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Author Topic: What killed the democrats in the white south?  (Read 1284 times)
buritobr
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« on: November 11, 2016, 07:39:08 am »
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In the 1990s, many years after the Civil Rights Act, the cultural wars and the hippies, there were a lot of democratic governors in southern states, a lot of democratic senators from the southern states, some democratic representative elected in white southern districts, and Hillary's husband won Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Nowadays, rural white southern counties are >80% Republican. Obama 2012 and Hillary 2016 performed worse than McGovern 1972 in many of these counties. Democratic governors and senators in the south are very rare. There are representatives from the south only in non-white districts.

The democrats are dead not only in the white south, but also in all the rural white counties far from the coasts. In the past, there were lots of blue (Leip's red) counties in Minnesota. Now, the democrats need a huge margin in the twin cities in order to win the state.

What happened?
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2016, 05:48:34 pm »
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Brady Bill and NRA helped Trump upset win and helped Johnson and Toomey's chances improve day by day in PA and WI that Clinton should of had in the bag.

Agriculture is dependent on the estate tax and regardless of wealth, farmers don't want their decendents penalized with a dead tax that urban voters can care less about

Other social issues like abortion and SSM also polarized the urban v rural divide.
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2016, 06:24:29 pm »
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Bush sold out the Republican Party to the religious right.
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2016, 08:04:29 pm »
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Racism.
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2016, 10:13:36 pm »
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Racism.

Just took 'em four decades to realize it, right?

LOL, that was one your hottest takes yet, chief!
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2016, 11:30:34 pm »
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Brady Bill and NRA helped Trump upset win and helped Johnson and Toomey's chances improve day by day in PA and WI that Clinton should of had in the bag.

Agriculture is dependent on the estate tax and regardless of wealth, farmers don't want their decendents penalized with a dead tax that urban voters can care less about

Other social issues like abortion and SSM also polarized the urban v rural divide.

What?
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2016, 06:39:17 am »
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I would argue that there were still a lot of older voters in the 1990's who were the last generation from the Solid South days. Yes, they may have started giving their presidential vote to the Republican ticket. But as long as their local Democrats reflected their conservative outlook, they were happier voting from them than they were for the Republican candidate.
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2016, 09:48:30 am »
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Civil Rights Policies. It begun with Truman's desegregation in the armed forces and went on to the liberal agenda of JFK and LBJ. Especially the latter's civil rights legislation. Democrats however remained relatively strong at the state level until the 1990s, when several prominent southern Democrats switched party. Reagan's conservatism gave the rest.
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2016, 01:18:32 pm »
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Civil Rights Policies. It begun with Truman's desegregation in the armed forces and went on to the liberal agenda of JFK and LBJ. Especially the latter's civil rights legislation. Democrats however remained relatively strong at the state level until the 1990s, when several prominent southern Democrats switched party. Reagan's conservatism gave the rest.

This is literally an explanation I'd expect in a sixth-grader's history textbook.  Disgustingly simplistic.  Democrats didn't just start championing themselves as being pro-civil rights after 1964, ya know...

Anyway, the post above yours is accurate.  Even in Presidential elections, older Southerners were MUCH more Democratic than younger Southerners into the 2000s (when, ya know, those folks started to die, not switch parties).
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2016, 07:50:10 pm »
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Generational replacement, the abortion issue as Dems unified as solidly pro-choice, guns, NAFTA, and cultural tension
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« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2016, 08:14:30 pm »
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The postwar South underwent a major progressive transformation from 1948-1980. A new class of pro-business white suburbanites challenged the viciously segregationist Dixiecrat hold on the region by voting Republican. Meanwhile, a new breed of "new Democrat", exemplified by the likes of Carter and Clinton, took over the Democratic party from said Dixiecrats. Hence, while voter turnout surged among both blacks and whites, a genuine two-party system emerged, neither new party looked like the segregationist patrician machines of the prewar South.

Why the South returned to a one-party state is unclear. It seems that political polarization has increased, so there is less room for a Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton-style DLC Democrat anymore. A 1990 Supreme Court ruling mandated minority districts. With conservative white Democrats squeezed out of the party, Republicans became the only option for whites.
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2016, 10:52:19 am »
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Generational replacement, the abortion issue as Dems unified as solidly pro-choice, guns, NAFTA, and cultural tension

Not as sure about this ... it's kind of like the civil rights issue: if they were mad that a Democratic President signed the bill into law (which is clear with civil rights and debatable at best for NAFTA), why would they then flock to the party that, in both cases, had a Congressional caucus almost unanimously in support of both pieces of legislation?  IN THE SOUTH, I would argue the Republican Party (post-CRA and post-Goldwater) was just as associated with civil rights - and later free trade - as the local Democratic Party was.
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2016, 01:26:21 pm »
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Honestly....they just ran out of people to run. I used to live in Florida and that state is run by Republicans who came of age during Reagan

The only exception is Bill Nelson
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2016, 09:49:09 pm »
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The whole South becoming Republican is rooted in cultural and economic mores. The Republican Party obviously won the South in 1964 and started winning it on the Presidential level. But deep into the 1980s, the South was very Democratic. The realignment nationally in the south just took a while to intensify and deepen.

For example, Kentucky is going through the same process. Democratic, for ages, went Clinton-Gore, but shifted towards the GOP and now is finally getting an all GOP government.

It's a little cheap to call them racists, as much as the South has always had been culturally conservative and aligned with the GOP because of that reason. Dating to the Founders, Dixie has been pretty culturally conservative.

The South, BTW, did not complete its transition until 2010.
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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2016, 10:50:50 pm »
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In the 1990s, many years after the Civil Rights Act, the cultural wars and the hippies, there were a lot of democratic governors in southern states, a lot of democratic senators from the southern states, some democratic representative elected in white southern districts, and Hillary's husband won Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Nowadays, rural white southern counties are >80% Republican. Obama 2012 and Hillary 2016 performed worse than McGovern 1972 in many of these counties. Democratic governors and senators in the south are very rare. There are representatives from the south only in non-white districts.

The democrats are dead not only in the white south, but also in all the rural white counties far from the coasts. In the past, there were lots of blue (Leip's red) counties in Minnesota. Now, the democrats need a huge margin in the twin cities in order to win the state.

What happened?

Aging of the voters in the South during the 1980s-1990s made them more Conservative in the South. Now the South is the Solid South for the GOP just like it was the the Democrats for around a century.
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2016, 11:17:08 pm »
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Quote
Now the South is the Solid South for the GOP just like it was the the Democrats for around a century.
With the GOP-leads halved in TX and GA, FL in the mid, NC shifting away aso.?
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« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2016, 12:16:19 am »
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well....the new "solid south" doesn't include georgia/NC/FL and at some point not even texas, i figure.....and does include big chunks of appalachia.
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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2016, 01:50:01 am »
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHdXQAQHjd8


People who could appreciate this message from first hand experience died off.

By 1990, they would have been 60 or above, with the median probably in the mid 70's. By 2010 they were mostly gone.


Prior to the 1950's everyone who could vote, voted Democratic in the South save for a few enclaves. Beginning in the 1950's Republicans began to win over middle class voters in metropolitan areas, once the Bilbo generation was no longer around to chide them at Christmas Dinner over the fact that Bill Sherman burnt daddy's barn to the ground and killed Uncle Johnny at Chattanooga. A large number Midwestern and Northeastern people of similar class moved to places like Tampa, Charlotte and Dallas as well. Together, this created the suburban base for the GOP in the South that became its backbone for decades. This was evident in 1952 and the voting power of these places grew over the next 40 years. Civil Rights issues like busing were of major concern but it is hard to claim they flipped just because of Civil Rights. At best, it just padded the margins among this group.

Rural and Working Class members of that same generation, though (GI and Silent largely) were helped by the New Deal and therefore remained Democratic but for different reasons then their parents and grandparents (Civil War Legacy voting). This allowed for the rise of the New Democrat in the 1970's and 1980's, like Terry Sanford, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Their children and grandchildren though were alienated yes by the Civil Rights issue as well as the general social issues that motivated Boomer voters and late Silent voters all across the country. Thus the rise of God, Guns and Gays (as well as life) becoming strong motivations that finally tipped many rural districts in the 1994 elections, in conjunction with the Supreme Court requiring a higher concentration of African Americans in districts. This ruling thwarted Democratic Gerrymanders in GA and other places built around spreading out the African American vote to prop up White Democrats who needed that 30% or so to get close enough so their aging Yellow Dog support was enough to win.

By 2000, FDR seniors were largely being replaced by Ike seniors (President they came of age with). This is considered to be why Gore fell flat with Seniors compared to the numbers he was expecting to obtain with the Lock box messaging.
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« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2016, 12:12:36 pm »
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Coal and religious conservatism.
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2017, 06:14:56 am »
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I would argue that there were still a lot of older voters in the 1990's who were the last generation from the Solid South days. Yes, they may have started giving their presidential vote to the Republican ticket. But as long as their local Democrats reflected their conservative outlook, they were happier voting from them than they were for the Republican candidate.
Anyway, the post above yours is accurate.  Even in Presidential elections, older Southerners were MUCH more Democratic than younger Southerners into the 2000s (when, ya know, those folks started to die, not switch parties).
How do (either of) you know that older white Southerners were much more likely to vote Democratic than the younger generation? I would be very willing to read some reliable, preferably scholarly, sources on this issue.

The five McGovern counties in Tennessee (Stewart, Houston, Perry, Lewis and Jackson) have seen between forty and fifty percent of their electorates (between three and five thousand voters per county) shift from Democratic to Republican over the past five elections alone. Surely that must reflect more than attrition of older voters with memories of “Solid South” days in these historically pro-secession white rural counties.

If you read Jonathan Rodden’s ‘The Long Shadow of the Industrial Revolution: Political Geography and the Representation of the Left’ you will see that the presence of strong “insurance” in farming areas against shortages minimizes risk. In contrast, urban areas, especially those within areas possessing large comparative disadvantage in agriculture and increasingly manufacturing, are forced into sharing their high risks and rewards which are simply absent in rural areas, especially those with cheap relatively flat land.

During most of the twentieth century mining and business capital in the United States was able to virtually eliminate this conflict via malapportionment (urban underrepresentation), poll taxes and literacy tests. This virtually eliminated the leftist urban population from political influence, although it was always feared by the rural population and middle classes. From the 1980s onwards, however, as public grants increased academic access and the urban working class turned to “creative art as politics” (study the songs of AC/DC, 1980s Metallica, 1990s Pantera or N.W.A.) the Democratic Party has had no choice but to cater to these groups, whose voter preferences are quite out of range of most rural areas (excepting majority-minority and ski resort counties). Although the change is gradual as voter loyalties rarely die quickly, it is clear that white rural southerners cannot accept the policy preferences the Democratic Party has to take on to appeal to academics and welfare recipients.
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2017, 04:18:16 pm »
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHdXQAQHjd8


People who could appreciate this message from first hand experience died off.

By 1990, they would have been 60 or above, with the median probably in the mid 70's. By 2010 they were mostly gone.


Prior to the 1950's everyone who could vote, voted Democratic in the South save for a few enclaves. Beginning in the 1950's Republicans began to win over middle class voters in metropolitan areas, once the Bilbo generation was no longer around to chide them at Christmas Dinner over the fact that Bill Sherman burnt daddy's barn to the ground and killed Uncle Johnny at Chattanooga. A large number Midwestern and Northeastern people of similar class moved to places like Tampa, Charlotte and Dallas as well. Together, this created the suburban base for the GOP in the South that became its backbone for decades. This was evident in 1952 and the voting power of these places grew over the next 40 years. Civil Rights issues like busing were of major concern but it is hard to claim they flipped just because of Civil Rights. At best, it just padded the margins among this group.

Rural and Working Class members of that same generation, though (GI and Silent largely) were helped by the New Deal and therefore remained Democratic but for different reasons then their parents and grandparents (Civil War Legacy voting). This allowed for the rise of the New Democrat in the 1970's and 1980's, like Terry Sanford, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Their children and grandchildren though were alienated yes by the Civil Rights issue as well as the general social issues that motivated Boomer voters and late Silent voters all across the country. Thus the rise of God, Guns and Gays (as well as life) becoming strong motivations that finally tipped many rural districts in the 1994 elections, in conjunction with the Supreme Court requiring a higher concentration of African Americans in districts. This ruling thwarted Democratic Gerrymanders in GA and other places built around spreading out the African American vote to prop up White Democrats who needed that 30% or so to get close enough so their aging Yellow Dog support was enough to win.

By 2000, FDR seniors were largely being replaced by Ike seniors (President they came of age with). This is considered to be why Gore fell flat with Seniors compared to the numbers he was expecting to obtain with the Lock box messaging.

This is a great answer. I'd add that the 1990 SCoTUS VRA district mandate was the death blow. Alabama and Georgia are case in point
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« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2017, 11:53:01 pm »
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It was never an overnight shift, and a lot of people who grew up voting Dem due to memories of the Depression etc. never left the party. It was the dying off of the Depression/WWII gen that really cemented the GOP ascendancy: even though the GOP was steadily rising in the 1970s and 1980s, it didn't really solidify until the late 1990s and early 2000s.
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