In 1948 the Democratic and Republican Parties swapped places. At the Democratic convention of 1948 Johnson proposed integration be part of the Democratic platform and the deep-south, racist Democrats walked out of the convention and formed the Dixiecrat Party with the platform of segregation forever. After a failed run for president by the Dixiecrats there was a fairly rapid assimilation of the Dixiecrats into the Republican Party.
The Democratic Party, once the strong party of the south, became moderate and progressive while the Republican Party, now consumed of white southern religious racist, moved to social conservatism.
There had always been a strong southern representation in the Senate and Congress, and the new Republican Party, now represented by colorful southern statesmen, moved to a more exclusive party – a party of powerful white men with a covert racist agenda.
The position of Senator or Congressman is the closest thing our Nation has to royalty, and the goal of all legislators has always been to keep their jobs. Republicans legislators found that by paying lip service to southern moral and social values they could count on this uninformed and easily led base to vote for them in elections; and by enacting legislations to benefit the powerful and wealthy and the big corporations they could guarantee financial support.
The final term of the George W. Bush presidency had become a disaster for the Republicans. Then something happened in 2008: A black man was running for President on the Democratic ticket.
The old south covert racist and religious fundamentalists were called on by Republican pundits to organize – to become incensed and angry – and to coalesce and demonstrate. This gave the opportunity for some of the most ignorant and outrageous of the Republican legislators to join the crazies and assume a leadership.
Without realizing it, the Republicans were awakening the sleeping tiger of their party. Suddenly the Tea Party inmates were no longer satisfied with legislative rhetoric aimed to placate them – now the tiger wanted a place at the table.
So here we are: a Republican party divided between two distinct factions: the establishment of old rich white men who have traditionally run the party, and an outrageous coalition made up of the ignorant and uninformed with no idea how to govern.