How the KKK helped the GOP win the South
We’ve all heard it. “The KKK was founded by Democrats!” and refusal to address the decades of history in between. Well, a new study uncovers how the KKK was instrumental in party switch of the 60s and getting the former democrats of the South to become the Republicans of today:
The researchers studied county voting records in 10 southern states in which the KKK actively recruited members in the 1960s. The analysis of five presidential voting outcomes, between 1960 and 2000, showed that southern counties with KKK activity in the 1960s had a statistically significant increase in Republican voting compared to counties with no established KKK chapter, even after controlling for a range of factors commonly understood as relating to voting preferences. They also found that conservative racial attitudes among voters in the 1992 election strongly predicted Republican voting, but only in counties where the KKK was organized in the 1960s.
“The Klan’s efforts to link voting behavior to its social agenda in the 1960s disrupted long-established voting patterns in the South,” Cunningham explains. “The fact that such efforts continued to predict partisan allegiances decades later demonstrates how the impact of a social movement can endure long after the movement itself has declined, as well as providing a new explanation of political polarization in the U.S.”