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Void in Spades--I

By Tony Hill

IF RICHARD NIXON can be beaten in 1972, it is essentially because he is still fundamentally vulnerable to the same force that beat him in 1960--and might well have beaten him again in 1968 if Robert Kennedy had lived: a corrected and decidedly hostile black vote.

Richard Nixon--Milhous, Nixon!, et al. not withstanding is no fool. Like any good political card player, he knows where his hand is strong. Given the backing of Big Money and the solvency of the national Republican party Nixon knows he holds the Ace and King of Diamonds for the upcoming campaign. The success of a series of $100-a-plate-and-up dinners and other fund-raising ploys has also made him long in the Diamonds suit.

Despite his either to end the War or exorcise the Duo, depression and inflation, from the national economy, Nixon has retained his strength in Clubs, his trump suit in his victory. Carefully choreographed announcements of troop withdrawals and diplomacy and the statistical of declining crime rates have the AMVETS, Knights of Columbus, and Clubs card carriers of middle America the belief that the President is down the war and cracking down crime and disorder. Moreover, Nixon been able to "deescalate" in without alienating the career military, military industries or the numerous middle communities whose post-Korean economic growth has been directly proportional to the size of the defense budget; because Nixon has not de-escalated expenditures. As a result Nixon has strength in Wallace Country, largely because towns like Huntsville, Alabama what keeps their bread buttered.

To be sure, the have been breaks in the ranks. Even within party, with McCloskey leading a defection the left and Ashbrook leading one on right. But Nixon has managed to a generally accepted illusion that the is in the process of a directed from Vietnam--he has been so at this hidden-soldier trick that he . The issue of Vietnam will not be an the campaign"--and that his Administration is preparing itself to grapple with the Issues, both domestic and diplomatic, Nixon's second term.

"NIXON'S TERM," one is at once startled and by the notion. The first three year his Presidency have been a persuasive of the leitmotif of his '68 : "Nixon's the One!" He may not be the want, but he is the one you're with. At --writing a piece on the first anniversary State was one of my own--the Nixon affliction seems to threaten to worsen from the chronic to the malignantly permanent.

Fact: Twenty years ago today, Richard Nixon was Vice-President of the United States. The 18 year olds who discovered yesterday what their chances are of becoming the last American to die in Vietnam and who may, if they live that long, vote for the first time in November were as yet unborn, and as a result, can not read a particular meaning from that fact. But many of their parents can, and must feel a certain nagging respect for the man when they contrast his conspicuous survival with their own sense of dissolution and decline.

Clearly a medium of the Nixonian message has been applied to Madison Avenue. Improved make-up and stylized lighting have erased his five o'clock shadow and Nixon-speak--Vietnamization, Phase II, incursion, game plan--and alliterative Agnewese ring in the inner ear. But no amount of pancake and greasepaint and well-placed Fresnels could gloss Nixon's profound physical gracelessness. There is a fatal slowness about the man that pervades his surprise announcements on national television with the forced enthusiasm and unsuccessful electricity of Ed Sullivan bringing on Baldy Laird and his Vietnamese Dancing Bear as the headliner of another really big show.

Charisma never was and never will be a negotiable asset of Nixon's, but the man who brought us the forgettable public tragedies of Checkers and Cambodia and the toothless tiger of Phase II has proven that we do not value charisma as much as we think we do. Or that, more precisely, charisma is not the sine qua non that it is cracked up to be. His career testifies that a patient, practised and lucky player can finesse a winner from a political hand as apparently irreparably weak as Nixon's was after his defeat in California in '62.

"I think the idea is rather prevalent among a great number of people that what the country needs is a spectacular, if not flamboyant, charismatic figure as a leader," Nixon has said. "There are some others, however, who might say that when you really have a crunch, when it is really tough, when the decision made in this office may determine the future of war and peace, not just now but for generations to come, that you had better make the choice in terms of an individual who is totally cool, detached and with some experience. Now I am not describing anybody, of course..." Nixon said, poker-faced.

III

ONE CAN WIN at political poker through a number of proven strategies: a Fair Deal, a Square Deal, a New Deal. If Nixon wins in November, the strategy of the Big Sleep will have to be added to the list of successful political approaches.

A modern Rip Van Winkle, emerging from a 20-year siesta in Sleepy Hollow, would probably vote for Nixon in September because it would be the only name on the ballot he would recognize. Moreover, he would not only recognize the name but also the style, for as Nixon himself notes, his style has not been adapted to keep pace with the times.

Since '68, Humphrey has let his sideburns down. Wallace has de-emphasized race in his rhetoric, and McCarthy has tergiversated on the mere question of his candidacy. Through it all, Nixon has been as fundamentally constant as the northern star. "I don't intend to change my style," he has said. "I determined that when I came into office. Of course I couldn't if I wanted to."

It is precisely Poor Richard's recognition of the limits of his adaptability that has allowed him to accrue a certain strength in the Hearts suit of his political hand. Through two decades of social change, he has remained recognizably unfashionable, but through his ability to defuse this weakness as an issue he has managed to survive--as if he had been granted a divine exemption from the laws of Darwinian adaptation--to the point that he has lulled many voters into the political sleep of resignation and parlayed his personal weaknesses into strengths. What was derided in a Congressman as trickiness is in a President proclaimed by Time as the "flair for secrecy and surprise that has marked his leadership as both refreshingly flexible and disconcertingly unpredictable...(and made Nixon) undeniably Man of the Year."

Like any good poker player running a bluff, Citizen Richard does not adapt, but forces adaptation: "I am the President!" Deal with it.

In so doing he has carved a formidable political image on the national consciousness: Nixon is the one who in spite of all of the hostile indifference of the deck has bluffed future shock.

IV

HOWEVER, IT IS UNDENIABLY CLEAR that Nixon is bluffing, hoping that he can finesse a return ticket to the White House. Completing a suit-by-suit survey of his political hand for '72, one is suddenly aware of the reason for the bluff. He has a fatal void in Spades.

If in 1872 one had told a newly-enfranchised ex-slave who had just cast his first vote for Ulysses S. Grant that the time would come when a Republican President would be faced by the possibility of defeat because of a lack of black support, he would have told you you were plumb crazy. The very notion that any black would ever vote against the party of Lincoln would have seemed to him as ridiculously impossible as the idea that a Republican President would one day be accused of practising the malignant neglect of a Southern Strategy.

For almost fifty years after blacks first exerted national political leverage in 1868, the black vote was dependably Republican and often pivotal. During that 50 year period, only two Democrats were able to defeat the Republican Presidential candidate as blacks mistook the Hayes's and Tafts and McKinleys for the Second Coming of Abraham Lincoln.

First in the Deep South during Reconstruction and later in the border states, blacks were the bulk of the Republican rank-and-file and used their numbers to secure positions of leadership within the party. All twenty of the black Congressmen and both of the black Senators elected during Reconstruction were Republicans.

Democrats and white Southerners in general found the new political power of blacks in the Republican party supremely distasteful. As Frederick Douglass notes the comments of one: "'The maddest, most unscrupulous and infamous revolution in history has snatched the power from the hands of the race which settled the country...and transferred it to its former slaves, an ignorant and feeble race.'"

The white Southerners, of course, had only themselves to blame. They, after all, had been the people who had constantly demanded that the supply of slaves be increased. They had lost their war with the North largely because so much of the South's capital was in the fatally non-negotiable form of chattel slavery. Moreover, fearing that any mobilization of the black population would lead to the formation of a hostile fifth column, the Confederacy failed to make any practical use of its major source of manpower.

THE UNION WAS LESS RELUCTANT, and as a result, won the war. Universal manhood suffrage allowed the Republicans to win the peace. Blacks registered for the first time in 1867, and, as DuBois and others have noted, they outnumbered whites in the recently re-admitted states of the South 703, 459 to 660, 181. The black majority was a sizeable one in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida and was almost two to one in South Carolina and Louisiana.

Although the full leverage of this numerical advantage was never felt, the black vote was the critical mass is the three national elections during Reconstruction. Even after Hayes, whose election had been as dependent on the black vote as it was on the deal he made with the Southern Democrats, had honored his end of the compromise of 1877, and removed the Federal troops whose presence had protected black de facto enfranchisement, blacks continued to be loyal to the Republican party. Although this loyalty was decidedly more advantageous to the Republicans than it was to blacks, the arrangement was not without token compensations. Beginning with Grant, who appointed Frederick Douglass commissioner to Santo Domingo and later minister to Haiti, black Republicans were appointed to significant Federal posts. Even after Reconstruction, they secured patronage jobs like collector of internal revenue or customs duties for a given city, local consular agent or postmaster, or register of the Federal Treasury.

Moreover, blacks continued to exercise power within the councils of the Republican party. Although the Hayes Compromise illustrates that much of this power was illusionary and provisional, the fact that two blacks--Blanche Kelso Bruce in 1880 and John R. Lynch in 1884--became temporary chairman of successive Republican conventions is not totally devoid of significance.

First, it indicates the importance that Republicans placed on the black vote, even after by its own actions--or more precisely that actions of Hayes--it had brought about the political bankruptcy of black people in the Deep South. Second, it demonstrates the degree to which politically skillful black men were able to institutionalize their power within the party. Both Bruce and Kelso were from Mississippi, a state that had been fatally unreconstructed by Hayes's removal of the Federal troops. Although this meant that it was impossible for either man to deliver the same vote in the national election that they had earlier given to the Republican candidate, it was not until 1916 that the party took practical recognition of this reality and adjusted its policy of delegate apportionment so that Southern blacks became as effectively powerless within the party as they were useless to the party in the national election.

Most importantly, the honorific positions held by Kelso and Bruce are symptomatic of the basic strategy the Republican party has employed in its efforts to influence the black vote and continues. As Daniel Thompson notes in his 1963 study of the upper echelons of black society in New Orleans:

Unlike the Democratic party, which ignores Negro political leaders in state and national policy-making, the Republican party, with only about 250 Negro members in the city, has consistently included its single Negro leader in its policy-making. Though powerless in local elections, he has served as secretary of the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee, and as a delegate to the party's national convention.

YET ALL OF THE TEMPORARY NATIONAL CHAIRMANSHIPS, Parish and County Secretariates and Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Chiefs for Minority Relations could not have tempered the tide of the black migration to the North and the ensuing abandonment of the Republican party by the majority of black voters.

Under the leadership of men like William Levi Dawson and Oscar DePriest in Chicago, blacks entered the urban political situation as nominal Republicans during the First World War. DePriest became the city's first black alderman in 1915, and was succeeded by another black, Louis B. Anderson, two years later, Anderson remained on the city council for 16 years. By 1930, blacks had become politically potent enough to elect DePriest as the first black Congressman from above the Master-Dixon Line, and the first elected black to go to Washington in 28 years.

However, soon after DePriest's election, the economic collapse following the Stock Market Crash threatened the Republican party with political bankruptcy. The mass of black voters brought up in the tradition of total support of the Republican ticket found it hard to break the habit. In the election of '32 only 23 per cent of Chicago's blacks voted for Roosevelt.

More importantly, in the mayoral election the previous year, the Republican candidate, Big Bill Thompson, who in his 16 years as Mayor, had "courted the South Side win such fervor that he became known as 'The Second Lincoln,' and so many Negroes to jobs that his opponents referred to City Hall as 'Uncle Tom's ," had been defeated by a , who had displayed a hostile to the black vote. Having won without blacks, Cermak was under no obligation to the back ward machine and freely divested it of whatever sources of patronage Thompson had given it.

In 1934, DePriest, seeking a third term in Congress, was defeated by a black Republican turned Democrat, Arthur W. Mitchell. The defeat marked the end of DePriest's political career. The year before Mayor Cermak had been assassinated in Florida by a bullet aimed at President Roosevelt, and Cermak was succeeded by Edward J. Kelly. As Mayor, Kelly made an even more intensive effort than Big Bill Thompson had to woo Chicago's ever-increasing black vote. Reading the handwriting on the wall, William Dawson, who after DePriest's defeat was the leading black Republican in the city, switched parties in 1938. Dawson's election to Congress in '43 coupled with that of Adam Clayton Powell two years later finalized the switch of black political loyalty from the Republicans to the Democrats. ..The concluding half--Void in Spades II--will appear in tomorrow's Crimson.

To be sure, the have been breaks in the ranks. Even within party, with McCloskey leading a defection the left and Ashbrook leading one on right. But Nixon has managed to a generally accepted illusion that the is in the process of a directed from Vietnam--he has been so at this hidden-soldier trick that he . The issue of Vietnam will not be an the campaign"--and that his Administration is preparing itself to grapple with the Issues, both domestic and diplomatic, Nixon's second term.

"NIXON'S TERM," one is at once startled and by the notion. The first three year his Presidency have been a persuasive of the leitmotif of his '68 : "Nixon's the One!" He may not be the want, but he is the one you're with. At --writing a piece on the first anniversary State was one of my own--the Nixon affliction seems to threaten to worsen from the chronic to the malignantly permanent.

Fact: Twenty years ago today, Richard Nixon was Vice-President of the United States. The 18 year olds who discovered yesterday what their chances are of becoming the last American to die in Vietnam and who may, if they live that long, vote for the first time in November were as yet unborn, and as a result, can not read a particular meaning from that fact. But many of their parents can, and must feel a certain nagging respect for the man when they contrast his conspicuous survival with their own sense of dissolution and decline.

Clearly a medium of the Nixonian message has been applied to Madison Avenue. Improved make-up and stylized lighting have erased his five o'clock shadow and Nixon-speak--Vietnamization, Phase II, incursion, game plan--and alliterative Agnewese ring in the inner ear. But no amount of pancake and greasepaint and well-placed Fresnels could gloss Nixon's profound physical gracelessness. There is a fatal slowness about the man that pervades his surprise announcements on national television with the forced enthusiasm and unsuccessful electricity of Ed Sullivan bringing on Baldy Laird and his Vietnamese Dancing Bear as the headliner of another really big show.

Charisma never was and never will be a negotiable asset of Nixon's, but the man who brought us the forgettable public tragedies of Checkers and Cambodia and the toothless tiger of Phase II has proven that we do not value charisma as much as we think we do. Or that, more precisely, charisma is not the sine qua non that it is cracked up to be. His career testifies that a patient, practised and lucky player can finesse a winner from a political hand as apparently irreparably weak as Nixon's was after his defeat in California in '62.

"I think the idea is rather prevalent among a great number of people that what the country needs is a spectacular, if not flamboyant, charismatic figure as a leader," Nixon has said. "There are some others, however, who might say that when you really have a crunch, when it is really tough, when the decision made in this office may determine the future of war and peace, not just now but for generations to come, that you had better make the choice in terms of an individual who is totally cool, detached and with some experience. Now I am not describing anybody, of course..." Nixon said, poker-faced.

III

ONE CAN WIN at political poker through a number of proven strategies: a Fair Deal, a Square Deal, a New Deal. If Nixon wins in November, the strategy of the Big Sleep will have to be added to the list of successful political approaches.

A modern Rip Van Winkle, emerging from a 20-year siesta in Sleepy Hollow, would probably vote for Nixon in September because it would be the only name on the ballot he would recognize. Moreover, he would not only recognize the name but also the style, for as Nixon himself notes, his style has not been adapted to keep pace with the times.

Since '68, Humphrey has let his sideburns down. Wallace has de-emphasized race in his rhetoric, and McCarthy has tergiversated on the mere question of his candidacy. Through it all, Nixon has been as fundamentally constant as the northern star. "I don't intend to change my style," he has said. "I determined that when I came into office. Of course I couldn't if I wanted to."

It is precisely Poor Richard's recognition of the limits of his adaptability that has allowed him to accrue a certain strength in the Hearts suit of his political hand. Through two decades of social change, he has remained recognizably unfashionable, but through his ability to defuse this weakness as an issue he has managed to survive--as if he had been granted a divine exemption from the laws of Darwinian adaptation--to the point that he has lulled many voters into the political sleep of resignation and parlayed his personal weaknesses into strengths. What was derided in a Congressman as trickiness is in a President proclaimed by Time as the "flair for secrecy and surprise that has marked his leadership as both refreshingly flexible and disconcertingly unpredictable...(and made Nixon) undeniably Man of the Year."

Like any good poker player running a bluff, Citizen Richard does not adapt, but forces adaptation: "I am the President!" Deal with it.

In so doing he has carved a formidable political image on the national consciousness: Nixon is the one who in spite of all of the hostile indifference of the deck has bluffed future shock.

IV

HOWEVER, IT IS UNDENIABLY CLEAR that Nixon is bluffing, hoping that he can finesse a return ticket to the White House. Completing a suit-by-suit survey of his political hand for '72, one is suddenly aware of the reason for the bluff. He has a fatal void in Spades.

If in 1872 one had told a newly-enfranchised ex-slave who had just cast his first vote for Ulysses S. Grant that the time would come when a Republican President would be faced by the possibility of defeat because of a lack of black support, he would have told you you were plumb crazy. The very notion that any black would ever vote against the party of Lincoln would have seemed to him as ridiculously impossible as the idea that a Republican President would one day be accused of practising the malignant neglect of a Southern Strategy.

For almost fifty years after blacks first exerted national political leverage in 1868, the black vote was dependably Republican and often pivotal. During that 50 year period, only two Democrats were able to defeat the Republican Presidential candidate as blacks mistook the Hayes's and Tafts and McKinleys for the Second Coming of Abraham Lincoln.

First in the Deep South during Reconstruction and later in the border states, blacks were the bulk of the Republican rank-and-file and used their numbers to secure positions of leadership within the party. All twenty of the black Congressmen and both of the black Senators elected during Reconstruction were Republicans.

Democrats and white Southerners in general found the new political power of blacks in the Republican party supremely distasteful. As Frederick Douglass notes the comments of one: "'The maddest, most unscrupulous and infamous revolution in history has snatched the power from the hands of the race which settled the country...and transferred it to its former slaves, an ignorant and feeble race.'"

The white Southerners, of course, had only themselves to blame. They, after all, had been the people who had constantly demanded that the supply of slaves be increased. They had lost their war with the North largely because so much of the South's capital was in the fatally non-negotiable form of chattel slavery. Moreover, fearing that any mobilization of the black population would lead to the formation of a hostile fifth column, the Confederacy failed to make any practical use of its major source of manpower.

THE UNION WAS LESS RELUCTANT, and as a result, won the war. Universal manhood suffrage allowed the Republicans to win the peace. Blacks registered for the first time in 1867, and, as DuBois and others have noted, they outnumbered whites in the recently re-admitted states of the South 703, 459 to 660, 181. The black majority was a sizeable one in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida and was almost two to one in South Carolina and Louisiana.

Although the full leverage of this numerical advantage was never felt, the black vote was the critical mass is the three national elections during Reconstruction. Even after Hayes, whose election had been as dependent on the black vote as it was on the deal he made with the Southern Democrats, had honored his end of the compromise of 1877, and removed the Federal troops whose presence had protected black de facto enfranchisement, blacks continued to be loyal to the Republican party. Although this loyalty was decidedly more advantageous to the Republicans than it was to blacks, the arrangement was not without token compensations. Beginning with Grant, who appointed Frederick Douglass commissioner to Santo Domingo and later minister to Haiti, black Republicans were appointed to significant Federal posts. Even after Reconstruction, they secured patronage jobs like collector of internal revenue or customs duties for a given city, local consular agent or postmaster, or register of the Federal Treasury.

Moreover, blacks continued to exercise power within the councils of the Republican party. Although the Hayes Compromise illustrates that much of this power was illusionary and provisional, the fact that two blacks--Blanche Kelso Bruce in 1880 and John R. Lynch in 1884--became temporary chairman of successive Republican conventions is not totally devoid of significance.

First, it indicates the importance that Republicans placed on the black vote, even after by its own actions--or more precisely that actions of Hayes--it had brought about the political bankruptcy of black people in the Deep South. Second, it demonstrates the degree to which politically skillful black men were able to institutionalize their power within the party. Both Bruce and Kelso were from Mississippi, a state that had been fatally unreconstructed by Hayes's removal of the Federal troops. Although this meant that it was impossible for either man to deliver the same vote in the national election that they had earlier given to the Republican candidate, it was not until 1916 that the party took practical recognition of this reality and adjusted its policy of delegate apportionment so that Southern blacks became as effectively powerless within the party as they were useless to the party in the national election.

Most importantly, the honorific positions held by Kelso and Bruce are symptomatic of the basic strategy the Republican party has employed in its efforts to influence the black vote and continues. As Daniel Thompson notes in his 1963 study of the upper echelons of black society in New Orleans:

Unlike the Democratic party, which ignores Negro political leaders in state and national policy-making, the Republican party, with only about 250 Negro members in the city, has consistently included its single Negro leader in its policy-making. Though powerless in local elections, he has served as secretary of the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee, and as a delegate to the party's national convention.

YET ALL OF THE TEMPORARY NATIONAL CHAIRMANSHIPS, Parish and County Secretariates and Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Chiefs for Minority Relations could not have tempered the tide of the black migration to the North and the ensuing abandonment of the Republican party by the majority of black voters.

Under the leadership of men like William Levi Dawson and Oscar DePriest in Chicago, blacks entered the urban political situation as nominal Republicans during the First World War. DePriest became the city's first black alderman in 1915, and was succeeded by another black, Louis B. Anderson, two years later, Anderson remained on the city council for 16 years. By 1930, blacks had become politically potent enough to elect DePriest as the first black Congressman from above the Master-Dixon Line, and the first elected black to go to Washington in 28 years.

However, soon after DePriest's election, the economic collapse following the Stock Market Crash threatened the Republican party with political bankruptcy. The mass of black voters brought up in the tradition of total support of the Republican ticket found it hard to break the habit. In the election of '32 only 23 per cent of Chicago's blacks voted for Roosevelt.

More importantly, in the mayoral election the previous year, the Republican candidate, Big Bill Thompson, who in his 16 years as Mayor, had "courted the South Side win such fervor that he became known as 'The Second Lincoln,' and so many Negroes to jobs that his opponents referred to City Hall as 'Uncle Tom's ," had been defeated by a , who had displayed a hostile to the black vote. Having won without blacks, Cermak was under no obligation to the back ward machine and freely divested it of whatever sources of patronage Thompson had given it.

In 1934, DePriest, seeking a third term in Congress, was defeated by a black Republican turned Democrat, Arthur W. Mitchell. The defeat marked the end of DePriest's political career. The year before Mayor Cermak had been assassinated in Florida by a bullet aimed at President Roosevelt, and Cermak was succeeded by Edward J. Kelly. As Mayor, Kelly made an even more intensive effort than Big Bill Thompson had to woo Chicago's ever-increasing black vote. Reading the handwriting on the wall, William Dawson, who after DePriest's defeat was the leading black Republican in the city, switched parties in 1938. Dawson's election to Congress in '43 coupled with that of Adam Clayton Powell two years later finalized the switch of black political loyalty from the Republicans to the Democrats. ..The concluding half--Void in Spades II--will appear in tomorrow's Crimson.

"NIXON'S TERM," one is at once startled and by the notion. The first three year his Presidency have been a persuasive of the leitmotif of his '68 : "Nixon's the One!" He may not be the want, but he is the one you're with. At --writing a piece on the first anniversary State was one of my own--the Nixon affliction seems to threaten to worsen from the chronic to the malignantly permanent.

Fact: Twenty years ago today, Richard Nixon was Vice-President of the United States. The 18 year olds who discovered yesterday what their chances are of becoming the last American to die in Vietnam and who may, if they live that long, vote for the first time in November were as yet unborn, and as a result, can not read a particular meaning from that fact. But many of their parents can, and must feel a certain nagging respect for the man when they contrast his conspicuous survival with their own sense of dissolution and decline.

Clearly a medium of the Nixonian message has been applied to Madison Avenue. Improved make-up and stylized lighting have erased his five o'clock shadow and Nixon-speak--Vietnamization, Phase II, incursion, game plan--and alliterative Agnewese ring in the inner ear. But no amount of pancake and greasepaint and well-placed Fresnels could gloss Nixon's profound physical gracelessness. There is a fatal slowness about the man that pervades his surprise announcements on national television with the forced enthusiasm and unsuccessful electricity of Ed Sullivan bringing on Baldy Laird and his Vietnamese Dancing Bear as the headliner of another really big show.

Charisma never was and never will be a negotiable asset of Nixon's, but the man who brought us the forgettable public tragedies of Checkers and Cambodia and the toothless tiger of Phase II has proven that we do not value charisma as much as we think we do. Or that, more precisely, charisma is not the sine qua non that it is cracked up to be. His career testifies that a patient, practised and lucky player can finesse a winner from a political hand as apparently irreparably weak as Nixon's was after his defeat in California in '62.

"I think the idea is rather prevalent among a great number of people that what the country needs is a spectacular, if not flamboyant, charismatic figure as a leader," Nixon has said. "There are some others, however, who might say that when you really have a crunch, when it is really tough, when the decision made in this office may determine the future of war and peace, not just now but for generations to come, that you had better make the choice in terms of an individual who is totally cool, detached and with some experience. Now I am not describing anybody, of course..." Nixon said, poker-faced.

III

ONE CAN WIN at political poker through a number of proven strategies: a Fair Deal, a Square Deal, a New Deal. If Nixon wins in November, the strategy of the Big Sleep will have to be added to the list of successful political approaches.

A modern Rip Van Winkle, emerging from a 20-year siesta in Sleepy Hollow, would probably vote for Nixon in September because it would be the only name on the ballot he would recognize. Moreover, he would not only recognize the name but also the style, for as Nixon himself notes, his style has not been adapted to keep pace with the times.

Since '68, Humphrey has let his sideburns down. Wallace has de-emphasized race in his rhetoric, and McCarthy has tergiversated on the mere question of his candidacy. Through it all, Nixon has been as fundamentally constant as the northern star. "I don't intend to change my style," he has said. "I determined that when I came into office. Of course I couldn't if I wanted to."

It is precisely Poor Richard's recognition of the limits of his adaptability that has allowed him to accrue a certain strength in the Hearts suit of his political hand. Through two decades of social change, he has remained recognizably unfashionable, but through his ability to defuse this weakness as an issue he has managed to survive--as if he had been granted a divine exemption from the laws of Darwinian adaptation--to the point that he has lulled many voters into the political sleep of resignation and parlayed his personal weaknesses into strengths. What was derided in a Congressman as trickiness is in a President proclaimed by Time as the "flair for secrecy and surprise that has marked his leadership as both refreshingly flexible and disconcertingly unpredictable...(and made Nixon) undeniably Man of the Year."

Like any good poker player running a bluff, Citizen Richard does not adapt, but forces adaptation: "I am the President!" Deal with it.

In so doing he has carved a formidable political image on the national consciousness: Nixon is the one who in spite of all of the hostile indifference of the deck has bluffed future shock.

IV

HOWEVER, IT IS UNDENIABLY CLEAR that Nixon is bluffing, hoping that he can finesse a return ticket to the White House. Completing a suit-by-suit survey of his political hand for '72, one is suddenly aware of the reason for the bluff. He has a fatal void in Spades.

If in 1872 one had told a newly-enfranchised ex-slave who had just cast his first vote for Ulysses S. Grant that the time would come when a Republican President would be faced by the possibility of defeat because of a lack of black support, he would have told you you were plumb crazy. The very notion that any black would ever vote against the party of Lincoln would have seemed to him as ridiculously impossible as the idea that a Republican President would one day be accused of practising the malignant neglect of a Southern Strategy.

For almost fifty years after blacks first exerted national political leverage in 1868, the black vote was dependably Republican and often pivotal. During that 50 year period, only two Democrats were able to defeat the Republican Presidential candidate as blacks mistook the Hayes's and Tafts and McKinleys for the Second Coming of Abraham Lincoln.

First in the Deep South during Reconstruction and later in the border states, blacks were the bulk of the Republican rank-and-file and used their numbers to secure positions of leadership within the party. All twenty of the black Congressmen and both of the black Senators elected during Reconstruction were Republicans.

Democrats and white Southerners in general found the new political power of blacks in the Republican party supremely distasteful. As Frederick Douglass notes the comments of one: "'The maddest, most unscrupulous and infamous revolution in history has snatched the power from the hands of the race which settled the country...and transferred it to its former slaves, an ignorant and feeble race.'"

The white Southerners, of course, had only themselves to blame. They, after all, had been the people who had constantly demanded that the supply of slaves be increased. They had lost their war with the North largely because so much of the South's capital was in the fatally non-negotiable form of chattel slavery. Moreover, fearing that any mobilization of the black population would lead to the formation of a hostile fifth column, the Confederacy failed to make any practical use of its major source of manpower.

THE UNION WAS LESS RELUCTANT, and as a result, won the war. Universal manhood suffrage allowed the Republicans to win the peace. Blacks registered for the first time in 1867, and, as DuBois and others have noted, they outnumbered whites in the recently re-admitted states of the South 703, 459 to 660, 181. The black majority was a sizeable one in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida and was almost two to one in South Carolina and Louisiana.

Although the full leverage of this numerical advantage was never felt, the black vote was the critical mass is the three national elections during Reconstruction. Even after Hayes, whose election had been as dependent on the black vote as it was on the deal he made with the Southern Democrats, had honored his end of the compromise of 1877, and removed the Federal troops whose presence had protected black de facto enfranchisement, blacks continued to be loyal to the Republican party. Although this loyalty was decidedly more advantageous to the Republicans than it was to blacks, the arrangement was not without token compensations. Beginning with Grant, who appointed Frederick Douglass commissioner to Santo Domingo and later minister to Haiti, black Republicans were appointed to significant Federal posts. Even after Reconstruction, they secured patronage jobs like collector of internal revenue or customs duties for a given city, local consular agent or postmaster, or register of the Federal Treasury.

Moreover, blacks continued to exercise power within the councils of the Republican party. Although the Hayes Compromise illustrates that much of this power was illusionary and provisional, the fact that two blacks--Blanche Kelso Bruce in 1880 and John R. Lynch in 1884--became temporary chairman of successive Republican conventions is not totally devoid of significance.

First, it indicates the importance that Republicans placed on the black vote, even after by its own actions--or more precisely that actions of Hayes--it had brought about the political bankruptcy of black people in the Deep South. Second, it demonstrates the degree to which politically skillful black men were able to institutionalize their power within the party. Both Bruce and Kelso were from Mississippi, a state that had been fatally unreconstructed by Hayes's removal of the Federal troops. Although this meant that it was impossible for either man to deliver the same vote in the national election that they had earlier given to the Republican candidate, it was not until 1916 that the party took practical recognition of this reality and adjusted its policy of delegate apportionment so that Southern blacks became as effectively powerless within the party as they were useless to the party in the national election.

Most importantly, the honorific positions held by Kelso and Bruce are symptomatic of the basic strategy the Republican party has employed in its efforts to influence the black vote and continues. As Daniel Thompson notes in his 1963 study of the upper echelons of black society in New Orleans:

Unlike the Democratic party, which ignores Negro political leaders in state and national policy-making, the Republican party, with only about 250 Negro members in the city, has consistently included its single Negro leader in its policy-making. Though powerless in local elections, he has served as secretary of the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee, and as a delegate to the party's national convention.

YET ALL OF THE TEMPORARY NATIONAL CHAIRMANSHIPS, Parish and County Secretariates and Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Chiefs for Minority Relations could not have tempered the tide of the black migration to the North and the ensuing abandonment of the Republican party by the majority of black voters.

Under the leadership of men like William Levi Dawson and Oscar DePriest in Chicago, blacks entered the urban political situation as nominal Republicans during the First World War. DePriest became the city's first black alderman in 1915, and was succeeded by another black, Louis B. Anderson, two years later, Anderson remained on the city council for 16 years. By 1930, blacks had become politically potent enough to elect DePriest as the first black Congressman from above the Master-Dixon Line, and the first elected black to go to Washington in 28 years.

However, soon after DePriest's election, the economic collapse following the Stock Market Crash threatened the Republican party with political bankruptcy. The mass of black voters brought up in the tradition of total support of the Republican ticket found it hard to break the habit. In the election of '32 only 23 per cent of Chicago's blacks voted for Roosevelt.

More importantly, in the mayoral election the previous year, the Republican candidate, Big Bill Thompson, who in his 16 years as Mayor, had "courted the South Side win such fervor that he became known as 'The Second Lincoln,' and so many Negroes to jobs that his opponents referred to City Hall as 'Uncle Tom's ," had been defeated by a , who had displayed a hostile to the black vote. Having won without blacks, Cermak was under no obligation to the back ward machine and freely divested it of whatever sources of patronage Thompson had given it.

In 1934, DePriest, seeking a third term in Congress, was defeated by a black Republican turned Democrat, Arthur W. Mitchell. The defeat marked the end of DePriest's political career. The year before Mayor Cermak had been assassinated in Florida by a bullet aimed at President Roosevelt, and Cermak was succeeded by Edward J. Kelly. As Mayor, Kelly made an even more intensive effort than Big Bill Thompson had to woo Chicago's ever-increasing black vote. Reading the handwriting on the wall, William Dawson, who after DePriest's defeat was the leading black Republican in the city, switched parties in 1938. Dawson's election to Congress in '43 coupled with that of Adam Clayton Powell two years later finalized the switch of black political loyalty from the Republicans to the Democrats. ..The concluding half--Void in Spades II--will appear in tomorrow's Crimson.

Fact: Twenty years ago today, Richard Nixon was Vice-President of the United States. The 18 year olds who discovered yesterday what their chances are of becoming the last American to die in Vietnam and who may, if they live that long, vote for the first time in November were as yet unborn, and as a result, can not read a particular meaning from that fact. But many of their parents can, and must feel a certain nagging respect for the man when they contrast his conspicuous survival with their own sense of dissolution and decline.

Clearly a medium of the Nixonian message has been applied to Madison Avenue. Improved make-up and stylized lighting have erased his five o'clock shadow and Nixon-speak--Vietnamization, Phase II, incursion, game plan--and alliterative Agnewese ring in the inner ear. But no amount of pancake and greasepaint and well-placed Fresnels could gloss Nixon's profound physical gracelessness. There is a fatal slowness about the man that pervades his surprise announcements on national television with the forced enthusiasm and unsuccessful electricity of Ed Sullivan bringing on Baldy Laird and his Vietnamese Dancing Bear as the headliner of another really big show.

Charisma never was and never will be a negotiable asset of Nixon's, but the man who brought us the forgettable public tragedies of Checkers and Cambodia and the toothless tiger of Phase II has proven that we do not value charisma as much as we think we do. Or that, more precisely, charisma is not the sine qua non that it is cracked up to be. His career testifies that a patient, practised and lucky player can finesse a winner from a political hand as apparently irreparably weak as Nixon's was after his defeat in California in '62.

"I think the idea is rather prevalent among a great number of people that what the country needs is a spectacular, if not flamboyant, charismatic figure as a leader," Nixon has said. "There are some others, however, who might say that when you really have a crunch, when it is really tough, when the decision made in this office may determine the future of war and peace, not just now but for generations to come, that you had better make the choice in terms of an individual who is totally cool, detached and with some experience. Now I am not describing anybody, of course..." Nixon said, poker-faced.

III

ONE CAN WIN at political poker through a number of proven strategies: a Fair Deal, a Square Deal, a New Deal. If Nixon wins in November, the strategy of the Big Sleep will have to be added to the list of successful political approaches.

A modern Rip Van Winkle, emerging from a 20-year siesta in Sleepy Hollow, would probably vote for Nixon in September because it would be the only name on the ballot he would recognize. Moreover, he would not only recognize the name but also the style, for as Nixon himself notes, his style has not been adapted to keep pace with the times.

Since '68, Humphrey has let his sideburns down. Wallace has de-emphasized race in his rhetoric, and McCarthy has tergiversated on the mere question of his candidacy. Through it all, Nixon has been as fundamentally constant as the northern star. "I don't intend to change my style," he has said. "I determined that when I came into office. Of course I couldn't if I wanted to."

It is precisely Poor Richard's recognition of the limits of his adaptability that has allowed him to accrue a certain strength in the Hearts suit of his political hand. Through two decades of social change, he has remained recognizably unfashionable, but through his ability to defuse this weakness as an issue he has managed to survive--as if he had been granted a divine exemption from the laws of Darwinian adaptation--to the point that he has lulled many voters into the political sleep of resignation and parlayed his personal weaknesses into strengths. What was derided in a Congressman as trickiness is in a President proclaimed by Time as the "flair for secrecy and surprise that has marked his leadership as both refreshingly flexible and disconcertingly unpredictable...(and made Nixon) undeniably Man of the Year."

Like any good poker player running a bluff, Citizen Richard does not adapt, but forces adaptation: "I am the President!" Deal with it.

In so doing he has carved a formidable political image on the national consciousness: Nixon is the one who in spite of all of the hostile indifference of the deck has bluffed future shock.

IV

HOWEVER, IT IS UNDENIABLY CLEAR that Nixon is bluffing, hoping that he can finesse a return ticket to the White House. Completing a suit-by-suit survey of his political hand for '72, one is suddenly aware of the reason for the bluff. He has a fatal void in Spades.

If in 1872 one had told a newly-enfranchised ex-slave who had just cast his first vote for Ulysses S. Grant that the time would come when a Republican President would be faced by the possibility of defeat because of a lack of black support, he would have told you you were plumb crazy. The very notion that any black would ever vote against the party of Lincoln would have seemed to him as ridiculously impossible as the idea that a Republican President would one day be accused of practising the malignant neglect of a Southern Strategy.

For almost fifty years after blacks first exerted national political leverage in 1868, the black vote was dependably Republican and often pivotal. During that 50 year period, only two Democrats were able to defeat the Republican Presidential candidate as blacks mistook the Hayes's and Tafts and McKinleys for the Second Coming of Abraham Lincoln.

First in the Deep South during Reconstruction and later in the border states, blacks were the bulk of the Republican rank-and-file and used their numbers to secure positions of leadership within the party. All twenty of the black Congressmen and both of the black Senators elected during Reconstruction were Republicans.

Democrats and white Southerners in general found the new political power of blacks in the Republican party supremely distasteful. As Frederick Douglass notes the comments of one: "'The maddest, most unscrupulous and infamous revolution in history has snatched the power from the hands of the race which settled the country...and transferred it to its former slaves, an ignorant and feeble race.'"

The white Southerners, of course, had only themselves to blame. They, after all, had been the people who had constantly demanded that the supply of slaves be increased. They had lost their war with the North largely because so much of the South's capital was in the fatally non-negotiable form of chattel slavery. Moreover, fearing that any mobilization of the black population would lead to the formation of a hostile fifth column, the Confederacy failed to make any practical use of its major source of manpower.

THE UNION WAS LESS RELUCTANT, and as a result, won the war. Universal manhood suffrage allowed the Republicans to win the peace. Blacks registered for the first time in 1867, and, as DuBois and others have noted, they outnumbered whites in the recently re-admitted states of the South 703, 459 to 660, 181. The black majority was a sizeable one in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida and was almost two to one in South Carolina and Louisiana.

Although the full leverage of this numerical advantage was never felt, the black vote was the critical mass is the three national elections during Reconstruction. Even after Hayes, whose election had been as dependent on the black vote as it was on the deal he made with the Southern Democrats, had honored his end of the compromise of 1877, and removed the Federal troops whose presence had protected black de facto enfranchisement, blacks continued to be loyal to the Republican party. Although this loyalty was decidedly more advantageous to the Republicans than it was to blacks, the arrangement was not without token compensations. Beginning with Grant, who appointed Frederick Douglass commissioner to Santo Domingo and later minister to Haiti, black Republicans were appointed to significant Federal posts. Even after Reconstruction, they secured patronage jobs like collector of internal revenue or customs duties for a given city, local consular agent or postmaster, or register of the Federal Treasury.

Moreover, blacks continued to exercise power within the councils of the Republican party. Although the Hayes Compromise illustrates that much of this power was illusionary and provisional, the fact that two blacks--Blanche Kelso Bruce in 1880 and John R. Lynch in 1884--became temporary chairman of successive Republican conventions is not totally devoid of significance.

First, it indicates the importance that Republicans placed on the black vote, even after by its own actions--or more precisely that actions of Hayes--it had brought about the political bankruptcy of black people in the Deep South. Second, it demonstrates the degree to which politically skillful black men were able to institutionalize their power within the party. Both Bruce and Kelso were from Mississippi, a state that had been fatally unreconstructed by Hayes's removal of the Federal troops. Although this meant that it was impossible for either man to deliver the same vote in the national election that they had earlier given to the Republican candidate, it was not until 1916 that the party took practical recognition of this reality and adjusted its policy of delegate apportionment so that Southern blacks became as effectively powerless within the party as they were useless to the party in the national election.

Most importantly, the honorific positions held by Kelso and Bruce are symptomatic of the basic strategy the Republican party has employed in its efforts to influence the black vote and continues. As Daniel Thompson notes in his 1963 study of the upper echelons of black society in New Orleans:

Unlike the Democratic party, which ignores Negro political leaders in state and national policy-making, the Republican party, with only about 250 Negro members in the city, has consistently included its single Negro leader in its policy-making. Though powerless in local elections, he has served as secretary of the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee, and as a delegate to the party's national convention.

YET ALL OF THE TEMPORARY NATIONAL CHAIRMANSHIPS, Parish and County Secretariates and Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Chiefs for Minority Relations could not have tempered the tide of the black migration to the North and the ensuing abandonment of the Republican party by the majority of black voters.

Under the leadership of men like William Levi Dawson and Oscar DePriest in Chicago, blacks entered the urban political situation as nominal Republicans during the First World War. DePriest became the city's first black alderman in 1915, and was succeeded by another black, Louis B. Anderson, two years later, Anderson remained on the city council for 16 years. By 1930, blacks had become politically potent enough to elect DePriest as the first black Congressman from above the Master-Dixon Line, and the first elected black to go to Washington in 28 years.

However, soon after DePriest's election, the economic collapse following the Stock Market Crash threatened the Republican party with political bankruptcy. The mass of black voters brought up in the tradition of total support of the Republican ticket found it hard to break the habit. In the election of '32 only 23 per cent of Chicago's blacks voted for Roosevelt.

More importantly, in the mayoral election the previous year, the Republican candidate, Big Bill Thompson, who in his 16 years as Mayor, had "courted the South Side win such fervor that he became known as 'The Second Lincoln,' and so many Negroes to jobs that his opponents referred to City Hall as 'Uncle Tom's ," had been defeated by a , who had displayed a hostile to the black vote. Having won without blacks, Cermak was under no obligation to the back ward machine and freely divested it of whatever sources of patronage Thompson had given it.

In 1934, DePriest, seeking a third term in Congress, was defeated by a black Republican turned Democrat, Arthur W. Mitchell. The defeat marked the end of DePriest's political career. The year before Mayor Cermak had been assassinated in Florida by a bullet aimed at President Roosevelt, and Cermak was succeeded by Edward J. Kelly. As Mayor, Kelly made an even more intensive effort than Big Bill Thompson had to woo Chicago's ever-increasing black vote. Reading the handwriting on the wall, William Dawson, who after DePriest's defeat was the leading black Republican in the city, switched parties in 1938. Dawson's election to Congress in '43 coupled with that of Adam Clayton Powell two years later finalized the switch of black political loyalty from the Republicans to the Democrats. ..The concluding half--Void in Spades II--will appear in tomorrow's Crimson.

In 1934, DePriest, seeking a third term in Congress, was defeated by a black Republican turned Democrat, Arthur W. Mitchell. The defeat marked the end of DePriest's political career. The year before Mayor Cermak had been assassinated in Florida by a bullet aimed at President Roosevelt, and Cermak was succeeded by Edward J. Kelly. As Mayor, Kelly made an even more intensive effort than Big Bill Thompson had to woo Chicago's ever-increasing black vote. Reading the handwriting on the wall, William Dawson, who after DePriest's defeat was the leading black Republican in the city, switched parties in 1938. Dawson's election to Congress in '43 coupled with that of Adam Clayton Powell two years later finalized the switch of black political loyalty from the Republicans to the Democrats. ..The concluding half--Void in Spades II--will appear in tomorrow's Crimson.

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