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  U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderator: Torie)
  Were Southern Democrats stronger GE candidates?
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President Johnson
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« on: March 18, 2018, 03:57:41 am »

Were Southern Democrats actually stronger general election candidates in the time since WW2 (at least to 2000)? Especially in the last quarter of the 20th century? Interestingly, JFK and Obama were the only Northern Democratic presidents from that era (Truman can hardly be considered a northerner).

Just look at the 1988 election for example and think about actual or potential candidates from the South. Lloyd Bentsen, Sam Nunn, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Lawton Chiles, Bob Graham, Ernest Hollings... they all would have been much stronger than Dukakis or Mondale before (with maybe Cuomo being an exception). In 1992, the Democrats even ran with two souherners. In 2000, a southern running mate like Bob Graham may have saved Al Gore, while Joe Lieberman was hardly an asset in the general election.

My explanation is that in a time when only the North and parts of the Mid-West were trending Democrat, the Democrats needed to win in other parts of the country as well to take the presidency. While the West was largely leaning Republican, the South was drifting away from Democrats. Southern Democrats could balance this gap due to their regional appeal. In addition, they were often more moderate and therefore had broader appeal across the country than mostly very liberal Northerners.

Any thoughts?
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darklordoftech
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2018, 04:07:27 am »
« Edited: March 18, 2018, 04:16:15 am by darklordoftech »

This was a common belief in 1976-2004. College-educated people who didn't vote with their pocketbooks + blacks was a loosing coalition until Obama, so it was believed that the best way to survive the backlash against civil rights and the subsequent upheavel of the 1960s was to nominate moderate southerners.
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Bismarck
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2018, 07:06:52 pm »

Truman was a Midwesterner but aside from that you are correct. Northerners were fine with a southerner and southernors were required to win for the dems in the south after the 1960s.
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PR
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2018, 11:07:40 pm »
« Edited: March 27, 2018, 11:12:56 pm by PR »

I think this is more of a function of the one-party Democratic Solid South becoming politically competitive in the post-WWII decades, and also the nature of the South itself.

The South is a big region with a lot of people - ie. a lot of electoral votes, and historically its elected officials (in both parties, both white and black) have tended to form unified blocs to an unusual extent in American politics. Thus, Southerners have had an outsized influence within both parties (even now - a huge chunk of Hillary Clinton's base was in fact the Southern black vote).

Of course, that leads into the discussion about Super Tuesday's influence over the presidential nominations, etc.
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