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I thought that the Civil War ended more than a hundred years ago, but apparently it continues on and on here at DailyKos.  Some of the bitterest diaries and comments during the election season had to do with a certain Southern senate candidate who ultimately lost.  In the past few days it has returned with a vengeance.  I regret it.

Richard Nixon may have been a lot of things, but he was no idiot.  He realized that the progressive and Southern traditions of the Democratic Party were at loggerheads and he was determined to exploit this division.  Nixon’s Southern Strategy has been the basis for the reemergence of Republican power in the latter part of the 20th century.  It was a classic case of divide and conquer.  And it still is in effect right here among us.

I am disturbed that any attempt to discuss allocation of Democratic political resources is often reinterpreted by a few Southern Kossacks as an attempt to "abandon" the South.  A little background would be appropriate here.  Since the end of Reconstruction and until the 1960s, the Democratic Party was associated with the South and the Republican Party with the North.  The term "Solid South" was coined because the South voted as a bloc for the Democratic presidential candidate every election.  In fact, the Democratic Party was so powerful that most Deep South states were one-party systems.  The real election was always the Democratic primary – for white voters only.  More often than not, half of more of the Democrats in Congress were Southerners.  Although Northern Democrats had significantly different interests, they had to acknowledge the influence of Southern Democrats.


National Atlas - Public Domain

The Civil Rights Movement broke the "Solid South" forever.  Initial cracks appeared during the New Deal – especially in response to Eleanor Roosevelt’s support of civil rights.  The first real break came when Strom Thurmond broke with Harry Truman over desegregation of the military in 1948 and carried four Deep South states.  John F. Kennedy carried most of the South in 1960, but Mississippi and Alabama bolted.  In 1964, the only states that Barry Goldwater carried, with the exception of his home state of Arizona, were five Deep South states.  By 1968, the South was lost to the Democrats – at least on the presidential level – with the region split between George Wallace in the Deep South and Richard Nixon in the Upper South.  Nixon saw this and acted.

There was only once exception since 1968.  Georgia native, Jimmy Carter, swept the South in 1976, but was as quickly rejected by his home region in 1980.  In the ten presidential elections since 1968, the Democratic candidate has lost every Southern state in five of those, won only one Southern state in another two, and received well less than half of Southern electoral votes in the two Clinton/Gore victories.  Even though the Democratic Party ran a ticket with two Southerners on it, the South didn’t respond.  It was the North, the Midwest, and the West that elected Bill Clinton.  A look at the 2000 election map will show the complete reversal of national voting patterns over the course of the twentieth century.


National Atlas - Public Domain

The Republican Southern Strategy bore its first fruits in presidential elections, but state races in the South still remained strongly Democratic.  The racist, sexist, militarist, and pious pandering that have come to characterize the right-wing today were still ably represented by Southern state Democratic parties well after those states regularly voted Republican in presidential contests.  George Wallace, a classic Southern Democratic populist said it best after he lost his first race for governor in Alabama, "I was out-niggered, and I will never be out-niggered again."

http://www.pbs.org/...

But Southern Republicans were working hard to do precisely that.  The Republican take-over at the state level began in the late 1980s and 1990s.  Southern senate seats and governorships began to fall one by one until the Republicans dominated Southern state governments across the region.  The decline of the Texas State Democratic Party was highly visible, but the reversal has been as complete in Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Mississippi.  Louisiana is most likely next.

It’s no accident that the emergence of Southern Republican power at the state level is represented by such people as Trent Lott who famously said, "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

http://en.wikipedia.org/...

It cost him the Senate leadership, but reflected true Southern Republican attitudes in 2002.  Thus, Republican are the real inheritors of Southern Democratic segregationism and racism; however, the Southern Democratic parties still have not completely broken from their past.  They remain with a foot in both worlds – a backward-looking reactionary one and a forward-looking progressive one.

The task confronting progressive Democrats in the South is daunting.  I do not believe that the Democratic Party can succeed in the South as long as it retains the divisions which are a holdover from the days of Dixiecrats and a tacit acceptance of the Republican Southern Strategy.  For Southern Democrats to succeed, they must advocate for populist and progressive reforms that are in line with Democrats nationwide – not necessarily identical – but in tandem.  For too long Southern Democrats have scuttled Democratic policy in Congress.  And the simple fact is that Southern Democrats no longer command a majority of Democratic offices at the national level.  The 50-State Strategy is precisely that.  In addition to state like Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina - it includes states like Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

When people of good will here at DailyKos argue that the Democratic Party needs to look to regions other than the South for control of Congress and for electoral victory in the presidential election in 2008, they are simply acknowledging a political reality.  They are not abandoning the South.  They are not dissing the South.  They are not saying that there are no Democrats in the South.  But the position of Southern Democrats within the Democratic Party has fundamentally changed since 1968.  That is a simple fact.  And no amount of rude hectoring will alter it.

Originally posted to johnnygunn on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 12:35 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am sick and tired (15+ / 0-)

    of the strawmen thrown around ALL the time about "abandoning the South". No one advocates that. No one.

    It is just incredible that people still do not get what this is all about. It is about pandering. The Democratic Party has tried to Southern conservative culture for decades now in the hopes of recapturing. We have been convinces as a party and it has been drilled into people's heads that the only way for Democrats to win is to appeal to the South and win it. Funny how no one tells Republicans that they must get their act together in the North.

    Pandering to conservatives does not work: it waters down the progressive message, and it retards the growth of areas that are beginning to be receptive to progressivism. The way to win in the South is not by running Southern presidential candidates, it is not by running conservatives with a (D) for Congess, it is not  by establishing a national platform that panders on cultural issues, it is not by using the Vanderslice strategy of setting aside the separation of church and state.

    The way to win in the LONG TERM is by example. By building a progressive majority that counteracts and ultimately defeats conservative extremism. Short term startegies of pandering are destined to fail as they have from the beginning. One southern vote is not worth more than a northern vote or western vote. Southern voters ought not to be treated as special or more worthy, that is the whole point. It is not friendly territory RIGHT NOW, so please let's focus on winning receptive areas and solidfying strongholds. That does not mean you ignore the South exists or abandoning it. That is a strawman, and it needs to stop. This ridiculous pie fights that never seems to go away is filled with myths, mischaracterizations, and downright lies. Enough.

    Work for the long term, and stop the pandering. That is what Democrats need to do, and long term you will see results when white Southerners see how Democrats govern as progressives in the rest of the country.  

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

    by michael1104 on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 12:40:33 PM PST

    •  there's a difference ... (8+ / 0-)

      between pandering to conservatives and nurturing nascent progressive values.  

      And some are advocating ignoring the South altogether. That's no strawman.

      •  that is not (5+ / 0-)

        what he says in the book. He calls for building a Democratic majority in the short to medium term that doesn't depend on the South--which is absolutely true.

        And the way the Democrats have tried to win the South has been the wrong way, and that is by pandering. You cannot deny that that is how they have tried to win. You cannot win by running Feingolds either...right now.

        That will take a long time. I don't agree with everything he says, but abandoning the South completely is a mischaracterization.

        "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

        by michael1104 on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 12:48:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Great comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DWG

      But I'd be careful about those "some"...they DO exist, because our President always talks about them. For example, did you know that some say we should cut and run? Or that some say America should let the terrorists win? Or that some say we should shit on the American flag, eat a bowlful of babies and preach Satanism in the classrooms?

      I know it's all true, or else the President wouldn't feel obligated to address it.

      "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

      by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 02:43:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As an author of one of those diaries ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... (see here) it's not like I disagree with you. But there is a growing group of strategists who want to just say "Ignore the South" in all ways and focus on the other regions of the country exclusively.

    The point in my diary was that (1) the trends going forward (nobody can dispute the decade-long trends you put up) could actually lead to Democratic success, so this "Ignore the South" strategy would be foolhardy and (2) that this strategy runs contrary to the spirit of progressivism.

    Allocating resources is one thing. But allocating them in such a way that practically abandons progressivism in the South is both bad politics and bad policy.

  •  After some of the comments ... (2+ / 6-)

    ... you made on VirginiaDem's diary, you have the unmitigated gall to claim that you're a person of goodwill ?!?!?!

    What an arrogant little prick you are !

    "When reality bites, bite back!" ~ The Werewolf Prophet, resident Looped-Garou of Prophecy Street

    by The Werewolf Prophet on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 12:47:53 PM PST

    •  TRd (8+ / 0-)

      For name calling, and for shitting in Johnny's tip jar.  If you didn't like the diary, you can say and/or argue why.  But trolling a tip jar and calling someone a prick just ain't cricket.

    •  I Do Beg Your Pardon - - (8+ / 0-)

      I have never used any language like you have used, nor have I troll-rated anyone because I disagree with his or her arguments.  You abuse the privilege.  If pointing out to you that the South has only 5 Democratic U.S. Senators out of 26(Up from 4 with Webb's victory) or that the South didn't contribute a single electoral vote to Gore's or Kerry's totals in 2000 and 2004 is arroganr or hateful, then perhaps you had better avoid websites where there is serious political discussion.  I have argued for some time that the South still has a disproportionate amount of attention within the Democratic Party and here at DKos.  I believe that the West should get equal billing - - and for that I am troll-rated.  Shame on you.

    •  Hey, TWP? (5+ / 0-)

      johnnygunn made respectful, insightful comments in that diary. If anyone in that thread needed a few donuts, it was this guy.

      Respectfully, take back your TR; it was ill-placed.

      "I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." -- Adlai Stevenson

      by sbdenmon on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 01:25:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think part of why we see these diaries ... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnnygunn, alizard, sbdenmon, LynneK

        Look, as long as the Democratic Party supports a 50 State Strategy whereby liberal southerners get some support in our fight against the right-wing (we've gotten very little in the past decade or so), then this gal from the South is just fine.  

        I want the party to win and make gains by allocating resources strategically. I also want the party to fight them everywhere to make the repugs have to defend their turf more than they've had to in the past.

        That said, I think part of the reason you're seeing these diaries is not entirely because of this notion of abandoning the South, but rather a response to certain comments that crop up from time to time on Kos that are disparaging to the South in a way that tends to paint all the inhabitants of the region with the same brush.

        Republicans make broad negative generalizations about Northeasterners or people who live on the West coast.  We mount a backlash against those comments. Yet, when those from our party do the same to the South its greeted with more acceptance.

        A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over. - Benjamin Franklin

        by meowmissy on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 02:22:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well - (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dadanation, sbdenmon

        I seemed to have missed him -
        Maybe while I was writing this.
        He seems to have gotten a heap o' donuts without my help.

        To this day those remain my units of measure -
        A smidgen, a bit, some, a bunch, and a heap.
        "Some" is my favorite.
        "I got you some gas on the way back from town."
        Can mean anywhere from a gallon to a full tank.

        •  "Some" can't hold a candle to "after while." (0+ / 0-)

          Could mean an hour; could mean a year.

          FYI, the guy I referred to earlier turned out to be an 11-times-banned troll, so I think we all need to just disregard everything he posted. He was obviously just trying to stir things up.

          johnnygunn, your comments in these diaries have been food for thought for me; thanks again.

          "I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." -- Adlai Stevenson

          by sbdenmon on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 02:55:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well - - (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sbdenmon

            I'm fixin' to cook dinner.
            But I sure hope you aren't hungry -
            Cause it could be ready in an hour -
            Or next week.

            And your comments have been imprtant for me, too.
            As have VirginiaDem's - although she may still be mad at me.

            Speaking of Southernisms -
            We're fixin' to have a four day blizzard out here.  High maybe getting above zero, 40 mph winds - gusts to 60 mph, hopefully lots of snow, but more likely just a little that keeps blowing around.  Just your average Wyoming winter weather.  But - - we don't have any fleas to deal with in the summer.  Or roaches.

            •  Heh - you forgot about the mosquitos. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johnnygunn

              Stay warm the next few days. I once spent a few days in Cheyenne in the summer, and shivered non-stop; can't imagine spending a winter there. I do miss the scenery in that part of the world, though, after living a bit south of you (Boulder, CO) for a few years.

              "I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." -- Adlai Stevenson

              by sbdenmon on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 04:05:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  yikes! (0+ / 0-)

        To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

        by commonscribe on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 08:18:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm really not seeing the troll-worthiness (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nonpartisan, Ahianne

      of this comment. And while Wolfie does have a high-ish UID here, he's been around the Street for a good long while and I know him to be a good person and not a troll. Yes, this is an acerbic reply--but it's not anywhere near as vile as some comments that I've seen with nary a zero attached to them. As for dropping a zero in a tip jar, that's not at all uncommon, nor is it necessarily ratings abuse. Now that we've no longer got in-between options, it's one of the few ways we have of registering disagreement if we're not inclined to leave a comment.

      •  I'm Disappointed in You - (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eternal Hope, a gnostic

        If you think calling someone an "arrogant little prick" is a form of registering appropriate disagreement - then you have my sympathy.  And, I fear that you will remain part of the problem that is endemic in the American left.

        Do not troll-rate posts simply because you disagree with what the commenter is saying. ... Note that there isn't a rating for 'I disagree'. If you disagree with something in a comment, post a reply saying so (and why).

        I think Kos is pretty clear. The boldface is his, BTW.  It seems you do not understand how Kos wishes troll-ratings to be used.

        •  Tip jars are different. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85, RunawayRose

          They are usually pretty devoid of content and exist so that people can register their opinions of the diary. A strongly negative opinion will result in a donut. That is not abuse.

          The name-calling - "arrogant little prick" - wasn't so strong that I'd trollrate for it, but it was enough that I didn't feel moved to rescue the comment either.  

          Who you gonna call?

          by Ahianne on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 06:23:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, come on (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ahianne

          I've been called a traitor, a Republican sympathizer, and plenty more, just because I'm not howling for Bush to be impeached. And that's just in the last month or so. "Arrogant little prick" is tame by comparison.

      •  No, he isn't a troll. (0+ / 0-)

        But this was a trollish comment, IMO.

        "I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." -- Adlai Stevenson

        by sbdenmon on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 06:40:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  really? "acerbic" eh? (0+ / 0-)

        i was thinking the same thing, that acerbic, biting little ninny.

        acerbic also acerb ( ) adj. Sour or bitter tasting; acid. See synonyms at bitter . Sharp or biting, as in character or expression:

        indeed "biting" that was huh musing85... i thought your comment to be a bit biting myself musing85.... may i remind that FALSE accusations or a personal insult (pst, against site rules) using excessive profanity is a no no.... [sn}

        it sounds to me like a few people vouched for that fella that your guy was calling a "prick" {non sn}

        do you know that that refers to the male genatalia? ... gasp. {sn}

        they must have had a previous runin huh? :

        i registered only one or two vouchees during my last temper tantrum... i must be "acerbic" as well.

        {not sn}

  •  Sorry I am being lazy, (0+ / 0-)

    but please remind me when the Republican party of Lincoln turned into the Democratic party of Roosevelt.
    Do your subdivisions mean anything? And what about third party candidates in 1896?

    •  The process actually started in the 1920s (0+ / 0-)

      The Republican Party in Indiana was actually controlled by the Ku Klux Klanduring that time, gaining power on a quasi-populist "jes' folks" mindset.

      Outside of 1920's Indiana Republican Party, Klan members, who were generally lower-class whites, didn't usually become movers and shakers (Robert Byrd and the late SC Justice Hugo Black are the main exceptions, though they didn't stay Klansmen and Byrd now gets 100% approval ratings from the NAACP for his civil rights voting record).  They were more likely to serve as the enforcers for more powerful unofficial groups run by the state governments in the South, including the various sovereignty commissionsthat sprang up (along with the Battle Flag fetish) as pushback against the civil rights movement.

    •  It Happened in Stages - - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GayHillbilly

      African Americans - esp. in the North switched from GOP to Dem during the New Deal.  The Republicans hadn't done a thing for them for more than 50 years.  Similarly, the Progressive movement of TR and LaFollette heavily influenced FDR's programs during the Great Depression.

      http://www.tysknews.com/...

      Much civil rights legislation was co-sponsored by Republicans and Democrats - - in fact Republicans were more likely to support it since Southern Democrats held veto power within the Dem Party.  Nothing cemented the white Southern split more than LBJ's Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.  In fact, Johnson himself said that those actions had lost the South for the Democrats for a generation.

  •  This is what Schaller's book is about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, alizard

    Whistling Past Dixie, I'm reading it right now.

    You do what you can everywhere, but you focus on winning where you can win.  Right now that isn't the south so why pander to all things and cultures and people that are southern?  In the south it has to be a long-term strategy of conversion and rebuilding, where we don't expect our big presidential and congressional wins to come from.  That's not ignoring the south.  But focusing on building clout and wins in the south instead of a non-southern coalition of liberal coastal states, red states trending blue in the west, and purple midwestern states already in play?  To do that is to ignore reality.  

    It seems one aspect of southern culture is to be sensitive about supposed regional sleights.  This isn't a regional sleight, it's just a party being practical and wanting to win.  

    Check out my lte archive at http://www.livejournal.com/users/tomletters and feel free to use my ideas

    by DemDachshund on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 12:54:54 PM PST

    •  I think part of the problem with his book... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonscribe, pat208, LynneK

      (and correct me if I'm wrong, I read it enough weeks back that my bad memory is affecting me here) is that he doesn't put enough emphasis on the need for some closer-to-progressive candidates in the South to help spread the progressive message.

      To me, you can't just not run candidates in southern districts while having a so-called long term strategy that you describe. You just can't - the long term strategy will fail otherwise.

      •  I'm 2/3 of the way through the book (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman, johnnygunn

        so if he does talk about that I haven't gotten there.  But assuming you are remembering right, that is probably a good thing to suggest.  That is arguably a whole different book though- if we don't focus most heavily on the south or put it at the center of our strategy, what DO we do there?  

        But that doesn't mean this book isn't good- the point of the book is to prove that the south shouldn't be treated like it was the most important swing region by the Dems when its not a swing region right now and so many others are.  And that our fundamental strategy shouldn't be a southern strategy, proving that trends, politics, and attitudes in the south and elsewhere point to the need (and more importantly the doability) of a strategy focused on a different coalition of states.  The book does this well from what I have read so far.

        While it would be nice to suggest how to start the fundamental rebuilding in the south, the book's lack of this does not add up to a message to ignore the south.

        Check out my lte archive at http://www.livejournal.com/users/tomletters and feel free to use my ideas

        by DemDachshund on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 01:12:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  As a Southerner (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonscribe, johnnygunn, LynneK

      Right now that isn't the south so why pander to all things and cultures and people that are southern?

      I'm not asking anyone to pander, especially not to appeal to those who don't hold democratic values, but I do ask for some resources to help us liberal southerners fight the right-wing here, thus forcing them to spend money defending the ground they have here, so that they'll have less to spend elsewhere.  That's a practical strategy geared toward winning.  And, if it happens to win a few seats in the South in addition to the West/MidWest, well, then the victory is all the sweeter.

      A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over. - Benjamin Franklin

      by meowmissy on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 01:38:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree (5+ / 0-)

    If we stick to our values and our values are right they will speak for us wherever we are in this country, be it Alaska, Alabama, or California. Dean has a 50 state strategy. No one's abandoning anyone.

    As it is, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana - those states ARE more purple, they SHOULD receive more funds to make them blue.

    Local kossacks in the south are a huge asset and can help the south evolve into a strong ally vs. the Republicans. The energy should be focus on changing your neighbor's views and values and not battling other kossack who occasionally, admittedly, say dumb things out of frustration about the south.

    The world looks aflame from afar, but close up it's just fireflies in a jar. Visit me daily at artofstarving

    by artofstarving on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 01:04:57 PM PST

  •  Bar set high in the south lately (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnnygunn

    The south has been at the centerpiece of both parties' strategies for a while now, and quite a few presidents and congressional leaders in recent decades have been from there.  The bar is set pretty high there right now in terms of people in that region expecting a lot of relative political attention and power.  

    Perhaps this why whenever someone says things like "Let's focus much of our energy in non-southern states since we have a chance of winning there" or "The Democrats shouldn't always have to nominate a southerner for P or VP any more than they should always have to nominate someone from any other particular region" so many southerners seem to hear "Those southerners are worthless non-humans.  The rest of us are better than them.  Let's just pull the whole party out of the south since we can never win any race there even and since we don't care about what those dumb inbred hicks think." ?

    As someone who has lived in the Midwest and west my whole life (where the bar is set low because politics hasn't focused here much and because Dem nominees and presidents don't tend to be from here despite that these are the SWING REGIONS FOR GOODNESS SAKE), this is one of my theories.  

    Check out my lte archive at http://www.livejournal.com/users/tomletters and feel free to use my ideas

    by DemDachshund on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 01:06:14 PM PST

  •  wow...somehow I missed this whole controversy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnnygunn

    I guess diaries with "STFU" in the title just don't grab my interest but I always love a good history lesson, thanks!

    Recommened!

    "he's been ladened with a name that's causing all kinda problems" - - TDS's Aasif Mandvi on Barack Obama

    by kittania on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 01:07:13 PM PST

  •  All these diaries (4+ / 0-)

    and comments seem to be all about white people. No one talks about the black vote when discussing southern politics. Why? It's like all the long history of civil rights and voting rights never happened or it's on hold or something.
    Spend the money to get out and protect the black vote in the south and see what happens.

    •  I Did - - (4+ / 0-)

      Although not in detail.  There is no doubt that Republican victories in the South have been based on racializing the issues.  In some rural counties in the Deep South the correlation between race and party is nearly perfect - African Americans vote Democratic and whites vote Republican.  See J.L. Chesnut's Black in Selma - a damn good book on racialized politics.

      •  It's not (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DWG, LynneK

        racialized politics that I'm thinking about so much as inclusive politics. The Whistling Past Dixie thing seems to whistle right past the extremely important issue of civil rights.

        •  Good Point - - (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GayHillbilly, dadanation, DWG

          And the Republican's abandoning newly-freed slaves after 1877 led to all the brutalities of Jim Crow.  Southern state Democratic parties tend, still, to reserve the most powerful position for white candidates even though African American voters often make up more than half of the Democratic electorate.  White Southern Dems rarely spoke out against the neo-segregationism of Southern Republicans - - always trying to downplay race when it has been the elephant in the living room.  Somehow, white Southern Dems seem to think that if they soft-pedal things enough they will get the country-club set to invite them to Augusta National.  Black Dems in the South know better.  It just ain't gonna happen.  Unfortunately, since so many African Americans migrated north during the 1960s and 1970s - they are not a majority in any Southern state any longer.  Thus, black Dems have to find a way to ally with progressive white Dems and create a new structure for political discourse in the South.  As long as many white Dems are or two minds, it is not likely to happen.

          •  I don't know (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            commonscribe, johnnygunn

            any Democrats from anywhere who downplay race. But that's just my personal experience. I don't know jack about the Augusta National or soft-pedalling, either. But that's just me. And, I have a sneaking suspicion that white and black Democrats feel like allies, wherever they may roam. (Or lie around on the couch and talk about stupid movies, as all the white and black Democrats in my house seem to be doing today). Republicans suck.
            I hope that doesn't sound glib- you have been generous with your time and replies and I appreciate the thought you put into them.

            •  We May Finally Be - - (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Phoenix Woman

              Turning the corner.
              The first Harvey Gantt race against Helms was totally depressing.  Helms got a pass on all his race-baiting - certainly from the powers that be - and even from "moderate" Dems.  There's a new generation coming to the fore and the fence-straddling stuff is, hopefully, a thing of the past.

  •  Some of the south has trended back (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonscribe, johnnygunn, EdlinUser

    Or stopped trending Republican.  Arkansas and Virginia come to mind.  North Carolina I'm kinda unsure.  

  •  Maybe the South isn't being abandoned (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonscribe, palachia

    But it sure as heck seemed like it to me when I voted in November and discovered that Spencer Bachus had no real opposition. It's hard to be progressive when you can't even vote for a progressive candidate to represent you.

    That is what I see the problem as being. I don't think that Southerners are asking to be "pandered" to...all we want is to be able to have a real choice. That can't happen if the Democratic Party sees an entire region as being so "unwinnable" that they don't even bother to try any more.

    "Truth never damages a cause that is just."~~~Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by LynneK on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 02:53:38 PM PST

  •  The south has ALREADY been abandoned... (0+ / 0-)

    Forget token or under-funded Democratic candidates,
    the fact that- in the very first post-Katrina election-  3 Republican congressional seats were unchallenged in Mississippi & Louisiana.  only reinforces that point.

    If the 50-state strategy is a serious one,
    then the south has to be re-engaged.

    To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

    by commonscribe on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 03:28:34 PM PST

    •  And re-engaging shouldn't be confused w/pandering (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnnygunn

      Which is what Johnnygunn's talking about.

      •  No, I was referring to this (0+ / 0-)

        any attempt to discuss allocation of Democratic political resources is often reinterpreted by a few Southern Kossacks as an attempt to "abandon" the South.

        He's talking about political resources, There is nothing in the south left to "allocate" eslewhere.

        To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

        by commonscribe on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 05:53:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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