Blogs > Cliopatria > Georgia

Nov 1, 2008 12:42 pm


Thursday, Barack Obama’s campaign announced it would begin advertising in North Dakota (where polls show a dead heat), Arizona (John McCain’s home state, where polls have considerably tightened), and Georgia (where early voting lines were stunning).

Georgia has been an elusive target for national Democrats: apart from favorite son Jimmy Carter, no Democratic presidential candidate since John Kennedy in 1960 has received a majority of the Peach State’s vote. Of the candidates on that list, perhaps the most surprising was Lyndon Johnson: though Johnson had expected to carry Georgia, Barry Goldwater benefited from a surge of backlash voters, coupled with local distrust of LBJ's chief backer in the state, Governor Carl Sanders.

Deep South neighbors Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama also went GOP in 1964. The President’s reaction to the result, from an Election Night conversation with Bill Moyers:

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Oscar Chamberlain - 11/4/2008

I find Daley the Youger's actions a heartening sign of the sea change that has occurred, regardless of what the voters may decide.

Actually, one of the blessings of getting older is that with each day I get farther from 1968. There was actually much good done that year, but it is hard to recapture that good through all of the blood, the absurdity, and insanity.

Ed Schmitt - 11/3/2008

Thank you for the context Ralph, which obviously hits close to home. I realized what you had mentioned, along with the fact that African Americans in Atlanta actually voted in greater numbers for Nixon, but given the intervening party realignments it is just more incredible big picture symbolism to ponder. As is the fact that Mayor Richard Daley is inviting the nation to Chicago to celebrate tomorrow night, forty years after his father less than graciously hosted the last national celebration for the Democratic party 40 years ago.

Ralph E. Luker - 11/3/2008

In 1960, Georgia had still *never* yet voted for a Republican candidate for President. Massachusetts, of course, had -- many times. In 1960, there was little functional Republican Party in Georgia. Having said that, I still prefer Georgia's Republican Party of 1960 to the Republican Party here today, because Eisenhower's Republican appointees to the federal bench in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas were more supportive of the civil rights movement than were John Kennedy's Democratic appointees in the South.

Ed Schmitt - 11/3/2008

Given the political reconfiguration that took place primarily because of the civil rights backlash, it is incredible to consider today that JFK actually won Georgia by a larger margin than he won Massachusetts in 1960.