I'll say at the start that I'm not going to pick apart the entire piece, mostly because I have real work to do, but also because the last time I fact-checked his claims at length, the sum total of his response was to call me a "pasty-faced white leftist"
I'm sure other historians -- or, really, any adult with basic reading skills -- will address D'Souza's claim that Abraham Lincoln, the big-government liberal whose re-election was celebrated by Karl Marx, would have been some kind of Trump toady were he alive today.
That said, it's notable that his section on "Did the Parties Change Platforms?" never discusses the GOP platforms of the 1860s, but immediately switches to focus solely on Lincoln's "core philosophy."

Hmm, I wonder why he ignores what the GOP did then?
Anyway, I'll just focus quickly on "The Myth of the Southern Strategy."

D'Souza claims Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips never planned to pursue racist southerners.

And yet Phillips in a 1970 interview predicted "Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans."
But how could the GOP reach such voters without explicit racist appeals?

D'Souza asks, in a typical fake-naive question, could it be "code words" and "dog whistles"? Why that sounds ridiculous!

Isn't that right, former GOP strategist Lee Atwater?
Here D'Souza brings my own book White Flight into it.

Again, in fairness to actual leftists, I should note here that I'm not a leftist, but as we've seen fealty to the facts is not D'Souza's forte.
I'll just note quickly that I didn't "portray" white flight as racist. Instead, I directly quoted racists being racist.

Here's the opening anecdote from White Flight. They didn't flee "inner-city crime." They fled middle-class blacks buying homes in their neighborhoods.
And yes, white-flight suburbanites did "secede" from the city.

They vowed to "build up a city separate from Atlanta and your Negroes and forbid any Negroes to buy, or own, or live within our limits."

They fought metro programs (like rapid transit), linking them to integration.
Lastly, he says my depiction of these voters departs from Norman Mailer's account in Miami and the Siege of Chicago.

Wow, Norman Mailer found nothing objectionable there?
Oh wait, just a few pages before that passage, Mailer notes how that same "suburban America" was waiting for "Super Wallace."

The "atmosphere of the Republican convention" was so toxic on race he found his own previously liberal attitudes to blacks turning noticeably uglier.
Moving on -- yes, Nixon had a liberal record on civil rights, supporting everything from Brown to the CRA & VRA.

Which is why, as he worked to get the 1968 nomination, he relied on Strom Thurmond to convince segregationists that he was all right. From @CrespinoJoe's great bio:
In the same vein, the changes in the GOP platform over the 1960s are instructive.

When Nixon first ran in 1960, it had a huge section on civil rights. When he ran again in 1968, not a word.
OK, enough on that, what was going on in the Democrats?

I'm going to dig a little deeper here, because it shows how fast and loose D'Souza plays with the evidence.
First of all, remember that "politicians switching parties" is *not* how scholars track the process of party realignment.

D'Souza insists that's the metric scholars use (while never providing a source for his straw man) because he knows how rare it is:
But fine, let's meet this claim on his ground.

Here's a list of senators who didn't change parties in the aftermath of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Most of these are big names with powerful positions in the Democratic Party, nicely illustrating why elected officials didn't switch.
Just a few quibbles.

Thomas Gore died in 1949 and Kerr Scott died in 1958; so … no, they didn't switch after 1964.

Herb Walters was a caretaker appointed for sixteen months -- not sure he's worth mentioning once, much less *twice*.

"Senator William Murray" wasn't a person.
Several of the big names left -- Johnston, Hill, Russell, Holland, and Robertson (Pat's dad!) -- never ran for re-election after 1964, choosing to enjoy the seniority they had as Democrats for one last term. They all retired and/or died between 1965 and 1971.
Let's turn to the governors he lists as Dixiecrats who hadn't changed parties by the late '60s.

William H. Murray (Oklahoma governor, not a senator) and Fielding Wright both died in 1956, while Frank Dixon died in 1965.

So, yes, they didn't switch. Because they were dead.
Meanwhile, here is a segregationist Dixiecrat governor -- Mills Godwin, who managed to live into and through the 1960s. Oh look, he did switch parties.
D'Souza: "I don’t have space to include the list of Dixiecrat congressmen and other officials. Suffice to say it is a long list. And from this entire list we count only two defections."

Well, the royal we should count again. Here's a list of thirty:
Lastly, D'Souza returns to the one scholarly source he repeatedly uses, Shafer and Johnston's End of Southern Exceptionalism.

As I've noted before, the book was savaged by southern historians when it came out.

Here's Alabama's Glenn Feldman in the Journal of Southern History:
It's not just that they didn't name-check big books in southern history. Without grappling with them, they made some *incredibly* flawed assumptions about the South.

For instance, as a starting point, they assume racism is connected to physical proximity between the races:
So, whites who fled Atlanta & said they'd build forts along the Chattahoochee to keep blacks out of Cobb or formed "No N-ggers in Gwinnett" were less racist, as there were so few blacks in these 95%-96% white counties.

Whites who stayed in integrated areas? *More* racist.

This then is D'Souza's ultimate conclusion: "As the South becomes less racist, it becomes more Republican."

This is, once again, contradicted by the actual history of the early wave of Southern Republicans, who were just as racist as older Dixiecrats:
But -- and it's odd for a historian to say this -- I'd argue that what's more important than the history here is the current state of the two parties.

(Again, my apologies to the very angry, very vocal PBR fans.)

I suppose, as the current Republican Party is experiencing a surge in candidates who are openly white supremacist, it might seem easier to try to rewrite the past than it is to reckon with the present.

But it'll take someone better than D'Souza to do it.

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More from @KevinMKruse

Feb 1
My trash cans can’t be racist either, but if I repeatedly dump my garbage on my black neighbors’ yard because they’re black, that is racist.
The same people who have been saying “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” nonstop for decades are somehow baffled by “highways aren’t racist, but highway planners can be racist”
Also, this argument suggests that federal policy was once not “woke” and perhaps even racist and, huh, I wonder if there’s a theory to analyze that
Read 4 tweets
Jan 31
In 1922, Klan leaders (including N.B. Forrest) announced plans for a new University of America.

They said the new college would focus on teaching Christianity and a history that promoted "Americanism," in order to explain to students how "this is a white man's country."
Almost exactly a century ago -- from the Atlanta Constitution (2/5/1922)
Oh Lord, that's right -- the site they're discussing here is now a synagogue.
Read 4 tweets
Jan 25
Twitter aside, I'm going to go with the time we went to Nobu for my birthday and David Hasselhoff was VERY LOUDLY holding court at the table next to us.
I was @kaj33’s faculty host when he got an honorary degree. I had all these questions about his activism but the seating arrangement meant I didn’t get a chance to talk much. When I did, I panicked and asked about the book tour he was on: “so, I guess you’ve been flying a lot?”
The nicest celebrities were probably @CobieSmulders and @TaranKillam, who we sat next to at the @iamsambee Not the WHCD event. Very nice, very normal, swapped kid pics. My only regret was not raving about TK’s Drunk History episode.

(Sam Bee, also nice as hell. Just great.)
Read 4 tweets
Jan 21
Honestly, I don't even know where to begin with this one.
For all the article's claims that historians thought Biden would be another FDR, there's a link to a Doris Kearns Goodwin interview and ... that's it.
The take on the New Deal is wrong -- FDR wasn't laser focused on economic issues alone, but had programs for conservation, public power, the arts, etc. from the start.
Read 6 tweets
Oct 25, 2021
If you’re wondering why this ad never mentions what the scary book was that she wanted to ban or what course it was used in, well, it was Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Beloved and the class was senior-year AP English.
If you think your high school senior can’t handle college-level novels in a college-credit course, maybe he shouldn’t take Advanced Placement English?
A lot of people are embarrassed for her son, but (unless I’m mistaken) he seems to be a 27-year-old Republican Party lawyer so he’s probably fine with all this?


Read 4 tweets
Oct 14, 2021
Hey, it looks like Ted Cruz has nothing better to do than respond to three-day-old tweets.

Must be nice to have that kind of free time with no responsibilities and nothing going on in the world.

Well, let's dig in!
First of all, no, "there is no Biden vaccine mandate" that's been put into effect yet.

Here's a news story about it yesterday. (Which I guess you'll get around to reading a couple days from now?)

You might not be aware that "next week" hasn't actually happened yet, but, uh ... it hasn't?

So, no, there is not currently a "Biden vaccine mandate" in place.
Read 7 tweets

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