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Political Realignment & the Newest Jim Crow

Political Realignment & the Newest Jim Crow
President Joe Biden joins striking United Auto Workers on the picket line in Van Buren Township, Mich. United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain listens at left. (Evan Vucci/AP/2023 file photo)

George Mentz By Monday, 08 April 2024 12:03 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

I never forget the day that a cross was burned in a neighborhood yard when I was a young man in the late 1970s. [i] I asked why this was done, and the answer was, “They found out he was a Republican.” [ii]

Growing up in rural Louisiana was interesting and fun, but the politics was crazy. My father was a WWII combat veteran and Bronze Star recipient who helped liberate Germany and Austria and Death Camps, and he barely survived the Battle of the Bulge against the National Socialist NAZI war machine.

My father also attended law school with Russell Long (Senate Finance Chair) and my father also worked as a young lawyer for the son of assassinated governor Huey Long, Gov. Earl Long.  As a note, the Long family were famous populists and registered democrats and people today still say that many of FDR Roosevelt’s best ideas for working families came from the populist Huey Long. [iii]

From 1970 till 1996 marked a pivotal transition in American politics, particularly in the southern United States. It was part of a broader political realignment that witnessed conservative Democrats steadily transitioning to the Republican Party for many reasons including the new generations and youth were ashamed of the history of the Democrats with slavery, racism, Jim Crow, lynching, the KKK, and the recent losses in Korea and Vietnam.

Then, Barry Goldwater was solidly defeated losing 44 states in the 1964 national election by Lyndon B. Johnson. Then, out of nowhere a huge “Embarrassment Shift”  of Democrats to the Republican Party had profound implications for the political landscape of the South and growing nation as a whole.

In the last 40 years, many writers from the northern states have tried to justify the strange shift of voter registration in the Northeast USA to the Democrat party. Was it caused by integration or a pro-war stance? These writers then created the theory about the: “Southern Strategy” which supposedly was a political tactic employed by the Nixon during the 1960s and 1970s.

In contrast to the hypothetical theory of “Southern Strategy”, the recruiting of voters by the Republicans was aimed to appeal to conservative voters, especially in the southern states, who were disaffected by the Democratic Party's history of war, racism and bigotry.  Many confused academic writers seem to claim today that racist Confederate democrats from 150 years ago are still alive and have all conveniently switched to the Republican Party. It is this type of fraud and fake nonsense that perpetuates divisiveness, hate and bigotry even today.

The Historical Context

In the late 1972, President Nixon won 49 States in a national landslide based on his stance of:  1) No more Wars 2) Law and Order 3) Protect Benefits for Citizen Working Families. With these simple policies, Nixon won one of the biggest presidential election landslides in US history.

Strangely, a gentleman named Mike Foster used the same tactics to take over local politics in Louisiana in 1996.  To understand the significance of the political realignment during the 1996 election, one must consider the historical context. For much of the 20th century, the South was a Confederate Democratic stronghold of Roosevelt, Truman, and other presidents.

The Factors Driving Realignment

Several factors contributed to the political realignment beyond the over-simplified “Southern Strategy” written by people who probably have never visited Atlanta, Richmond, Houston, New Orleans, Miami, or Nashville.

1.  Changing Ideological Alignments: Over time, the Democratic Party's national platform began to shift towards vast welfare oriented positions on social and economic issues with less emphasis on working families, education, health care, crime, and law and order. This created a disconnect with conservative Democrats, who increasingly found themselves at odds with their own party.

2.  Civil Rights and Racial Issues: Republicans fought to end slavery and racism for over 100 years while Democrats in Washington DC promoted slavery segregation and Jim Crow. [iv] The civil rights movement and the Republican Party's support for civil rights legislation from the 1860s until the 1960s was pivotal in freeing minorities from democrat racism, Jim Crow, oppression and bigotry. [v]

3.  Religious and Cultural Values: Conservative religious and cultural values played a significant role in the realignment. Issues such as pedophilia, murder, rape, and violent crime were important to conservatives, and if the Democrats did not enforce the law, traditionalist and libertarian voters were going to switch parties.

4.  Economic Shifts: The Republican Party's emphasis on free-market economies, less crime, less regulation, less crony capitalism, and lower taxes resonated with South and Southeast conservative and Christian interests, leading millions of libertarians, democrats and conservatives to align with the GOP's economic and social platform in the 1980s with Reagan who won in a massive landside against Dukakis.

5.  National Republican Outreach: The Republican Party actively courted conservative, traditional, and spiritual voters in the South, offering them a home that better reflected their spiritual, economics, social and political beliefs. [vi]

The 1996 Election as a Turning Point

The 1996 Louisiana election was a watershed moment in the South's political realignment. In 1992, Clinton won the election with 43% of the vote while 57% of the people voted against him. Incumbent President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, won re-election by claiming: he was against crime, against same sex marriage, and against welfare, but the grass roots in the South and Midwest exhibited significant shifts.

Many states, historically Democratic strongholds, began to shift towards the Republican Party as young people who had nothing to do with the Civil War, Jim Crow, Segregation, or Vietnam were most probably ashamed of the old Confederate Democrat Party and wanted atonement from the past democrat policies in Washington DC. In 1996, states like Louisiana elected republican Mike Foster in a massive landslide in 1996 and 2000. State Senator Foster, like many others, had been a conservative Democrat, but switched parties.  As a political scientist and lawyer, I would suggest that this was a “grand transition” or “Southern Atonement”. Several generations after the democrats lost the Civil War, young people hand finally abandoned the Confederate Democrat Party of Slavery.

The shift was also evident in congressional elections, where mildly conservative Democrats were increasingly replaced by Libertarian and Conservative Republicans and Populists with ideas of fiscal responsibility and law and order. This trend continued in subsequent elections, solidifying the South as a Conservative stronghold.  

Louisiana’s Governor Mike Foster of Louisiana is often described as a populist politician. He was known for his outsider status and as a multi millionaire businessman and for his ability to connect with the working-class and rural voters in the state.

Some could say that Louisiana Populism and other leaders like Andrew Jackson, Huey Long and Ross Perot led to the Donald Trump ascendency. Remember, Trump actually was a key player in the Reform Party years ago, and in the 2016 presidential election , the Reform Party endorsed the Republican candidate Donald Trump.  As a result of Trump winning the Presidential election, Presidential Trump also became the de facto leader of  the Republican Party which won the Civil War and defeated slavery in the USA. [vii]

Long-Term Effects

The political realignment of the South during and after the 1996 election had enduring consequences. The realignment contributed to the broader polarization of American politics, with the Republican Party becoming more ideologically conservative and the Democratic Party becoming more liberal and socialist oriented with people like Senator Bernie Sanders virtually winning the Democrat primary before being ousted by the Democrat super delegates.

The influence of populists, conservatives and libertarians has shaped policy debates, particularly on issues such as worker benefits, taxes, healthcare, and social issues.


The political realignment witnessed during the elections in the South in from 1980 till now, marked by the shift of conservative Democrats to the Republican Party and Conservative Populism, is a significant transformation in American politics that has manifested in 2024 into a real movement.

The shift was driven by a combination of ideological, psychological, cultural, and demographic factors, but is now finalized with the emergence of a real “Conservative Populist Republican Party” and this is seen today with Trump winning all counties in Iowa in a record win and landslide in the first caucus of 2024.

As for Conservative Populism, I never forget speaking with US Senator Long about his ESOP Employee Stock Ownership Program which would help get company stock into workers hands to boost productivity and company growth and lower taxes for working families.

However, he told me that people in his party made the program complicated as democrats did not want corporations or workers to get an easy tax break. [viii] The ESOP program was populist in nature, but the socialists fought it as they saw it as a tax break and not a benefit for workers.

Anyone that claims that people of the South were not ashamed of the democrat’s policies and history in DC, is whitewashing history. This realignment not only altered the political dynamics of the South but also had profound and lasting effects on the atonement and innovation of the South and the national political landscape, contributing to the polarization of parties and the growth of conservative populism and libertarianism which do not support any of the old Confederate Democrat ideas.

Just like Japan and Germany, people atone and change over time and while losing wars, many nations later become the leaders of peace, prosperity and justice.

As for Jim Crow, it was a system of racial segregation and discrimination that was implemented primarily by Democrats in the United States from the late 19th century through the mid-20th century.

Affirmative Action was implemented over 50 years ago to take benign measures to repair the damage done by Democrat activities after the Civil war up to the Jim Crow era. Sadly, the newest Jim Crow is where people with power over others are discriminating against Americans based on ethnicity or skin color while putting their political philosophy over fairness and equity. Many white politicians exploit previously affected minority groups for their own personal power, income and prestige while promoting a systemic denigration of minority groups as forever victims.

Even today, there are a solid number of conservative democrats that will never leave their party as they have too much to gain from the “Trickle Down Crony Capitalism”, but there could be a solution to this problem. If groups begin to demand that the democrat party pay reparations, that may enable many to quit the democrat party.

In the end, if the Conservative factions can’t consolidate around a political party, it may be time to disband the Republican Party, and then by default, there may be a “law and order” and “fiscally responsible” majority that would rule the political parties for the next 50 years.

Commissioner George Mentz JD MBA CILS CWM® is the first in the USA to rank as a Top 50 Influencer & Thought Leader in: Management, PM, HR, FinTech, Wealth Management, and B2B according to Onalytica.com and Thinkers360.com. George Mentz JD MBA CILS is a CWM Chartered Wealth Manager ®, global speaker - educator, tax-economist, international lawyer and CEO of the GAFM Global Academy of Finance & Management ®. The GAFM is a EU accredited graduate body that trains and certifies professionals in 150+ nations under standards of the: US Dept of Education, ACBSP, ISO 21001, ISO 991, ISO 29993, QAHE, ECLBS, and ISO 29990 standards. Mentz is also an award winning author and award winning graduate law professor of wealth management of one of the top 30 ranked law schools in the USA.

[i] The Klan the Congress and the Court: Congressional Enforcement.pdf (upenn.edu) , Pg. 1385

[ii] ?The policy of intimidation had been so successfully managed that.pdf (butler.edu)

[iii] Huey Long & The New Deal History & Significance - Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com

[iv] The Origins of Modern Terrorism (Chapter 26) - The Cambridge World History of Violence

[v] History 101 - Democrats Legal Responsibility For Slavery, Jim Crow, The KKK, The Civil War, Lynchings, Hate Monuments, And Segregation (timebulletin.com)

[vi] The Conscience of a Conservative - Wikipedia

[vii] Reform Party of the United States of America - Wikipedia

[viii] ESOP Champion Russell Long Dies | NCEO

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I never forget the day that a cross was burned in a neighborhood yard when I was a young man in the late 1970s. I asked why this was done, and the answer was, "They found out he was a Republican."
democrats, republicans, spending, political, leanings, south, welfare, taxes
Monday, 08 April 2024 12:03 PM
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