…for the GOP. It is what I hoped for but I swam against a red tide of George Wallace resentment allied with Moral Majoritarian self righteousness. Once Reagan, who benefited greatly from both traditions was gone there was nothing to stop them from closing up the Gipper’s big tent.
From a very informative and surprising review of a book on the GOP’s ancient history.
[Kentucky Senator Thruston] Morton, while he was chair of the RNC in 1965, hoped that in the South there would be â€œa sound foundation for Republicanism not based on racism,â€ that could capture at least 20 percent of the black vote. (While we think of moderate Republicanism as a Northeastern tradition, the first Republican inroads in the South and border states were made by moderates such as Morton and his fellow Kentuckian, Vietnam War opponent John Sherman Cooper.) Had the party pursued a path â€œnot based on racism,â€ one can vaguely envision a coalition of African-Americans and â€œNew Southâ€ whites, together with urban reformers such as Lindsay and Specter, and the traditional Republican base among upscale voters in the suburbs and towns of the Northeast and Midwest, along with California, Oregon, and Washington. If the Democrats were left with the unreconstructed Southern whites and the urban ethnic machines, then in the great ideological sorting that inevitably took place the Republican Party might have become the more socially liberal oneâ€”a coalition of upscale whites and minorities. That is, it would look something like the eventual Obama coalition.