Hours after signing the historic Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson said to his press aide, Bill Moyers, “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come.”
He was right. Johnson was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win a majority of white votes, not only in the South but nationwide. Whites have slowly but consistently moved away from the Democratic Party.
Jimmy Carter won 48 percent of the white vote in 1976. Bill Clinton won 39 percent in 1992 and 44 percent in 1996. Al Gore won 42 percent in 2000. John Kerry won 41 percent in 2004. Barack Obama won a slightly larger share in 2008, but then dropped to 39 percent in 2012. Hillary Clinton got 37 percent.
The Republican Party provided a veritable avenue for the aggrieved white voter who felt nostalgia for an age when their dominance could be taken for granted. America was becoming less white and less Christian with each passing year. By 2045, whites are set to become a minority in America.
A deeply historical understanding of American race relations proposes that Donald Trump captured the presidency not in spite of his racism, but precisely because of it. The politics of white supremacy completed its conquest of the White House.
This is not an aberrant moment in time. The arc of American history is continuing as it always has after every “political outbreak” or period of Black progress: Reconstruction (1865-1877), Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968), and Pr