Credit: University of Georgia
Political Rewind: In conversation with UGA's Dr. Charles Bullock, the state's top political expert
Dr. Charles Bullock, Richard B. Russell Chair of Political Science, University of Georgia
Jim Galloway, @JimJournalist, former columnist, The Atlanta Journal Constitution
Dr. Bullock was born in Nashville, but he grew up in Tucker, Ga. He recalled closely watching the 1948 presidential election as a six-year-old after seeing President Harry Truman's re-election campaign. After he graduated high school in 1960, he said it was common to see Ku Klux Klan activity in Tucker and on nearby Stone Mountain.
In his 2015 book The Three Governors Controversy, Bullock outlined the 1946 Georgia gubernatorial election, which ended in three active governors who each declared their right to rule. It also effectively ended the state's progressive movement and hindered Black involvement in state politics.
In the late 1960s, Nixon's "Southern strategy" appealed to hatred for Black Southerners in order to pull white voters away from Southern Democrats toward the Republican Party. The strategy also included support for the otherwise unpopular Vietnam War. Georgia was late to adopt the strategy.
Bullock recalled watching former President Jimmy Carter's political career, from the Governor's Mansion to the White House. Carter ran as a conservative candidate who also sought votes from Black voting blocs, saying he'd invite George Wallace to the state. After his election, he swiftly condemned racist policies and attitudes.
Georgia's Republicans are seemingly split between Gov. Brian Kemp and former President Donald Trump. Bullock notes how Trump-supported Republicans like Herschel Walker and David Perdue came up short, while Georgia's own conservative faction handily won their elections.
Bullock taught several prominent figures in politics. State Rep. Barry Fleming, GOP chairman David Shafer, and U.S. Rep. Pat Swindall all took his courses.
Monday on Political Rewind: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Patricia Murphy joins the panel.