How the South Was Won [sic]
Bruce Bartlett explains how the South switched from Democrats to Republicans and how the Republican Party came to become the party of, by and for the segregationists, racists, and religious fundamentalists:
Northern liberals were disgusted by the racist Southerners and even more disgusted by their dependence upon them to maintain control of Congress. But after the huge Democratic victory in 1974 in the wake of Watergate and Nixon’s resignation, the liberals decided that they no longer needed their retrograde Southern brethren.
Just as Democrats had depended on the South to maintain their congressional control for generations, Republicans now depend on that region to maintain theirs. This has made the GOP ever more sensitive to issues that especially resonate with Southerners—abortion, gun control, low taxes and a hard line on immigration.
In the process, the liberal wing of the Republican Party completely ceased to exist. Just as all conservative Democrats became Republicans, all liberal Republicans became Democrats. Thus for the first time in American history, our two major parties are ideologically uniform—all the conservatives are in one party and all the liberals are in the other.
Read the whole thing. It’s a thing of beauty, mostly because it explains in as much detail as possible without too much to confuse people.