On November 8, 1944, one day after Franklin Roosevelt was elected to his fourth presidential term [and 72 years, to the day, before the election of Donald J. Trump], southern attorney Charles Wallace Collins retired from his legal practice to write a book that would, he states, “rationalize and strengthen the position of the orthodox Southerner and . . . arouse him to action in the face of organized hostility to Southern States.” Finally published in 1947, Collins’s book Whither Solid South? A Study in Politics and Race Relations became both manifesto and blueprint for the states’ rights—soon nicknamed the “Dixiecrat”— Revolt. Although Collins’s intellectual guidance is generally acknowledged in accounts of the Dixiecrats, there have been no sustained analyses of his ideas, nor examinations of the political substance of his influence.
Collins’s writings and political biography offer an essential perspective for understanding the origins and development not only of the states’ rights movement but also of the role of race in the evolution of the modern Right. Collins’s writings demonstrate how southern elites began to link racism and free market conservatism in theory, and began the first steps to break with the Democratic political order in practice. This process of forging new political identifications and severing old ones involved ideas, long- term strategies, and improvised tactics. Viewing the complex matrix of theory, strategy, and implementation of the Dixiecrat Revolt and its aftermath in massive resistance through one of its central figures, we see that there was nothing automatic or natural about the political changes that came to pass in the 1960s. ...Collins's influence is particularly pertinent to the current operation of the Electoral College. Matthew Hoffman outlined that influence and its political consequences in an article published 20 years ago in the Yale Law Journal, "The Illegitimate President: Minority Vote Dilution and the Electoral College." I will be scanning in and posting to EconoSpeak a section from that article on "Race, Presidential Politics and the Winner-Take-All Rule" later today.
It needs to be remembered that the current operation of the Electoral College is not the "original intent" of the Founding Fathers of the Constitution but is the vile innovation of white supremacists. There is nothing inevitable or sacred about the Electoral College election of Donald J. Trump. On the contrary, it would be, as Trump himself once admitted, "a disaster in a democracy."