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After Freedom SummerHow Race Realigned Mississippi Politics, 1965-1986$
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Chris Danielson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813037387

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813037387.001.0001

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Fused but Not Healed

Fused but Not Healed

(p.79) 4 Fused but Not Healed
After Freedom Summer

Chris Danielson

University Press of Florida

This chapter details Cliff Finch's election as governor in 1975 and his successful integration of the Democratic Party afterward. Finch did this largely to counter the rising influence of the Republican Party, which itself was fielding candidates but also undergoing an internal debate over the viability of the black vote. The political fusion of the party brought black political leaders to new heights of influence, but in a party still dominated by white Democrats. The rise of black Democratic influence paralleled the decline of black independent candidacies. The black independent candidate could still play the spoiler, as Charles Evers did in the 1978 senate race, when he threw the election to the Republican Thad Cochran. Such events highlighted the fragility of fusion and its unresolved internal weaknesses.

Keywords:   fusion, party integration, Republican Party, Democratic Party, Mississippi

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