Home / General / The Party of Lincoln Becoming the Party of Calhoun In One Chart

The Party of Lincoln Becoming the Party of Calhoun In One Chart


Strangely, Donald Trump’s strategy of “Mitt Romney’s policies except sort of trade with a lot more explicit racism” has not arrested the cratering of African-American support for the Republican Party:


The rest of Enten’s analysis is worth reading as well. Trump is currently in 4th place among African-American voters, which helps to explain why Republicans are so determined to keep African-Americans away from the polls.

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  • Well, I note that Trump is beating Barry Goldwater. At least there’s that.

    • Richard Gadsden

      The article notes that the survey showed zero (not just rounded-to-zero, no-one in the entire sample) for Goldwater.

      Also, Dewey came third in 1948, after Truman and Wallace.

      • Ahuitzotl

        Interestingly, Trump seems certain to overturn this truism from that election:
        “No presidential candidate in the future will be so inept that four of his major speeches can be boiled down to these historic four sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. Our future lies ahead.”

    • Paul Chillman

      OT, but this morning I walked past a car on my block with a brand-new Barry Goldwater (deep in your heart you know he was right) bumper sticker.

  • J. Otto Pohl

    It appears that he is still ahead of Goldwater. The graph looks like it went to zero in 1964. Nixon seems to have been the favorite GOP candidate among African Americans. The graph goes up to 25% in 1960 and hits its second highest poing at 16% in 1972. I wonder why Nixon would be more popular than any other Republican candidate for president since 1950. Is his greater popularity than Eisenhower (1952 vs. 1960) explained in the article?

    • Thom

      I think it is just a function of McGovern losing so badly across the board. If there is any policy connection, it might relate to Nixon withdrawing troops from Vietnam (despite widening the war) and enforcing busing orders.

      • J. Otto Pohl

        But, Republicans are even more popular among African Americans in 1960 at 25% when Nixon ran against JFK than in 1972 at 16%.

        • Denverite

          1960 was probably a function of (1) Kennedy embracing Southern Democrats with both arms and (2) Nixon running as the sitting vice president in an administration that was relatively pro-civil rights (given the times).

          • Woodrowfan

            except Kennedy called Georgia officials and King’s family after King was arrested in Georgia, and Nixon did not. That earned Kennedy an endorsement by King, Sr.

            • CrunchyFrog

              Let’s not overstate it here – even though 1960 Nixon was the peak of black support for the GOP he still got only 25%. Denverite’s reasoning is correct, but he misses one factor: in 1960 there was still a lot of distrust of Catholics in politics and that spilled over into the black community.

              • so-in-so

                There were also still a lot of “blue dog” Southern Democrats in 1960 – the full party switch didn’t occur for a few years later. If all your local Democratic politicians are stone-cold racists, who are you going to vote for on the national ticket?

                • CrunchyFrog

                  This was an exit poll. Very, very few blacks in the south were voting in 1960.

        • humanoid.panda

          In the late 1950s, Nixon toyed for a short while with being the point man in trying to weaken the filibuster as stepping stone towards passing civil rights legislation. And was foiled by LBJ, as Senate majority leader, with JFK being a loyal vote on the rules package. That, plus broad prosperity of the 1950s, Eisenhower’s popularity, and memories of the party of Lincoln would explain why he got to 25%.

          [It’s also a fun exercise to imagine how would political history look like if Nixon succeeded: the end result would probably have been the GOP as party of educate Whites and minorities, and Dems as party of downscale whites..]

          • Redbeard

            In Perlstein’s Nixonland, it says that in order to secure the 1960 nomination at the convention, Nixon flew to Nelson Rockefeller and agreed to lots of pro-civil rights planks, in essence having a more pro-civil rights platform than did the DNC.
            After seeing Goldwater lock up Southern Republican Delegates in 1964, Nixon saw his advantage in ignoring the pro-civil rights approach of Rockefeller & Romney. Given the racist things Nixon said on his White House tapes, he probably felt more at ease with his 1968 stances against equality.

            • humanoid.panda

              Caro shows this was no fluke: in 1958/9, Nixon was very involved with attempts to pass civil rights legislation. As for his private views: doubt if there were very differn than LBJ’s..

              • BiloSagdiyev

                Yes, that is the grotesque part of Richard Nixon: was he a bad person? Maybe, maybe not always. When he made political decisions? He was always ready to act like a worse person if that’s what he thought his audience wanted.

                Which reminds me of his “madman theory.” Which of course, reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut in Mother Night: We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

    • Dennis Orphen

      The policies of the Great Society were enacted during the Johnson administration. The effects began to show during the Nixon administration, and people being people, regardless of ethnicity, gave some credit to the Nixon administration. It’s analogous to people blaming Obama for the failed economic policies of the Bush years.

      • Thom

        Excellent point.

        • Dennis Orphen

          I should qualify it. It applies to the 1972 election, and African-American perceptions of Nixon during and after Watergate. 1968 can be explained by some of the points made about Nixon’s role in the Eisenhower administration made by others above, and Nixon’s perception at that time as the candidate who would end the Vietnam war, a war whose effects were felt disproportionately by minority communities.

    • Bill Murray

      1972 looks like ti was tied for 4th highest, although it is the highest after the Civil Rights Act

    • NonyNony

      Nixon in ’68 is at less than 5%, though. So perhaps Nixon in ’72 is incumbency effect combined with older African American voters returning to the GOP as the party of their youth?

      A very quick search on the Internet turns up different numbers from FactCheck.org. Those are exit polls instead of pre-election polling, and they suggest that Ike performed better than the graph above and Nixon a bit worse.

      • BigHank53

        Law-and-order candidate. 1968 to 1972 were…not stellar years. Riots and drug use wound up being felt disproportionately by minority communities.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Also, hippies.

          • NonyNony

            Hippies were felt disproportionately by minority communities?

            • Dennis Orphen

              Speaking as a long hair, blacks and hippies have always felt an affinity for each other because both are persecuted by the same actors for the same reasons: none.

              • BiloSagdiyev

                Well, what I was hinting at was that a bunch of middle class, upper middle class, and rich white kids running around growing their hair long, running around naked at Woodstock, using the pill and having lots of free love, and taking the dope is going to irk a certain percentage of uptight churchy black folks. Social conservatism.

      • njorl

        Hubert Humphrey was probably the politician most dedicated to civil rights for a quarter of a century before that election.

  • DrDick

    However, Manju will tell us that the Democrats are the real party of the racists!

    • Keaaukane

      Do not summon what you cannot dismiss.

      • efgoldman

        Do not summon what you cannot dismiss.

        Doc only typed it once.
        Thank FSM

    • timb

      The dems ability to trick Africa-Americans into voting for them is an eternal mystery to him

    • LosGatosCA

      I read somewhere that Jackie Robinson endorsed Nixon.

      • Darkrose

        He did. He regretted it later.

      • James Brown did also.

        • (((Hogan)))

          The good foot is a hell of a drug.

  • Rob in CT

    History question. What’s the short version on AA support for Republicans being ~20% by the early 50s?

    Obviously we’d expect high support for the GOP during the 19th century. Did they lose it because:

    1) Disenfranchisement in the South meant that those AAs who managed to vote were disproportionately Northern, and Northern Dems were more responsive to their concerns?

    2) The New Deal?

    3) Something else?

    • Downpuppy

      Mostly economic, but 2 things that helped were Roosevelt forbidding discrimination in the defense industry & Truman’s Executive Order 9881 integrating the armed forces.

      • humanoid.panda

        Also, Eleanor Roosevelt’s symbolic heft as the most visible supporter of racial integration.

    • humanoid.panda

      1 and 2 pretty much cover it. I’d also add that significant elements of the New Deal liberal elite in the North were adamant regarding their support for civil rights, while Republicans just paid lip service to the issue.

    • CP

      If I recall correctly, the backstory to this is that the Republican Party (allegedly the party of civil rights) had been in a downwards spiral since, basically, Tilden-Hayes, where they progressively gave less and less of a shit about black people. You just don’t notice for the longest time because the Democrats are still so much worse – but by the time of the twenties, the two parties are practically at the same level.

      That would’ve meant that black voters would have had a lot of time to sour on the GOP, and all they needed was a reason to go Dem. FDR gave them that reason. (As Downpuppy said). And then Truman went overtly pro-civil-rights.

      • I remember reading that support for the Klan was the highest in its history by the 1920’s (and after that saw a precipitous decline). But for a while there, it was almost mainstream to be a member, and even some northern states, particularly IN, saw large numbers of establishment whites among its members. So, I think that lends some creedence to the claim that the 1920’s saw both parties both pretty awful on race. national AA support for either party would splinter, with locals backing whatever candidates were marginally better on the issue, maybe.

        • CP

          Oh yes – the twenties are when the KKK was resurrected and reinvented as a nationwide, patriotic movement instead of a regional separatist one. And IIRC, in the North, the Klaverns tended to be Republican – that’s what white Anglo-Protestants were outside of the South. A lot of the bigotry was directed at Catholic and Jewish immigrants, but with all the black migration to the cities, I’m sure they got plenty of attention too.

        • timb

          In the ’20’s our governor was a Republican Klan member.

          Ah, Indiana, where there’s still a town called Knightstown and their high school mascot is a dragon. Fortunately, most Hoosiers are too illiterate to be offended

    • Turangalila

      If we’re talking about AA voters, might there be some correlation with the fact that black people in the Democrat-controlled Jim Crow south had no functional right to vote, and were poor and marginalized to the extent that they were largely invisible to Gallup et al?

      Whereas AA’s in the North/Midwest/West were largely concentrated in cities where to some extent they were just another ethnic group dealing with the Democratic machine?

      (Disclaimer: Spitballing with no real knowledge here.)

      • Rob in CT

        That’s my #1.

  • Marc

    A bit off-topic, but there is a very good deep read in the NY Times on the Middle East, basically the equivalent of an entire magazine in a set of interlinked articles. It’s a dissection of how the US invasion of Iraq and the Arab Spring were catalysts for the current chaos in the Middle East and the crucial role of preexisting fault lines in the region. It’s the sort of thing for which a paper like the Times is absolutely irreplaceable for and it looks to be very well done. If it’s in the roundhouse of any of the front-pagers here I’d be very interested in their reaction.

    • J. Otto Pohl

      I just read that article by Scott Anderson in preparation for moving to Kurdistan next week. It is indeed quite interesting. Although it isn’t an analysis of whole Middle East or even the Arab portion of it. Rather it is a collection of individual narratives from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Libya that are supposed to reflect the larger national narratives of those states. It is rather typical of US mainstream media in seeking to portray all problems in the Arab world as disconnected from Israel and the Palestinian issue.

  • CrunchyFrog

    The viewpoints of the African-American population are highly diverse. Like any other population there is a variety of different outlooks regarding the role of government in the economy and in society. For such a population to vote en masse like that for one party – well, that requires an extreme degree of alienation from the other party.

    Of course, the GOP isn’t polling that well in the 18-24 age group either. I guess “GET OFF OF MY LAWN” as a political philosophy doesn’t work for everyone.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      EXTREMISM… IN THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTY … hey, where’d everybody go?

  • Aaron Morrow

    As a comparison, see the second chart on this page showing party ID which goes back a little further. There’s also talk of Truman’s outreach to African-American voters, resulting in the first movement towards the Democratic Party.

    • Rob in CT

      Ah, thanks for that.

  • AMK

    I feel like McCain running against generic white Democrat instead of Obama would have gotten notably more support from blacks in 2008 than Romney did in 2012.

  • Saskexpat

    I cannot imagine I am the first to think this, but it sure seems like the Republicans are caught in a series of political feedback loops. In this case, they perform poorly with AA voters, leading them to try to suppress the AA vote (and to other policies antagonistic to AAs). This further drives AA voters away, leading to even more desperate attempts to suppress the vote. Absent some influence in the party telling them to knock it off or they will never get AA voters (even those that would otherwise agree with them on some issues), they will just keep on with this strategy.

    This is happening across the board for the Republican party. Their reliance on the hard right and white identity politics seems to have reached a tipping point, where they are politically unable to change course on any issue. Josh Marshall just recently posted on this issue indirectly, saying that Trumpism is enough of a force in the party that it will be impossible for any Republican politician to not pander to his supporters for the foreseeable future. One thing that he points out is that no politician seeking reelection is willing to denounce Trumpism, because the political price is too high. Even Collins’s squishy denunciation fits this, because she is not up for reelection until 2020, and is presumably hoping that the political winds will have shifted by then.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Trumpism is enough of a force in the party that it will be impossible for any Republican politician to not pander to his supporters for the foreseeable future. One thing that he points out is that no politician seeking reelection is willing to denounce Trumpism, because the political price is too high.

      And the resultant Democratic victories (well, for the White House, at least) will only ratchet up their hysteria and persecution complex. For the 27th time this year, I’ll say: I could find this all quite funny if they weren’t also well-armed.

      • Dennis Orphen

        I could find this all quite funny if they weren’t also well-armed.

        If your not one of their family members (parent, child, spouse, sibling, in-law) or a law enforcement officer, you shouldn’t have to worry all that much. But we shouldn’t be laughing either.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Trump is currently in 4th place among African-American voters, which helps to explain why Republicans are so determined to keep African-Americans away from the polls.

    Are you sure it’s not the other way ’round?

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