dixiecrats

Debunking the myth that Republicans love to repeat.

dixiecratsAre Democrats the party of racists? This myth surrounding the Dixiecrats must be addressed. This is an argument that I have heard Republicans and conservatives float out a lot. Every time I hear conservatives talk about racism they always say that the Democrats are the “party of the Klan” and that they were the ones that supported segregation. There is a half-truth to this, but of course conservative Republicans always embellish the facts to support their dogma.

Are Democrats the Party of the KKK? Well, yes and no. It is a historic fact that the Ku Klux Klan was initially founded by mainly Southern Democratic voters in the aftermath of the Civil War. I recently saw a conservative friend of mine, who I studied under in community college, post about an incident in 1868 in which a mob of KKK (who were Democrats in this time) attacked and killed a group of 300 black Republicans.

The issue here is the fact that the historic context is completely missed by conservatives, and often just plain embellished. Yes, in 1868 the Democrats were the racist party. However, what also must be known is that the Democrats were also the more conservative party at the time. The Republican Party, believe it or not, were the more liberal party.

What modern conservatives today are trying to imply is that the KKK and southern segregationists were liberals. This is a complete misrepresentation of historic polarity. From the Civil War up until about 1948, the Southern Democrats were the most conservative wing of the Democratic Party. In fact, Southern Democrats ran the South like one-party states. Republican, mostly liberal, candidates were practically barred from being elected in both voter mindset and electoral system.

Then, in the 1948 election, Harry Truman ran on a limited civil rights platform which greatly angered the southern conservative Democrats. Truman also issued the executive order to desegregate the military, which further upset the Southern Democrats. Truman was seen as too liberal, which caused them to split from the Democratic Party in 1948 to form the “Dixiecrat” Party to run as a conservative alternative to Truman. By the way, Truman won without them. In fact Southern voters who are registered as Democrats, yet vote mainly Republican, are still referred to as Dixiecrats.

dixiecratsThe split of Southern Democrats from the party became even more solidified when the majority of the liberal Democrats and LBJ supported and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The liberals of the Republican Party supported these laws as well. Yes, Republicans actually had liberals in its party once upon a time. Those who voted against the law were the conservatives of both parties. LBJ famously said after the passage of the Civil Rights Act; “I think we just lost the South.”

Indeed, this would be the trend that would come to pass. Richard Nixon and his troll of a cohort Pat Buchanan in the 1970s implemented an election plan called “The Southern Strategy.” Put simply, this strategy was designed to play off of the racist anxieties of Southern white Democratic voters. The plan worked beautifully. It worked so well, that the Southern Strategy practically shifted the polarity of the political parties.

The Democrats, who had a strong conservative base in the South, became a more liberal party as the more conservative elements fled and began to vote Republican. This in turn wound up forcing out, over time, the liberals of the Republican Party as the Democratic conservatives began voting en-mass for the Republican Party. The stalwart attitudes of the conservatives gave no leeway for liberals to grow and survive in the Republican Party.

Yes, in historic perspective the Democrats were a more racist (conservative) party. However, I emphasize conservative. Liberals did not found the KKK, nor did they support segregation. By social standards, these were more conservative minded people at least in regards to race. These were not leftist, liberal minded champions of social justice and equality. These were regressive, more conservative, minded voters.

Democrats were once the party of racism, but that banner changed a long time ago. The conservative segregationist Democrats and their legacy of voters now overwhelmingly vote Republican. The polarity shift created two very different parties than the ones that existed in 1868 or even 1964. The Democrats are now more liberal and the Republicans more conservative because of the flight of Southern segregationist Democrats to the Republican Party. Republicans, please stop misrepresenting history when you say “Democrats are the racists.”

80 COMMENTS

  1. Exactly Aaron! A staunch liberal writing this article speaks for itself, lol! I will never vote Democrat (the new radical socialist party) again!

  2. Dinesh D’Souza was in prison for Tax Invasion because Obama had the IRS go after him as well as other conservatives who spoke the truth against him. Obama didn’t want any of you to see the documentary produced by Dinesh D’Souza. He was too worried you would find out the truth.

  3. The biggest racist ever to serve as president was a progressive named Woodrow Wilson so thatt kind of blows this whole story to shit don’t ya think

  4. Ref: “Progressive, Liberal, Informative and Honest” Honest? Since when did the Democrats vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Johnson had to sign it because the Republicans had a veto proof majority.

  5. Your liberal talking points are skewed just like all the rest so I don’t really know why I bother posting a comment. You talk about Liberals being the more conservative party at an earlier point in time: that has never occurred on this planet. You referred to a point in 1868 where Democrats were the more conservative of the two parties. Well, I’ve got to explode that myth because around 1963 it was Democrat President Lyndon Baines Johnson who said to the effect that, “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference… I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years”.
    Now tell me who is the racist?

    • LBJ never said that. I don’t know where you copied that from but is totally made up.

      You say he said ” we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference… ”

      Of course he didn’t say nor do that. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were not “a little something …” They were great big “somethings” that changed the whole country.

      What Lyndon did say is that “we’ve lost the South for a generation.”

      Many in the South are still registered Democratic but vote Republican nationally and for governor, however in many states they still run as and vote Democratic in local elections because of tradition.

      • “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don’t move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there’ll be no way of stopping them, we’ll lose the filibuster and there’ll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It’ll be Reconstruction all over again.”

        TIME: 48:35-49:12
        SOURCES: Lyndon B. Johnson, Wikiquote

  6. Kim
    Not religous people?
    Want big goverment?
    Like gay movement?
    Conservative family values?
    Pro gun?
    Pro life?
    Want interacial marriage?
    Want more immigrants to come to US?

    Think about what party would say no to these questions?

  7. what a riot! liberalism/ socialism says don’-t expect today’s liberals to understand the nuance of how they differ from socialists. do you understand the nuance of how weare a semi-socialist country? Military, Post Office, schools, Sovial Security, Medicare? duh.

  8. Let me understand: if the Dems (supposed future Republicans) supported Sanger’s idea of reducing the black population and the need for placing “clinics” in ghettos in the early 1900s, then why do the Democrats still support it, today? By your logic, it should be the Republicans supporting Sanger’s brainchild, which they do not.

  9. Pretending the Republican party is different from the Democratic party is the problem. I reject both the benign kleptocrats and the benevolent kleptocrats as equally corrupt

  10. your response to the clame that historicly the liberal progresive democrats were the racist and the conservative republican were the champions of civil rights is that liberals cant be racist because there liberals? thats like saying that commenism isnt a distractive murderous idioulegy and that stalin was actualy a capitalist because a true commenist wounwt kill 20 million inosent people only a capitalist would therefor capitalism sould be assamed and commenism is still the superior idioulegy or that ben laden was actualy a jew because only a jew would kill innosent people for no reasone therefor islam is still the suprime religion of pease/

    • your response to the clame that historicly the liberal progresive democrats were the racist and the conservative republican were the champions of civil rights is that liberals cant be racist because there liberals? thats like saying that commenism isnt a distractive murderous idioulegy and that stalin was actualy a capitalist because a true commenist wounwt kill 20 million inosent people only a capitalist would therefor capitalism sould be assamed and commenism is still the superior idioulegy or that ben laden was actualy a jew because only a jew would kill innosent people for no reasone therefor islam is still the suprime religion of pease/

      Wow. I mean **WOW**!!

      I have rarely seen such a rambling display of rampant idiocy — and apparent disdain for the English language — as you put on display in this comment, Mr. Anon E. Moose. Bravo!

  11. The fact is, even with name changes over the years, those of us on the left have always been pro-woman, pro-black, pro-gay, etc. We’ve used different names for our party over the years, but our beliefs & stances have ALWAYS been the same. It was the LEFT that fought for civil/blacks’ rights; it was the LEFT that fought for womens’ rights; it’s the LEFT fighting for gay rights; and it is the LEFT that WILL continue to fight for EVERYONE to be seen as equal under the law, no matter a person’s gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc.

    When it comes down to it, NEVER let a right-wing nut-job convince you of the TRUTH of America’s political history. It’s ALWAYS been the Southern-based party (Southern Democrats/Dixiecrats back in the day; Republicans nowadays) that has engaged in racism, sexism, homophobia, & religious bigotry.

    • From reading these comments I see that most have done very little research on an individual basis I am black and voted democrats like most until I was challenged to prove a republican friend wrong who I thought was totally out in left field This was 29 years ago and a vast amount of hours of research. My advantage of being able to actually talk with people that were born in the late 1800s and early 1900’s that had printed books from those time periods and not rely solely on internet post was invaluable in seeking to prove my republican friend wrong. But to my dismay It only strengthened his stance. This article contains at best half truths, it’s a tangled webb because of media & press bias but long open minded unbiased reasearch with a goal to not except what someone has posted and even question yourself on what you believe truth can be found.

    • Yeah like Gov. Wallace (D).
      Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. Sounds like the Dems are the party that fights for Everyone?

  12. “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

    The liberals love “double speak”..

    • Coming from the same party that “claims” to be pro-woman, yet tries to ban abortion & generally restrict women’s rights; pro-black, yet passes voter ID laws that have been PROVEN to disenfranchise blacks; pro-gay, yet tries to pass laws banning gay marriage. Talk about “double speak”…

      • Good Lord some of you people are idiots.

        Yeah, Republicans are “anti-women” because they want to ban abortion. Really? Is that “anti-women” or is it “pro-life”? But I guess that doesn’t square with your talking points to be a good little liberal/socialist now does it?

        Disenfranchise blacks? How, by requiring ID to vote? You need an ID to cash a check or pay with a credit card – but not to vote in our country. Really? Does this disenfranchise blacks? Every election cycle seems the DNC has the same talking points for the black community, the poor, the middle class, etc. Why is that? Could it be because they do nothing to help these voting blocks out when they get elected? Need to have them continue to be seen as victims so you can wine and dine them and collect their votes – then do nothing for them for the next 4 years. What has the black community gotten from Al Sharpton essentially living in the WH these last 8 years and our first black President? The answer is nothing.

        Political parties see you as nothing more than a voting block. You are too stupid to admit that because you blindly believe in an ideology that tells you the government can cure all your needs. That you are OWED something by your government.

        Wake up idiot.

      • My math says around 50 percent of the babies killed through abortions are females. Soo who would be the party that thinks killing those females is ok….? Answer. The brain dead anti-science democrats. Not that difficult to figure out, but then again those same ppl also think they evolved from monkeys. Lol

        • True conservatism has rocks for brains:
          Fascinating.
          1) You justify banning abortion by pretending the ban protects the future females. In truth, banning abortion punishes women by forcing them to seek unsafe abortions. We know this because we’ve had abortion prohibition in our more recent history. All the ban does is risk the lives of women. Abortion rates have lowered due to access to the very clinics and contraceptives that many “pro-fetal lifers” would ban.
          One has no grounds to tell a woman she must give up her rights to bodily autonomy to gestate a fetus. A fetus has no rights that usurp the woman’s.
          Who really believes that risking the lives of women by using abortion prohibition is decent? No spin on the projection of how many future women are killed justifies any of the impact that prohibition of abortion will have on the women here and now.

          2) “brain dead anti-science” democrats?
          Yet, you go on to say that these democrats think they evolved from monkeys.

          No, anyone who has even a first study grade school understanding of evolution would know that evolution does not claim man evolved from “monkeys”.
          Not at all.
          Man evolved from a shared ape like primate ancestor.
          I doubt you will discern the difference, but it is a great one.

          How strange you talk of anti-science, yet you reject evolution. (and obviously do not know or understand what we know of evolution)

          “lol”, indeed. Actually, it is rather sad, and it is precisely the issue that holds man from socially being what he could be.

          Try again.

  13. Woodrow Wilson, a democrat, showed “the first film ever in the whitehouse” which was a KKK film called “The Birth of A Nation”.. The democrats threatened black voters with death unless they voted democrat.. You can’t “debunk” history on that..

      • Woodrow Wilson was one of the fathers of modern progressivism, and a horrible racist. An inconvenient fact for today’s liberals…

        • Wilson hardly progressive or liberal. He would likely be a Repub today.

          Teddy Roosevelt far more liberal who would NOT be a Republican today. He would have left by time of Reagan who was conservative; yet did the biggest tax increase to middle class, and tripled the fed deficit.

    • So in other words, you’re sticking to the same script. And the conservatives are also the party for gay and lesbian civil rights……oh, wait.

      • And you want to re-write history or just pretend it didn’t happen. Maybe that’s the push for common core, so you can re-write history the way you want it so it looks bad on the right-wing and good on the left. LOL.. morons.

  14. Terrible. So the democrats were conservative in the 1860s because of their belief in state rights, but they left the Union? Do you see the contradiction? You democrats/liberals/progressives can only speak in contradictions and somehow think it makes sense. Thats called doublespeak.

    • The Democrats you refer to were SOUTHERN Democrats. And, yes, the SOUTHERN Democrats always were conservative because of how they were raised. And, they left the main party because the beliefs they eventually came to have conflicted, in their mind, with that of the main party’s. Kinda like how Republicans back in the day were what Democrats are now. Unfortunately for the GOP, it got taken over by racist, sexist, homophobic, extremely religious bigots & nut-jobs & has become the party we all know today. It’s not the left’s fault that the right-wing revises history when the truth is inconvenient.

      And, I apologize for miss-spelling my name in my previous post.

      • LOL… Of course all those idiots left the Democratic party and took over the Republican party, is that what you are trying to say>

        You can’t make stuff like this up.

        • Yeah, you *can’t* make it up …. because it’s fact. History.

          Learn some, you might be surprised how much you think you know turns out to be BS.

  15. I believe the South was oppressed and had every right to succeed for the Union. By that token, Democrats were Conservative- in the belief of States Rights. The KKK is an extreme group and not really part of that motive. But I still say that the parties did “switch”. Republicans were progressives and Democrats were more for independence and against big Government.

    • Maybe, David Duke supported a Black Democrat a couple years ago because of their mutual hatred for Israel. Republicans overwhelmingly support Israel….Can’t say the same for Democrats.

    • Yes, the racist democrat KKK wanted incompetent Obama in office to show how a black man can destroy this nation… Obama is a patsy for the KKK…

      • To the original poster & the big brother idiot, no, the KKK did NOT vote for Obama, as the KKK is anti-black.

      • Not real smart are you BBL? It’s amazing that you racists don’t just own your racism, but instead want to blame it on the liberals.

        • Harry Reid – who described Obama as a “light skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”…

          Yep – don’t want to blame those liberals for something they didn’t do…

          Some of you are such idiots. Wake up.

    • Better question is did most of the ppl that voted for Obama do so because he was to become the first black president? Answer.. yes. And that is the truest definition of Racism. No qualifications or talent, but race got him elected. Which party was that?

  16. I mostly agree, but the fact is that racial prejudice was widespread and existed in both parties up to the 1950s, when this began to break down. Also, the Democratic party was more of a populist party with widely different views, ranging from the white south to the urban centers to the farmers of the midwest the GOP also had diverse views. Today both parties are more polarized along liberal vs. conservative lines.

  17. This article is so twisted. First, the Republican Party didn’t start gaining significant control of the southern states until after the 1994 Republican take over of the House marking an end to 40 years of Democrat domination. That’s 30 years after the Civil Rights Act. Second, if saying that all people are equal regardless of race is a “liberal” concept…which it isn’t… then the Republican Party platform is still “liberal” in 2014 because every Republican Platform has continually stated that fact since 1860 until today!

    • Charles, how do the conservative Republicans feel about equal rights for gays? They are against it you say? On the wrong side of history once again.

      • WHO CARES about the gays.. they are people and have equal rights.. they just want more rights.. claiming to be a minority..

        • You say the gays have equal rights & want more, claiming to be a minority? When the day comes that politicians no longer try to ban gay marriage & finally put gay marriage on the same level as straight marriage, rather than forcing gays into civil unions, THEN we’ll have the situation where gays have equal rights.

          When religion is no longer used to attack gays & deny them rights, THEN we’ll have the situation where gays have equal rights.

          Until that time comes, people like Diana are showing their blatant homophobia.

    • The South remained Democratic on a congressional level (and state level until even later) due to the combination of large African American populations, residual white conservative Democratic incumbents, (often from long established political families), and the resulting district lines that protected those incumbants. Not to mention clever opportunists like Clinton who cynically played the center. Once Republicans took advantage of their majorities to redraw those lines. the finally became overwhelmingly Republican on a local level, and likely will remain for a long time, unless southern poor and working class whites ever decide to vote for their class interests. It was the combination of liberal democrats and liberal and moderate Republicans (a practically extinct species) that supported and passed the Civil Rights Act, and any claim otherwise is absurd.

    • Any answer to Paul’s question Charles?
      republicans are not for gay rights?
      In many conservative states gays can lose their jobs only cause they’re gay.

      • Charles was talking about equal rights regardless of race and Paul suddenly flipped that to equal rights for gays. How are the two connected?

        Correct, they aren’t. The left wing continues to put up a charade about the war against the black community. Charles Barkley had it right – “Poor black people have been voting democrat for the last 20 years and they are still poor and black”…

    • You won’t find the answer in Party Platforms. Party Platforms are filled with erroneous information. Listen to the Lee Atwater interview where he states that the Southern Strategy was about changing the language of race to make it more covert. He said that once you could no longer use the N word, then phrases such as “States Rights” and “Forced Busing” etc.. became code phrases for “keep the N*gger out” You won’t find that in your party platforms. You will find it in confessions of racists who couldn’t contain themselves from telling someone about their deeds.

  18. Liberal at the time meant those who defend liberty. The progressives in the democrat party in the early 1900’s change their name to liberals to because progressives had earned such a bad reputation. In doing so the completely changed the term liberal to mean big government progressive, the opposite of the original liberty minded school of thought.

    Nice try basing an article on this very word when you knew the meaning had flipped 180 degrees. You either don’t know any better or your just another propagandists.

    • They were, when they were the more conservative party. Just like all conservatives, you completely missed the points I made and throw out anecdotal opinions based on nothing but personal conjecture. Someone’s personal hiring preferences have nothing to do with the article. Please, link me to the statistic that says Democrats hire people merely because they are minorities and Republicans hire based on skill set. Bet you’ll find a lot of conservatives turn people down who are well qualified, for rather small reasons. Sure you already knew that though.

      • Please link me to the statistic that says conservatives turn people down who are well qualified, for rather small reasons and liberals do not.

        Please, share that link with us all. Facts is, its nothing but your opinion rooted in your ideology.

        But you already knew that didn’t you.

    • When the meaning of the word “liberal” changed (in a political sense) it completely undermines your argument. Democrats were the conservative party and Republicans were the liberal party does not have the same meaning back then as it does now.

  19. Excellent article. However, don’t expect today’s teapubs to understand the nuance of conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans historically. To much grey area for them to grasp.

    • And don’t expect today’s liberals to understand the nuance of how they differ from socialists. Too much grey area for them to grasp – hell, even Wasserman-Schultz couldn’t explain that to her party and Chris Matthews recently.

      Oh the humanity.

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