Republican strategist | “The Architect” of the “Southern Strategy” & neo-con movement
St Mathews , SC ( Feb. 21, 1930-Sept. 28, 2007)
Most noted for devising the “Southern strategy” that was crucial to Richard M. Nixon’s winning the White House. Dent was “the architect” and Lee Atwater “the practitioner.”
Dent was born in St. Matthews the son of Hampton N. and Sallie P Dent. He had four brothers. He attended high school in St. Matthews and, graduated cum laude from Presbyterian College in Clinton in 1951. He was as eagle Scout and a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternnity.
He was a lieutenant in the Army infantry during the Korean War and was a Washington correspondent for several South Carolina newspapers (including columnist for The Orangeburg Times and Democrat) and radio stations before joining the staff of US Senator Strom Thurmond.
In the 1950s, Dent joined Thurmond’s staff (1955-65). Thurmond was then a Democrat and had run for president as a segregationist Dixiecrat in 1948.
Dent went to law school at night, receiving a bachelor of laws degree from George Washington University (1957) and a master of laws from Georgetown University (1959).
When President Lyndon B. Johnson championed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, some Republican strategists saw a voter windfall in the South with the belief that their party could reap the votes of white people uneasy with Democrats, or downright hostile to them, for advancing the cause of black people. Continue reading