Alabama has always had a soft spot for politicians who put up a good fight. It was a frontier state at the dawn of Jacksonian Democracy. The bellicose populism of Andrew Jackson was wildly popular in a society that, unlike many other Southern states, did not yet have a dominant planter class. The Democratic party entrenched itself for more than a century.
Racial fear was the force that kept Alabamans in line behind the Democrats. The state party constantly raised the specter of black Republican rule. It eventually masterminded the disenfranchisement of most blacks in 1901. One black editor wrote, "It is goodbye with poor white folks and niggers now, for the train of disenfranchisement is on the rail and will come thundering upon us like an avalanche."1 The Alabama Democratic party boldly printed its slogan on the ballot well into the 1960s: "White Supremacy -- For The Right." These twin traditions of populism and racism produced Presidential candidate George Wallace, first known for his fierce effort to keep the state university lily white.
Alabama's commitment to the national Democratic party began to flag in 1948, when half of its delegation stalked out of the party's convention to protest a strong civil-rights platform plank. The state supported the States' Rights Democratic ticket that fall. It has been carried by the Democrats only three times in the nine subsequent elections.
Alaska trumpets itself as America's "last frontier." Its residents hold with religious fervor to frontier ideals, individualism foremost among them. The Republican party