Know Your States Rights

When Truman came out on Civil Rights many DEMs formed what they called the “States Rights Democratic Party” in order to thwart the election of either  Truman or Dewey (1948)  The States’ Rights Democratic Party opposed racial integration and wanted to retain Jim Crow laws and white supremacy in the face of possible federal intervention. This new party was extremely not cool. Their candidate, Strom Thurman, once said,

“Segregation in the South is honest, open and aboveboard…”

He lost. Yet, he took a good portion of the old Democratic vote with him. What was funny was that folks thought since the Democrats were so split on the issue of segregation, together with other Democrats splitting off with a Progressive Party candidate, that the election would surely go to Dewey with a glorious landslide. Newspapers jumped on the story on the big day announcing Dewey’s “Big win.” But as we know, Truman won and the Civil Rights era began.

Not happy campers, Thurman’s Democrats in the 1948 election would not be Democrats anymore. They would be the States’ Rights Democrats–a new political force to reckon with. And…too too sad. They lost.

States Rights Party platform back in 1948  stated:

“We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race; the constitutional right to choose one’s associates; to accept private employment without governmental interference, and to earn one’s living in any lawful way. 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. We favor home-rule, local self-government and a minimum interference with individual rights.”

These were pissed off Democrats splitting off to make their own Party. Their platform went on to say:

“We call upon all Democrats and upon all other loyal Americans who are opposed to totalitarianism at home and abroad to unite with us in ignominiously defeating Harry S. Truman, Thomas E. Dewey and every other candidate for public office who would establish a Police Nation in the United States of America.”

The States Rights Party fizzled away soon after the election, but their voters were still there and boiling and holding on to that segregation idea while no longer being a dynamite part of the National Democratic Party. DEMs became traitors in their eyes.

Yep, the Dixiecrats died away right after the 1948 election, but the State Rights vote was still out there as a hefty quantity of votes in America– and up for grabs. What became of them? What happened to the States Right’s Party? Interestingly, Nixon later wooed their votes for his election–they became his trump card, so to speak, and we got Nixon for better or worse. These voters’ exodus from the “evil” DEM party to the “godly” more conservative GOP was pretty much complete by the time Reagan took office. Republicans appeared more conservative– meaning sensitive to racial considerations– so Dixiecrats would have a new home.

And it’s so sad. It’s been over 60 years and so far the Republican Party establishment has not even begun coming through on its promise of “Taking America Back” or “Making it Great Again.” So out with the Rinos and in with the newbies. Now the Republican Party becomes the new face of State Rights Democratic Party. But unlike the parting of ways from the 1948 Democratic Party, these new Dixiecrats are uncompromising and are digging in and staying put.  If this faction of the Republican party ever decided to split off from the GOP, there essentially would be no place for them to go– with any real power. So become the Republican Party and chase off the old guard GOP,  that’s happening. We see that with the nomination of Donald Trump, who is no regular Republican. We see that also with old school Republicans becoming right-leaning Democrats. Two newly defecting ex-Republicans recently ran for the presidency as Democrats. More and more we read about officials from all over the nation switching parties for one reason, which is, they can’t work with a Dixiecrat. They may not say the word Dixiecrat but that’s the translation.

Today, I can’t help but always think of those old Storm Thurman Dixiecrats when I hear the term, “States Rights.” You know, states rights–meaning, “We don’t what the Feds coming in here treading on our little snakes or messing with our segregation or anti-gay thing or some other nonsense we’re into.”  I can’t help but think about the America they are talking about. You know, the one they want back.


Terry Gresham


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