Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now you don't have to do that. All that you need to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues that he's campaigned on since 1964, and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.
Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?
Atwater: Y'all don't quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger". By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this", is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger". So, any way you look at it, race is coming on the back-burner.
11/13/2012 interview between Bush and Reagan political advisor Lee Atwater and Political scientist Alexander Lamis
People can fly a KKK flag in their window facing their black neighbor, belittle the death of a black person, sport a nifty Hitler mustache and engage in all sorts of other nefarious and violent activities against someone specifically because of their race and they will still tell you that they are not racists.
It is a very peculiar thing. Now all people certainly have some innate racist tendencies, people of all races and creeds. But there is a difference in having a racially colored worldview and acting out in a racist fashion. A big difference. And polling shows a big difference in how whites and blacks view the existence of systemic racism in our society. Here's another good article on the subject.
There is a problem for Republicans in this country. The demographics are against them. They have lost the popular Presidential vote in six out of the last seven elections. They have now lost Virginia and Senatorial races in Georgia and Democrats are making significant inroads in the south. Texas might be next. The GOP is plainly worried. So far this year Republican lawmakers in more than 40 states have introduced more than 250 bills to restrict voting.
So we now have new restrictions being enacted all over the country to combat a voter fraud problem that plainly does not exist but the laws will be passed anyway because people are worried they exist. So let's take Georgia. What are they doing? No early Sunday voting. Why, you might ask? Because black people tend to vote on Sunday. Blacks tend to follow their ministers as community leaders in the south and there has been a great movement in recent years to bus people from the pews to the polls.
food or water while they are in line. Because you know those people can be bought off for a bottle of dasani and a bag of doritos.