Interestingly, the Republican Party currently suffers from a problem not unlike the Democrats did some 60 years ago. The Democratic Party of the early 1960s, which included John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, also had in its membership Govs. George Wallace and Ross Barnett. Both Wallace and Barnett were segregationists.

To remain relevant on the national level, Democrats needed the votes from the South to win elections for the control of Congress and to have a shot at winning the presidency. Democratic leaders were prepared to turn a blind eye toward segregation. That is, until Martin Luther King Jr. rightly pushed the Kennedy administration to pass civil rights and voting rights legislation. Under President Johnson, civil rights legislation passed in 1964 and voting rights legislation in 1965.

The Democratic Party was willing to pay the price for this. The price being, in the presidential elections from 1968-1988, the Democrats lost five of the six elections, as Southern votes switched to the Republicans.

Now the question is: What price, if any, will the Republican Party be willing to pay to break their Faustian bargain with Donald Trump?

In the short term, Republicans may still be able to be competitive in national elections. Longer term, they will lose the votes of moderates and independents and become even more beholden to their Trump base. Perhaps the leaders of the party should consider this paraphrase from the Bible, “For what shall it profit a political party, if the party shall gain the Presidency, and lose their soul?”

Samuel Rosenthal

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