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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

1960 and Other Presidential Election Years

This is from an exchange that I had recently with Tom Head at Yall Politics. Tom's comments are italicized.

It’s worth noting that Gov. Strom Thurmond’s running mate on the 1948 States Rights ticket was the governor of Mississippi, Fielding Wright of Rolling Fork. This third-party ticket gave Southerners unhappy with the national Democrats an alternative besides the Republicans. If memory serves, Mississippi was one of four Southern states in which Thurmond/Wright had the Democratic ballot line. President Harry Truman was not even on those ballots.

“Mississippi went for… a second third-party segregationist candidate [Sen. Harry Byrd Sr. of Virginia] in ‘60...”

Mississippi in 1960 elected a slate of unpledged presidential electors. The hope was that neither the Democrat John F. Kennedy nor the Republican Richard Nixon would have an electoral majority, and both would be forced to bargain with the unpledged electors for their votes. But Kennedy won an electoral-vote majority, so Mississippi’s electors wound up voting for Sen. Byrd, who had not been a candidate during the presidential campaign.

“... it’s only over the past 30 years that Republicans have done all that well in Mississippi in national elections.”

“Only” 30 years, eh? We’ve gone Republican in each of the last seven presidential elections and nine of the last 11. Mississippi is one of the most reliably Republican states at the presidential level. In 1992, we gave President George H. W. Bush his highest vote percentage of any state in the nation.

“... I hope… that Mississippi politics does not break down narrowly on racial lines, with all-white Republicans versus all-black Democrats.”

Since the black vote routinely goes 90%-plus Democratic, Tom, maybe you need to use your influence to persuade more of our black citizens to join the Republicans.


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