This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
The best thing I can say about Senator Strom Thurmond, as someone who is not a fan, is that he was a reformed segregationist who reformed his views and rhetoric as the predominant views changed, even in South Carolina, especially as African-Americans became more prominent there. Or perhaps he changed his views because he believed he made mistakes in the past, but he changed his views to the point that he could be reelected in South Carolina overwhelmingly, including winning over African-American voters.
Senator Thurmond is one of the last of the Dixiecrats, those who would be considered perhaps far-right Republicans today in the South. But up until 1970 or so, Dixiecrats were a major part of the Democratic coalition of people who were Federalists, up to the point that they believed that States could deny people access because of race and had the right to run segregated institutions, and State's rights, as they saw it, outweighed constitutional and individual rights.