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PSC 215: Southern Politics

V.O. Key. 1949. Southern Politics in State and Nation.

Students' Outlines

Compiled by Jeremy Lewis, revised 13 Apr. 2016

Table of Contents
Ch. 2, Virginia
Ch. 3, Alabama
Ch. 14. Nature and Consequences of One-Party Factionalism
Virginia: Political Museum Piece
Ch. 17: The South in the House

Ch. 2, Virginia
Notes by Nolan Clark, Spring 2016 (from his slides)
-Political power has been held by a small group of leaders who have subverted -democratic institutions and deprived most Virginians of a voice in government
-Senator Harry F. Byrd
-Gave the current machine its present form
-The Byrd owes its existence to both competent management and a restricted electorate
Anatomy of the Machine
-Two factions within Dem. Party
-The “Organization / Machine”
-Dominant faction
-The “Anti-organization”
-Extraordinarily weak
-Sen. Byrd is the boss of the machine & of the state
-E.R. Combs, Gov. William Tuck
-County officials
-E.R. Combs – chairman of state board of compensation
-Gov. William Tuck – plays powerful role
-County elected admin. Officers
-Commonwealth's attorney, treasurer, commissioner of revenue, clerk of circuit crt, and sheriff
-Local leaders are bound to the state organization by the Senator's leadership, compensation board's control of the purse-strings, the intimate tie of the circuit judge w/ Richmond and the local govt.
Give-and-Take Within the Oligarchy
-High command permits a degree of “democracy” on candidacies
-Once high command puts its stamp of approval on a candidate, the courthouse machines accept him almost unanimously and he is virtually assured of the nomination in the Dem. Primary
-In most southern states, individual Senators & Reps. Avoid entangling alliance and look out for themselves
-In VA the organization encompasses all, or at least nearly all
-“The vitality of the machine, and its long record of electoral success, may rest in part on the hesitancy of the high command to outrage the sensibilities of the rank and file of the machine by forcing the nomination of unacceptable persons for state office. The high command usually accepts those that it probably could not defeat; yet all must meet the test of organization loyalty”
-The organization constitutes a remarkable system for the recruitment and advancement if political leaders
-Politics in VA is reserved for those who qualify as “gentlemen”
-VA if governed by a well-disciplined and ably managed oligarchy
enthusiastic support from business community
The Liberal Wing
-The organization constitutes a faction with a tightly knit, well-defined group of -leaders that maintains an existence from election to election
-The unity of the organization results in a rudimentary two-party system
-Nature of Anti-Org. Faction emerged from an examination of campaigns since 1940
-Persons generally favorable to national Dem. Leaders and their politics formed a loose alliance to combat the Org.
-1940, Liberal Dems laid plans for a long-run fight against Byrd machine
-Objective was to bring about an expansion of public services and poll-tax repeal
-Explanation for weakness of the opposition is the success of the regular organization in allying with the business and financial interests of the state
Is the Machine Immortal?
-“It's the nature of political machines that they must periodically undergo a reorganization”
-It was unlikely that they could manage a frictionless succession to produce a high command canny enough to keep the Org. in power
-The high command weakened its position by a serious miscalculation of the sentiment of the Org. rake and rile on the civil rights issue
-Poor leadership from Sen. Byrd and Gov. Tuck left men faithful to the Org. sour over their leadership in 1948-1949
-Battles within the Org. leg Virginians to look forward to a competitive primary
-Org. leadership would clearly change eventually
-VA has its own characteristic fixed on a belief that the upper orders should govern

V.O. Key ,Jr,. Virginia: Political Museum Piece
Notes by Nathaniel Madlcok ,from PowePpoint, spring 2012
-Anatomy of the Political Machine
-Give-and-take within the Oligarchy
-Liberal wing
-How should the state of Virginia be governed?
-Does it truly represent a democracy?
-What is the state of Virginia known for besides the Jamestown settlement?
Anatomy of a Political Machine
Political Machines in Virginia were dominant in the States origin.
Political Machines are those that use unofficial legislative meetings to apply the patronage, the spoils system and “behind the scenes deliberation” to a states sovereignty.
From 1875-1950s Virginia would engage into the spoils system.
Quid pro quo system
Senator Harry F. Byrd
Virginia is a Aristocratic state? Or does it have the chance to be something different?
A small proportion of Virginia electorate vote in the governor elections.
Between 1925-45, 11.5% of those 21 and over voted in Virginia democratic primaries
1925 8.6% of the adult population supported the winning organization candidate.
Two sided party factions: Organizations and Machines
E.R. Combs and conformity
County officials serve as the leader of organizations, although in some counties the local leaders are unofficial.
The vitality of the machine remains powerful because of conformity.
James H. Price(1937) as Governor
Not favored by the spoil system as of yet.
Endorsed by Combs
Wins election because of Spoils system
Liberal Wing
Is there a development of another party within the democratic party to question the bipartisan systems integrity?
Table 2 Virginia's Machine is Weakest in Cities: Proportion of Vote Polled by organization and Anti-organization Candidates in Democratic Primaries in Counties and independent cities in Virginia, 1933-48
Table #2
Is the Machine Immortal?
Political Machines will not last Perpetually
1948 Byrd's retirement gives shake up in the organization
The top of leadership of organizations are subject to change around the position of the Negro.

Chapter 3, Alabama
Notes by Nick Howell, Spring 2014
For many southern political leaders attention-attracting antics function as a substitute for party machinery
Political alliances temporarily arise when it is convent for each office holder, but they are short lived because each office holder has his/her own personal following and they don't want to jeopardize support by getting in entangling commitments.
The KKK helped to swing and could help a candidate win their race in the 20's and 30's by openly giving their support

The Chief figure in the Government in 2/3rds of AL counties is the Probate judge, serves as chairman of the governing board.
Although a powerful figure the probate judge is limited on how much support/ alliance he can have with a state-wide candidate.
Probate judges are ambassadors of their counties in dealing with governor and state departments
probate judges serve for six years
Tendency in AL is to back the candidate most likely to win, band wagon effect.

Ch. 14. Nature and Consequences of One-Party Factionalism
Notes by Brandon Maddox, spring 2012
• Formerly politics in Southern states has been limited to only factional competition within the Democratic Party
• Usually democracies rely on the political party to provide leadership
• But the South doesn't have parties, but factions
• The states with the most one-party factionalism in the South is Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee
• Of the three Virginia has had the least resistance to factions
• In Virginia and North Carolina the majority factions derive unity from the opposition of Republicans; in both states Democrats in counties with substantial Republican votes accept state leadership and discipline any competition
• Virginia's low voter participation makes it hard to determine its nature of politics, but most likely the Virginia Republican minority has a faction
• In all three states Republican opposition leads to an organized Democratic faction
• The other eight states have a bi-factional division, which is measured by the tendency of voters to divide into two camps
• Georgia has a dual division, Mississippi and Florida factionalize into many groups
• In North Carolina and Tennessee a cohesive minority vote contributes to continuous Democratic factions
• Georgia and Louisiana have had cohesive majority factions built around personalities, such as Eugene Talmedge and Huey Long in Louisiana
• Georgia's county-unit system created conditions that helped Talmadge rally votes from white rural counties and gain support from urban finance and industry
• In Louisiana a leader like Huey Long could get support from poor rural whites
• Louisiana factionalism almost has the organization of a two-party system compared to the rest of the southern states
• A local leader that wants to be a governor gets a heavy vote from his own county
• In two party states the force of party tradition and the strength of party cohesion minimizes
• Factional politics usually occurs at a time of crisis that is formed formed by economic depression or created by a candidate
• One problem of factionalism is discontinuity
• Groups lack continuity in name and in politicians and leaders
• in two-party politics you have consistent voter support, but not with factions
• Another consequence of one-party factions is the easy manipulation from other groups with skillful manipulators to promote their own interests
• Isolation of states from national politics eliminates the opportunity for southern states to participate in national politics and national issues
• In recent years, the growth of industries in the South has put a strain on one-party politics
• National politics outweigh the forces of factions
• In Texas, Florida, and Arkansas the days of factionalism are numbered
• For Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee one-party politics will not last much longer
• V.O. Key predicts the interest of the nation will overcome issues of a region

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V.O. Key, Ch. 17: The South in the House
Notes by Sydney Baumgartner, Spring 2016

Focus on four house sessions: 1933, 1937, 1941, 1945
This includes the roll call of 435 members
Exceeds that of the Senate
The 275 votes analyzed include all roll calls
Except those which dissenters came to less than 10% of the succeeding vote
Degrees of Solidarity [Table]
After reviewing all available indices of listed cohesions of political parties, it has been concluded that they all rank in the same order as that of the Senate; however group efforts in the House are always higher.
Proportions of roll calls on which each group registered an index of cohesion of 70 or more for four House sessions and seven Senate sessions.
Three Things That Set the South Against the Nation
Fueling issues that hold the consensus
Issues with voting
The Concentration Camp Bill
Solidarity: The South Against the Nation
The core of the South’s mutual support fuels itself on issues that the South leans towards consensus and is opposed by majorities of non Southern Democrats and Republicans.
Isolation of issues help identify policies associated with attitudes
Examination of roll calls showing lesser degrees of agreement would show the profile of another group
Basically, this shows the variation between opposing parties within the House.
194 out of 275 total roll calls : majorities of Southern Democrats and Republicans took opposing views.
112 out of 194: at least 90% of Southern Democrats voting opposed the Republicans.
This can cause a sectional issue if it gets too out of hand; however, joining forces with Non Southern Democrats works more towards their favor.
101 out of the 112: sided with the Non Southern Democrats
Saying no to Reps and yes to NoSo’s increased their odds tremendously.
“Concentration Camp Bill”
1941: AL Rep. Hobbs proposed a detention center be created for illegal aliens to keep them in until a “feasible departure was arranged”.
The Southern Democrats held next to no sympathy while other parties fought for a looser policy.
Southern Democratic-Republican Coalition
A few rare occasions occurred that the Southern Democrat sided with the Republicans against the other parties.
17 recorded occasions
Most labor related issues
2 roll calls related to a measure for the relief of specified aliens illegally in the country.
“Let them go to the countries whence they came, and if they come to America at all, let them come with clean records and clean hands.”
Southern Urbanism
Creating a “community of interest” between the Southern Democrats and the Republicans.
The results of this support the theory that from southern urban centers that the northern Democrats are most likely to win allies when a majority of southerners vote with the Republicans.
Examples: Atlanta, Birmingham, Chattanooga

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