Thursday, November 13, 2008

The End Of Southern Political Influence

For decades, the American South has been a disproportionately influential region in politics. It began with Nixon's "Southern strategy" and reached its apex in the '90s, with President Bill Clinton and several Southern Congressional leaders; for years, the South served as both the Republicans' strategic home base, and the place from which Democratic leaders had to originate. But, it's all over now. Obama's victory showed how easy it is to win nationally without the region, and revealed how out of touch the South is politically with the rest of the country.One reason is that the South is no longer a solid voting bloc; Virginia and North Carolina, the new "suburban South," made history by turning Democratic, even as rural and isolated Appalachian areas became even more conservative. All of that spells drastic problems for the G.O.P. The Republicans have "completely marginalized themselves to a mostly regional, Southernized party," while alienating the rest of the country; nearly half of the current Republican House delegation is from the South.


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