This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi. Elected in 2003, Barbour became the second Republican elected to the governorship of Mississippi since Reconstruction. Today he explains what possessed him to become a Republican in the still-solidly Democratic South of his youth.
My oldest brother came home from the Army a Goldwater Republican in 1965, and spring of 1968 he ran for mayor of Yazoo City. I got a kick out of his experience, so I dropped out of Ole Miss the fall of my senior year to work on the Nixon Presidential campaign. The first time I ever saw a poll was during the 1968 campaign. That year, six percent of Mississippians identified themselves as Republicans – six! To be a Republican in Mississippi in 1968, you had to take the long view.