For South, A Waning Hold on National Politics in today’s NY Times, and the excellent accompanying interactive graphic, provide more data on the marginalization of the Republican party. Obama’s victory without support of the deep south marks the end of 36 years of the Southern Strategy pioneered in Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign. A Democrat victory without monolithic southern support diminishes the importance of the red-state south in national politics “for some time to come.” The parts of the south that “have experienced an influx of better educated and more prosperous voters in recent years” went for Obama. The article goes on to say:
Southern counties that voted more heavily Republican this year than in 2004 tended to be poorer, less educated and whiter . . . Mr. Obama won in only 44 counties in the Appalachian belt, a stretch of 410 counties that runs from New York to Mississippi. Many of those counties, rural and isolated, have been less exposed to the diversity, educational achievement and economic progress experienced by more prosperous areas.
Continued Republican focus on these voters has the effect of “alienating voters elsewhere.”
The article goes on to look at Alabama and the impact of race on its white voters. It quotes an historian from the University of Alabama, who says “Alabama, unfortunately, continues to remain shackled to the bonds of yesterday.” Lest there be any doubt the article visits Vernon, Alabama, “the small, struggling seat of Lamar County on the Mississippi border.” They turned out in greater numbers for McCain than for Bush in 2004 because “any time you have someone elected president of the United States with a Muslim name, whether they are white or black, there are some very unsettling things.” A city employee stated that anyone who is not upset that Obama was elected “needs to be at the altar” because his election is offensive to “Christian folks.” One white resident is concerned about a black man “over me” in the White House. Another said ““I think there are going to be outbreaks from blacks . . . From where I’m from, this is going to give them the right to be more aggressive.”
Vernon, Alabama: The Land that Time Forgot. This is the future of the Republican Party?