I remember learning, in history class, of the “Solid South.” My Dad always told me that meant the southern United States was solidly in the pocket of the Democrats, which, at the time, made sense. It had been Lincoln and the GOP that led the nation in the drive to stamp out slavery and restore the union following the Civil War; southern Whites thus had no desire to be part of the Republican Party.
Then came the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement; the efforts of northern Democrats and President Johnson. When they pushed through laws favouring Blacks, women and other minorities, many southern Democrats, the “Dixiecrats,” didn’t like it much. Thus was born the Southern strategy by the GOP.
Dixiecrats appealed to poor Whites, on an emotional level, by blaming their woes on easy targets: women, minorities, foreigners and so forth. They also hit the hot button social issues: abortion, equal rights, civil rights, evolution, states’ rights and the promise to those same southerners that the GOP could bring back the “good old days.” The key to this strategy working was something Nixon and Reagan understood: you had to deliver.
This reminds of a scene from the movie, “Spartacus,” where Marcus Licinius Crassus tells a young friend that one of the drawbacks of being a patrician is that occasionally you have to act like one. That was what Nixon and Reagan knew. They couldn’t make a bunch of promises to the Dixiecrats and not follow through.
Now, granted, they couldn't keep all of their promises, but they could accomplish a few goals, pay lip service to several others and then blame the Democrats or the Supreme Court for their failure to do the rest. It worked well for a couple of decades, but then came the one-two punch of the Contract with America and Obama's presidency. In the case of the former, the GOP did implement some items on their list, but didn’t do others and here’s the thing: they could have done all promised. They had no one to blame but themselves, and people didn’t like that.
Then came Obama, and the GOP went off a cliff! They proclaimed him not a true American and heaped all manner of blatant lies on his presidency: death panels, FEMA re-education camps, he’s coming for your guns; he’s going to be an imperial president and refuse to leave office and so on. My favourites were the lies concerning what would happen to America if he had a second term in office.
Gas would be over five dollars a gallon, unemployment would over ten percent, the stock market would be in free fall and the economy would be in shambles. None of which occurred.
Thus, we come to the requiem for the GOP. You see, that’s the problem with stretching the truth too much. The modern GOP doesn’t understand this fact.
The modern GOP thinks that by heaping such lies on Obama they can destroy him. Instead, now that the lies are slowly unraveling, the GOP face the prospect of explaining to their constituents why all their Doomsday prophecies have not come to pass and they don’t have any answers.
I just have to wonder: what will be the outcome of their demise? I’m hoping a new and stronger party emerges. The USA needs a two-party system.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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