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Nevilledog

(51,080 posts)
Thu Oct 12, 2023, 12:00 PM Oct 2023

The GOP's 'southern strategy' mastermind just died. Here's his legacy.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/10/12/southern-strategy-kevin-phillips-republican-party-trump/

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https://archive.ph/WiQCb

“The whole secret of politics is knowing who hates who.”

That insight was the brainchild of Kevin Phillips, the longtime political analyst who passed away this week at 82 years old. Phillips’s 1969 book, “The Emerging Republican Majority,” provided the blueprint for the “southern strategy” that the Republican Party adopted for decades to win over White voters who were alienated by the Democratic Party’s embrace of civil rights in the 1960s.

Phillips advised Republicans to exploit the racial anxieties of White voters, linking them directly to issues such as crime, federal spending and voting rights. The strategy, beginning with Richard M. Nixon’s landslide victory in the 1972 presidential race, helped produce GOP majorities for decades.

Though Phillips later reconsidered his fealty to the GOP, updated versions of the “southern strategy” live on in today’s Republican Party, shaping the political world we inhabit today. So I asked historians and political theorists to weigh in on Phillips’s legacy. Their responses have been edited for style and brevity.

Kevin Kruse, historian at Princeton University and co-editor of “Myth America”: Kevin Phillips was a prophet of today’s polarization. He drew a blueprint for a major realignment of American politics that is still with us. For much of the 20th century, Democrats dominated the national scene, because of the reliable support of the “Solid South.”

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The GOP's 'southern strategy' mastermind just died. Here's his legacy. (Original Post) Nevilledog Oct 2023 OP
TY for the history lesson. In context of DU battles, this guy (age 82) was NOT a "Boomer." Hekate Oct 2023 #1
Translation: racism. usonian Oct 2023 #2
thank his god and grayhound. republianmushroom Oct 2023 #3
Phillips was not a prophet of racist strategy, he was an architect designing the campaigns to Lonestarblue Oct 2023 #4
+! struggle4progress Oct 2023 #5
I also object to the use of the word "prophet" for the reasons you state Hekate Oct 2023 #7
He wasn't so much a prophet CanonRay Oct 2023 #6
Here's an interesting take on how it is today, from another political theorist... Hekate Oct 2023 #8

Hekate

(90,645 posts)
1. TY for the history lesson. In context of DU battles, this guy (age 82) was NOT a "Boomer."
Thu Oct 12, 2023, 12:12 PM
Oct 2023

As for me, I never knew he wrote an actual book about it — I thought it was all strategized in Dick Nixon’s catacombs and crypt

Lonestarblue

(9,977 posts)
4. Phillips was not a prophet of racist strategy, he was an architect designing the campaigns to
Thu Oct 12, 2023, 12:54 PM
Oct 2023

create hatred of minorities, especially black people. He and Lee Atwater are responsible for the War on Drugs that has been successfully used for decades to lock up black voters and then to deny then the right to vote after leaving prison. These policies are alive and well today as Republicans fully embrace racial hatred and pass voter suppression laws to ensure that they stay in power.

Hekate

(90,645 posts)
8. Here's an interesting take on how it is today, from another political theorist...
Thu Oct 12, 2023, 03:00 PM
Oct 2023
Corey Robin, political theorist and author of “The Reactionary Mind”:

Phillips understood that the old Republican Party establishment could not begin to take on the New Deal and Great Society until it developed a mass popular base. He saw that the White working class — not just in the South, but in the North — was growing disaffected with the New Deal on economic and racist grounds, and that Republicans could turn that dissatisfaction into governing majorities.

Beginning in 1972 with the reelection of Nixon, Republicans built this majority in the spirit of what Phillips imagined. George W. Bush, the last Republican president to get a popular majority, was the last spasm of that vision. The irony is that, under Phillips, the idea was to expand the Republican Party into a permanent governing majority.

But once the White working class diminished, the electoral return of that resentment dramatically dwindled. As a result, instead of relying on robust electoral majorities, the Republican Party, to win power, relies on the electoral college and the malapportioned Senate. Phillips’s blueprint made the heyday of Republican power — and ultimately unmade it.
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