How Reagan Won the Hearts (and votes) of Southern Conservatives

Prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, most Southern Conservatives were Democrats.   At this time, the Democratic

Reagan in Black Face

Reagan, through his Drug War policies did more to suppress African-Americans than any other President, earning him the Jim Crow Black Face

Party was split between those who believed in liberal ideologies and those who believed in States Rights and conservative ideals.  The Republican Party had traditionally been the “Party of Lincoln,” the party that freed the slaves and brought about positive changes to the nation.  However, after FDR, that changed.

To be sure, FDR was strongly conservative and his policies were as well, but he was a Democrat who won support nationwide.  For the next 30 years, Republicans simply could not gain control over Washington and by the time Nixon entered the arena, the GOP was desperate to regain influence in DC politics.  Looking back, it certainly made sense to the Party that to regain power, the Party needed to become more conservative and less liberal.

Then, Republican Chief Justice Earl Warren opened the door to changes that would send shivers down the spines of Southern Democrats, who were largely conservative and very racist.  In Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court ended segregation in schools.   Then the Court made other changes that pleased Democrats in the north as well as liberal-leaning Republicans, but set the stage for limited abuses in the Criminal Justice arena.

Nixon entered with a solution:  Shift away from the liberal side and become strongly conservative, at the same time woo the Southern Democrats with promises to return to the days of Jim Crow laws.  By using catch-phrases like “States Rights” and “Traditional Family Values,” Southern Democrats got the message.

But Nixon lost the gains he had made by discrediting the GOP for a time with the Watergate Scandal.

Enter Reagan.

Reagan promised the same things that Nixon promised and expanded the Drug War in his bid to retain the votes of Southern Democrats.  The ploy worked and the south never voted Democrat again.

How did he do this?

The key tool was Cocaine, which we now know Reagan boosted in America by protecting shipments into Miami for the supposed sake of funneling money to the Sandinista Rebels.  By the time Reagan left office, the supplied of Coke in America had increased despite growing demand and prices were lower.   At the same time, Crack became an issue in the nation and Reagan crafted a series of bills to increase penalties for crack possession while not affecting similar penalties for the possession of powder cocaine.

This had the effect of increasing penalties on African-Americans, who were more likely to be in possession of Crack (mostly as dealers) than powder.  This is ironic considering that crack is closer to the natural form than powder.  But considering the intent of the legislation, namely to bolster support among racist Southern Democrats, it all makes perfect sense.

Indeed, since then, the disparities in the criminal justice system relating to Black arrests, convictions, and time incarcerated has become such that any thinking person now understands that discrimination must be at play.

Indeed, Reagan cunningly used the Black community as a pawn to gaining power for the GOP by winning favor with the racist Southern Conservatives.

It became, as H.R. Haldeman, Nixon” Right-Hand man stated in his Diaries, published in 1994,

He [Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really with the blacks.  The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.

Nixon devised the system and the GOP, starting with Reagan has kept that system in place to retain their power.  Disgusting.  Unless, of course, you are a Southern Conservative.  Then it is nothing short of Brilliance.

To learn more, read my book on Amazon, The Cowards in Charge: “The Whole Problem is Really with the Blacks.

If you act before December 20, 2012, you may receive a free copy on Amazon, but there only remain about 2 dozen so act now.

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5 thoughts on “How Reagan Won the Hearts (and votes) of Southern Conservatives

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