I made the comparison in an earlier blog post surrounding the midterm elections at the beginning of this month relating the Tea Partyers to the Dixiecrats. It was really after seeing Gov. Haley Barbour, R.-Miss. flanking soon be Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R.-Oh. hold a press conference in the following hours after the GOP took back the House. Little did I know that I had somewhat stumbled onto a pretty appropriate comparison.
The official name of the Dixecrats home party was the States’ Rights Democratic Party. They were a short-lived political party established in 1948 and dissolved in the same year after the presidential election. They’re most famous for running then South Carolina governor J. Strom Thurmond. What categorized the States’ Rights Party was their segregationist stance, their conservative social values, and their investment into Jim Crow laws in the South and viewed such liberal policies as intrusive of the federal government. The party was formed due to the realignment of political parties coming out of the New Deal era and Franklin D. Roosevelt style of politics from the last 16 years of the Roosevelt-Truman administrations. Their main point of contention was Truman signing Executive Order 9981 integrating the U.S. Armed Services and proving equal pay to all military personnel according to proper rank.
The Democratic National Party at the time of the 1948 convention made the decision to take a civil rights platform coming out of the New Deal that had finally begun to win African American and Latin immigrant support with the creation of programs such as the WPA [Editors note: hint hint Obama] and all of Alabama’s delegates walked out with a significant portion of Mississippi’s delegates and from this group formed the States’ Rights Democratic Party. The term “Dixecrat” is a linguistic portmanteau from “Dixie” referring to the romanticized name of the Confederate States of America, or those states that seceded from the Union by 1861 prior to the Civil War, and the last syllable of “Democrat.”
While naturally they knew that they could not win that magical number of 50% + 1 in the electoral college vote, they were hoping that neither of the other parties would have had enough either thus forcing the House of Representatives to go into session and ballot until a President was picked. As a result, they figured they, as a southern bloc of congressmen, would be able to sway the vote away from Truman. As it would play out, the Dixiecrats got 39 electoral college votes, not enough to prevent one clear winner
Although the official title of States’ Rights Democratic Party was dropped, the moniker of Dixiecrats stayed around through the 1950s and presented itself in the 1964 Presidential election. The 1964 Civil Rights Act awas the final straw for Southern Dixiecrats who overwhelming switched over Republican and began to rally behind Barry Goldwater who was the Republican nominee. It backfired horribly for Goldwater who only carried the states in the Deep South with Johnson winning by a landslide. However, by 1968 the Republicans had developed their “Southern strategy” a GOP tactic still in relative use today. This “southern strategy” appealed used code phrases such as “law and order” and drove home the idea of “states’ rights.” Although former Democratic Governor George Wallace of Alabama (famous for his “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” quote) ran in 1968 and garnered 36 electoral votes, it still gave way for the Republican party to make inroads. By 1972, what had once been a solid Democratic base had now switched over Republican when it came to national elections.
Fast forward to 2009.
We have the seeds of the Tea Party movement which started out as a bad joke that got parodied ad nauseum about being teabaggers, and the vulgar sexual act associated with being tea bagged. I really don’t think anyone figured they would have been a power to contend with until current Senator Scott Brown, R.-Mass. won over Atty. General Martha Coakley in February 2010 to finish out Ted Kennedy’s term and he had Tea Party endorsement. Ever since then, in the 2010 midterm election year, many candidates won GOP nominations in the spring primaries over well established Republican candidates.
By all accounts the Tea Party movement is a populist movement, but still it does not have the respect and political capital that it needs. However, I think that to be honest, the Tea Party can trace its political history to one of the earliest compromises facing the national government: the 3/5 compromise.
The issue of race and how the Anglo-Saxon transplants viewed non-Europeans has been at issue since Christopher Columbus thought he had landed in India in 1492, and was solidified when the Jamestown colonists brought over the first slaves in 1619, a mere eight years after the publication of King James I, publication and translation of the Judeo-Christian holy scriptures. So by the ratification of the Constitution in 1787 the 3/5 compromise, yes was primarily to address population numbers, thusly how congressional districts and seats were apportioned. The southern delegates wanted their slaves to count as full persons, the northern delegates said that would unfairly give congressional control to the Southern states–they agreed on counting “all other persons” meaning the slaves as 3/5ths of a person.
Once that was accomplished, the slaveocracy of the South was always embattled with the North until the tipping point of the Civil War. The Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and the death knell of the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision of 1857, and Abraham Lincoln’s election in fall of 1860 to the presidency.
At issue for the Southern states then as it is now in 2010 is this damn issue of “states’ rights.”
The Tea Party movement has launched the old school model of conservatism about the intrusiveness of federal government. But see, for me, this hearkens back to the antebellum South when whites and even those after the Civil War regarded Jim crow laws and politics as “states’ rights” that needed not be intruded upon. This is why when I hear Tea Partyers utilize the “Dont Tread on Me” mantra I have to wonder which rights are they really concerned about.
Not to mention, when I hear Sarah Palin and her ilk make mention of “taking back our country” it reeks of the Southern congressional bloc that felt the same way about Civil Rights Act of 1964. Speaking of which, Senator-elect Rand Paul has taken issue with Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed discrimination in private businesses holding to his staunch libertarian philosophy that private businesses should be able to determine who they choose to do business with, while still denouncing slavery. Granted states’ rights issues are valid at times when it comes to issues like the Patriot Act and unwarranted search and seizure, but those have more to do with individual rights rather than the federal government intervening on civil rights and equal rights issues.
Hearing speeches to “real Americans” and wanting to “take back our country” are code words just like “states’ rights” and “law and order” were key phrases in the 1968 and 1972 Nixon campaigns. I don’t know what the Tea Party movement plans on doing in the next two years, but I’m not looking forward to it. Compared to 1948, the election cycle is nearly doubled and the concept of a 24-hour news cycle was unheard of–there wasn’t even the 11 o’clock news. Persons got their news from the closest metropolitan daily that may or may not have had a late edition depending on circulation numbers. As for us, by March 2011 we’ll already be hearing about presidential candidates with the first caucus and primary still 10 months ahead. With presidential campaigns easily totally $1,000,000,000+ of combined monies spent from all candidates, it’s no telling what the Tea Party has planned.
For all intents and purposes, the GOP has no solid candidate that I think has a shot at Barack Obama barring a catastrophic fall from the good graces of the people. Here are a few GOP nominees I could see receiving Tea Party support and possibly making a run for the White House in 2012.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour — Although I predicted that John Boehner was going to make a run for the White House (and that’s still entirely possible), I will admit I didn’t see Gov. Haley Barbour announcing a 2012 White House run first. I figured Barbour was going to be a major player when I saw him flanking Boehner in his first press conference after his re-election victory speech. Haley Barbour would undoubtedly have Tea Party support–he’s a good ol’ boy from the heart of Dixie. But like his Dixiecrat predecessors, he wouldn’t make a showing outside of the old Cotton Belt. Mississippi politics are about as interesting as Maine politics and about as influential as Wyoming congresspersons. Mississippi, like Alaska, would be another state that the U.S. public would hear about that no one knew about prior to it.
In some cases, the picking of a vice-presidential candidate would make a serious difference, but I don’t even think liberal Republicans want to associate themselves with him. When I think of Barbour, I think of former Senate leader Trent Lott, and when I think of Trent Lott, I think of Strom Thurmond. Moreover, I personally don’t think Barbour has a shot simply because Mississippi’s public record is dismal. Honestly, this list is atrocious.
- Mississippi, although has the lowest cost of living in the Union, it has the lowest per capita income of just under $27,000.
- Despite having cut many social welfare programs such as Medicare/Medicaid, public aid and food stamp programs, Mississippi ranks second in receiving federal money on such programs.
- The National Assessments of Educational Progress ranked Mississippi last in public education when it came to math and science scores; American Legislative Exchange Council’s Report Card on Education ranked Mississippi last when it came to ACT test scores.
- Mississippi was ranked sixth lowest in states when it comes per pupil spending
Haley Barbour, I’m sure doesn’t want that among other shortcomings to come to light. And aside from that, I’m sure us bloggers and reporters won’t to want to have to do “Em-eye-crooked letter, crooked letter, eye, crooked letter, crooked letter, eye, humpback, humpback, eye” just to spell out Mississippi. I’m doubly sure no one wants to get familiar with Mississippi politics the way we have when it comes to Alaska.
On civil rights: Q: What has four eyes but still can’t see? A: Mississippi.
Former Governor Mike Huckabee, R. -Ark. — I have to say, Mike Huckabee is my younger version of John McCain. For me, all hope wouldn’t be lost if this country elected him. At least that’s the impression I get of him. He usually presents himself as calm, well-mannered, keeps a smile on his face, for what it’s worth he doesn’t seem rabid about his politics. Watching him on opposition television shows like when he’s been on Sunday morning news shows, or even recently when on “The View” he doesn’t present such a hard edge that makes one listen with disdain. And frankly, he seemed happy to engage persons like Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg–which one can’t always say.
I know I don’t have a lot of support on this one, but I think as of now, going into 2011, Mike Huckabee is the only person who could put up a decent showing against Barack Obama come 2012. Granted Obama will have a long list of incumbent accomplishments that I think would trounce anything Huckabee could throw his way, but nonetheless I think he could do it. Although, it depends on his running mate. A running mate in Huckabee’s case, unlike Barbour, would be crucial in how he will progress amongst the populace.
Former Governor Sarah Palin, R.- Alaska — This woman is certifiable. One of my blogging big brothers Citizen Ojo over at Desultory Life and Times of a Public Citizen just did a blog post on this banshee of a woman. I think it does speak volumes to one’s credibility when in the same week two established Republicans make a dig at you in public. On ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour, George Will read her the riot act and former First Lady Barbara Bush said that Palin should “stay in Alaska.”
Me and The Critical Cleric joked that her vice-presidential candidacy had devolved into some sick joke from her watching how she played the VP debates and her secrecy when asked by a reporter on a frosty November morning election day 2008 “who did you vote for?” She had foreseen all of this. Much to the chagrin of the liberal blogosphere who had predicted that Palin, by now, would be a trivia question on “Who Wants To Be Millionaire?” game show, and not a culturally relevant phenomenon that has capitalized on being politically unpredictable and insane at the same time.
What half an ounce of credibility she had with those outside of the Tea Party vanquished when she quit her job in a rambling speech no one could comprehend not even the grizzlies in the background. Her tweets on Twitter are God-awful and aren’t worthy of anyone beyond 6th grade school girls. She claimed to be Shakespeare when she clearly confused the words “repudiate” and “refute” into the nightmarish portmanteau* of “refudiate.” As the foolishness of pop-culture reigns, this orthographic anomaly has become New Oxford American Dictionary has entered it as the word of the year.
In short, as George Will said, there’s nothing presidential about Sarah Palin. She’s appearing on reality shows with her daughter and has her own reality show with her clubbing fish that she’s caught on expeditions into the wild. Aside from this, she spending the majority of her time doing things that do nothing to help the people she’s claiming to want to help. While raking in money with these speaking engagements, she can’t even do the Sunday news shows because she’d probably come off sounding like failed Tea Party hopeful Christine O’Donnell.
In short, I’m not sure what the Tea Party has up their sleeve, but certainly, I wouldn’t be shocked if we see them file to get on the ballot in Fall 2012 in many of these states and run their own candidate. If that’s the case, I’m still holding to my Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin ticket prediction. Seeing as how it’s hard to see that far into the future, who knows what a presidential race that would go to the House look like.
Worst case scenario neither Obama nor the GOP candidate gets enough votes to get the White House, and the House of Representatives is still split three ways with the Democrats voting on party lines, and the GOP split between a GOP candidate and those who want the Tea Party candidate. The reason I propose this as plausible is because John Boehner is a darling of the Tea Party movement and poised to be Speaker of the House in 2012 when the electoral college is voting for president. What they don’t want to happen is a deadlock that would send this vote to the Senate which is still Democratic and that would be the end of the story.
There’s no way to tell if the Tea Partyers have such a political strategy in mind especially because they’re not even a national party, but seeing as how their platform seems like a page out of the 1948 Dixiecrat playbook, I certainly wouldn’t be shocked.
What are your thoughts on those potential Tea Party backed GOP nominees for the 2012 presidential election? Am I the only one who sees such horrific parallels between Dixiecrats and Tea Partyers?
Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL
* Yes, I used the word portmanteau twice in a blog. :)