Thursday, September 22, 2016

To Write (In) the Wrong


In anticipation of the November 2016 presidential election, the Russell Library’s Access and Outreach staff has been working on an exhibit, On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? opening September 2nd in the Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit considers the evolution of campaigning for state office and asks visitors to imagine life on the campaign trail. This post is one in a series exploring political slang and its role in elections.
 
Around the world, write-in candidates are generally viewed as an American tradition. With a few exceptions – such as the famous and bizarre case of a foot powder winning a mayoral election in Ecuador in 1967 – the United States has pioneered the practice of recognizing votes for write-in candidates, even those for fictional characters like the ever-popular Donald Duck. No fewer than eleven members of Congress – three U.S. Senators and eight U.S. Representatives, including current Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa – have won initial election or reelection due to write-in efforts.

One of the most significant write-in candidacies in Georgia history was that by supporters of Ellis Arnall in the gubernatorial campaign of 1966. Arnall, decidedly the most liberal candidate, had served as Governor during World War II, and during his governorship had lowered Georgia’s voting age to 18 (the first state to do so), paid off the state’s debts, and reformed the state’s higher education system to restore accreditation to Georgia colleges. He had also gained a racially progressive reputation after repealing the poll tax and refusing to defy a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against all-white party primaries.

Left: Letter from Ellis Arnall to Rev. John Morris, 1966. Alvan S. Arnall Collection of Ellis Arnall Materials.

In his 1966 race, a full 20 years after his leaving office, Arnall placed first in the initial all-candidate Democratic election with 29.4% followed by segregationist Lester Maddox  with 23.6%. Arnall ultimately lost the Democratic nomination in a runoff election to Maddox by a vote of 54.3% to 45.7%. With the general election offering a choice between one conservative (Maddox) and another (Republican Bo Callaway), Democrats like the Rev. John Morris – founder of that year’s “Write In, Georgia” committee – whose Great Society and civil rights priorities better aligned with  the national party and the Johnson White House pushed Arnall as an alternative. When Morris notified Arnall in writing of his intention to pursue a write-in option, Arnall responded with less-than-subtle encouragement.

In the end, 69,025 voters wrote Arnall’s name on their ballots, fully 7.1% of the vote and enough to deny both Maddox and Callaway an overall majority (Callaway took 46.5%, Maddox 46.2%). As the General Assembly was empowered to select governors in case no candidate receives a 50% majority, Democratic legislators chose Maddox as their nominee. Arnall returned to his Atlanta law firm, Arnall, Golden & Gregory, never to seek public office again.

Arnall’s write-in candidacy is well documented in John B. Morris Collection that contains correspondence, newspaper articles, newsletters and pamphlets documenting the 1966 Georgia Write-In Movement, including letters between Morris and Arnall (who could not officially show support for the movement because he signed a pledge to support the choice of the Democratic Primary). The collection also documents Morris’s split from the Democratic Party following the write-in campaign, and the formation of the Georgia Democratic Party Forum.

The write-in is also documented in the Harold Paulk Henderson Oral History Collection. This collection consists of interviews conducted by retired political science professor Hal Henderson during his research for a biography of Ellis Arnall. Series I contains interviews that explore the 1966 gubernatorial election and the life of Arnall.

Want to find out more? Visit On the Stump on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 2, 2016 through August 18, 2017. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Russell Library to Host 2016 Debate Watch

As the campaign season comes to a fever pitch and Election Day draws near, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies will hold two presidential debate watch events this fall for the University of Georgia and Athens communities.

The library will screen the first presidential debate on Monday, Sept.26 and the third debate on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Both screenings will take place in the auditorium (room 271) of the Russell Special Collections Building with introductions from Paul Gurian, professor of political science.

Gurian says the first presidential debate this year could be critical. “Usually debates do not change many people’s minds. Most people have already decided who they support. However, this year, there are many people who are still undecided or who are considering voting for a minor party candidate,” said Gurian. That means the stakes are high in this very close race. “The two candidates' styles are dramatically different, so it is hard to anticipate how they will perform.”

Monday night’s debate, hosted at Hofstra University in New York, will ask candidates to focus on three topics: the direction of America, achieving prosperity, and securing America. In addition to introducing the debate and framing the three topics, Gurian will also take questions and facilitate brief discussion after the screening.
Doors to each event will open at 8 p.m., with discussion at 8:30, and the debate set to begin at 9 p.m. Both events are open free to the public and light snacks and coffee will be served.

The screenings are being co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Georgia Debate Union

Debate Watch is part of Ready, Steady,Vote! a series of events spotlighting all things presidential during the 2016 election season. For more information on this event and other programs in the series visit http://www.rbrl.blogspot.com or call (706) 542-5788

Monday, September 19, 2016

Russell Library Launches Ready, Steady, Vote! Event Series

Could your election season use a little non-partisan entertainment? If so, then plan to join the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies for Ready, Steady, Vote!, an event series spotlighting all things presidential during the 2016 election season. A combination of community forums, debate watch events, lectures and performances hosted with campus and community partners, Ready, Steady, Vote! is free and open to the public. Dates and descriptions for individual events are listed below. For more information, contact jhebbard@uga.edu or call (706) 542-5788.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 4:00-5:00PM
A President in Our Midst: Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia
Auditorium (Room 271), Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

Please join the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and the University of Georgia Press in welcoming author Kaye Minchew for a talk focused on her new book, A President in Our Midst: Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia. Roosevelt visited Georgia forty-one times between 1924 and 1945. Minchew’s work offers a rich gathering of photographs and remembrances that document the vital role of Georgia’s people and places in FDR’s rise from his position as a despairing politician daunted by disease to his role as a revered leader who guided the country through its worst depression and a world war. A light reception and book signing will follow the lecture at 5:00 p.m.


Monday, September 26, 2016, 8:00-10:30PM

Presidential Debate Watch
Auditorium (Room 271), Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

Witness history in the making! As the campaign season comes to a fever pitch and Election Day draws near, join the Russell Library for Political Research and Studies for Debate Watch 2016 on Monday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m. Visitors will gather to watch the candidates go toe-to-toe on the big screen. Dr. Paul Gurian, Associate Professor of Political Science at The University of Georgia, will introduce the debate and facilitate discussion. Doors will open at 8:00, followed by discussion at 8:30, and the debate at 9:00.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 2:00PM-3:30PM
Community Forum,  America’s Role in the World
Room 258, Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

What does “national security” mean in the 21st century? And how do we, as citizens of the United States, think our elected leaders should go about securing our nation? Does the answer lie in strengthening the military or balancing the budget? Or perhaps it’s a question of our active participation in a global society – working with other countries to find collaborative solutions to issues like overpopulation, nuclear proliferation, global warming, pandemics, and food shortages. Join us for this deliberative discussion weighing the benefits and tradeoffs of three approaches to this issue using a National Issues Forums issue guide.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 3:30-5:30PM

Political Breakdown: Understanding the 2016 Presidential Election
Auditorium (Room 271), Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries

The 2016 election has confounded pundits and political observers. How did Donald Trump win the Republican nomination? How did Bernie Sanders mount such an unexpected challenge to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary? Who is most likely to win in November? Join celebrated political scientists John Sides and Lynn Vavreck for a breakdown of key data collected during this election cycle to find answers to these questions. A light reception and book signing for The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election will follow the lecture at 4:30.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 7:00-8:00PM

Georgia Debate Union vs. Barkley Forum, Topic: Immigration Policy 
Auditorium (Room 271), Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries
More information coming soon...


Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 2:00-3:30PM

Community Forum, America’s Future: What Should Our Budget Priorities Be?
Room 258, Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

America is slowly coming out of a long recession. Unemployment, after peaking at 10 percent in 2009, has fallen below 8 percent; more new homes are being built, although just gradually. Despite the heavy blow we've taken in the last few years, the US economy is very large and still growing. We have significant resources, but they are finite. What direction should we take? Join us for this deliberative discussion where we weigh the benefits and tradeoffs of three approaches to this issue using an National Issues Forums issue guide.


Wednesday October 19, 2016, 8:00-10:30PM
Presidential Debate Watch
Auditorium (Room 271), Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

Witness history in the making! As the campaign season comes to a fever pitch and Election Day draws near, join the Russell Library for Political Research and Studies for Debate Watch 2016 on Wednesday, October 19 at 8:00 p.m. Visitors will gather to watch the candidates go toe-to-toe on the big screen. Dr. Paul Gurian, Associate Professor of Political Science at The University of Georgia, will introduce the debate and facilitate discussion. Doors will open at 8:00, followed by discussion at 8:30, and the debate at 9:00.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 2:00-3:30PM
Community Forum, The Divided States of America: How Can We Get Work Done Even When We Disagree?
Room 258, Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

Many Americans are concerned that our differences are preventing us from tackling the serious public problems we face in our communities and nation. Political observers say we’re more polarized now than we’ve been since the Civil War. People in communities say they feel increasingly discounted, segregated and excluded based on their beliefs. Join us for this deliberative discussion where we weigh the benefits and tradeoffs of three approaches to this issue using an National Issues Forums issue guide.


Thursday, November 10, 2016, 5:30-7:30PM
Special Collections Fall Exhibits Reception 
Second Floor, Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

The Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries will host its bi-annual reception celebrating new exhibitions on Thursday, November 10 at 5:30 p.m. The event will include live music, light refreshments, and gallery activities. A special performance of “On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia” by the students of THEA 4800 / AFAM 4250 will take place in the auditorium at 6:30PM. RSVP to lnessel@uga.edu or call 706.542.3879. For more information about the Special Collections Libraries call 706.542.7123 or visit www.libs.uga.edu/scl 

School Desegregation in DeKalb County, Georgia

Cover of DeKalb County School System
High School Handbook.
Source: Box 19, Folder 3. 
The Russell Library is pleased to announce that the DeKalb County School Desegregation Case Files are open for research. This collection documents litigation to desegregate the DeKalb County Schools from 1968 to 1997 and contains the files of Weekes & Candler, the firm that represented the school district. The files include pleadings, exhibits and other case files, legal research, data collected about the students and staff, and records about the operation of the school system. In addition to documenting the defendant's perspective on this important Georgia case, these files illuminate the evolution of U.S. case law for school desegregation and provides demographic data about the residents of DeKalb County.

Research into legal cases requires a specialized skill set. The Russell Library greatly benefited from the work of Shaniqua Singleton, a graduate student at UGA's School of Law, who delved into the official court records and identified significant moments in the nearly 30 years of litigation. Russell Library archivists also had the opportunity to sit down with Gary Sams and Stan Hawkins, two of the key lawyers for Weekes & Candler on the case, who offered their perspective on the case's history. In this post, I'll share what we learned about the case from both avenues of inquiry.

Photograph of a classroom from the DeKalb County School System
High School Handbook. Source: Box 19, Folder 3.

Legal Research

Litigation in DeKalb County, Georgia, over school desegregation began in 1968 with the filing of a class action lawsuit (Pitts v. Cherry) against the DeKalb County Board of Education to end the practice of racial segregation. In 1969, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia imposed a desegregation plan upon the DeKalb schools and retained authority to oversee the implementation of the plan. The plaintiffs unsuccessfully challenged a portion of the plan in 1979 in the Fifth Circuit Court for not requiring the school district to provide transportation for students attending schools outside of their neighborhoods.

With that ruling, litigation under Pitts v. Cherry was complete, but litigation over other aspects of desegregation continued under the names Freeman v. Pitts and Freeman v. Mills. In 1984, the plaintiffs filed an appeal with the U.S. District Court over plans to build a new high school, claiming this was to avoid the reassignment of white students to predominantly black schools. The District Court ruled that the planned expansion was permissible since the school board's actions were not motivated by discriminatory intent, but their ruling was overturned on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court (which had been formed from a portion of the Fifth Circuit in 1981). The Circuit Court ruled in 1985 that any of the school's expansion plans had to be implemented in a way that "furthers desegregation and helps eliminate the effects of the previous dual school system" and sent the case back to the District Court to evaluate the "segregative" effects of the school board's expansion plan.

The District Court re-evaluated the case in 1988 and found that DeKalb County had not yet been completely integrated, having met four of the criteria for integration (student assignments, transportation, physical facilities, and extracurricular activities) but not meeting requirements in the areas of faculty assignments and resource allocations. The District Court declined to impose additional duties on the school board around student assignment. This ruling was appealed to the Eleventh Circuit in 1989, which reversed the decision and required additional student assignments, as well as requiring the school board to remain under complete court supervision until full integration was achieved.

The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992, which reversed the Eleventh Circuit Court's holding that judicial supervision could not be withdrawn incrementally. Instead, the court could withdraw judicial supervision in areas of compliance while retaining supervision in areas of noncompliance. The case was then sent back to the Eleventh Circuit, and from there to the District Court, for review based on this ruling. In 1996, the case was heard again in the District Court, which ordered the final dismissal of the case in 1997. DeKalb County Schools were declared integrated and therefore the school board no longer required judicial supervision.

Lawyers’ Recollections

Gary Sams and Stan Hawkins, lawyers for the defense, understood the case to have three stages. In the first stage (1969-1972), the District Court made the ruling that DeKalb County Schools must desegregate, as required by Brown v. Board of Education, and the school system went to work on the plan. DeKalb County had the financial ability to close all of the black schools, so they did not have the challenge of resistance from white families who did not want to have their children at historically black schools. With the black schools closed, they reset the attendance boundaries and it seemed like their work was accomplished.

Pamphlet on the M-to-M
(Majority-to-Minority) transfer
program. Source: Box 42, Folder 22
Stage two (1972-1986) began when Roger Mills, a dedicated activist, got involved as attorney for the plaintiff. He kept the case going by his own efforts until the NAACP also got involved. By this time, there was general agreement that the schools should desegregate. The litigation focused on particular arguments about if desegregation had been fully achieved or not, which centered around six factors from Green v.School Board of New Kent County, decided by the Supreme Court in 1968. Efforts were complicated by changes in residential patterns, especially when the completion of I-20 through Georgia led to more African Americans moving into the southern part of the county and more whites moving into the northern part of the county or leaving the county all together. Concerns included the effectiveness of busing students outside of their neighborhoods to achieve desegregation and teachers who did not want to relocate in order to achieve racial balance among the different schools.

The final stage of the case, defined by unitary status hearings, began in 1986. During this stage, the defendants argued that DeKalb County Schools was fully desegregated and that court supervision of the school board should end. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in 1989, although it was delayed until rulings were made for Board of Education of Oklahoma City v. Dowell. Freeman v. Pitts was heard in the Supreme Court in 1992, at which point it was the longest running case in Georgia's history. After a few more years of litigation resulting from the Supreme Court ruling, the case was closed in 1997.

Post by Adriane Hanson, Digital Curation and Processing Archivist

Thursday, September 15, 2016

County Unit, what?

In anticipation of the November 2016 presidential election, the Russell Library’s Access and Outreach staff has been working on an exhibit, On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? opening September 2nd in the Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit considers the evolution of campaigning for state office and asks visitors to imagine life on the campaign trail. This post is one in a series exploring political slang and its role in elections.

In several of our recent "political slang" posts we have referred to the County Unit System that operated in Georgia until the 1960s. But, what is the county unit system? A bit more explanation on that system and its impact on Georgia's politics...

Formalized by the Neill Primary Act in 1917, the county-unit system had operated informally in Georgia since 1898 as the method for primary election of statewide office holders. Employing an Electoral College style, the system bolstered the influence of small, rural counties at the expense of more populous urban areas.


Left: Roy V. Harris, a longtime "kingmaker" was a master of the white-only, rural-dominated state politics held up by the County Unit System. A popular saying among Georgians in the 1940s: "What do you need to be elected Governor of Georgia? $50,000 and Roy Harris." Photograph from Ed Friend Visual Materials Collection , Russell Library. 


Each of the 159 counties in the state was classified as urban, town, or rural. Urban counties received six votes each, town counties four, and rural counties two, with a winner-take-all system for the candidate victorious by popular vote within the county. With 410 votes up for grabs statewide, a candidate needed 206 to claim the nomination. The disproportionate distribution of unit votes to population size encouraged heavy campaigning in the 121 rural counties.

Citizens launched unsuccessful constitutional challenges to the system in the 1940s and 1950s, but the courts were reluctant to review apportionment within states. In Baker v. Carr (1962), the Supreme Court established the famous standard “one person, one vote” meaning legislators need to essentially represent the same amount of people. The Tennessee state constitution requires legislative districts be redrawn ever ten years according to the federal census but Tennessee had not redrawn district maps since 1901. In 1960, 2/3 of Tennessee’s representatives were elected by only 1/3 of the state’s population. Amidst pressure from the Civil Rights Movement, the justices upheld the 14th Amendments equal protection under law. State officials were forced to redraw district maps, but they still manipulated boundaries to mitigate the effect of minority voters.

A similar case in Georgia, Gray v. Sanders (1962), pushed the U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia to issue an injunction against the system just months before the gubernatorial primary. As a result Carl Sanders, a more liberal urban candidate, became governor in the first statewide popular vote in nearly fifty years, beating out Marvin Griffin.

Above Right: Schedule for redistricting based on 1990 census. C. Donald (Don) Johnson Papers, Russell Library. 

Traces of the county unit system can be found in many of the collections at the Russell Library. A quick keyword search of the collections database results in several hits, many of which touch on public efforts to get rid of the system in the early 1950s.

Want to find out more? Visit On the Stump on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 2, 2016 through August 18, 2017. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Favorite Son: Part II

In anticipation of the November 2016 presidential election, the Russell Library’s Access and Outreach staff has been working on an exhibit, On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? opening September 2nd in the Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit considers the evolution of campaigning for state office and asks visitors to imagine life on the campaign trail. This post is one in a series exploring political slang and its role in elections.

In the second installment of our two-part feature, we recount the campaign of the only Georgian ever elected President of the United States: Jimmy Carter. How did Carter transform his deep-fried Dixie image, turning it from a liability into his greatest strength in ’76? Let's see...

By the time of Jimmy Carter’s presidential bid in 1976, times had changed. Though Carter had just finished a term as Georgia’s governor, he was largely unknown on the national scene. Hoping to avoid the regional pigeonholing that had plagued Russell and others from the region, Carter sought endorsements from prominent black politicians, deemphasized his center-right ideological record as governor, and focused on his image as a fresh face with strong ethical credentials. In the post-Watergate political milieu, this marketing proved effective. In the end, his southern personae proved not only palatable but refreshing, helping him to win over voters.

Above: Photo of woman at the Democratic National Convention in New York City, 1976. Democratic Party of Georgia Records, Russell Library.

By the time of his presidential bid in 1976, Democrat Jimmy Carter—Georgia governor from 1970-74—emerged from relative obscurity against a bevy of more experienced and nationally prominent politicians. Along with a slew of Senators, competitors included Arizona Representative Morris Udall, Alabama Governor and 1968 third-party presidential nominee George Wallace and 1972 Democratic vice presidential nominee Sargent Shriver. The only candidate less established than Carter was 37-year-old California Governor Jerry Brown who took up the mantle of “maverick liberal” from the West as part of his strategy against a large diverse contention.



Carter wanted to avoid the regional pigeonholing that had plagued past hopefuls from the Deep South, including Georgia’s own Richard Russell 24 years prior. He was especially wary of seeming like a mild-mannered clone of fellow Southerner Wallace, who had made his name obstructing civil rights laws and promoting segregation in the 1960s. Toward this end, Carter sought the endorsements of prominent black politicians and de-emphasized his center-right ideological record as governor, instead focusing on his image as a “fresh face” with unquestioned ethical credentials.


In the post-Watergate political milieu, this marketing proved effective; Carter startled forecasters by placing second only to “uncommitted” in the Iowa caucuses, with 28 percent of the vote. More shockingly, Carter polled the same in New Hampshire, besting Shriver’s 8 percent. The party establishment was stunned a largely untested candidate from Dixie could win in New England. Carter would win another New England state, Vermont, the next week, though he placed fourth in Massachusetts the same day.


Above: This depicts the "Somebody for President '76 Bandwagon" being driven by a Democratic donkey holding a "Georgia Democratic Forum on Candidates and Issues" sign. Jimmy Carter and Morris Udall are pulling the bandwagon while Milton Shapp, Sargent Shriver, Fred Harris and Birch Bayh are pushing it. Clifford H. (Baldy) Baldowski Editorial Cartoons, Russell Library.

Carter more or less knocked Wallace out of the race after March victories in Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina, establishing himself as the Southern candidate while still beating a nationally popular drumbeat of clean government. By the start of April, Carter’s main threat was Udall, who drew support from constituencies with whom Carter was having trouble “closing the deal”—social liberals in Northern and Western states, many suspicious that Carter was some kind of stalking horse for the party’s old-line Dixiecrat wing. But Carter managed to best Udall in such reputedly liberal places as Wisconsin, D.C., and Connecticut. By then, two more candidates appealing to the “Anyone but Carter” movement, Church and Brown, entered the race and accrued victories in Nebraska, Maryland, and Nevada, while Carter held firm to his Southern base and edged past Udall in labor-heavy Michigan. By then, Carter’s lead in delegates was all but insurmountable even as Church and Brown showed signs of life out West.

Left: Jimmy Carter at a campaign event, 1970. Democratic Party of Georgia Records, Russell Library.

Coming at the tail end of a two-decade period of desegregation and advances in both racial and gender equality, Carter’s victory in claiming the Democratic nomination could be seen as a sign that the dominance of Northern “machine” Democrats had faded. Alternatively, it could have shown that Southerners could win nationwide office in the 1970s by running positive, candidate-focused efforts and overtly eschewing offensive “dog whistle politics.” In any case,Georgia’s native son Jimmy Carter unseated President Gerald Ford in a close election with 50 percent of the popular vote, securing 297 electoral votes.

As in many of the Democratic primaries, Carter dominated the South, losing only one state of the old Confederacy (Virginia). Carter also ran well north of the Mason-Dixon Line, roughly splitting the industrial Northeast and Midwest with Ford (a native of Michigan) and winning such crucial states as New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Just as before, he was weakest west of the Rockies, winning only Hawaii

Want to find out more? Visit On the Stump on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 2, 2016 through August 18, 2017. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Friday, September 02, 2016

On the Stump Exhibit Now Open!

A new exhibit that explores the evolution of campaigning for political office in Georgia opens today in the Russell Library Gallery. On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? invites visitors to step into the shoes of a candidate and onto the campaign trail: from the initial decision to run, to crafting a strategy, winning the nomination, shaking hands, kissing babies, and everything in between.The display considers the social, cultural, and political history of a state in motion from 1900 until 2012.

The Russell Gallery is located inside the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries on the University of Georgia campus. The building is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Stop in to meet the changing cast of characters who have shaped and reshaped the style, strategy, and substance of political life and culture in Georgia!

Could your election season use a little non-partisan entertainment? If so, then plan to join us for Ready, Steady, Vote! a series of events inspired by our ongoing exhibit and spotlighting all things presidential during the 2016 election season. A combination of community forums, debate watch events, lectures and performances hosted with campus and community partners, Ready, Steady, Vote! is free and open to the public. For dates and descriptions visit http://www.rbrl.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Favorite Son: Part I

In anticipation of the November 2016 presidential election, the Russell Library’s Access and Outreach staff has been working on an exhibit, On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? opening September 2nd in the Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit considers the evolution of campaigning for state office and asks visitors to imagine life on the campaign trail. This post is one in a series exploring political slang and its role in elections. 

In political circles the term favorite son refers to a presidential candidate whose home-state or regional popularity aids their electoral appeal and is as a springboard for national viability.

Historically, presidential hopefuls from the South have used this strategy with mixed success. A contemporary example is Bill Clinton, who coupled a second-place finish in the New Hampshire Democratic primary with utter dominance in Southern primaries and less overwhelming victories elsewhere on so-called “Super Tuesday” to claim his party’s nomination. Three candidates from Georgia have run for President—our first case study is: Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr. 



Left: Georgia delegates and other Russell supporters (including Herman Talmadge and Tic Forrester) at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, 1952. Richard B. Russell Jr. Collection, Russell Library


"Now the politicians, particularly those from the large metropolitan areas, are saying that I can’t win the Democratic nomination for President because I am a Southerner. This is sheer nonsense. The people of this country, in these critical times, are not interested in where a man was born. They are interested in getting the best man they can to serve as Chief Executive of this nation.” -- Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr. addressing an audience in Spokane, Washington, June 1952

Russell ran for President in 1952, at a particularly tenuous moment for the Democratic Party. With the Korean War dragging on and President Truman’s low approval rating, Republicans hoped for their first White House victory since 1928. However, Republicans faced internal divisions between a conservative isolationist wing led by Senator Robert Taft of Ohio (sponsor the famous Taft-Hartley Labor Act of 1947) and a moderate wing seeking to recruit General Dwight Eisenhower. Some Democrats wanted Eisenhower to run too, but as it became clear that he would not, the party “bosses” pursued Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson II—a liberal known for his compelling oratory. Aside for Russell, many vied for the Democratic nominating including: Vice President Alben Barkley—whose candidacy was discounted as he was 74 years old—Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, and former Commerce Secretary Averell Harriman.

Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, the “tough-on-crime” reformer, dominated nonbinding primary elections and defeated incumbent President Harry Truman in New Hampshire. Though popular with voters, Kefauver’s candidacy was a nonstarter with party bosses, who abhorred his investigations into mafia activities and urban political machines. Russell knew his stance on segregation diverged from the national party platform, but felt his years of experience in government could win over voters nationwide. Russell attempted to replace Kefauver as the “Southern candidate” even though he was more influential behind the scenes than as a public icon and his victory in the Florida primary went largely unnoticed. Russell argued that nominating him could preclude another convention walkout of Southern delegates like that in 1948 which prompted pro-segregation “Dixiecrats” to nominate South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond as a third-party alternative to the more racially progressive Truman. Despite loyalty from Southern officials, Northern delegates considered Russell the “Jim Crow candidate.” Amidst the growing Civil Rights Movement, a candidate from the Deep South was too much for many delegates. Although Russell received 294 votes from 23 states at the convention, he ultimately lost the nomination to Adlai Stevenson yet he gracefully accepted defeat and supported the party ticket.


Above: Richard Russell and Sam Rayburn on the podium, Chicago, Illinois, July 1952.
Richard B. Russell Collection, Russell Library.

Would other Southern presidential hopefuls be more successful? Check out our next blog post.

Want to find out more? Visit On the Stump on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 2, 2016 through August 18, 2017. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Throwing Hat into the Ring

In anticipation of the November 2016 presidential election, the Russell Library’s Access and Outreach staff has been working on an exhibit, On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? opening September 2nd in the Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit considers the evolution of campaigning for state office and asks visitors to imagine life on the campaign trail. This post is one in a series exploring political slang and its role in elections.

A politician is said to throw his/her hat into the ring when announcing a run for office. The idiom dates to the nineteenth century and was typically used in reference to boxing. As one source notes, any “lad who fancied his chances in a bout would throw in his hat—presumably this was a more reliable way of putting oneself forward than just shouting over the hubbub of the crowd.”


Left: If she ever tossed one of her hats into the ring, it would be hard to beat! Maxine Goldstein, convention delegate extraordinaire, models her outfit for the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Maxine S. Goldstein Papers, Russell Library.

Over the course of American political history, the methods and means of running for office have changed considerably. In the eighteenth century, it was considered distasteful to openly campaign for an elected position. George Washington reluctantly accepted his nomination for president. Other early candidates such as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had latent campaign apparatuses but neither man explicitly announced his electoral intentions, simply agreeing to serve when selected at his respective party convention. Starting around the late 1820s, candidates began holding public events resembling modern campaign rallies and fundraisers when then-presidential hopeful Andrew Jackson pushed his own candidacy and rejected the “Corrupt Bargain” of 1824 that placed John Quincy Adams in the White House.

In recent years, the phenomenon has shifted considerably. Due to the proliferation of the 24-hour news cycle and social media, candidates increasingly express their political ambitions months or even years in advance.  In essence, political hopefuls launch “trial balloons” to test public sentiments. Before announcing candidacy, politicians are expected to form an exploratory committee, assemble field staff, raise starting funds, hire consultants, pollsters, advertisers, and public relations executives, and debut an online presence. In today’s environment, it would have been almost unthinkable for credible presidential candidates to assemble a campaign team and begin fundraising as late as the October, which kicks off with the Iowa caucus in January.

It is difficult to imagine scenarios today like that of 1968, when eventual Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey announced his interest on April 27 of an election year and amid an ongoing primary season. Today such timing would likely render a candidate—at least one for the Presidency—irreparably behind his or her opponents in fundraising, field organization, publicity, and grassroots support.

Above: Democrat Mary Hitt throwing her bonnet into the race. In the August 1974 Primary, Mary Hitt forced Zell Miller, who received 60.82% of the vote, into a runoff for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor. Democratic Party of Georgia Records, Russell Library.

Want to find out more? Visit On the Stump on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 2, 2016 through August 18, 2017. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Wild Man From Sugar Creek

In anticipation of the November 2016 presidential election, the Russell Library’s Access and Outreach staff has been working on an exhibit, On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? opening September 2nd in the Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit considers the evolution of campaigning for state office and asks visitors to imagine life on the campaign trail. This post is one in a series exploring political slang and its role in elections.

Merriam-Webster defines demagogue as “a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.” Historically, engaging in demagogy—or, more to the point, being perceived as doing such—is a sure way to incite controversy. Some of the twentieth century’s most power-hungry figures—Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler—have been tagged as demagogues.

American leaders are not immune from the label. In the 1930s, Democratic Senator Huey Long of Louisiana, a challenger to President Franklin Roosevelt for the party nomination, faced accusations that his “Every Man a King” populist platform was intended to lure impoverished voters with false promises. Two decades later Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was charged with demagogy for conducting a protracted anticommunist “witch hunt” within Hollywood and the federal government.


Throughout his career in Georgia politics, Eugene Talmadge was a conflict-ridden figure. Elected the state’s Agriculture Commissioner in 1926, he was criticized by the State Senate for improperly spending departmental funds on trips to the Kentucky Derby. When openly accused of stealing $20,000, Talmadge famously assured one group of farmers that “Sure I stole it! But I stole it for you.” He capitalized on his rural popularity (once claiming he could “carry any county that ain’t got street cars”) in the 1932 gubernatorial election, winning in part due to the county unit system in place at the time which overrepresented rural votes at the expense of urban areas.

Above: Eugene Talmadge on the podium, 1936. Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Russell Library. 

As governor, he proved polarizing for his “dictatorial” executive orders and racially tinged attacks on Roosevelt’s New Deal relief programs, which some white southerners saw as disproportionately aiding blacks. After Huey Long’s assassination in 1935, Talmadge weighed a potential run against Roosevelt but chose instead to wage a battle against incumbent Senator Richard B. Russell Jr. for the Democratic nomination; Russell won handily. Talmadge lost another U.S. Senate primary in 1938 to incumbent Walter George. But it was in Talmadge’s second tenure as Governor from 1940 to 1942 that he engaged in his most demagogic tactics. As a University of Georgia alumnus, he sought to purge the University of any left-leaning political, “foreign,” or racially tolerant elements. Talmadge called for the Board of Regents to remove Dean Walter Cocking, who was rumored to sympathize with the cause of desegregation. When the board refused, Talmadge himself fired Cocking along with all board members who had opposed the removal. All Georgia’s universities lost their accreditation as a result, their credibility shattered by such direct government interference in academic affairs.


Right: On the stump for the last time, Talmadge campaigning for Governor in 1946. Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Russell Library.
 
What came to be known as “the Cocking Affair” led to Talmadge’s defeat in the 1942 Democratic primary, at the hands of more liberal candidate, Ellis Arnall. Campaigning mostly on the single issue of restoring the whites-only primary, Talmadge returned to the office in 1946, despite losing the statewide popular vote to Arnall-endorsed candidate Jimmy Carmichael. Talmadge died in December of that year, precipitating the Three-Governors Controversy, marking the end of an eventful and deeply divisive electoral career.

Want to find out more? Visit On the Stump on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 2, 2016 through August 18, 2017. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788