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By 1871, the corruption of Bullock’s regime has become so rampant that his administration collapses on itself. Scarlett is a bit disarmed during the days of political upheaval but not by the politics. Rhett has been coming home sober every night and treats her with unusual, if impersonal, courtesy. She asks him if he is involved with the Klan, but he explains that he and Ashley convinced the members of the Klan to dissolve the organization as it was causing more harm than good. The exchange has been a watch and wait strategy. Meanwhile, Rhett has switched obviously to the Democratic Party and has given large sums of money in support of legitimate activities such as the campaign of a new Democratic governor.
In October, Governor Bullock resigns and flees Georgia, followed by many of his supporters who have also been friends of Scarlett's and frequent guests in her house. With the election, Georgia is again in the hands of her own people.
Rhett's timing in switching to the Democratic Party is perfect and more true to his real feelings than his previous associations had been. Scarlett is gradually being pushed back toward Tara as she has few friends among the old Atlanta people and has lost many that she had counted among the Yankees.