Matthew Yglesias Does Counterfactual History

Matthew Yglesias exercises his counterfactual imagination, and it's a doozy in which he speculates about

what if Nixon had won in 1960 and had to deal with the pressures of the Civil Rights movement. At the time, the allegiances of African-American voters were roughly split. The GOP in the aggregate was more supportive of civil rights than were the Democrats, but the leading civil rights advocates in the government were northern liberal Democrats. There's a fair chance that the circumstances would have forced Nixon to become a civil rights champion (as they forced Kennedy and LBJ), no Goldwater campaign, and no southern re-alignment. You might have seen northern liberals move into the GOP which then would have become something like a European liberal party dominated by Olympia Snowe types while the Democrats became a vehicle for white class politics.

On auspicious occassions African-American Republican politicians would speak proudly of their membership in “the party of Lincoln, the party of Nixon.”

I think it must help to have been too young to be a Watergate Wallower (like I was) to come up with something so…weird and transgressive.

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