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sagehen4/17/2019 10:21:34 am PDT

re: #172 HappyWarrior

An interesting hypothetical is what if Ike replaced Nixon in ‘56 or ‘52 if the Checkers speech hadn’t resonated. Nixon more than Eisenhower is the keystone that started the GOP’s direction we know now.

Black voters were generally pro-Ike (even before he sent the troops to Little Rock; black veterans remembered him as being more supportive of Tuskegee Airmen and all the other black units in WWII and during the occupation than other generals would have been). Also, Ike appointed Earl Warren, black people loved him for that. And both parties were split geographically on Civil Rights in the 50’s; it wasn’t an R/D split like today.

But in 1960, Martin Luther King Jr was in jail in Atlanta looking at 4 months on a chain gang. MLK Sr begged both candidates for help getting him out on bond during his appeal (didn’t think he’d live through the imprisonment; there was an assumption that guards would take it upon themselves to treat him far more harshly than the other prisoners just to make a point).

Nixon thought it would look bad for a sitting VP should intervene in the case; Kennedy made a few phone calls and got him released. MLK Sr publicly thanked him; this swayed maybe just enough black voters that the very very close election went JFK’s way. Nixon may have been resentful.