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PICKET: Coulter shreds 'southern strategy' myth as GOP successfully runs more blacks in conservative districts

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Liberals have accounted for Democratic losses in the southeast to what has become known as the GOP’s “southern strategy.” Conservative author Ann Coulter debunks the “southern strategy” excuse in her new book “Mugged.”

The single most important piece of evidence for the Republicans’ alleged southern strategy is President Johnson’s statement, after signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, tat “we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come.” That self-serving quote is cited by liberals with more solemnity than Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Johnson’s statement is of questionable provenance. The sole source for the quote is LBJ assistant Bill Moyers, whose other work for the president included hunting for gays on Barry Goldwater’s staff and monitoring the FBI’s bugs on Martin Luther King’s hotel room, then distributing the tapes to select members of the Johnson administration and the press. If this were my case-in-chief for an important point, I’d want better sourcing than a sanctimonious liberal fraud.

A source for information about LBJ who is not a partisan hack, dirty trickster and MLK-adultery publicist is Robert M. MacMillan, Air Force One steward during the Johnson administration. Macmillan reports that when LBJ was flying on Air Force One with two governors once, he boasted, “I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for two hundred years.”

Coulter goes on to show that LBJ continually rejected civil rights bills proposed by only Republicans and it was not until 1964, when Johnson finally signed the civil rights act with very little help from his fellow Democrats in Congress. Even after the passage of the civil rights act, Democrats continued to win elections in former segregationist states all the way through the election of George H.W. Bush despite the folklore of the GOP “southern strategy.”

The GOP is trying to recapture the glory days of its beginnings when the first black members of Congress were part of the Republican Party.

This congressional election cycle’s “it girl” appears to be Republican Mia Love, mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah. Love, a devout Mormon, introduced herself on the national stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. She is challenging Utah Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Matheson.

Love is an example of the local Republican Party running a black GOP’er in a traditionally white conservative district. This is more than likely a path to success as opposed to a black GOP’er running for office in a liberal stronghold.

“Our Republican candidates are representative of the common sense, fiscally conservative principles that Americans identify with from coast to coast. This comes in direct conflict with the Democrat policies of division that picks winners and losers and forces government into our daily lives,” said NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek in an e-mail statement.

For years the Republican Party has been criticized for lack of black GOP members in Congress. It may not have been necessarily for lack of trying in some areas of the country. However, a local county GOP organization would often run a black candidate against a longtime incumbent Congressional Black Caucus member. The losing result was usually no different than if a white Republican ran in the same race.

For example, in 2010 GOP challenger Michael Faulkner faced Rep. Charlie Rangel, New York Democrat. Despite Faulkner’s name ID as a former NY Jets football player, he only received 10 percent of the district’s vote. Before redistricting occurred, only 20 percent of the Rangel’s district was white, while 26 percent was black. The overwhelming majority of voters in his district, though, was Hispanic at 46.1 percent.

However, both Allen West and Tim Scott won their first races overwhelmingly in traditionally conservative white Democratic districts. West beat his Democratic opponent Ron Klein in 2010 with 54 percent of the vote. At the time, before redistricting, his Florida district was 72.3 percent white, 7 percent black, and 16.3 percent Hispanic. West received 54 percent of the vote.

Scott won his South Carolina 2010 race against Democrat Ben Frasier with 65 percent of the vote in a district that was 70.8 percent white, 19.6 percent black, and 5.8 percent Hispanic.

Running a black GOP’er in a conservative district is not new. Former Congressman J.C. Watts, an Oklahoma Republican, served in Congress from 1994 until 2008, when he retired. He won his re-elections within wide margins and his district was 79.7 percent white.

Today, Mayor Mia Love is proving again that if the Republican Party wants to grow its African American demographic on the statewide and local level, it should continue focusing on candidates similar to Love, West, and Scott who are willing to run for office in mostly conservative districts. Such a move will chip away at the myth known as the “southern strategy.”

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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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