Seeds of Change
FOR THIRTY YEARS, THE REPUBLICANS' SOUTHERN STRATEGY HAS BUILT winning coalitions for presidential elections in the South. For Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, this strategy was simply "to go hunting where the ducks are" ( Bass and De Vries 1976, 26). The ducks to which Goldwater referred were strongly ideological, racially motivated, white conservatives. In short, the Goldwater Southern Strategy was merely an attempt to attract states' rights voters to the Republican party ( Bass and De Vries 1976, 27-28).
In the Nixon years, the Southern Strategy evolved, melding economic conservatives with states' rights advocates. In large part, the Southern Strategy was packaged and sold as a hands-off approach to governing the nation and, more specifically, the South ( Lamis 1988, 26). The 1972 Democratic presidential candidate, Senator George McGovern (S.D.), cynically described it: "What is the Southern Strategy? It is this. It says to the South: Let the poor stay poor, let your economy trail the nation, forget about decent homes and medical care for all your people, choose officials who will oppose every effort to benefit the many at the expense of the few--and in return, we will try to overlook the rights of the black man, appoint a few southerners to high office, and lift your spirits by attacking the 'eastern establishment' whose bank accounts we are filling [up] with your labor and your industry. It is a clever strategy" ( Bass and De Vries 1976, 31).
In the Reagan years the Southern Strategy continued its evolution, reaching new heights. In 1980 and 1984, Reagan forged a Southern coalition that reflected elements from the old-time gospel hour, economic conservatism, and states' rights ( Black and Black 1987, 240-49, 315). Reagan's coalition was impressive, because he was the first Republican presidential candidate to bring together these diverse groups of white voters in successive elections ( Edsall and Edsall 1992). Reagan's efforts