On August 3, 1980, Ronald Reagan became the first presidential nominee to appear at the county fair in Neshoba County, Mississippi. His speech drew national attention.
Critics claim that Reagan's choice of location for the speech (the fairgrounds were about 7 miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town associated with the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in 1964) was evidence of racial bias.
During his speech, Reagan said:
I still believe the answer to any problem lies with the people. I believe in states' rights. I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level, and I believe we've distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the Constitution to that federal establishment.
He went on to promise to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them."It was not hard to tie the message to the place where it was delivered.
On July 26, 1948, another president, Harry Truman, took a controversial action that helped launch the flight of racist Southerners to the Republican Party over the next thirty years:
President Truman signs an executive order, desegregating the military of the United States, this day in 1948. https://t.co/cS0eSDyiT2 pic.twitter.com/txY2RUvGaH— NYT Archives (@NYTArchives) July 26, 2017
In an anniversary tie-in only the current president's brain, Steve Bannon, could have gleefully devised, today marks another anniversary: