Diary

FINALLY, an Explanation! J. Don Thurmond

All things are wearisome, more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago, it was here before our time.
No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered, by those who follow them.

Ecclesiastes 1:6-11

It’s kinda hard to beat King Solomon, isn’t it? It is especially true in American Politics: There is nothing new under the sun…

ESPECIALLY Donald Trump. His appeal traces it’s roots to antiquity, really: The New England puritans vs. the Southern profiteers vs. the free-spirit pioneers. These three groups, and all of their descendants, dominate the political landscape to this very minute.

The deck might get reshuffled, but this is about it; Same old, same old.

An exquisitely prescient, and absolutely brilliant post appeared in The Conservative Historian (A Tip o’ the Hat to Jonathon P. Henderson), that has finally, FINALLY, explained the heretofore mysterious Trump Effect.

It is mostly a slumgullion of unreconstructed Dixiecrats.

Part of my inability to recognize the phenomenon is explained from my political entrance ramp: The seminal 1980 Carter/Reagan battle. That race formed much of my political theorizing, and it colors it to this day. In large measure, I think it colors most right-minded traditionalists, including Senator Cruz.

It goes something like this: Ronald Reagan harnessed the anger toward President Carter which many hard-working Democrats in the Steel Belt, and coal-country, and on mid-west farms felt, along with their inherent distrust of big government Liberalism to forge a new coalition loosely defined as “Reagan Democrats”.

Clearly, there was a big dollop of this in Reagan’s victory recipe. But, those “Reagan Democrats” also included the famous Macomb County autoworkers, too. One must look at the Democrat diaspora to understand that many of these have their roots in southern resentments as expressed in such movements as the Civil War, in Jim Crow and the post-war Dixiecrat elections.

We tend, here in the North, to quickly sluff off these resentments as racial in nature. Many were, but certainly not all. Much of the Civil War, and of the sparks of the modern Civil Right era, and of the Dixiecrat prairie-fires were about individual citizens ticked off about far-away elites telling them how to live their damned lives.

Of course, there was (and is) a racial component to this: Don’t tell me who the hell I hafta have living next door to me! But, the coercion part is a strong as the racial part.

But, the racial part is an active ingredient of this witches brew.

Strom Thurmond, who was the “States Rights Democrat Party” presidential candidate in 1948 (a third-party attempt that actually won five states), insisted until the day he died, that he wasn’t a racist. In fact, events played out after his death that proved VERY MUCH otherwise (er, without going into the details, he fathered a child with his African American housekeeper. Ho -hum).

What he DID insist was that the ninth and tenth amendments meant something to him.

But, he also said that bayonets could never force the races to live together. You can’t pick and choose your history.

Thus, Mr. Henderson makes some very accurate predictions about what Donald Trump’s attraction is, and where his support is coming from, and what to expect in the days and weeks to come vis-a-vis the Primary Process.

Henderson’s predictions are almost letter-perfect, and only messed up on Arkansas by a few percentage points, probably owing to exclusion of the Carson Effect.

What Henderson boils it down to, mostly, is this: Ted Cruz has as much liklihood of winning the Republican Nomination as does Donald Trump. Marco Rubio, not so much. The crux of the matter is that, for forty years or better, the unreconstructed Dixiecrats have been the “republican leaners” in the Democrat family– who haven’t taken the leap of joining the Republican party ’cause Daddy was a Democrat, and his pappy was before him, and his pappy before him.

…and they can’t vote for a Republican in a closed primary. Which Donald Trump absolutely depends on.

This explains everything: It explains the Jeff Sessions endorsement, it explains the non-rebuke rebuke of David Duke. And it also points to the absolute divergence between Ronald Reagan and Trump, and why that twain shall never meet: Reagan famously claimed Franklin Roosevelt as his political benchmark, and how the Democrats left him, not the other way ’round.  Roosevelt’s political ancestry loops and wanders back to the puritans and the crusty New England yankee ethic. Trump’s supposed conservative epiphany, on the other hand, can trace it’s roots to  Truman’s embrace of the Civil Rights movement in 1948, and the splintering of the Democrat party and Strom Thurmond’s emergence.

Strom can trace his political lineage back to the virulent southern racists Woodrow Wilson and Andrew Jackson, and the flinty southern profiteers.

Yes, Reagan was a Democrat: A Roosevelt Democrat. Yes, Trump was a Democrat. A Strom Thurmond Democrat.

Roosevelt won a couple landslides, as Reagan did. Strom Thurmond won a couple states.

Just like Trump has…