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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Reubin Askew, July 8, 1974. Interview A-0045. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The South is becoming a significant factor in American political landscape

Askew argues that the South is becoming a significant factor in the American political landscape—even George Wallace managed to become a national, rather than just a regional, candidate. Candidates who energize voters, regardless of regional origin, will be the successful politicians of the future.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Reubin Askew, July 8, 1974. Interview A-0045. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

WALTER DE VRIES:
Don't you see an increasing role, though, for some southern governors in the national . . . .
REUBIN ASKEW:
Well . . . .
WALTER DE VRIES:
Like Bumpers and yourself and . . . .
REUBIN ASKEW:
That's right, and there are those who are desirous of it, you know.
WALTER DE VRIES:
But isn't that a significant development in and of itself?
REUBIN ASKEW:
Oh yes. From a different standpoint too. What they are talking about now is different from what it used to be, in other words, a "throw a bone to the South" type of thing to bring them in. I think that it is more of a recognition that the South has become a factor in terms of contributing leadership as opposed to just balancing the ticket. I think that it is possible to have a presidential candidate from the South. You know, Lyndon Johnson, of course, came in by way of the vice-presidency and in many respects is considered a westerner as opposed to a southerner, although most of us in the South consider both Oklahoma and Texas as southern states. But I think that you will find a greater acceptance and I think that one of the important consequences of Governor Wallace's forays into the North showed that he was not a regional candidate and that he has the ability to be a national candidate. And it wasn't until he was successful in some northern states, both in wins and near wins, that people realized that he had a candidacy of possible national proportions. So, I don't really see at this point where a presidential candidate who can capture the imagination of the people, I think, will win next time regardless of what part of the nation he is from. You had Muskie as a front runner and he had been a vice-presidential candidate and he was from Maine, one of the smallest states in the nation. You had McGovern who is from one of the smallest states in the nation who won the presidential nomination. You had Agnew, Maryland is a fairly small state, so that I really do believe that in the final analysis next time, the people will respond to a person that can motivate them regardless of where he or she may be from.
WALTER DE VRIES: