1. Why do think Southern racist politicians chose to frame their defense of racial segregation through the language of “law and order”? What special advantages was this choice of words going to give them?’
Southern racist politicians use the idea of “law and order” to frame their defense of racial segregation because it is a hard phrase to quickly rebut. They have created a false allegiance with their racist policies and the concepts of justice and safety, and a false dichotomy where to be against their policies means one is pro-chaos and pro-destruction. It is easier to convince someone who is just reacting to headlines that you are on the right side of an issue when you use misleading, catchy, and accessible slogans.
2. Do you think the Southern Strategy is still influencing American politics? Give an example supporting your answer.
Yes, this strategy still influences modern politics. “Law and order” has been a Republican tagline since it originated in the south, and Donald Trump especially continued to exploit the fears of his pro-authoritarian fanbase by repeating it throughout his campaign and time in office. A New York Times article from January notes that he used the exact phrase to rally his supporters the day they stormed the Capitol, as well as notably last summer during the surge in Black Lives Matter protests to directly target protests about disparate and unfair treatment of black people at the hand of white America (Plott 2021).
Plott, Elaina. “Trump’s ‘Law and Order’: One More Deceptive Tactic Is Exposed.” The New York Times. The New York Times, January 16, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/16/us/politics/trump-law-order.html.