States' Rights Democratic Party
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“”We oppose the elimination of segregation, the repeal of miscegenation statutes, the control of private employment by Federal bureaucrats called for by the misnamed civil rights program.
|—Platform of the States' Rights Democratic Party|
The States' Rights Democratic Party (SRDP) was a segregationist American political party founded in 1948 to protect
bigotry and oppression "states' rights." Members of the party were referred to as "Dixiecrats." The party was formed by a number of Southern Democrats in response to the passage of a platform including civil rights at the 1948 Democratic National Convention and Harry Truman's desegregation of the military. They ran Strom Thurmond and Fielding Wright in that year's election and he picked up the states of South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana with a total of 2.41% of the popular vote nationwide. Unsurprisingly, those were the states where they had made it onto the ballot as the Democratic ticket. The party folded after the 1948 election, though the Dixiecrat moniker stuck in reference to pro-segregation Democrats. Thurmond and other Dixiecrats would go on to work within the Democratic Party to block and filibuster later civil rights legislation until many converted to the Republican Party in the 1960s thanks to the southern strategy.
In 1968 the SRDP essentially came back to life in all but name as the American Independent Party (AIP) which was also an explicitly segregationalist "states rights" party that broke off from the Democratic Party due to conflicts with liberals. This time, they were led by George Wallace instead of Strom Thurmond however, but unlike the SRDP the AIP is still (barely) alive today as a still far-right party.
“”I am a conservative. I intend to give the American people a clear choice. I welcome a fight between our philosophy and the liberal left-wing dogma which now threatens to engulf every man, woman, and child in the United States. I am in this race because I believe the American people have been pushed around long enough and that they, like you and I, are fed up with the continuing trend toward a socialist state which now subjects the individual to the dictates of an all-powerful central government.
|—Segregationalist leader George Wallace breaking off from a clearly very liberal wing of the Democratic Party in 1968|
|—Donald Trump in 2016|
“”The Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan. You look at the most racist — you look at the Dixiecrats, they were Democrats who imposed segregation, imposed Jim Crow laws, who founded the Klan. The Klan was founded by a great many Democrats.
The Dixiecrat fallacy is an informal fallacy often invoked by modern Republican and conservative politicians and pundits as a way of framing "GOP good, Democrats bad". It relies on the ignorance of its audience regarding the history of the political parties in the United States.
- Bring up the subject of a major civil rights topic, such as the Fourteenth Amendment or Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Source historical information or statistics about how said topic was supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats.
However, it ignores the shift in the party system that occurred between the times of the New Deal and the Southern strategy, where the Democratic Party found itself decidedly more liberal (pro-labor union, pro-equal rights) and staunchly conservative Democrats (known as Dixiecrats) switched to the Republican party.
The idea behind this is to equate Democrats with liberals in order to claim that "liberals are the real racists", implying that the Democratic party is still the same party it always was, just with different rhetoric. Many have even compared government assistance programs that often help African-Americans get out of poverty to modern slavery and called these progressive policies "the Democratic plantation". This is of course ignoring the fact that very few Dixiecrats and so-called Yellow Dog Democrats exist today in the south and that the liberal wing of the Republican party (nicknamed "Rockefeller Republicans") is all but extinct as well.
Subjects of Republican origin
Republicans like to proudly claim ownership of the following subjects, despite the fact that current Republican views and policies often contradict those subjects:
- Abraham Lincoln
- Civil Rights Act - proposed and signed by a Democrat from the South but passed with significant and crucial GOP support
- Equal Rights Amendment
- Fiscally responsible government spending
- Hawaii—the annexation of which was part of the GOP's platform during the Reconstruction era
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Certain Rockefeller Republicans, such as Dwight Eisenhower and Earl Warren
- The Sherman Antitrust Act
- Theodore Roosevelt
- The 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments to the United States Constitution
Rightly attributed to Democrats, wrongly attributed to liberals
Additionally, callers of the fallacy will point to certain conservative subjects or historical figures and say "[X] was started by Democrats!" or "[X] was a Democrat, and they were terrible!":
- American Civil War
- Andrew Jackson
- A number of Dixiecrats
- James Buchanan
- John C. Calhoun
- Jefferson Davis
- Jim Crow laws
- The Kansas-Nebraska Act
- Ku Klux Klan
- The Mexican-American War
- Secession of southern states to form the Confederacy
- Stephen A. Douglas
- Woodrow Wilson
Freedom Democratic Party
In the 1964 national Democratic convention, pro-civil rights Mississippi Democrats formed their own branch called the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
Dixiecrats we have articles on
- US Election Atlas: 1948 election results
- Bonus points for ranting against the "liberal media" later on as well
- Trump makes a familiar mistake about American political history by Steve Benen (08/31/16 11:00 AM) MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show.
- Ted Cruz: 'The Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan' by Kristine Guerra (February 8 at 4:26 PM) The Washington Post.
- Sherman Antitrust Act on Wikipedia
- Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), University of Southern Mississippi