Up until this time, it was the Democrats, not the Republicans that were opposed to Civil Rights. Even the leaders opposing the Civil Rights Movement in the South were Democrats. But did Johnson predict the the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would cause the Democrats to lose the South? If so, why did he predict this?

  • 6
    Your statements conflict each other. "It was the democrats...that were opposed to Civil Rights" is followed immediately by "the leaders opposing the Civil Rights Movement...were Republican." This also sounds like something that could be resolved with google, or otherwise would be more appropriate on the Skeptics.SE if you can provide something that gives the claim some sort of backing/noteworthiness. Jul 12, 2017 at 2:51
  • There was a mistake. I fixed it.
    – Sagierian
    Jul 12, 2017 at 20:18
  • Honest, not a rhetorical question - do you understand the process by which US laws are made, and which party Johnson was affiliated with? If he went along with or even spear-headed the passage that law that a subsection of his own party passionately opposed, why wouldn't that cost his party the loyalty of those who felt betrayed? I'm not understanding the "why" part of the question. Jun 13, 2018 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


Reportedly, according to the White House Press Secretary at the time, Bill Moyers, Lyndon B. Johnson said the night he signed the bill that Democrats "have lost the South for a generation". There's some doubt surrounding this quote but there are a variety of credible sources saying something along these lines that I have little reason to doubt that LBJ expected this to cost Democrats the South.

The reasons for this are simple: dating back hundreds of years, the South has always had more negative opinions of African Americans than the country as a whole and has generally been less approving of government regulation. An act requiring more racial integration by interfering with private enterprise and states' rights was bound to be controversial.

  • That quote seems likely to be apocryphal. Given the Democrats, after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, won a landslide victory in the South in 1964. I think this answer needs more nuance (in particular I'd note the influence of the Nixon Southern Strategy, point out African Americans had been voting majority democrat since the 20's, and noting the influence of liberals pushing the Democratic party to the left while conservativism became an actual movement. A lot of factors surrounded the party realignment, and I think this answer is short on them.
    – Eremi
    Jun 13, 2018 at 15:24
  • @Eremi How do you get a landslide victory in the South in 1964? Goldwater won six states, his home state of Arizona and five Southern states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina). That's more of a landslide victory everywhere but the South. Only 23% of blacks who voted in 1932 voted for FDR. It wasn't until 1936 that blacks voted majority Democrat.
    – Brythan
    Jun 13, 2018 at 16:56
  • The US house archive places the shift of black voters to 1928 (history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/BAIC/…), and I can't find a source that gives reliable data an black voting patterns in the 20's. Either way, long before the 1960's. Landslide is going a bit far, but Johnson won handily in electoral votes in the former confederate states. Yes, by 1968 the shift was existent, but it wasn't entirely underway.
    – Eremi
    Jun 13, 2018 at 20:02
  • None of these arguments are necessarily wrong but they also fail to address the question which was whether LBJ expected the Civil Rights Act to cost Democrats the South, not whether it actually did. The preponderance of the evidence suggests that he did expect it cost Democrats the South. I certainly wouldn't be comfortable quoting his exact words but enough people with enough access to the President have stated that he said something along those lines. That said, my explanation for why he expected it is certainly lacking.
    – Ben Cooper
    Jun 14, 2018 at 1:13
  • Can you cite some of those people or name them? As it stands now, the answer only includes a link to that quote that is quite plausibly apocryphal from a single source (the press secretary), and an oblique mention to there being a variety of sources.
    – Eremi
    Jun 14, 2018 at 12:31

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