Sunday, November 21, 2010

Educate Me

As most people familiar with US politics will be aware there used to be a sizeable contingent of conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans, not just in the sense that the phrases are used now to indicate that they were conservative or liberal relative to their parties as a whole but liberal or conservative in an absolute sense, so it was perfectly possible for Democrats to be way more conservative than conservative Republicans like Ronald Reagan.

I can understand the division among liberals between the two parties a little better because even when they aligned on social issues, liberal Republicans tended to be more conservative about things like spending and unions. The conservative split is harder to explain.

It was obviously partly a race and regional thing thing, but presumably there must have been reasons for conservative Democrats and Republicans to be in different parties in the first place, so what were the underlying differences between the two groups and why have they ceased to be relevant? The only obvious policy difference I can see is that Southern conservative Democrats tended to favour a more active foreign policy whereas the Mid Western GOP conservatives like Senator Robert Taft tended towards a more isolationist position.


Tim Worstall said...

It's an historical thing. The Republicans (party of Lincoln) couldn't win a vote for dogcatcher south of the Mason Dixon line for a century or more.

Yet the South is largely a conservative area.

So you had real proper conservatives who were just called Democrats.

The same area is now pretty solidly Republican: they've managed to get over the post Civil War thing, to at least some extent.

Matthew said...

As beautifully shown by the 1928 map of states won.,_1928

Compare the 1932 one to see where the Rep heartlands were

Dave Allison said...

ALL parties are Communistic.

Ross said...

Tim- ok then, but couldn't the Northern Cpnservative Republicans just as easily have joined the Democrats in the south?

Matthew- yeah it's fascinating how completely regional support for the parties has flipped (even if the income distribution of their supporters remains similar).

Matthew said...

"Tim- ok then, but couldn't the Northern Cpnservative Republicans just as easily have joined the Democrats in the south?"

Do you mean ..."and form a new separate party"?

Robert said...

President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat from Texas, coordinated an attack on all White institutions in the South. The national Deomocratic Party became the anti-White party. The Republican revealed themselves the not quite totally anti-White party.
Conservative Democrats had nowhere else to go.