Why did Ralph Yarbourgh vote for Civil Rights?
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January 20, 2022, 09:07:58 AM

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  Why did Ralph Yarbourgh vote for Civil Rights?
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Author Topic: Why did Ralph Yarbourgh vote for Civil Rights?  (Read 608 times)
walleye26
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« on: October 11, 2021, 06:22:39 PM »

He was the only Southern Senator to vote for the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964, and 1968. Why did he vote for civil rights when other southerners didn’t? And did it cost him re-election in 1970?
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TDAS04
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2021, 07:08:24 PM »

Maybe because Yarborough personally supported civil rights, and voted his conscience.

Also, Texas was more racially moderate than many other Southern states, and thus supporting civil rights was not as politically risky as it would have been for members of Congress from, say, South Carolina or Virginia.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2021, 07:43:39 PM »

He was from the Progressive wing of the party in the state and often clashed with the conservative wing led by John Connolly. A big part of the JFK trip to Dallas in Nov 1963 was to try and smooth over this fractured relationship lest it cost him the state in 64.
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Paleo-Thealogian
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2021, 12:51:01 AM »

And did it cost him re-election in 1970?

He was never up for re-election, because Lloyd Bentsen successfully primaried him from the right. His support for civil rights was a strong factor, however, with Bentsen accusing him of being in favor of busing and other unpopular practices. Bentsen also attacked Yarborough's record on the Vietnam War as insufficiently hawkish.
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Fuzzy Bear
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2021, 09:22:48 PM »

And did it cost him re-election in 1970?

He was never up for re-election, because Lloyd Bentsen successfully primaried him from the right. His support for civil rights was a strong factor, however, with Bentsen accusing him of being in favor of busing and other unpopular practices. Bentsen also attacked Yarborough's record on the Vietnam War as insufficiently hawkish.

Bentsen in 1970 was recruited by John Connally to settle a score with Yarborough (the two hated each other).  Bentsen received a degree of support from non-Tory National Democrats in Texas because of their fear that they would lose the Senate seat to George Bush in what promised to be a strong, well-funded campaign that was conspicuously backed by the Nixon Administration. 

You'd think that such scheming would put Connally on the outs with Nixon, but this wasn't the case.  Nixon always looked beyond party to an "ideological majority".  Nixon didn't care much about domestic issues, but he cared a great deal about international issues.  In Charting the Candidates 1972, Ronald Van Doren noted that a clue to Nixon's style of management was his dividing line between domestic issues (which Nixon was generally apathetic about) and the international issues (which were his, and only his, concern).  Van Doren explained that Nixon's interest in domestic issues was confined to the way in which a domestic issue affected the international issues.  Bentsen, like Bush, was an improvement in foreign policy over Yarborough; he was not likely to support anything like the Cooper-Church or McGovern-Hatfield amendments on Vietnam.
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DT
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2021, 10:52:46 PM »

1950s-60s Southern Democrats were not monolithically hardline segregationists, especially outside of "Deep South" AL/MS
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2021, 03:01:32 AM »

1950s-60s Southern Democrats were not monolithically hardline segregationists, especially outside of "Deep South" AL/MS

And it is towards the end of the 1960s and into the early 1970s that you begin to get into the "New South Democrats" like Jimmy Carter, Terry Sanford etc and these people depended on strong black support combined with a "strong enough chunk of white votes" to win elections.

I recently watched some 1986 election night coverage and one of the Senators (some guy named Joe Biden) that they interviewed talked about how "there is a new ball game in the South" and that they didn't need to nominate a conservative to win the region but needed a moderate from the region who could combine a coalition of blacks and whites to win the region, and that this was essential to winning back the White House.

The thing is you don't just turn on a dime and have these people manifest out of thing air. Instead, they came from the populist/progressive wing of the party that had long existed in the region and had previously accepted Jim Crow as the reality (in some cases going into the race to the bottom like George Wallace did and even more so Theodore Bilbo), but in some cases they went the other way and this was one such example since Ralph supported Civil Rights aggressively and TX had a tradition of being not quite as excessive with the repression.
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L.D. Smith ist kein Technologiefeudalist
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2021, 06:02:30 PM »

Because he was an outspoken liberal in state moderate enough on the issue to need not cover a$# [Al Gore], wasn't stonewalled out of power to act at the time [Ross Bass], nor with an incurable case of dead [Estes Kefauver].
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PR
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2022, 01:10:37 AM »

Bentsen in 1970 was recruited by John Connally to settle a score with Yarborough (the two hated each other).

As was also the case between Yarborough and Connally's mentor, LBJ. These divisions within the Texas Democratic Party were precisely why JFK went to Texas in November 1963...

EDIT: I didn't see Yankee's post. Tongue
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Fuzzy Bear
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2022, 04:43:47 AM »

Bentsen in 1970 was recruited by John Connally to settle a score with Yarborough (the two hated each other).

As was also the case between Yarborough and Connally's mentor, LBJ. These divisions within the Texas Democratic Party were precisely why JFK went to Texas in November 1963...

EDIT: I didn't see Yankee's post. Tongue

Yarborough was, indeed, a national liberal.
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SOCIALIST MR BAKARI SELLERS
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2022, 06:02:00 AM »

Because Dixiecrats Stanley F Reed and Tom C Clark voted for Brown v Board of Ed after CJ Vinson died and Earl Warren took over showed that even Southerners aren't racist
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PR
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2022, 11:22:10 PM »

Bentsen in 1970 was recruited by John Connally to settle a score with Yarborough (the two hated each other).

As was also the case between Yarborough and Connally's mentor, LBJ. These divisions within the Texas Democratic Party were precisely why JFK went to Texas in November 1963...

EDIT: I didn't see Yankee's post. Tongue

Yarborough was, indeed, a national liberal.

But a populist one, too!

I remember reading about his 1964 Senate race and just ridiculing the very notion of George Bush being elected in Texas . “Aw look, Prescott Bush, sent his boy down here and gonna buy him a Senate seat!” (paraphrased)
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Fuzzy Bear
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2022, 12:25:17 PM »

Bentsen in 1970 was recruited by John Connally to settle a score with Yarborough (the two hated each other).

As was also the case between Yarborough and Connally's mentor, LBJ. These divisions within the Texas Democratic Party were precisely why JFK went to Texas in November 1963...

EDIT: I didn't see Yankee's post. Tongue

Yarborough was, indeed, a national liberal.

But a populist one, too!

I remember reading about his 1964 Senate race and just ridiculing the very notion of George Bush being elected in Texas . “Aw look, Prescott Bush, sent his boy down here and gonna buy him a Senate seat!” (paraphrased)

IIRC, Yarborough ran about 12 points behind LBJ and almost lost.  Who do you think LBJ voted for in the GE?  To say nothing about John Connally and the Texas Democratic delegation in Congress?
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