US Political Divide Has Roots in ’60s
There’s less than two weeks to go till the 2012 presidential election, an election deeply divided among voters and states, red and blue, conservative and liberal. Most of the South, including Texas, has been solidly red for at least a decade. The roots of that can be traced to the 1960s, says filmmaker and chair of UT’s Department of Radio, Television and Film, Paul Stekler. Steckler and Daniel McCabe, the team that made the 2000 film George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire, and Wallace biographer Dan Carter talked to KUT’s Emily Donahue.
The strategist that Nixon relied on was Kevin Phillips, who wrote a book called The Emerging Republican Majority. Much of that survey analysis was based on taking a look at the Wallace voters in the South, and that they were ripe for changing, from a Democratic Party that was increasingly liberal, especially on racial issues, to a Republican Party that was hunting for where the votes were, and those votes were essentially those that were against integration at that point, and eventually just conservatives who were probably in the wrong party. When you take a look at today’s landscape in the South, President Obama’s probably going to get 10 percent of the white vote, or even less, in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, East Texas, and it’s not just by happenstance.