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A Route for 2004 That Doesn't Go Through Dixie

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WyLoochka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-17-03 03:52 AM
Original message
A Route for 2004 That Doesn't Go Through Dixie

Check out the rather detailed analysis of why the author, Thomas Schaller assistant professor of political science at the University of Maryland, thinks the Dems might be better off pretty much forgetting about the south for now.

Then check out the online discussion about the article the author held the other day at:

Outlook: Is the South Worth Winning?

Schaller's analysis commences with:

"Solid Republican victories in the Kentucky and Mississippi governors' races, coupled with Howard Dean's clumsy overture to Confederate flag-waving Southerners, have raised anew the question of whether Democratic presidential candidates can compete in the South.

They can't.

And precisely because they can't, they should stop trying. Moving forward, the Democrats would be better served by simply conceding the South and redirecting their already scarce resources to more promising states where they're making gains, especially those in the Southwest.

I can imagine the laughter of party strategists -- and the ire of Southern Democratic officials -- who subscribe to the prevailing wisdom that presidential elections are decided in the South. Indeed, pundits love to shout into the echo chamber that the last three Democratic presidents have come from the South.

This thinking is not only superficial and retrospective, but it could trigger a partisan realignment that would relegate the Democrats to minority status for a generation. Trying to recapture the South is a futile, counterproductive exercise for Democrats because the South is no longer the swing region. It has swung: Richard Nixon's "Southern strategy" of 1968 has reached full fruition.


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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-17-03 07:19 AM
Response to Original message
1. Funny
Three of the four Congressmen from Arkansas are Democrats. And Dems have a good chance this year of winning the Third Congressional District seat (go Jan Judy!) Both Senators are Democrats (well, sort of). I know Arkansas is a small state, but to write off any part of the South just because of a notion that all Southerners are right wing fanatics is ridiculous. And strategy that ignores the South would play into the hands of the Repugs, who would use it to inflame people and to characterize the Democratic Party as elitist northerners.
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WyLoochka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-17-03 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Schaller doesn't appear to have a "notion"
that all southerners are "right wing fanatics."

He addressed the congressional delegations:

"Republicans hold nine of the 12 Southern governorships. With incumbent senators retiring in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, the Democrats are likely to lose at least three Senate races in the 2004 election, which would give the GOP an impressive 18 of the South's 24 seats. The Republican advantage in the House is much smaller, with 57 percent of the 133 Southern seats. But if the re-redistricting of Texas goes as House Majority Leader Tom DeLay hopes it will, that share will increase next year and create yet another GOP congressional delegation majority. At present, only Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas are majority-Democrat delegations, with Mississippi's four seats evenly divided."

I know the article is two pages and has a lot of data, but I really do hope a few actually read it in it's entirety and then respond.

In '00 the Dems lost 12 southern states and we also lost 18 non-southern states. From the Civil War right up to FDR it was the Repubs who couldn't get votes in the south and had a coalition of northern and western states with which they won plenty of times. Now that all those intransegient former, primarily, racist/religious fundamentalist Democrats are now firmly entrenched as Republicans following the success of the long term, odious, under the radar, race/religion dividing southern strategy implemented by Nixon and relentlessly employed by all Repubs since, why do we think the Dems can get them back? Moreover, why would we want them? Having them in our tent makes us have to compromise too much. Yeah right, try compromising with Zell Miller and his supporters for whom it's Bush's way or the highway. The way to overcome this is NOT capitulation like the Republicans did to get their votes, imo, it's to win WITHOUT pandering to them. Let's look to the OTHER 18 states we lost in '00 and put resources to work where we can win to carry us over the top.

Let's implement a long term strategy to build a coalition of states that eventually overwhelms the Repub sectors in the south that are diehard racist/religious fundamentalists to which they turn to for their wins. That would be just plain pragmatism and has nothing whatsoever to do with "elitism." The ones who make that accusation will most certainly vote Repub no matter what. We can deal with it, IF we work hard elsewhere. I think Schaller is onto something here.

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TNDemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-17-03 08:11 AM
Response to Original message
2. Why don't they ask if California is worth winning?
They just elected an inexperienced Republican. Why not write them off too?
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WyLoochka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-17-03 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. I assumed Editorials was a
slower paced forum, because people actually took the time to read the editorial before responding.

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beyurslf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-17-03 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. California
California has every other statewide office held by a Dem. One election of one post does not signify a shift or a trend. KS has a Dem Gov now but certainly isn't "trending" Dem.

The article gives historical data to show a shift in ideology of the South going back several election cycles. I think it makes a good point and is one we shoudl seriously consider.
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Stuckinthebush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-17-03 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
5. Good article
and probably right on the target.

I have seen a steady Republicanization of the South over the past 10 years. As I mentioned in another thread, I don't believe it is strictly base on race. I think that race was the catalyst, but 30 years later, the children of those racist voters are now being courted by the right wing through "Christianity", guns, and military. To a person, white Southerners I have spoken to who vote Republican will give the same reasons.

"The Republicans are closer to God"
"The Republicans don't want to take my guns away"
"The Republicans are stronger on national defense"

You have two sets of Republican voters - The upper-middle class white people who live in or around the cities. They like the Repubs because they think that they are going to get money back from them. Also, the religion thing plays strongly with them. Then you have the middle to lower class rural voters. They are the ones who will mention God, guns, and national defense. This group will also throw the word "Gay" into the mix. Homophobia is much stronger with this generation than racism.

I have argued that in some Southern states, the numbers aren't that far off. Democrats are not as big of a minority as we would think. With some education, we can turn one or two states back to the Democratic side.

However, I have recently started to believe that it is futile to waste money and resources in the South. I like the authors Southwestern strategy better. Indeed, Gore almost won the election without the South. He did win Florida, but I won't go into that again.

I get fatigued watching my Southern neighbors vote for Republicans against their best interests. I chalk it up to laziness. They just don't want to take the time to understand the implications of their decisions. They like having their ministers tell them that Republicans are closer to God and so they should vote for the Republican. That is easy for them to do.

Today, at least, I am going to say this - Forget the South. Move on. Let the South come to us. Let's focus on areas that we can win.
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