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Making Sense of American Liberalism$
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Jonathan Bell and Timothy Stanley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036866

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036866.001.0001

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Albert Gore Sr., Liberalism and the South in the 1960s

Albert Gore Sr., Liberalism and the South in the 1960s

(p.159) 7 Albert Gore Sr., Liberalism and the South in the 1960s
Making Sense of American Liberalism

Tony Badger

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on how race and war intersected in 1960s Tennessee to destroy the career of a relatively progressive southern senator. Postwar conservatives used coded racism to lure southerners from the Democratic column and to associate liberalism with African American special-interest-group politics. Al Gore failed to realize that his moderate position on civil rights alienated him from his white voters. No amount of Northern liberal support could save him as the Solid South began its defection to the GOP (Grand Old Party). Gore's defeat represented a generational shift in liberalism. Never again would it be acceptable to rely on an ethical reputation or class envy to secure reelection—liberals would have to find new ways of talking to their constituents and building trust.

Keywords:   Al Gore, liberalism, postwar conservatives, coded racism, civil rights, Solid South, GOP, ethical reputation

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