search.noResults

search.searching

note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
Bernie Niemeier


bniemeier@va-business.com


OurView from the Publisher


How solid is the South? P


by Bernard A. Niemeier


olitical lore holds that after sign- ing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, President Lyndon Johnson turned to an aide saying he feared that Democrats had lost the South for a generation. This oft-quoted but never validated story seems to ring true, despite the reality that the often-crude and always politically crafty Texan would likely have reserved such dewy- eyed sentimentalism only for his native Lone Star State.


In truth, it would be many decades before the Democrats actually lost the South. At the time, the Republi- can Party was weak in the region, and Southern Democrats were far more conservative than most Republicans. Southern Democrats, among them Virginia’s Sen. Harry F. Byrd Sr., filibustered against bringing the Civil Rights Act to the Senate floor for a vote. The filibuster was broken by Republicans and Northern Democrats. Republican support for civil rights re- form in fact ran high in both the House and Senate. Eighty percent of House Republicans and 82 percent of Senate Republicans backed the Civil Rights Act, outpacing Democratic support in both chambers.


Just weeks after the law’s pas- sage in 1964, a contentious and splintered Republican Party selected conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona as its nominee for president over liberal New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.


Goldwater lost the election in an unprecedented landslide. He car- ried only six states, his home state plus Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Despite Goldwater’s loss, this marked the beginning of the slow transformation of a once reliably Democratic “Solid South” into a new political landscape. The South resolidified in subse- quent presidential elections. In 1968, George Wallace, the segregationist Democratic governor of Alabama, ran


Photo by Mark Rhodes


as an independent, winning Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Arkansas in an election won by for- mer Vice President Richard Nixon, a Republican. In 1972, Nixon formulated a “Southern Strategy,” quietly posi- tioning his party as more conservative, sweeping the South and winning the popular vote in 49 of the 50 states. Sen. George McGovern of South Da- kota, the Democratic nominee, carried only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.


At the state level, ongoing party defections over many years further shifted the South to the Republican Party. Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina switched from Democrat to Republican in 1964. North Carolina’s Jesse Helms switched in 1970 and later became a U.S. senator. Also in 1970, Virginian Harry F. Byrd Jr., after serving out his retiring father’s Senate term, switched from being a Democrat to run for election as an independent. Mills Godwin, elected governor of Virginia as a Dem- ocrat in 1965, switched parties and was elected again as a Republican in 1973. In 1970, Tom Bliley was elected mayor of Richmond as a Democrat; 10 years later he won the first of his many congressional races as a Republican. Is Virginia a part of the “Solid


www.VirginiaBusiness.com


South?” Arguably not. Johnson won the commonwealth


in 1964. In 1968, Virginia tipped for Nixon, who won just over 43 percent of the vote. One-third of Virginia’s vot- ers went for Democratic Vice President Hubert Humphrey, with the remaining quarter supporting Wallace.


In 1972, along with the rest of the nation, Virginia overwhelmingly voted for Nixon. In 1976, Virginia’s electoral votes went to Republican President Gerald Ford; while every other South- ern state voted for that year’s winner, former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter, a Democrat.


From 1980 to 2004 along with most of the South, Republican candi- dates won every presidential election in Virginia. However, Virginia broke with almost all Southern states in 2008 and 2012, voting for Barack Obama. In 2016, Virginia was the only Southern state not carried by Donald Trump. Looking back, the idea that the South was swiftly delivered to the Republican Party by Lyndon John- son’s signing of the Civil Rights Act is actually a misreading of history. After decades of change the “Solid South” is still far from being as politically uniform as some might be inclined to believe. And more than most South- ern states, Virginia remains in play.


VIRGINIA BUSINESS 9


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104