Gene Robke is right in saying that southern states were Democratic Party strongholds for many years. The reason was the Republican Party was the old Reconstruction party after the Civil War and the resulting mismanagement by it left very much bitterness in the South.
Robke was not completely correct by saying that Barry Goldwater in 1964 was the first Republican ever to sweep the South. In 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower broke into the time-honored Democratic Party bastion known as “The Solid South” as he carried the states of Florida,Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. By the way, none of those four states voted for Goldwater in 1964.
Goldwater in 1964 carried the states of the Deep South that had not voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 100 years. However, many people in those states who voted for Goldwater were surprised to see it happen even then. The region had been so strongly Democratic and was even looked upon as “the cradle of the Democratic Party.”
Goldwater carried only six states in his 1964 presidential campaign, but it is to his credit that he helped to break down a one party political system in a part of the country where it had been traditional. It was an everlasting contribution to his party and the South today is a Republican stronghold.
Hopefully in the upcoming presidential election the rest of the nation will vote inasmuch as the South probably will.
Frank B. Austin, O’Fallon