Reagan’s Neshoba County Fair “States’ Rights” Speech Was No Dog Whistle

People who don’t pay very close attention to politics are shocked that racists and Nazis are comfortable as members of the Republican party. They shouldn’t be, just look at the Republican party’s recent history.

On August 3, 1980, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan gave his now-infamous states’ rights speech at the Neshoba County Fair near Philadelphia, Mississippi. That’s where three civil rights workers Andrew Goodman and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner from New York City, and James Chaney of Meridian, Mississippi were murdered in 1964.

Current critics of the GOP claim that with Donald Trump as president the party is no longer “dog whistling” to racists. I argue, there never was a dog whistle. Reagan’s states’ rights speech at the Neshoba County Fair wasn’t subtle. Everyone knew exactly what Reagan was doing. He was implementing the Republican party’s southern strategy that President Nixon concocted before resigning in shame.

The Republican party has for my entire life used race to convince ignorant white people to vote against their own economic self-interest. The problem for the GOP is that tapping evil to win elections is that evil will eventually overrun the party and destroy it. I believe that is what we’re currently witnessing – the total destruction of the Republican party after 5 decades of using race to win elections.

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