Southern Voting Behavior

Southern Voting behavior since the 1960’s
Voters in many areas of the U.S. are apt to vote differently as a whole from election to election. The nation has also
had a decreased turnout rate for the presidential and local elections. The South has typically not followed these
patterns that the rest of has seemed to be following. The Southern whites of the U.S. have typically followed and
voted for the more conservative candidate and party. Where as the Southern blacks have typically (when they have
been able to vote) voted for the more liberal party or candidate. The South was at one time a Democratic stronghold
and has in the past 30 years become a typically conservative voting electorate. This tendency of voting by race for
the liberal or conservative candidate has been a continuing occurrence. Southern turn out for elections has been
significantly lower than the rest of the nation as well over the same time period. This bias of the past 30 years as
well as voter turn out has only recently began to change in the So!
uth.
In the beginning of and prior to the 1960’s the South was a Democratic stronghold and it was rare for there to be any
competition from Republicans in these non competitive states (Mulcahy p.56). A poll taken in the 1960’s showed
that " the southern states were the obvious stronghold of Democratic identification. The extreme case was Louisiana,
where 66% identified with the Democratic party"(Black p.44). This all began to change as the Democratic party
became more liberal in its national policy views. The Democrats became too liberal in their policies concerning civil
rights for the white Southerners to continue voting for them. (Mulcahy p.40). This reason along with others is what
drove the Southern whites to change there voting habits of the last 100 years. The white Southerners began to vote
for presidents of the Republican party and for Independents such as the Dixiecrats, because they were more
conservative on a national scale. The Largest change of the Southern voters o!
ccurred in 1960 when "the southern white Protestant presidential vote went Republican"(Wayne p62). This would of
allowed for the democrats to lose the south if the black electorate had not voted Democrat.
The black Southern voters at the time of the 1960’s were just again able to participate with their rights to vote. This
was because shortly after the Civil War and reconstruction the Southern whites reduced and eventually removed the
short lived black political power. They added laws that made it mandatory to take tests for voter eligibility, as well
as discouraging black voting at all. This discrimination greatly reduced if not completely halted black voting in the
south until the 1950’s and 1960’s. It was not until 1965 that the Voting Rights Act was passed that prohibited
literacy tests for federal elections did blacks obtain their constitutional right to vote (Wayne p.70). Many blacks did
in fact support the Republican party for quite a long time because they were known as the party of reconstruction
and freeing of the slaves. Black voting turned towards the Democrats in the 1930’s and 40’s on the advice of "One
N.A.A.C.P. leader… Turn your pictures of Lincoln to the wa!
ll, the debt is paid in full"(Mulcahy p 37). This black voting for the Democrats created a problem in of its self, that
the Blacks were continuing to vote for the local white conservative Democrats, that upheld the traditional Southern
white views. This lead to the continued power of the oppressive whites, even though the party platform was one of
reform. It was not until the early 70’s that when the Republicans won the election for the governor of Virginia was
the two party system fully
revived in the south (U.S. news p. 210). This two party system allowed Democrats to run on a more liberal platform,
which gave the blacks the representation that they wanted.
Voting in the South since the 1960’s has followed the pattern of voting for the most staunch conservative, or
protector of Southern whites views. In the 1968 election
Southern whites in the Deep South voted for George C. Wallace, while the rest of the South split on Nixon and
Hubert Humphrey. In the Election of