The Emerging Republican Majority (The James Madison Library in American Politics)
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One of the most important and controversial books in modern American politics, The Emerging Republican Majority (1969) explained how Richard Nixon won the White House in 1968--and why the Republicans would go on to dominate presidential politics for the next quarter century. Rightly or wrongly, the book has widely been seen as a blueprint for how Republicans, using the so-called Southern Strategy, could build a durable winning coalition in presidential elections. Certainly, Nixon's election marked the end of a "New Deal Democratic hegemony" and the beginning of a conservative realignment encompassing historically Democratic voters from the South and the Florida-to-California "Sun Belt," in the book's enduring coinage. In accounting for that shift, Kevin Phillips showed how two decades and more of social and political changes had created enormous opportunities for a resurgent conservative Republican Party. For this new edition, Phillips has written a preface describing his view of the book, its reception, and how its analysis was borne out in subsequent elections.
A work whose legacy and influence are still fiercely debated, The Emerging Republican Majority is essential reading for anyone interested in American politics or history.
Oklahoma, where steady GOP gains reflected a changing intra-state balance of power. During the Nineteen-Fifties, few states swam in a Republican tide comparable to that of Oklahoma. Whereas Dewey had won only 37 per cent of the vote in 1948, Eisenhower won 55 per cent in 1952 and 1956, and Nixon garnered 59 per cent in 1960. Much of this improvement rested in the growth of conservative urban boom towns like Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Whereas in 1920 Oklahoma and Tulsa counties had cast only 12 per
prejudices of 1928. Dubuque County, Iowa, for example, showed a 1928–32 Democratic trend of only 4 per cent—not because the Depression spared Dubuque, but because the county was so Catholic that 1928 religious voting had left the Democrats no room for gain. On the other hand, it is easy to find Lutheran, Methodist and Baptist counties where Franklin D. Roosevelt ran 40 percentage points ahead of Smith. The basic rural swing was about 25 per cent; the city trend was much weaker. Main Street was
politics. As the victor Lyndon B. Johnson and his administration geared up to redouble the New Deal with Johnson’s Great Society programs, civil rights reforms and War on Poverty, claims about the liberal consensus seemed vindicated. It appeared as if the forward march of liberal politics would never end. In 1966, however, a stunning Democratic debacle in the midterm elections brought the conventional wisdom up short. Some found the ferocity of the backlash difficult to explain, but others
Black Belt whites were comforted by statewide white majorities. At first, the Depression slightly increased the already overwhelming Black Belt Democratic pluralities. Leflore and Sunflower counties in Mississippi gave Roosevelt 99 per cent of their vote in 1936, 3 per cent more than they had given Smith. But by 1938, Southern conservatives were becoming disillusioned with the later phases of the New Deal. Nevertheless, the Democratic Party had not yet trespassed on Southern racial practices, so
increased Wallace’s strength. And Winston County, Alabama spurned a Republican presidential nominee for the first time since 1932. Only 5 per cent of the county’s voters chose Hubert Humphrey, but 55 per cent endorsed former Governor Wallace. On a local level, 1968 saw the Southern mountains behave as strongly Republican as ever before. Most districts re-elected GOP congressmen with huge and often record majorities. (Two East Tennessee Republicans beat their Democratic opponents by six-to-one