The Pittsburgh Press (December 11, 1943)
Background of news –
Serious rift in Democratic ranks
By Bertram Benedict, editorial research reports
Senator Joseph F. Guffey (D-PA) is likely to be replaced next week as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The Senator was excoriated in the Senate last Tuesday by Senator Harry F. Byrd (D-VA) and Josiah W. Bailey (D-NC) for having declared that Southern Democrats had formed an “unholy alliance” with Northern Republicans to defeat a plan for assuring servicemen of an opportunity to vote in the 1944 presidential election.
Senator Bailey exclaimed bitterly in the Senate on Tuesday that:
Southern Democrats maintained the Democratic Party and kept it alive in all the long years of its exile.
It certainly is true that when the Democratic Party is out of power, the bulk of its strength nationally comes from the South. In 1929, after the Republican landslide of the year before, 24 of the 37 Democrats in the Senate came from the South, and 105 of the 165 in the House.
Even when the Democrats are in power, the South may provide the majority of Democrats in Congress. Today, there are a dozen more Democratic representatives from the South than from other parts of the country. In the Senate, there are 25 Southern and 32 non-Southern Democrats but, with only one-third of the Senate elected every two years, the anti-Democratic trend manifested in the 1942 elections could not make itself fully left in the Senate membership.
Definition of ‘South’ disputed
Sometimes the South is considered as 10 states – Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas – frequently called the “Solid South.” In this case, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Oklahoma are termed “border” states, along with Maryland, Missouri, and sometimes Delaware and West Virginia.
The Census Bureau puts Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia with five Southern states on the Atlantic Seaboard to form a “South Atlantic” category.
In this presentation, the South is considered, perhaps arbitrarily, as comprising 13 states – the “Solid South,” Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma.
The other great source of Democratic strength is the large cities of the East, Midwest and West. Of the 104 non-Southern Democrats now in the House of Representatives, 50 came from cities of over 500,000 population – including 19 from New York and seven from Chicago.
Unlike the Southern members of Congress, who can count on reelection even in a Republican landslide year, most non-Southern Democrats are in danger when the Republicans sweep the country.
Two factions in conflict
The economic interests of the Southern and the urban non-Southern Democrats often conflict. That was well shown in the vote, last June 25, overriding the veto of the Connally-Smith anti-strike bill. In the Senate, the Southern Democrats voted 22–0 to override, the non-Southern Democrats 20–10 to sustain the veto. In the House, the Southern Democrats voted 105–8 to override; the non-Southern, 63–15 to sustain.
In the 1924 Democratic National Convention, a motion was made to condemn in the platform the Ku Klux Klan – anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, anti-alien. The motion was lost by only five votes. The Southern delegates voted 252–54 against it, delegates from the nine New England and Mid-Atlantic states voted 245–36 for it, with others about evenly divided.
Until 1936, the two-thirds rule gave the Southern Democrats a virtual veto power over the presidential and vice-presidential nominations of the party, but in that year, majority rule was substituted.