What was the Civil War about? It depends on your political party

A PBS NewsHour/Marist nationwide poll out this week shows a partisan divide on the causes of the Civil War that exceeds the racial split.

Among Democrats, 56 percent believe the war was "mainly about slavery," to 31 percent of Republicans. Meanwhile, 54 percent of Republicans believe the war was "mainly about states' rights," to 31 percent of Democrats. (Whites were almost even on this question, while African-Americans said "slavery" by 54-32.)

What say you, Insider readers?

The divide widens on the Confederate battle flag, as a full 75 percent of Republicans said it is a symbol of Southern pride, while 59 percent of Democrats say it's a symbol of racism.

On this question, the poll did break down by region, and found that 59 percent of Midwesterners chose Southern pride, topping 53 percent of Southerners. (One possibility here: A whiter sample in the Midwest.)

Among the other findings: a majority of both whites and African-Americans believe race relations have deteriorated over the past year. (Hat tip: Washington Post.)


We've told you about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's quick work to snag key members of Scott Walker's Georgia campaign team, after the Wisconsin governor bailed on the race this week.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has done the same, with his team laying the ground work to capture state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, well before Walker dropped out. From the Wall Street Journal:

Judson Hill, a Georgia state senator who was one of Mr. Walker’s co-chairmen there, said he’d been in talks with the Rubio campaign in recent weeks. On Monday morning, he met privately with Mr. Rubio before a campaign rally in Atlanta. When Mr. Walker quit the race later that day, Mr. Hill immediately switched his allegiance to Mr. Rubio.

“I’d already been talking with Rubio’s staff and Marco for a few days with no knowledge of what was going on with Walker,” Mr. Hill said Tuesday. By the time Mr. Walker dropped out, “it was easy to endorse Rubio before the end of the day.”


U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, was among the crowd Wednesday morning at the White House for Pope Francis' debut. You can read our full premium take on Francis' busy, controversial day here, but here's what Carter had to say:

“I’m obviously interested in his views,” Carter said. “He represents a lot of people. But at the same time, I’m here more out of respect than anything.”

Among those people are many of Carter's Savannah-area constituents. This morning as the pope speaks before Congress, Carter gave the hottest ticket in town -- his plus-one -- to the Bishop of Savannah, Gregory Hartmayer.

U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., meanwhile, is bringing his wife, Bonnie.

And congressional leaders want to make sure everyone behaves. From USA Today:

"We actually hope that we can show a little more decorum for the pope than we sometimes do at State of the Union addresses," said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who chairs a panel of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "It is our hope ... that we can avoid the dueling ovations, the jack-in-the box standing for this or for that."

How will they enforce that? From Roll Call:

Each party is assembling teams of lawmakers to essentially act as blocking tackles, willing to restrain any of their colleagues intent on trying to reach out for a papal touch as he walks onto the floor of the House. ...

(Leaders from both parties) are on the same page about bending over backward to accommodate the Vatican’s expectations, which can be summarized as “Look, but don’t touch,” lest Congress drive its record-low public approval even lower by coming across as collectively preening and boorish before a global television audience.


State Sen. Vincent Fort's war on the OK Cafe continues tonight with a protest outside another landmark Atlanta restaurant.

The Atlanta Democrat will hold what he describes as an "educational picket/protest" this evening at Bone's Restaurant, which is also owned by OK Cafe operator Susan DeRose.

Fort wants OK Cafe to shelve its carving of Georgia’s 1956 flag, complete with the controversial Confederate battle emblem, when it reopens from reconstruction after a fire gutted the building.

“We are using this as an opportunity to educate the community as to why these hateful symbols of racism and white supremacy should not be displayed," Fort said of the event.

DeRose has said the flag is part of her history - a history that "has absolutely nothing to do with prejudice against anyone.” She also accused Fort of acting like a fascist with his demand.

“If we don’t remove the art, is this Congressman going to next demand our licenses be taken away?” she wrote in an earlier statement. “Where do our First Amendment rights stop?”


Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams is boosting her national -- or, at least, regional -- profile with a new initiative for Southern campaign operatives. From Buzzfeed News' Darren Sands:

Next month, Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams, Minority Leader of the state legislature, will host the B.L.U.E. Institute (Building Leaders and Uplifting the Electorate), a six-day crash course in electoral politics for close to 40 applicants chosen from all over the South. ...

The trainees will participate in a campaign simulation, create field and finance plans, and learn how to target voters using traditional and cutting edge tools, its organizers say. By the end of the institute, trainee will be paired with a campaign or organization via a job fair.

“We want to create a more inclusive pipeline of staffers that can secure the range of political posts available in campaigns,” Abrams told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. Too often, she said, blacks and Latinos “are assigned primarily to outreach and field in campaigns, but are less often in finance, data, communications or management.”


Rebecca Chase Williams, the mayor of Brookhaven, reports on her Facebook page that Dick Williams, the host of WAGA's "Georgia Gang," has fallen and broken his hip.


The latest from the Donald Trump trail:

The Donald is feuding with Fox News again. He also called Hillary Clinton "shrill" in South Carolina on Wednesday, then said this morning that the comment was not sexist because he also considers Rand Paul to be shrill.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

About the Author