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| | | |-+  Why did conservative white Democrats like John Edwards so much in '08?
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Author Topic: Why did conservative white Democrats like John Edwards so much in '08?  (Read 1608 times)
Indy Texas
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« on: May 06, 2012, 10:22:33 pm »
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Edwards performed best in the rural South, particularly the border states where there aren't as many black voters who would have tended to support Obama. He got a sizable chunk of the Oklahoma primary vote even though he'd been out of the race for a while.

A lot of those voters ultimately supported McCain in the fall and many haven't returned to the Democratic fold since then (certainly not in the mid-term elections, anyway).

Why would these "conservative Democrats" support John Edwards when he was arguably more liberal on economic issues than either Clinton or Obama? Or is this just evidence that they were all a bunch of racists who just wanted to be able to vote for a white guy with a Southern accent?
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Joe Republic
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2012, 10:25:28 pm »
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Or is this just evidence that they were all a bunch of racists who just wanted to be able to vote for a white guy with a Southern accent?

Bingo.
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BaldEagle1991
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2012, 10:27:13 pm »
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John Edwards is to the Democratic Party as what Ron Paul is to the Republican Party.
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2012, 10:33:12 pm »
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Candidate X understands people like me.
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2012, 11:15:34 pm »
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Edwards performed best in the rural South, particularly the border states where there aren't as many black voters who would have tended to support Obama. He got a sizable chunk of the Oklahoma primary vote even though he'd been out of the race for a while.

A lot of those voters ultimately supported McCain in the fall and many haven't returned to the Democratic fold since then (certainly not in the mid-term elections, anyway).

Why would these "conservative Democrats" support John Edwards when he was arguably more liberal on economic issues than either Clinton or Obama? Or is this just evidence that they were all a bunch of racists who just wanted to be able to vote for a white guy with a Southern accent?

A lot of white Democrats in the South are poor. That's why Edwards, who ran an economically populist campaign ("two Americas"), did so well with them.
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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2012, 11:17:48 pm »
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Or is this just evidence that they were all a bunch of racists who just wanted to be able to vote for a white guy with a Southern accent?

Bingo.
Wesley Clark was also popular with a lot of conservative southerners as well as people on Democratic Underground.
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2012, 11:30:50 am »
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John Edwards is to the Democratic Party as what Ron Paul is to the Republican Party.

eh, not really. This analogy breaks down because Edwards doesn't have a cult following. It's more because he was the only Southern White male in the race, and Southern Conservadems wanted to vote for him because he looked and talked like them, regardless of what his actual views were.
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BaldEagle1991
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2012, 01:37:40 pm »
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John Edwards is to the Democratic Party as what Ron Paul is to the Republican Party.

eh, not really. This analogy breaks down because Edwards doesn't have a cult following.

He did, it just wasn't in the same demographics Ron Paul got.
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Senator-elect Griffin
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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2012, 05:39:17 pm »
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Or is this just evidence that they were all a bunch of racists who just wanted to be able to vote for a white guy with a Southern accent?

Bingo.

Also, to a lesser extent, this happened with Hillary. She was arguably to the left of Obama on some issues, and yet the conservative Democratic establishment continued to support her over Obama.
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Indy Texas
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2012, 07:45:39 pm »
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Or is this just evidence that they were all a bunch of racists who just wanted to be able to vote for a white guy with a Southern accent?

Bingo.

Also, to a lesser extent, this happened with Hillary. She was arguably to the left of Obama on some issues, and yet the conservative Democratic establishment continued to support her over Obama.

Yes, but Hillary was a viable candidate. So why would the Edwards voters support someone who wasn't even in the race anymore instead of her?

Hillary also seemed to appeal more to the Northern/Appalachian blue-collar voters than to Southerners. Her working-class coalition was union members and coal miners and factory workers. Edwards' was Southern whites in right-to-work states, almost the Democratic counterpart to the kind of Republicans who supported Mike Huckabee.
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Senator-elect Griffin
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2012, 02:59:07 am »
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Or is this just evidence that they were all a bunch of racists who just wanted to be able to vote for a white guy with a Southern accent?

Bingo.

Also, to a lesser extent, this happened with Hillary. She was arguably to the left of Obama on some issues, and yet the conservative Democratic establishment continued to support her over Obama.

Yes, but Hillary was a viable candidate. So why would the Edwards voters support someone who wasn't even in the race anymore instead of her?

Hillary also seemed to appeal more to the Northern/Appalachian blue-collar voters than to Southerners. Her working-class coalition was union members and coal miners and factory workers. Edwards' was Southern whites in right-to-work states, almost the Democratic counterpart to the kind of Republicans who supported Mike Huckabee.

I sometimes mix the two. Where I'm located, Appalachian and Southern are just about the same thing. I would disagree with you though on the characterization of Edwards and Hillary, at least relative to where they can perform well, as Edwards is an Appalachian child and Hillary is well-liked by Southerners. He's from Oconee County, SC, which is an Appalachian county and right on the NE border of Georgia. In the NE Georgia counties near there - which are heavily Appalachian - Edwards got 8-10% in the Democratic Primary on March 2, 2008. In the NW Georgia Appalachian counties, he got ~5%. In the NW GA Tennessee Valley counties, he barely broke 2-3% and Hillary was insanely popular here in 2008. Edwards didn't even break 1% in the vast remainder of Georgia. It would have been feasible for Hillary to crack 40% in North Georgia in 2008, which would have been remarkable considering the electorate.
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2012, 09:09:14 am »
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Because he was white and charismatic.
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Nym90
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2012, 04:19:58 pm »
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Racism and sexism (whether of the conscious or unconscious variety) are the most obvious explanations. Probably many of the same kinds of voters who voted for Judd in West Virginia on Tuesday.

I think that a lot of people here forget that most voters don't vote on the basis of ideology like many of us here do; they don't know the differences in policy positions and even if they do, it's not the foremost factor in their vote as many voters lack a coherent ideology themselves. Not a criticism, just an observation.
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shua
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2012, 01:43:41 am »
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You really don't need to resort to racism and sexism to understand this.  You really don't.  Edwards didn't do nearly as well in the South against Hillary and Obama as he did against Kerry and Dean. 
Even though McCain and Edwards were on the opposite sides of major issues, they both sought to appeal to populist and reformist impulses, so it's no surprise one would support one then the other. See also the appeal of Huckabee.
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2012, 11:37:26 am »
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Because he can talk about the blue and red divide without offending white working-class agricultural farmers eventhough he is a trial lawyer and fancy hairdoes. He is one of them by talking about being from a textile mill worker family. He has a southern twang.
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