Charlotte Talks: How Did Republicans Lock Up The Southern Vote?

Jul 2, 2019

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Richard Nixon utilized the Southern Strategy of tapping into Southern white voters' racial and cultural resentments to win the presidency in 1968.
Credit The Richard Nixon Foundation

The late 1960s introduced a new phrase into the political lexicon: the Southern Strategy. Republicans put it to use in the aftermath of the civil rights movement to reshape the electoral map for generations. Guest host Michael Bitzer looks at the origins and legacy of this tectonic shift.

In the 1964 presidential election, Republicans suffered one of the biggest political lickings in American history. But equally significant was the political realignment that election illustrated as the once-solid Democratic South turned Republican, and the electoral map has more or less stayed the same since.

That switch was part of what's come to be known as the Southern Strategy - political shorthand for appealing to Southern white voters' attitudes on race, culture and religion.

University of Arkansas professors Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields look at the roots of this blue-to-red shift in their book, "The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics."


Michael Bitzer, Catawba College, Dept. of Politics chair; author of "The Old North State Politics" blog (@BowTiePolitics)


Angie Maxwell, director of the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society, University of Arkansas (@AngieMaxwell1)

Todd Shields, dean, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas