My continuing quest to determine why Southerners, whites and Evangelicals vote Republican is bearing some fruit. I still do not think that I have the answer, but here is the next episode in my venture.
When Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded Kennedy after that terrible day in Dallas, Democrats held a wide swathe of seats across the southern states. They were virtual monopolies in some parts of the country. Johnson, ironically a Texan, introduced his ideas about the Great Society, a set of policy decisions that would remake much of the country and introduce programs that would alleviate the suffering of millions of Americans.
The first set of programs involved racial injustice and poverty. Johnson wanted to tackle both and ensure that everyone had a reasonable standard of living and access to a judicial and social system that was fair to all citizens regardless of color or ethnic background.
He introduced spending programs to tackle transport, education, medical care and other social travails. The reason that he was able to prevail was the landslide wins for Democrats, bringing more social idealists to Washington.
Johnson successfully introduced Medicare for seniors and Medicaid, a program for the poor.
The Civil Rights era was in full swing, with riots, social unrest and colored people insisting on representation, education and a fair shake.
It was this series of events that swung the South for Republicans. Conservatives had no intention of allowing African Americans to improve their standard of living, attend white schools, or marry white women. This is shown by their voting patterns, which swung decisively towards the Republicans. Conservatives have held the South ever since.
It is this racially charged attitude that ensures that Republicans continue to dominate the Presidency and the house of Representatives. The Senate is still somewhat of a bastion against the conservative tide, but with the filibuster, Republicans ensure that nothing much gets accomplished.
The fact of the matter is, as one commenter wrote in the New York Times, Romney is the white guy in the race. Conservatives will hold their noses and vote for him, despite their disapproval of his religious affiliation.
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