We want to highlight that Rory McVeigh, one of Mobilizing Ideas’ Editors in Chief, wrote a post for the London School of Economics blog on American Politics and Policy about Ku Klux Klan activism and voting in Southern counties.
Motivated by the questions about whether social movement activism can bring about change, the research shows that counties that experienced Klan activism in the 60s also show a higher percentage increase in Republican voting from 1960 to 2000, leading to an underrepresentation of the Democratic Party in Southern counties today.
You can read his post here.
His blog post is based on his ASR paper “Political Polarization as a Social Movement Outcome: 1960s Klan Activism and Its Enduring Impact on Political Realignment in Southern Counties, 1960 to 2000” with David Cunningham and Justin Farrell.
Whenever I speak about research I’ve conducted over the past decade on the civil rights-era Ku Klux Klan, the one question I can be sure I’ll hear relates to the danger posed by the KKK today. For a long time, the question would throw me, as—despite their similar monikers and common predilections toward foreboding racist rhetoric and ubiquitous adoption of white hoods, burning crosses, and other familiar symbols—I’ve long viewed the contemporary klan as a phenomenon distinct from its 1960s forebears.
There exists a straightforward response, of course, and I’ve typically relied on the data that Heidi Beirich and Evelyn Schlatter describe in their earlier essay in this dialogue, associated with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s important work compiling the locations and characteristics of a wide range of contemporary domestic hate groups. Continue reading