like florida and states like texas and certainly california much more competitive for the democratic party than they would be, than they had been or for liberal parties than they had been historically, yeah. yea yeah? >> you framed reagan's win in 1980 and the next 20 years as southern strategy, but how much in exactly 1980 was the win a byproduct of the southern strategy and not as a i grew up and believed that the carter bungling of the teheran crisis and the oil crisis that came with it. >> i mean, you don't win the american presidential elections with one tool, right? you have to have a lot of tools in the tool box. there were a lot of things going on that -- i would not sit here
to tell you that the southern strategy is why reagan won the 1980 election, but i would say that the appearance of nashoba county was a carefully crafted campaign stop to win a deep south state like mississippi, which he desperately needed. if a republican candidate was going to win in 1908 gai80 agai democrat, they needed the southern states, because they were conservative states that had voted democratic and not happy with the democratic party. so it is important in a more narrow lenses of what republican candidates were needed to accomplish the electoral votes in these southern states, but when you are thinking of why he ne needs to win against jimmy carter more broadly, there is other factors that are describing it. the great troubles of iran with the hostage crisis that plagues him throughout the election year, and decisions that are by
the fed chairman and paul volcker of tighten iing the mon supply that leads into the high interest rates and any candidate or incumbent running in those economic conditions would have had a huge hill to climb, right, at the time. that is right here. >> so my question is we see like the south become red, but with what were the factors that pushed the north to shift traditional republicans to favoring the democratic party? >> well, i mean, there is a lot of different things going on, and so, the states of the northeast, and the midwest that are losing republican support are, you know, they are increasingly committed to a kind of politics surrounding them
around labor unions, and labor union support in those industrial areas na remained, and that is a big course of piece of democratic support in the northern areas, and also, a kind of the growing kind of educated class, and a lot of what were university educated class that are in the states of the northeast and the midwest that are identifying increasingly with the democratic party. those republican areas, and those like ohio was a swing state. a lot of them remain swing states and a lot of the states, ohio, michigan, and you know, they remain very competitive between the republican and the democratic party, and complicated set of politics and so it is not the case that the
democrats and the republicans are going one way and everybody else is going republican to democr democrat, so it is different story in different parts of the country, and the truth is that, you know, that we enter or we talk about the rise of the modern conservatism, but in many cases that can overstate the degree to which it is just a much more kind of contentious political environment, and not that the conservatism is dominant, but a lot of the states are closely-contested swing state s s in the period se the 1980s. now, and then over here. >> would you say that reagan set the precedent or for the strategy, and the balance between the term of moderate or conservative, and something that republic republicans kept grappling with. >> i think that, i would not say that reagan is the first, and i point to rigan because this is
oftentimes, you know, in a incident that will be discussed in shorthand in relation to the sou southern strategy. if you want to talk about the southern strategy talk about reagan and nashoba county. but these are things that goldwater and nixon would deal with and the tension of how far to go to the right, and when to lose the center, and you will certainly see it with other republican candidates. that is the r ststory throughoue republican presidential campaigning. george h.w. bush famously used his southern campaign adviser e lee atwater from south carolina, and pioneers the use of the willie horton ad which is a, you know e, this kind of the racially coded way of appealing to this sense that democrats are soft on law and order. that they coddle criminals, and who are the criminals? they are african-american criminals, you are right, so
that is an infamous moment of the politics that is going on. you can see it in other examples that play out, you know, with george w. bush and with john mccain as well. what is so striking and unusual and unprecedented about donald trump is the way that he embraces the politics of the right with no concern about losing moderate voters. and the real test is whether there is a moderate republican vote that trump can lose. will they abbandon trump? and you will see a lot of the jeff flake, and you will see corker from tennessee denouncing trump, but they are all resign ing, right. they are not running again. so where is the republican more centrist vote in the republican party that is going to be the challenge from trump politically? we have not seen it. that is what is unprecedented. georgi georgia? >> thank you. in the nashoba county fair
speech, reagan makes reference of his own welfare reform, and can you tell us about that welfare reform and what it was and how that abstract left wing principle fits into the conservative ideals. >> well, it was not left wing principles, but it was to cut down on the money that the government paid out, and so welfare reform in that is sense of pulling back the purse, because welfare has gotten out of hand, and it is befitting the un undeserving and taxing the productive people and giving the money no the unproductive people which is a losing proposition, and that is the conservative, you know kind of the appeal that -- and we saw that in regan's 1964 speech, right? a time to choose. he was already talking about
doll dollars and cents and taxes and that kind of thing. as governor, he becomes an important voice in national politics about reform. part of the racially are polarizing playbook that you will see the conservative politicians using is conjuring up the undeserving poor and conjuring the image of the coined with the welfare queen, and you know, the woman who lives off of the fat of the land, and who lives off of the government dole, and who could work, but doesn't need to work and doesn't need to get married because of the perverse federal laws that would cut her check if she were to be married, and so this is part of the language and the discourse about welfare and how welfare is a polarizing issue for, in american politics.
reagan and other conservative candidates were using that. >> yeah. >> i have another question about the welfare, because in his speech, he says that part of the problem with welfare is that there are people who are on the welfare system simply because they prefer to be there, but then also goes on to say that part of the problem is the bur kra is it bur -- bureaucracy is trapping the tpeople so that they will b dependent on them, or part of keeping it alive so that it can be taken away. >> so that is a great point. and what a republican like reagan is saying that the earlier generation would have
said it is the fault of the recipient, because they are lazy and they don't want to the work and take the check. but increasingly the argument is that the recipient themselves are the victim. they are the victim of big government, and the problem is big government, and it is not the recipient, but it is the problem of the bureaucracy that is going to have to justify itself, and that traps people, and these cycles of dependence, and so that is what is going to be reagan does so successfully, and if you want to know in shorthand, that is a great example of how reagan, and what is the difference of ronltd reagan and george wallace is that george wallace's politics the of rage make the enemy liberals and make them black people, and make the enemy the racial other, right? that is the politics of george wallace and the great political
innovation of ronald reagan and one of the things about ronald reagan was to take the political ideas and policies when said in a southern accent like strom thurman sound like blatant prejudicial policies, and in the very humorous kind of the off-handed way could stel nation on conservatism, right? and one tof the distinctions is that it does not make the other the enemy, but it makes big government the problem, and the government is in the problem of welfare is the way it is designed to trap the poor people within the mist. and so that is part of the rhetorical strategy, and rhetorical differentiation that is important in thinking about how a conservative republican like reagan succeeds, and this is a great distinction. any other questions? okay. thank you so much.
we will see you on monday. and tonight, it is american history tv in primetime on the life and legacy of national review founder william f. buckley jr., and how he helped shape modern conservatism with the national review sshl re vti adviser richard brozell and american history tv in primetime beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on c-span3. also tonight, book tv on c-span 2 with recently published books on politics. former white house official and carter cabinet member will exam democracy in our damaged democracy. and also, kayleigh mcenany in the grass roots of the
republican party. >> and then from the tucson festival of books, tweets on the topic. after that, syracuse professor danielle thompson on her book "opting out of congress." and former u.s. trade negotiator and ira shapiro on his book "broken." book tv all in primetime this week on c-span 2. the house and the senate are out this week. the house returns tuesday and in the senate the lawmakers reconvene monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern. they will work on judicial and executive appointments and swear in susie hide smith who is chosen by a caucus. you can watch that live on c-span 2. sunday on c-span's q &a
physicist mishucocu. >> if you dig deep under our feet right now, you will see the bones of the 99.9% who no longer walk the surface of the earth. wret different we are different. we can see the future and we can predict and plot and plan and so perhaps we will evade the conundrum and maybe survive, but we need an insurance policy. that is why this book is different are the other books. the other books are talking about the steps, but what is the gold, what is the pot of gold out there. >> q&a sunday night at 8:00 p.m. on c-span. next week, facebook ceo mark zuckerberg is going to be testifying before house and senate committees on facebook
data privacy and use. in a joint hearing before the senate judiciary and commerce comm committees and on wednesday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3 before the house and energy committee. watch live coverage can on c-span3 and cspan.org and listen free with the c-span radio app. c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and the today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c., and around the country. c-span is brought to you by the cable and satellite provider. next on american history tv, the national review institute looks at the life and legacy of
william f. buckley jr., the tv personal tty and author. he is often seen with his te televised debates and other pbs shows like "firing line." this is just over 50 minutes. good afternoon and welcome. thank you all so much for coming. you all can filter in on the seats here, and we have a few on the sides here and no need to stand in the back. welcome. i'm lindsay craig and i'm president of the national review institute, and it is my pleasure to welcome you to the main event in the national review institute series of celebrating the life and legacy of william buckley jr., the founder of the conservative movement. today marks ten years since bill passed away. it is an opportunity