The Persuadable Voter: Wedge Issues in Presidential Campaigns

By D. Sunshine Hillygus; Todd G. Shields | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Five

The Republican Southern Strategy:
A Case Study of the Reciprocal Campaign

DURING THE SECOND televised debate in the 1960 presidential election, moderator Alvin Spivlak asked Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon, “Mr. Vice President, you have accused Senator Kennedy of avoiding the civil rights issue when he has been in the South, and he has accused you of the same thing. With both North and South listening and watching, would you sum up your intentions in the field of civil rights if you become president.” Nixon responded with a lengthy defense of civil rights, including his support of government action to ensure fair treatment in employment and education and offering his support for lunch-counter sit-ins:

I have talked to Negro mothers, I've heard them explain—try to explain—
how they tell their children how they can go into a store and buy a loaf of
bread but then can't go into that store and sit at the counter and get a Coca
Cola. This is wrong and we have to do something about it.… Why do I talk
every time I'm in the South on civil rights? Not because I'm preaching to the
people of the South because this isn't just a Southern problem. It's a North-
ern problem and a Western problem. It's a problem for all of us.1

Nixon's pro-civil rights response is especially notable because he is more frequently remembered for promising to slow the pace of civil rights as part of the Republican “southern strategy” to recruit southern white Democrats to the Republican Party. In a 1968 televised interview in the South, for instance, Nixon argued that federal efforts to enforce school desegregation “are going too far…. and in many cases should be rescinded.”2 Did Nixon change his rhetoric on racial issues as a deliberate campaign strategy aimed at driving a wedge in the traditional Democratic coalition? Moreover, did this change in campaign rhetoric influence voter decision making?

In this chapter, we examine the Republican southern strategy as a case study of our expectations about the interaction of candidates, vot

1 The full text of debate, nomination speeches, and party platforms cited in this chap-
ter are available online through the American Presidency Project (www.presidency
.ucsb.edu).

2 Ambrose, Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician, 187.

-107-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Persuadable Voter: Wedge Issues in Presidential Campaigns
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 252

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?