Voting In The United States

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Voting In The United States Essay, Research Paper

Voting In The United States

Voters in many areas of the U.S. are aloud to vote differently as a

whole from election to election. The nation has also had a

decreased turnout rate for the presidential and local elections. The

South has typically not followed these patterns that the rest of has

seemed to be following. The Southern whites of the United States

have typically followed and voted for the more conservative

candidate and party. Where as the Southern blacks have typically

(when they have been able to vote) voted for the more liberal party

or candidate.

The South was at one time a Democratic stronghold and has in the

past 30 years become a typically conservative voting electorate.

This tendency of voting by race for the liberal or conservative

candidate has been a continuing occurrence. Southern turn out for

elections has been significantly lower than the rest of the nation as

well over the same time period. This bias of the past 30 years as

well as voter turn out has only recently began to change in the


In the beginning of and prior to the 1960’s the South was a

Democratic stronghold and it was rare for there to be any

competition from Republicans in these non competitive states

(Mulcahy p.56). A poll taken in the 1960’s showed that ” the

southern states were the obvious stronghold of Democratic

identification. The extreme case was Louisiana, where 66%

identified with the Democratic party”(Black p.44). This all began to

change as the Democratic party became more liberal in its national

policy views. The Democrats became too liberal in their policies

concerning civil rights for the white Southerners to continue voting

for them. (Mulcahy p.40). This reason along with others is what

drove the Southern whites to change there voting habits of the last

100 years. The white Southerners began to vote for presidents of

the Republican party and for Independents such as the Dixiecrats,

because they were more conservative on a national scale.

The Largest change of the Southern voters occurred in 1960 when

“the southern white Protestant presidential vote went Republican”

(Wayne p62). This would of allowed for the democrats to lose the

south if the black electorate had not voted Democrat.

The black Southern voters at the time of the 1960’s were just again

able to participate with their rights to vote. This was because

shortly after the Civil War and reconstruction the Southern whites

reduced and eventually removed the short lived black political

power. They added laws that made it mandatory to take tests for

voter eligibility, as well as discouraging black voting at all. This

discrimination greatly reduced if not completely halted black voting

in the south until the 1950’s and 1960’s. It was not until 1965 that

the Voting Rights Act was passed that prohibited literacy tests for

federal elections did blacks obtain their constitutional right to vote

(Wayne p.70). Many blacks did in fact support the Republican

party for quite a long time because they were known as the party of

reconstruction and freeing of the slaves. Black voting turned

towards the Democrats in the 1930’s and 40’s on the advice of

“One NAACP leader?Turn your pictures of Lincoln to the wall,

the debt is paid in full”(Mulcahy p 37).

This black voting for the Democrats created a problem in of its

self, that the Blacks were continuing to vote for the local white

conservative Democrats, that upheld the traditional Southern white

views. This lead to the continued power of the oppressive whites,

even though the party platform was one of reform. It was not until

the early 70’s that when the Republicans won the election for the

governor of Virginia was the two party system fully revived in the

south (U.S. news p.210). This two party system allowed Democrats

to run on a more liberal platform, which gave the blacks the

representation that they wanted.

Voting in the South since the 1960’s has followed the pattern of

voting for the most staunch conservative, or protector of Southern

whites views. In the 1968 election Southern whites in the Deep

South voted for George C. Wallace, while the rest of the South split

on Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. In the Election of 1972 This trend

seemed to continue, in that Nixon was the more conservative of the

two Presidential Nominees and thus he carried the South. In the

1976 Election it seems that even the Southern whites were shaken

by the Watergate Scandal in that it voted for a Democrat, Jimmy

Carter. Carter was not a conservative, but was from the South, and

pulled both the conservative Southern white as well as the Southern

black votes. In 1980 it seems that the Southern whites once again

decided on a conservative candidate when Ronald Reagan garnered

all of the south except for Georgia. In the 1984 election Ronald

Reagan took 49 of the states and all of the South. This had a good

deal to do with Reagan belief in the moral and religious right as

well as his get tough policies with the Russians. In the 1988

election, the staunch conservative George Bush once again held the

South solid in its vote for a conservative president. He carried on

many of Reagan ideas about the moral majority, and had

conservative views. In the 1992 Election the South split as a

majority of the south voted for the conservative Bush, but several

border and deep south states voted for Clinton


ml). In 1992 it seemed that Clinton was able to pull around 34% of

the Southern white vote (survey NY Times).

In the 1996 election the South was once again split, While a

majority of the Southern states did go to Bob Dole, while several of

the same states that supported Clinton before supported him once

again. (Wittenberg p.147) The times that a non conservative

presidential nominee has won a sizeable amount of the southern

support seems to have been when a large majority of blacks were

registered to vote, as in the 1996 elections when Clinton carried

several states that had a sizeable percentage of Blacks registered to

vote and where a large percentage of the total voters were registered

as Democrats.

( The

once strong hold of the Republicans in the South during national

elections seems to be slowly fading. If these last 30 years are

indicative of what is to come, the next 30 years should show

increased diversity in the states of the south, and their electoral


Voter turn out in the South has been comparatively low in regards

to the rest of the nation. This has been a trend that has occurred

over the last 100 years as well as the last 30 years. The percentage

of the registered voters in the south that voted in the elections in

1966 and 1970 was roughly 10-15% less than in other portions of

the country (Mulcahy p. 59). The voters of the south also believed

that their fathers were the most interested in politics, and that their

mothers were not interested in them. Black political interest was

considerably lower than it was in the rest of the country as well for

both males and females (Black p. 41-42). In the last 30 years as

well as in recent elections the voter turn out in the south has gone

up in comparison to the rest of the U.S.(Wayne p. 71). But at the

same time the voter turn out for blacks has gone down in recent

years. (Wayne p.74) This turnout has worried many and may create

the same problem that had been taking place in the south during the

early 20th century, of under representation of a specific group of

people. This would not be due to oppression or laws that forbid

voting, but from the “what the use attitude” of why vote. (Wayne p.


Voters in the South have been very constrained in their views and

beliefs for over a hundred and twenty years. Since the urbanization

and expansion of the cities of the South, there has been increased

change and emergence of multiple political parties. The migration

of new peoples and racial groups into these urban areas has helped

to create a new political south. The once solid south, is no longer

the same, because of this expansion and sociol economic link to the

rest of the country. States such as Florida and Louisiana have

expanded and are still growing because of this link. Certain

parts of the South, specifically the deep South has yet to fully

urbanize and when this does occur, so will the continued breaking

up of the once solid South.

In my opinion anyone who wants to vote should be able to vote

unless they were mentally troubled in which they may vote for

Donald Duck. The trouble with voting is that there are always

people voting for all sides of the election and this causes people to

fight. This however will show who the country feels should be in

charge of the country.

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