Reagan - Reagan's"New Southern Strategy Speaking in Code...

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Reagan's "New Southern Strategy": Speaking in Code Enter Ronald Reagan. Reagan bore no similarity whatsoever to old-fashioned racist firebrands like Alabama Governor George Wallace, who once proclaimed , "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever," or Birmingham Sheriff Bull Connor , who unleashed attack dogs and fire hoses on peaceful civil rights marchers. There's little or no evidence that Reagan, personally, held racist views at all. But Reagan mastered the art of speaking about race in code, obliquely appealing to white prejudice without turning off voters who might be offended by more naked displays of racism. Reagan thus managed to appeal to racists without being overtly hateful himself. Lee Atwater , the most influential Republican political operative of the 1980s and Reagan's campaign manager in 1980, called Reagan's subtle approach to white backlash voters the "New Southern Strategy." 31 Atwater acknowledged in 1981 that the strategy had been designed to appeal to "the racist side of the [George] Wallace voter" without antagonizing other Americans who might be offended by ugly Wallace-style racism. As Atwater explained, "You start out in
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