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Tilting at Windmills

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March 14, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE GOP AND THE SOUTH....Clay Risen wrote a piece in the Boston Globe last week about a new book, The End of Southern Exceptionalism, by Richard Johnston and Byron Shafer. Johnston and Shafer argue that the reason the South became a Republican stronghold following World War II was due less to racial backlash than to the postwar growth of suburbia, with its natural affinity for Republican economic policies:

As the South boomed and Sunbelt cities added millions of suburban residents, they argue, its burgeoning middle classes naturally tilted to the Republicans' fiscal conservatism, which promised tax cuts and smaller government programs.

"The engine of partisan change in the postwar South was, first and foremost, economic development and an associated politics of social class," they conclude after sifting through reams of electoral and polling data. "The impact of legal desegregation and an associated politics of racial identity had to be understood through its interaction with economic development." In other words, the Southern realignment wasn't about white racial backlash. Rather, it was about a new, middle-class South that focused mostly on economic issues and only secondarily on race.

But perhaps this puts the cart before the horse. After all, it's not a natural law that suburbs have to be conservative, so it's worth asking why suburbia is so conservative in the first place. A few months ago Kevin Kruse sent me a copy of his book White Flight, which I just started reading over the weekend, and he argues that, in fact, suburban economic conservatism is inextricably linked with racial backlash:

On the surface, the world of white suburbia looked little like the world of white supremacy. But these worlds did have much in common from the remakably similar levels of racial, social, and political homogeneity to their shared ideologies that stressed individual rights over communal responsibilities, privatization over public welfare, and "free enterprise" above everything else. By withdrawing to the suburbs and recreating its world there, the politics of massive resistance continued to thrive for decades after its supposed death.

Since I haven't finished the book I need to be careful summarizing Kruse's argument, but basically he suggests that the crude Klan-style racism that dominated attention at the national level during the postwar years was actually fairly ineffective, and was quickly replaced by more sophisticated segregationist arguments that were less overtly racist: namely that whites weren't fighting against the rights of others but for rights of their own:

....the "right" to select their neighbors, their employees, and their children's classmates, the "right" to do as they pleased with their private property and private businesses, and, perhaps most important, the "right" to remain free from what they saw as dangerous encroachments by the federal government.

This core set of beliefs, which was originally just an acceptable public face for private segregationist sentiment, was carried into post-WWII suburbs by whites fleeing central cities, where they found a sympathetic reception in the Republican Party. Eventually these beliefs became the bedrock economic principles of the party, and as Southern whites became increasingly influential within the GOP its economic policies became ever more radicalized.

So: was Republican ascendancy in the South due primarily to economic likemindedness or to racial backlash? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Via Ed Kilgore.

Kevin Drum 3:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (222)

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Comments

Frist!!

Posted by: Booba Looba on March 14, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

No, I'm not racist. I just don't want to associate with colored folk!

Posted by: Southerner on March 14, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Racial backlash played a big part; FDR was a hero in the South. However, economics certainly had a big impact as well--as the South transitioned from a very class-based agricultural society to a less class-stratified industrial society, a lot of things, including politics, changed.

One other BIG piece is being missed--attitudes toward the military. The South is very pro-military; as the Democrats became less pro-military in the 60's and 70's, it hurt them greatly in the South.

Posted by: SamChevre on March 14, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

It was liberal policies that allowed the middle class to grow so strong so quickly, and it has been the dismantling of those policies that has allowed the middle class to weaken so quickly.

Posted by: NAR on March 14, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Please note that the South did not become a Republican stronghold until the 1980s. The process of "dixiecrat" defections to the GOP did not begin in earnest until the passage of LBJ's civil right legislation in the mid-sixties. Note also that the 1980s marked the beginning of the process by which older suburbs (e.g., Westchester County in NYS) started becoming more Democratic. Finally, you will remember that Nixon's "Southern Strategy" was all about preying on the racist fears of dixiecrats and northern urban ethnics to build a permanent Republican majority. Racism is central to the creation of the south as GOP bastion.

Posted by: Adrian Farnsworth on March 14, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Race. One cannot understand anything about the American South without taking race into account. And I say that as someone who was born and bred there. The level of sub-rosa racism -- and the level of denial about it -- is hard to believe if you haven't grown up around it and seen it up close.

Posted by: Realish on March 14, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Is this a serious question? It's not at all difficult to find suburbs full of lefties, especially here in out-of-touch California.

The whole GOP mantra is essentially, "more for me, less for you" and over enough time, or enough population density, that dissipates. In the long run, they are going down.

It doesn't hurt, of course, that they are incompetent clowns.

Posted by: craigie on March 14, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Well, you have to admit a transferrence of racist attitudes onto economic policies within the republican party at least provides a motive for supporting economic policies--at least as they've been expressed by the Reagan and W administrations--that appear otherwise to be whimsically nuts.

Posted by: Timothy Francis Sullivan on March 14, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, the argument that the southern strategy worked isn't tied to racism sounds like rationalizing BS, basically because it is rationalizing BS. Kevin nails one assumption as flawed: that the suburbs had to go GOP is not really valid.

First of all the racial reasons behind the flight to the suburbs were pretty clear. The original Levittown explicitly excluded blacks. And the idea of course that racism was limited to the South is ridiculous - anyone remember the busing riots in Boston?

Second, the argument ignores the other possible explanation - the South's politics has taken over national politics. Look at the national leadership - they're all southerners, Delay, Bush, Frist, with only a few exceptions. And those coded racist appeals worked nation-wide (e.g. Willy Horton)

Third anyone been to parts of the South? Remember Sweet Home Alabama? Look over a lot of the people who switched to the GOP - they were segregationists.

This reminds me a bit of Dinesh D'Souza's "end of racism" argument. It's intellectual sounding hooey - but it's hooey.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on March 14, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Racial backlash.

I'm here in a completely un-suburban part of the south (small town/rural). There was no Republican Party here when I was growing up. Starting in the late 1960s, there began to be one. Now it's the dominant party.

It's about "culture"*, not economic likemindedness. *That's code for "keeping down niggers, queers, and uppity women".

Posted by: Nell on March 14, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

So.. anyone who believes in individual rights and free enterprise is a racist? That attitude might help liberals continue to feel comfortably superior, but besides being shallow and self-serving, it sure ain't gonna win you a lot of votes in the next election..

Posted by: Shag on March 14, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I will support a previous poster's point that part of the "culture" mix is also attitudes about military intervention (the culture war tactic has been to fuse those with attitudes about the military itself).

Posted by: Nell on March 14, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

the "right" to do as they pleased with their private property and private businesses...

How dare they! Before you know it, these people will be choosing their own "religions."

Posted by: Mario on March 14, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Simply put, the US Civil War isn't over.

The fact that the Red State/Blue State maps largely reprise the old Confederacy is not an accident.

I think one could make a good argument that over the last 30 years the ideologies of the Confederacy have been steadily advancing on the political front.

So, will we see slavery again?

Dunno, certainly more regressive behaviors have been rekindled in the recent past... like Nazi Germany.


Posted by: Buford on March 14, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

I can not speak to the South, but the key reason for northern suburbs in the midwest is racism and it is virulent. I would even argue that much of the angst about Roe v Wade is racism in disguise. To be sure there is a religious right, but in fact a good portion of that group is anything but religious at least in a Christian way. Roe gave the racists a basis for attacking the liberals, the "activist courts" and the federal government which did not result in them immediately being labeled racist. The same is true with the homophobes--they are against gay marriage not because they are ignorant bigots but because they want to preserve that Christian institution of marriage. Bottom line, Dr. Suess had it right with the Sneetches. It is all race, all the time.

Posted by: terry on March 14, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats became anti-military in the 60s? JFK and LBJ didn't support the troops? I'm pretty sure that Nixon won the presidency (and the South) while promising to end the war by 1970.

Posted by: Sam L. on March 14, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the analysis is at a minimum not fully developed, because it doesn't explain why the Republicans became the party of [arguably racist] white suburbanites. Based on past history, the Democratic party, with base in the South and the Northern white working class, would have seemed a more logical vehicle for covert racism.

Posted by: y81 on March 14, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

I love it when folks who live in lily-white neighborhoods (isn't OC zero point two percent white, Kevin) talk as if they know what they're saying when it pertains to race.

Come sit in a surburban neighborhood's classroom, Kevin, and see the white/black ratio, consider your own (do an analysis of red versus blue states and the racial composites therein) and then go back to your limosine liberal enclaves and tell everyone how open minded you folks are.

For goodness sakes, look at a freaking census and you won't illustrate such glaring ignorance.

Posted by: RW on March 14, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, Kevin entirely forgets about black people.

THEY haven't gone Republican. Not in the South, not in the suburbs.

The economic reasons cited for the switchover to Republicans have been in effect since the end of World War II (if not before). But the switchover to a Republican South did not take place before 1960 and was completed by the 1980's. This was exactly the time when the Democrats came out in favor of civil rights and the Republicans turned from the party of Lincoln to the party of Strom Thurmond.

This is about race.

Posted by: dan on March 14, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Several of the posters above nail it: it's about race. I was in elementary school in Georgia during the height of the "busing" experiments, and I can tell you that many of my suburban neighbors were pissed off. Racial tension, racial battles at school. I also remember feeling wholly out of place in a family where HHH was cool, while the rest of the neighborhood was all about Nixon.

Posted by: Wonderin on March 14, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

But the switchover to a Republican South did not take place before 1960 and was completed by the 1980's.

I double-dog dare you to look at the composition of the state houses, state senates, LT. Govrs and Governors of the southern states in, say, the mid-90s and then try to retype that with a straight face.

Go look it up. You're in for quite a shocker. If you want facts, that is.

Posted by: RW on March 14, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

"I was in elementary school in Georgia during the height of the "busing" experiments, and I can tell you that many of my suburban neighbors were pissed off."

Think you'd have liked the riots in Boston (let's see....is that city Republican) any better?

Posted by: RW on March 14, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Upon signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Lyndon Johnson is said to have told aide Bill Moyers, "I think we have just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come."

It's about race.

Posted by: SG on March 14, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it appears pretty well supported by history that the "South's" answer to race relations was segregation, until the era of legal "de-segregation" began. Add onto formal desegregation the additional remedy of affrimative action, and there you have it.

The Democratic party became the party of civil rights. At that point, the Republican party could have either chosen to depart the political field or become what it is at the moment, which is the party that believes no further remedies are needed to address racism.

Why anyone would question that, as a general rule, the people who were in favor of overt segregation until the 1960's would do a u-turn on a dime and vote for the party trying to dismantle the segretationalist system, I mean, isn't the answer obvious?

Posted by: hank on March 14, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Since you're so keen on using the Boston riots as your proof of something (what, exactly?), RW, did the Boston riots last for years and years, as did the racial fighting and tension in the schools in the South?

Posted by: Wonderin on March 14, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

It's so hard to pinpoint what I find so frustrating about these discussions (the comments, not Kevin's post), but to start with, I can't treat as serious anyone who acts like people, cultures and regions don't change- ever. That's not an apology for the South or a claim racism isn't a strong undercurrent today, but aren't you all at least mildly curious of what might have changed from 1865 to 1965? Or even 1935 to 1965? To my eye, there are two overriding political economic shifts: agricultural development starts black migration, up North and to Southern cities, paving the way for the Second Reconstruction. Second, in the postwar years, a large number of white Southerners passed from the working class to the petit bourgeoisie in all its variety. I don't think one has to choose an either/or (race or class) to see how both transformations are immensely important to the political life of the South and the nation. To that end, the Johnson/Shafer argument is a useful one, even if it is worth tweaking it to give class specificity to "suburban" politics.

Posted by: Chris on March 14, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

but besides being shallow and self-serving,

. . . and TRUE. . .

it sure ain't gonna win you a lot of votes in the next election..
Posted by: Shag on March 14, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK


So, will we see slavery again?
Posted by: Buford on March 14, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Hell no.

Minimum wage is cheaper labor than slavery. You don't have to house and medically treat minimum wage employees. Especially if you dismantle medicaid and social security, and all forms of taxation on capital

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on March 14, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kruse (and several posters above) is absolutely right: racism is integral to the creation of the suburbs, so suburbanization cannot be considered apart from issues of race.

Posted by: Tom Hilton on March 14, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

There is no way that you can talk about the rise of the GOP in the south without talking about race and backlash, and the Civil War (War Between the State, War of Northern Agression, Recent Unpleasantness, etc), Lincoln, etc., etc. etc.

Was it overt? Yeah sometimes it was (there is a reason that Helms and Thurmond went Republican - though doesn't explain Byrd). But I would still say that is way to obvious/easy explanation in most cases it seems way more subversive and unconscious.

Posted by: ET on March 14, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Don`t forget the huge shift in population southward (ever heard the term "Sunbelt" ? - See Kevin Philips work) in the 70-80`s time frame which matches the shift in national politics very closely (and where are MOST of our military installations located ?)

Don`t get caught focusing on symptoms and ignore the root cause(s)

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist thinks it will change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward

Posted by: daCascadian on March 14, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

"RW, did the Boston riots last for years and years, as did the racial fighting and tension in the schools in the South?"

No.
You got me. A bunch of liberals in Massachusetts did not riot for years and years. They only rioted for a short period, primarily out of overt racism that to this day still goes excused.

While in the south, most kids in a classroom are sitting near classmate of color (per the census) and you don't have things like riots over verdicts or Bensenhurst.

That should make you feel better.

Posted by: RW on March 14, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, that explains it. I mean, it's true there are suburbs in the South and none in New Jersey, or Connecticut, or California or any of those other Blue States! So suburbanization explains it all!

Posted by: David in NY on March 14, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Can you define lily-white for us RW? As of 2000, Orange County consisted of 51.3% "white persons, not of Hispanic origin." I think it's you who needs to look at a census, as opposed to your off the cuff responses based on made up facts: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06059.html

Posted by: Double B on March 14, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Here in Fairfax, Va., the larger and more prosperous the suburbs grow the more Democratic they become. I think the partisan proclivities in the deep South can be summarized in morals and religion mixing with a "angry white male" base meaning that we are still suffering (ie., Bush) a Civil War hangover.

Posted by: raoul on March 14, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

The South became a Republican cornerstone in 1972 with the courtship of Wallace voters. Bang. By 1976, Democrats feared that and nominated a Southern white to counteract it. Had Wallace not been shot and had he continued to run and draw of his 14% of the vote, the 2 parties would have simply continued along their economic policy divides. And no waaaaay would the party have nominated Jimmy Carter. Or Bill Clinton, for that matter.


Nixon's Southern Strategy destroyed any semblance of political rationality in this country. Who knows what we have now. A minor form of damnation, I think.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 14, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Can you define lily-white for us RW?"

Thanks for the link. It's up to 1.7% black. I'm sure that means Kevin may pass one on the way to the grocery story (every other trip)!

1.7%. Tell us more about folks running away from the coloreds, Kevin!

Double B, thanks for attempting to conflate a thread on black/white discussions into one including latino backgrounds since that is the only way to muddy the water over an open-and-closed reference.

Nice try.

Posted by: RW on March 14, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

It appears RW's point is that either there are Democrats in the south or racists in the north, or both. Gee, how about that?

I think any hand-wringing over the "South" should probably be recharacterized as so as to wring some hands over the rural vote.

The South covers two elements of the Republican base, the racist vote and the fundamentalist religious vote. The Republicans take these voters where they find them. If they find them in mostly rural Red States, then that is one big reason why these states are red.

We have suburbs in SoCal. Certainly, the search for the good public school district causes some white flight. However, we also have a Republican governor who during his first career appeared naked in a shower scene and boasted about boning multiple babes while also making sure not to alienate any dudes who might also have found him attractive. Please see "Pumping Iron."

This would probably not fly in a state in which the racist/fundamentalist daily-double prevails, regardless of the number of suburbs.

Posted by: hank on March 14, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

I once heard an African-American writer, born in the south who moved to the north as a teenager during the Civil Rights Movement describe the differences this way:

In the south, you could go to a white neighbor's home, sit on their porch swing and share a glass of lemonade. What you couldn't do was sit on the bus together or attend the same school.

In the north, you could sit on the bus, go to the same school, but no one would ever offer you a glass or lemonade, or invite you to their home.

I figured she was in a position to know.

Posted by: Gretchen Laskas on March 14, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

It's silly to conflate the south and suburbanization. The South clearly went Republican because of (mostly) covert racism. However, the suburbs in the blue states weren't exactly Mondale country, either. My impression of the south is that it's not all that suburbanized, so I think you are looking at developments that are related only by their connection to race. As posters have noted above, the Republicanization of the south is a more recent phenomenon than suburbanization.

Posted by: brewmn on March 14, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

It is about race. The Georgia General Assembly just narrowly voted down a measure to ammend the state Constitution to permit state funding of private (read religious, read Christian) shools. This was an attempt to bolster funding for private schools so that white Republicans can afford to take their kids out of racially mixed public schools. The Democrats banded together to defeat the measure but only because a 2/3 majority is required to ammend the Constitution. The Republicans think they can set the whole Country back to the 1950s. Perhaps the Republicans should listen to one of their own:

"Encourage free schools, and resolve that not one dollar of money shall be appropriated to the support of any sectarian school. Resolve that neither the state nor nation, or both combined, shall support institutions of learning other than those sufficient to afford every child growing up in the land the opportunity of a good common school education. . . Keep the church and state forever separated." Ulysses S. Grant

Posted by: GAJoe on March 14, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe over the years white racism has become much more covert that one must look at indirect indicators to define it. However, black racism today is alive and well, and very much overt. Would the overwhelminingly liberal white posters on this blog address all forms of racism or only the PC kind?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 14, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

"So.. anyone who believes in individual rights and free enterprise is a racist?"

I think the argument is: since blacks are uniformly for big government programs, if you are against it, you must be a racist.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 14, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a 72 year old white female who grew up in Alabama and live in Georgia and I would say the primary reason Democrats turned to the Republican party had to do with the Civil Rights Act. No bones about it.

Posted by: Tanna on March 14, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Several of the posters above nail it: it's about race."

Of course it's about race. The Dems have been playing the race card come every election. Do you think that might alienate some folks who are being demonized?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 14, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

In defense of RW, and dismissing the undercurrent of his arguments (ie the greater argument that Kevin puts forward, ie race drives southern attitudes/politics more than anything...)

Having lived my entire life in the south with all extended family either north of the Mason-Dixon and west of the Rockies, having been told just how racist my area of the country is, gets tired.

Sure southerner's do harbor a rather unhealthy amount of racism... but...

Can't hold a candle to the ignorance, fear, and overt hatred non-southern white Americans have towards people of color. This transcends race and class, and lets face it, geography.

My high school was over 50% African American, I lived in downtown Atlanta proper for the better part of a decade where I was a minority. I admire African-American culture and people, and feel very comfortable being the only white face in the room; something that I doubt residents of Orange County can state with any sincerety.

Having friends and family relentlessly paint a picture of just how hopelessly bleak southern attitudes are towards race was and is condescending to the core, and I identify myself as a Yankee with a southern accent.

This is merely projection. Why deal with your own issues of race when you can blame 'red-staters?' Sure as hell is easy to blame the other, now isn't it?

I say all this acknowledging America has a problem with its attitude towards race, and understanding that I benefitted directly towards federal efforts to desegregate the south.

Now if northerners and Californians can get with their own fucking program and desegregate, themselves, rather than point fingers, maybe we can make some progress on the whole issue.

Fact is, while black kids in my county have to ride a bus for 70 minutes each day while residents of Monmouth County, New Jersey can ignore Asbury Park from a segregated distance; any diagnosis on this issue of race is stunted before it gets started.

But keep pointing fingers, to paraphrase our rightard's parliance about winning voters, but that's a brilliant way to disseminate progressive ideals...

Posted by: in defense of RW on March 14, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm a 72 year old white female who grew up in Alabama and live in Georgia and I would say the primary reason Democrats turned to the Republican party had to do with the Civil Rights Act. No bones about it."

Only 64 percent of Democrats in Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act (153 for, 91 against in the House; and 46 for, 21 against in the Senate). But 80 percent of Republicans (136 for, 35 against in the House; and 27 for, 6 against in the Senate) voted for the 1964 Act.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 14, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

People moved to suburbia after the war because tract houses were cheap to build and land was cheap. It was hard to house 3 million post war families by craming more apartments into cities.

Posted by: Matt on March 14, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Right, that was before the re-alignment. The Dems were the home of bigots then, the Republicans are now.

Posted by: kth on March 14, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

"I admire African-American culture and people, and feel very comfortable being the only white face in the room; something that I doubt residents of Orange County can state with any sincerety."

Which Orange County? The one on TV or the one in California?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 14, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

I love how the southern Republicans keep calling for lower taxes. In net effect, most southern states don't pay taxes (there are exceptions such as Florida and Texas). As we all know and have blogged about here and elsewhere, these states get more back from the federal govt than they pay. I am mighty sick of hearing them tell us what the hell they want to do with our (blue state) monies.

Secondly, more concrete research is needed regarding all the blather about how the South is more patriotic. New York state has more soldiers, and had more people killed, in Iraq than any other state. My guess is California must be a close second.

Posted by: blue rebel on March 14, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

"New York state has more soldiers, and had more people killed, in Iraq than any other state. My guess is California must be a close second."

How many are actually from NYC? I bet they are mostly from the red counties rather than the few blue ones.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 14, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

The South became a GOP stronghold beginning in 1948 when Hubert Humphrey and Truman insisted on a civil rights plank in the Demo platform. The Dixiecrats fled the party that year and ran Strom Thurmond. That started it. When the Kennedys and LBJ backed the civil rights efforts that completed it. Especially the signing of the CR act of 64 and the voting rights act of 65. The reactionary Dems in the south and elsewhere fled into the waiting arms of the GOP and Nixon's southern strategy didn't hurt either. Racism and economics go hand in hand here. Stupid southern whites feared any economic gains by blacks would hurt them and dirty fucking race baiting politicos did everything in their power to convince them it was a zero sum game the the dumb fucking crackers bought it all.

Posted by: angryspittle on March 14, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think that might alienate some folks who are being demonized?
Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 14, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. It surely alienated the muslims of the world when they were demonized by a cartoon.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on March 14, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

How did the GOP win the South? Let's look to Richard Nixon, whose "Southern Strategy" turned the tide in favor of the GOP in the South.

Economically, Nixon was fairly liberal and a self-professed Keynesian. He proposed numerous expansions in gov't spending for education and social welfare, all of which were heavily touted during his campaign. He even wanted national health care. None of these policies would appeal to upwardly mobile, economically conservative suburbanites.

So how did Nixon add such voters to the GOP base? He used neo-racist code words like "states rights" and promised to enforce the status quo with a "law and order" platform.

At this point, even many Republican leaders have admitted that the party exploited racist sentiment from the 1960s through the 1980s. Why are some still so desperate to deny it?

Posted by: keptsimple on March 14, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

I believe the issues are so enmeshed it's impossible to unravel them.

But the myth is that the South has some sort of monopoly on these trends.

White flight happened everywhere the economics would support it. Whether you're talking private schools or suburbs where the prices acted to promote de facto segregation, these are alive and well in every damned corner of this country.

You'd be hard pressed to find resistence to school integration more vehement and more tinged with hatred and fear than that which occured in South Boston or Philadelphia.

I refer ya'll to Randy Newman's song "Rednecks'.

Posted by: CFShep on March 14, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK


Although racism is a close second, nothing trumps low economic status when it comes to the bigotry of exclusion. There are only so many seats at the table they set, and buying one is the surest way to dine there. Sometimes guests are invited for consideration of inclusion, which may be granted if they are exceptionally beautiful, talented, or resourceful. There's always a price to pay, though, usually involving betrayal in one form or another. Luckily, that price is too high for many to pay--at least in its entirety--which is why there are many beautiful, talented, and resourceful people who are on the noble side of the class warfare bigots never stop waging.


Posted by: jayarbee on March 14, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Although we're starting to get warmed up here, especially with the reference above to "dirty fucking crackers" remember, Kevin's original post was more along the lines of "if Dems are trying to figure out how to carry a Southern state or two, is the issue racism or some sort of economic-based suburbanism?"

Great question, IMHO off target. Remember gang, that the Nixon administration was over thirty years ago. The Republican's already had the racist vote then, as they do now.

Today, the reason for the Republican trifecta of the House, Seanate and Presidency is becase in addition to the racist vote, the fundamentalist vote has been added, and most importantly, the "we all know that all government programs are worthless" vote pushed them over the top.

Compare Nixon. He may have had the racist vote, but given that a significant proportion of the voting public was either from the WWII generation, or had directly taken part in the Federal government mandates civil rights movement, it was tough sledding in 1972 to assert the bald, unsupported proposition that "all government programs are worthless."

That particular meme needed a bit more seasoning.

Posted by: hank on March 14, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

i would like to second in defense of RW from this perspective:

i grew up as a Navy brat and never lived anywhere longer than 7yrs. my extended family lives in NC and has since the beginning of the state. i've lived overseas and in several other states. i currently live 30 miles from the Canadian border in NYS. so i've seen alot of different places, i've been in the majority, and i've been the minority.

i get pretty damn tired of the all "Southerners are racists" talking points too, and the "Southerners vote Republican b/c they're racist" assumption. {{my mom comes from such a long line of Democrats that she votes Dem without even knowing who the candidate is}}

i'll say this, i never encountered so much overt racism and hostility until i moved up here, especially from educated people who supposedly knew otherwise. this is a rural area, but even people who'd been other places, or have masters degrees freely and openly blame minorities for the problems in this area. and i've heard more racial epithets in the 7 yrs i've lived here than in the 14 i lived in MD and SW VA combined.

it seems to me that whenever race or racism is brought up in relation to politics the automatic assumption is that anything to do with the South is tainted by racism, therefore suspect, and unworthy of consideration. the default perspective seems to be that there just can't be any/or as much/or as bad racism in the North, or that if there is it's just not a problem we're going to deal with.

racism is a national issue, manifested differently (or maybe not so differently) throughout the country. if we're going to look at it as a political problem, then the whole country has to be involved.

so y'all can assume what you will, but to try to reduce the past Republican supremacy in "the South" to an either/or equation of race/economics is just and exercise in futility.

Posted by: e1 on March 14, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Its funny seeing a Leftist don his pith helmet, doff his magnifying glass and wade into the nether regions of the great unwashed red states.

How about this idea? Instead of developing elaborate, ideologically comforting confections such as this, why don't you, umm, like, *ask* those people about their beliefs and values?

hmm?

Posted by: a on March 14, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Yes. It surely alienated the muslims of the world when they were demonized by a cartoon."

Yeah, and that is just so much worse than massacring a school full of children, or incinerating thousand in an office building. Maybe the weak and backward Moslems should worry about wearing thin the tolerance of the non-Moslems world wide.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 14, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Question : So: was Republican ascendancy in the South due primarily to economic likemindedness or to racial backlash?

Answer: Neither

Question: Well then what was it due to, Oh wise one?

Answer: The New Left

Posted by: Fitz on March 14, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, guys:

"Stupid southern whites feared any economic gains by blacks would hurt them and dirty fucking race baiting politicos did everything in their power to convince them it was a zero sum game the the dumb fucking crackers bought it all. "

Should I be disgusted with myself to feel sympathy with these dumb fucking crackers?

I mean, sure their ancestors have propagated and participated in one of the greatest crimes against humanity in recorded history, but at least many of these dumb fucking crackers have the balls and integrity to acknowledge their participation in said crimes.

Unlike most white Americans outside of the south, who are content to distill history into a soundbite while they fling shit at someone else, and by doing so declare absolution from those crimes, despite having a lifestyle which has hinged on the derivatives of the aformentioned crimes listed above?

Put simply, angryspittle, would those dumb crackers be any less dumb if you discovered one of your ancestors owned else or trafficked someone else?

Posted by: in defense of RW on March 14, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: Not absolutely on target (in that it initially covers other material than the rise of residentially segregated suburbs), but nevertheless a fascinating book: Sundown Towns, by Jim Loewen. It looks at residential segregation since the Civil War, including the rise of the suburbs after WW2. A bit heavy slogging at times, because he feels the need to document many of his claims, perhaps ad nauseam, but overall, fascinating.

Posted by: Paul on March 14, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

the reason the South became a Republican stronghold following World War II was due less to racial backlash than to the postwar growth of suburbia

Who is this idiot? The development patterns of suburbia allowed for the resegregation of American society and the resegregation of American schools. Separating the two seems pointless, unless he has some axe to grind.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 14, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

e1 I think you are correct to a degree, there is no promised land up north for black people versus the South in general. But as someone who has lived in Texas and Michigan for extended periods, I feel the threat of violence hangs over the heads of Southern blacks while the economic hammer seems more prevelent up North.

Historically I think that Angryspittle nails the point of view I have as well.

It is certainly a complicated issue and one that can be debated forever. I think the bullheadedness of most people make it impossible to come together on too many issues today.

Posted by: Geo Washington Hayduke on March 14, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Fitz but the New Left is a product of delusional paranoia- The mainstream democratic party is no more liberal than most republicans a generation ago- the political discourse spectrum has moved to the right- modern centrists would be considered conservative in the eighties- which begs the question what are you?

Posted by: raoul on March 14, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

It's both, of course.

White flight leads to suburbanization.

And suburban property taxes, along with exclusionary zoning and the closed social circles that accompany them, lead directly to a Republican fiscal/tax plank in party platform.

They not only feed each other, they're one and the same. And it holds true in northern suburbs as well.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on March 14, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

In the south, you could go to a white neighbor's home, sit on their porch swing and share a glass of lemonade. What you couldn't do was sit on the bus together or attend the same school.

In the north, you could sit on the bus, go to the same school, but no one would ever offer you a glass or lemonade, or invite you to their home.

I don't know about her, but I'd take the education and the transportation and fuck the lemonade.

Posted by: tavella on March 14, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't know about her, but I'd take the education and the transportation and fuck the lemonade."

The north is desegregated?

Posted by: in defense of RW on March 14, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

I had to laugh at Freedom Fighter:
He notes that a higher percentage of Republicans than of Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act. Of course, at that time the Republicans were drastically outnumbered: 2-1 in the Senate and 3-2 in the House.

How did the Republicans ever make up this incredible deficit? It was called the "Southern Strategy," the not-so-subtle courting of comservative -- that is anti-civil-rights -- southerners. When you take the Southern Democrats off the Democratic side of the vote and put them on the Republican side, that basically results in the Republicans'slim current majorities. And that's actually how the South, and the country, got Republican.

That's also why the Democratic vote was relatively narrow in 1964 -- many of those Democrats from the South were really modern Republicans -- Nixon just hadn't told them that yet. Also, Nixon and Reagan and their ilk hadn't yet purged the Republicans of their small liberal faction of Northeast Republicans -- the Rockefeller, Javits, Ribicoff, Brooke group. The modern Republican Party can't take credit for their votes any more than it can reasonably claim to be the party of Lincoln.


Posted by: David in NY on March 14, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

One needs only trace the race game from Reconstruction until Wallace got shot to know how little changed. By the time white southerners got over the fact the Republicans were the party of Lincoln (not until about 1986 here in AL) the Repubs had been playing the race card as well as the old Southern Dems, even better. And remember, starting with Teddy Roosevelt and continuing through Nixon, the Repubs did their best to disassociate with the blacks. Nixon just knocked the ball into the hole.
Racism always trumped class warfare in the South.

Posted by: Martin on March 14, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

In defense of RW:

they would not be any less dumb. They would all be tragic victims of a long time ago past. For me the issue is not slavery or dumbness. It is trying to make a measured look at history. I can see where you are coming from, and I don't blame anyone for their ancestors. But when the Confederate flag issues comes up and it is defended for bullshit reasons (and everyone knows it), or when it seems hard for a Yankee to run for President as a Dem and get any support from the South, you must admit, it seems like there is sort of a grudge there from the folks down South. What you should say is the garbage cuts both ways. Randy Newman got that subtlety. It is not a bad place to start a debate....

Posted by: Geo Washington Hayduke on March 14, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

This is all very well, but when do we get to talk about how the Left hates religion again?

Posted by: craigie on March 14, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Um -- correction. Ribicoff was a Democrat.

Posted by: David in NY on March 14, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Oh Fitz Fitz Fitz Fitz Fitz (sigh)

There isn't any "New Left". There hasn't been one since about 1973, and even then it only had lasted a decade (since the Port Huron Statement of 1962). But that doesn't stop people like you from making stuff up and then demanding we all debate the stuff you make up as though it were real.

When DO those lobotomy stitches come out, by the way? Do they itch?

Posted by: jprichva on March 14, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK
While in the south, most kids in a classroom are sitting near classmate of color (per the census) and you don't have things like riots over verdicts or Bensenhurst.

why do you think public school funding lacks so greatly in the south and when did that trend start RW? um, does 1964 ring a bell. Sure you may find a white student next to a student of color in a southern classroom, but both are getting a substandard education cause the well to do whites moved their kids to private schools and then set about to remove as much funding from public schools as possible.

Posted by: Mark on March 14, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

I think that CFShep nailed it earlier & I'd put myself in agreement with ei's observtions too.

I'd say that the South's republicanism is indeed tied to it's suburbanization & that suburbanization is itself tied to racism. that last part goes for Northern, Western, & midwestern suburbanization too. Racial differenc is written into the American landscape, in suburbs, exurbs, inner cities, school districts, etc, in a way that's very hard to untangle. remember that MLK Jr. & the civil rights movbement were very succsessful in fighting de jure segregation in the south, but much less so in fighting de facto segregation up north, in chicago for example.

it seems to me that Kevin's "chicken and egg" question is a little too simplistic. certainly a racial backlash helped drive certain kinds of southern suburbanization, which in turn probably helped bring voter's to the GOP that would not have come for racial reasons alone. In fact, since the racial backlash vote would almost certainly have gone to the Republicans post 1964 anyway, & especially with Nixon's southern strategy, then maybe suburbanization is primarily responsible for bringing Southerner's to the GOP who wouldn't otherwise have found their way there. this in some ways jibes with an observation that someone (i forget who-old article)made about Al gore Sr., that his work in congress had allowed many people in his state to rise to do well enought that they started voting Republican.

anyway, short of it is: you can't take race out of it. But you also can't simply say that the South increasingly voting GOP for the last 30 years is due to "racial backlash," (at least not to a greater degree than the idea that the whole country becoming more conservative in the same time period is due to racial backlash). That's just too simple an idea & one that really only makes sense if you don't know anything about the South. To the extent that it helps move us beyond the idea that the South is just some damn weird cracker filled place where racism flows into people like it's in the drinking water, this is a good post. but, it sure doesn't take into account a whole bunch of nuances (black southerners, increasingly diverse suburbs, differences between the sunbelt and "the South", suburbs vs exurbs, etc.) that would help to better understand this question.

Posted by: URK on March 14, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

I think that CFShep nailed it earlier & I'd put myself in agreement with ei's observtions too.

I'd say that the South's republicanism is indeed tied to it's suburbanization & that suburbanization is itself tied to racism. that last part goes for Northern, Western, & midwestern suburbanization too. Racial differenc is written into the American landscape, in suburbs, exurbs, inner cities, school districts, etc, in a way that's very hard to untangle. remember that MLK Jr. & the civil rights movbement were very succsessful in fighting de jure segregation in the south, but much less so in fighting de facto segregation up north, in chicago for example.

it seems to me that Kevin's "chicken and egg" question is a little too simplistic. certainly a racial backlash helped drive certain kinds of southern suburbanization, which in turn probably helped bring voter's to the GOP that would not have come for racial reasons alone. In fact, since the racial backlash vote would almost certainly have gone to the Republicans post 1964 anyway, & especially with Nixon's southern strategy, then maybe suburbanization is primarily responsible for bringing Southerner's to the GOP who wouldn't otherwise have found their way there. this in some ways jibes with an observation that someone (i forget who-old article)made about Al gore Sr., that his work in congress had allowed many people in his state to rise to do well enought that they started voting Republican.

anyway, short of it is: you can't take race out of it. But you also can't simply say that the South increasingly voting GOP for the last 30 years is due to "racial backlash," (at least not to a greater degree than the idea that the whole country becoming more conservative in the same time period is due to racial backlash). That's just too simple an idea & one that really only makes sense if you don't know anything about the South. To the extent that it helps move us beyond the idea that the South is just some damn weird cracker filled place where racism flows into people like it's in the drinking water, this is a good post. but, it sure doesn't take into account a whole bunch of nuances (black southerners, increasingly diverse suburbs, differences between the sunbelt and "the South", suburbs vs exurbs, etc.) that would help to better understand this question.

Posted by: URK on March 14, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

According to this essay, it is true up until the 1960s that racist appeals won in the South, but those racist appeals were from Democrats. What changed in the 60s was not that Republicans started making racist appeals to Southern voters, but that Democrats stopped making those appeals.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 14, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Was there EVER a time in which whites in the South did NOT vote to support racists? Was there ever a time in which they did not vote as "Conservative" as any region in America? Was there ever a time in which they were anything but religious fanatics, eager to vote in like minded politicians?

If not, why try to explain the Southern vote in any other way than as one of nearly complete stasis in their underlying preferences? The anomaly in the Southern vote was the one that existed BEFORE the rise of the GOP in the South, namely the numerous decades in which they voted Democratic even while the Democratic Party took a non-Conservative turn -- and that anomaly itself was explained by a form of stubborn Southern stasis, which had them voting their prejudices against the Republican Party instead of in favor of their many Northern blood brothers in that party.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 14, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

GWH-

I'm with you, vis a vis the Southern Swastika. I lived in Georgia when they tried to take that shit off the state flag. I had a college roommate from Maryland, of all places, who tried to hang one of those things up in our room. I told him that I would be happy to defacate on it and light it on fire if I saw it again... oh, and by the way, you're from MARYLAND, what the fuck are you doing with a symbol of the KKK?

The whole heritage not hate meme gets thrown out the windown with a timeline of the history of the re-appropriation of this filth.

Frankly, I agree with angryspittle's assertions to a degree, with the caveate that his lack of acknowledgement for greater culpability, fused with his blatant stereotyping, pretty much turns his argument on its face.

He's a progressive, liberal dude who has probably lived in a lilly white suburban community in Connecticut. In junior high, he was probably taught about how Grant and Lee and Monitor and Merrimack settled scores, and voila, the good side, HIS side, won.

No need for introspection. Just fuck them dumb ass crackers in the South, and everything is fine.

Posted by: in defense of RW on March 14, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

ahh-I don't know why that posted twice. sorry.

also tho:

"In the south, you could go to a white neighbor's home, sit on their porch swing and share a glass of lemonade. What you couldn't do was sit on the bus together or attend the same school.

In the north, you could sit on the bus, go to the same school, but no one would ever offer you a glass or lemonade, or invite you to their home.

I don't know about her, but I'd take the education and the transportation and fuck the lemonade. "

Well, yeah, do first things first. But I hope you get that education, transportation, and lemonade are thoroughly interrelated. and that "lemonade" in this case means "social closeness" or something similarly un-trivial.

Posted by: URK on March 14, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Bullshit on Mr. Risen. It was totally about race. I was there.

Posted by: Houston Bridges on March 14, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

I once heard an African-American writer, born in the south who moved to the north as a teenager during the Civil Rights Movement describe the differences this way:

My sister said it this way:

In the South, you can come in our home, but don't rise above me. In the North, you can rise above me, but don't come into my home.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 14, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Essentially, the Southern Strategy was one in which the Republican Party communicated to whites in the south: Look, don't vote your HISTORICAL prejudices! Be true to your most BASIC prejudices, against the coloreds and the people who love them! We are the party faithful always to the biases that REALLY make a difference to you!

Clearly, it was tremendously appealing to most Southern whites.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 14, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

I know!

Let's ignore the fact that most State Houses in the South are controlled by Democrats. That way, we'll be able to call our political opponents racists and explain away our defeats!

Anybody here lived in both the South and Boston? Care to tell me where racial animus is worse?

Or for that matter, please tell me why Klan membership is highest in Ohio and Michigan but has declined as a cultural/social/political/hate mongering force in the South.

Posted by: Birkel on March 14, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

When President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Bill into law, as he gave one of the pens to a young aid, he said, "I've just handed the country over to the GOP for the next 50 years."

So, LBJ knew what it was, back over 40 years ago.

Posted by: MaxGowan on March 14, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Frankly0, not to blow your thesis out, but my state up until recently had a Senator on the hill, a conservative known for his racist tendancies...

perhaps you've heard of him, John Edwards?

Oh, and Jimmy and Bill were real assholes too, weren't they?

I'm going to head out here in a second, but before I do, I'd like to impart some wisdom that I've shared with my kin each time they try and rub Jesse Helms in my face:

Before reminding us on how racist, backwards, class-oriented your countrymen to the south can be, please remember where our favorite coke-sniffing, male-cheerleader-in-chief was born and spent all but 2 of his formative years growing up in...

drumroll...

hint:

...it wasn't the south...

...it wasn't Texas...

Connecticut perhaps?

Please continue to repackage your politicians and blame them on us.

Posted by: in defense of RW on March 14, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever people in different regions may say about their attitudes toward race, residential real estate pricing in every region of the country is consistent: if the residence is in a predominantly black neighborhood or the children from the residence will have to attend a predominantly black public school, the price of the residence will be below the mean for the region. It's true in Alabama and it's true in California.
Notwithstanding what people say with their mouths, what they say with their real estate spending shows their true attitude toward blacks. And not a few blacks have little enthusiasm for the idea that their kids will go to a predominantly black school.

Posted by: BN on March 14, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Frankly0, not to blow your thesis out, but my state up until recently had a Senator on the hill, a conservative known for his racist tendancies...

Funny, I was thinking Jesse Helms.

Edwards was a moderate who could have been elected in all kinds of states in America, and managed to be elected in NC. Where could Jesse Helms have been elected, outside of the South?

What are you trying to claim here? That the most right wing, most racist Senators are NOT to be found in the South?

Posted by: frankly0 on March 14, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

To echo what has already been said.

Racism is about social class. Growing up in Virginia, I was told many times about the coming of racial equality and how it threatened prosperity. You were a pariah if you were the first person on your street to sell to a black family in the fifties and sixties. It meant that property values would drop for everyone else and the schools would go to hell. Whole city blocks would clear out after a black family moved in, even in the better neighborhoods. What couldnt be done with Jim Crow was done with the automobile and distance. The pattern is still the same today. No one buys in a black or Hispanic suburb. Certainly, it is less virulent than before, a few minority families are allowed, even welcomed depending on where you live, but it means the same thing at the end of the day. But there is no Southern monopoly on racism. Not now and not historically. Some of the most segregated cities are now in the old North.

Many people have pointed out the history of the Southern Strategy and its links to racism. The current coalition began, however, when conservative Southerners joined with Republicans to resist parts of the New Deal. These tended to be the non-populist, non-LBJ Southerners. It was Nixons genius to realize a real coalition could be built around a populist culture war. To be honest, a great many people in the South are happy to see institutionalized racism behind them. This is one of the reasons religion has become so important to Republicans.

Posted by: bellumregio on March 14, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

our favorite coke-sniffing, male-cheerleader-in-chief was born

Yeah, well, Bush is the result of Babs' ("there's a woman who knows how to hate") upbringing. He could have been born in the Vatican and still would have turned out as vile.

Posted by: SED on March 14, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Jeffrey Davis & URK & Others

I heard it this way (and I find it more eloquent and succinct)

In the South: they dont care how CLOSE they get, as long as they dont get too BIG.
In the North: they dont care how BIG they get, as long as they dont get too CLOSE.

Posted by: Fitz on March 14, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever people in different regions may say about their attitudes toward race, residential real estate pricing in every region of the country is consistent: if the residence is in a predominantly black neighborhood or the children from the residence will have to attend a predominantly black public school, the price of the residence will be below the mean for the region.

The strong correlation between race and wealth and the fact that, were it otherwise, there wouldn't be very many black people that could afford to live in districts with predominantly black public schools, which itself would instantly change the identity of which schools were "predominantly black", of course, has nothing to do with this, at all.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 14, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if its true that suburbia led to the GOP's rise in the South, and not racism, do we still need to ask ourselves what's wrong with Kansas?

I think that whole argument is shite. Fleeing to the suburbs was simply a tactic of segragation through wealth. Why do some people like to go to clubs where a bottle of beer is $8.50? Do they think it tastes better with a 600% mark-up than with a 150-200% markup? No...but they think it will get them surrounded by better people.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on March 14, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

The South has voted solidly Republican in national elections since the late sixties. Simply stated, the South in general has voted as such because the Republican Party more closely relects it's conservative values. Since and during the sixties, liberal social values have been shoved down the throat of the public all across the country. My agrument is that the South has always been conservative although it did not vote as such from the early thirties until the late sixties. Why....because during the depression and the post WWII years, people truly thought the government was the answer to all their worries. The country's suicide attempt in the sixties changed their minds. OK, I'm ready to be labled the R(acist) word. Funny thing is, it really has very, very little to do with race.

Posted by: Specks on March 14, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

RW,

There aren't a lot of blacks in California period (6.7%). Even in Los Angeles County (9.8%), the percentage is lower than the national average. I was simply pointing out a factual rebuttal to your statement that Orange County is lily-white.

To all Southern apologists,

Does the South take an unfair beating when it comes to racism? Yeah, it probably does. Every corner of this country from Northern Maine to San Diego has problems with race. After reading this entire thread, I don't think anyone here has stated otherwise. But this is a political site and politics is about winning elections. Boston has huge racial problems, but when blacks and whites get into that voting booth they don't generally vote on that issue. Southerners do. At the NATIONAL level, Democrats are thought of as the party of black people and that doesn't fly in the old Confederacy. The question isn't whether the South is more racist, but why the Republican Party now dominates the South? The answer is race.

Posted by: Double B on March 14, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Speck.
I tried to make the same (obvious) point above.
They simply cant accept that the 1960's new left emerged and sunk the fortunes of the democratic party.
Hell, they cant even admit anything eventful happened during the 60's to the democratic party.

In 68 they were outside the convention, in 72 they were inside.
Its been all downhill since.

Yes the South is a very conservative area, certainly socially conservative.
Why all the talk of race?
So they can call Republicans racists.
(and ergo, feel morally superior while loosing)

Posted by: Fitz on March 14, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

I live in a predominantly upper-class white town. I work in a more middle-class predominantly hispanic town.

I commute 20 miles to work.

I could probably buy twice the house for the same amount of money if I simply moved to the town where I work.

There are a couple of important reasons why I will never move to that town.
1. While my current job is a decent, stable opportunity, I feel that there are better prospects in my home-town, or in the town that lies in the opposite direction. I'd like to continue working for my present employer until I retire 20+ years hence. But I wouldn't bet my future on it. They could lay me off tomorrow. If I lived in their town, my options would be slim. If I stay in my town, I have options, some chance of improvement even, commuting 20 miles in the opposite direction. I think it's worth the extra expense to live where I'm living.

2. The Schools in the town-where-I-work have gangs. The schools in my home-town do not. It's as simple as that. If it were a white southern town and if the gangs were neo-nazi skinheads, I'd feel the same way. I don't want my kids mixed up in ANY gangs, and I don't want my kids to have to be a non-gang member around gangs either.

Both of my kids take Spanish language. We all honor the Mexican heritage of California. We all recognize that their culture is part of our culture. We all get drunk on Cinco de Mayo. Our kids put the smack down on pinatas at their birthday parties. And I'm proud to count many individuals of hispanic heritage among my close friends and co-workers.

So is it racist of me to not want my kids going to schools where there are a lot of hispanic students?

3. And, of course, I would not want to move from my current town of residence because we've put down roots, have many social ties and involvements, and are active in the community. But if we assume for argument's sake that I'm just relocating to this area, and thus, this third reason is moot, the first two are still very important to me.

Posted by: honest on March 14, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

ONCE AGAIN:

Please explain how the State Houses across the South stayed firmly in Democratic control until this day and square that with the "success" of the so-called Southern Strategy.

Are Southerners only racist in national elections? Are Southern Democrats more racist than Southern Republicans on a local level?

Other suggestions?

Posted by: Birkel on March 14, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

What I find amazing is how the South continues to be looked upon as a bunch of lazy, racist, dumb, bible-thumping hay seads. Truth of the matter is that the South of today resembles the mind-set of the founding fathers much more closely than any other region of the country. I'm sure some think this is a bad thing. Do things move a little slower in the South....yea probably....most Southerns admit it. What I admire is that they like that way. The South had risen again. God bless 'em......and I'm not even from the South. From the soon to be redevined swing state of Michigan.

Posted by: specks on March 14, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

"defined" ..... "Babs" typo

Posted by: specks on March 14, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

No one buys in a black or Hispanic suburb.

I'm not so sure. Historically, white flight has been associated with the growth of suburbs as whites fled the metropolitan core. With rising land values, extortionate gas prices, and high construction costs, you may see a reversal. In my metropolitan area, minorities, especially new arrivals, are being pushed out into cheaply built apartments in the 'burbs, and gentrification of the "black ghetto" is underway.

Posted by: kaptain kapital on March 14, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Are Southerners only racist in national elections? Are Southern Democrats more racist than Southern Republicans on a local level?

Yes, yes.

Also, Democrat candidates could stay with footholds because they were incumbents - and then again with the large non-white population in some rural counties.

So... Duh.

Posted by: Crissa on March 14, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Blaming it all on racism is warm and comforting, like blaming corporations, and avoids the unpleasant alternatives, like examining Democratic philosophies and policies.

....the "right" to select their neighbors, their employees, and their children's classmates, the "right" to do as they pleased with their private property and private businesses, and, perhaps most important, the "right" to remain free from what they saw as dangerous encroachments by the federal government.

Notice the quotation marks. One assumes in the context of this statement that Democrats stand for the opposite point of view. Think about that for a while. And you wonder why you can't win elections?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 14, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Before reminding us on how racist, backwards, class-oriented your countrymen to the south can be, please remember where our favorite coke-sniffing, male-cheerleader-in-chief was born and spent all but 2 of his formative years growing up in...

drumroll...

hint:

...it wasn't the south...

...it wasn't Texas...

Connecticut perhaps?

But the issue is where did he get the votes to get elected to public office, and it wasn't Connecticut or even Boston. W/o his support in the South including (drumroll) Texas, this joker would still be screwing up private companies rather than the whole country.

Posted by: mb on March 14, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK
What I find amazing is how the South continues to be looked upon as a bunch of lazy, racist, dumb, bible-thumping hay seads. Truth of the matter is that the South of today resembles the mind-set of the founding fathers much more closely than any other region of the country.

That's pretty much what the proponents of the Southern cause said at the time of the Civil War, too. It was no more or less true then than now.

OTOH, while our "founding fathers" were no doubt had a notably innovative concept of government for their time, their time was neither the end nor the moral peak of history, so it is no claim of real virtue to claim that a region "resembles the mind-set of the founding fathers much more closely than any other region of the country".

Posted by: cmdicely on March 14, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

People moved to suburbia after the war because tract houses were cheap to build and land was cheap. It was hard to house 3 million post war families by craming more apartments into cities.

Wow. That's... Uhh... Wow.

No.

Posted by: Crissa on March 14, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

It was hard to house 3 million post war families by craming more apartments into cities.

Exactly!

The Nazi clone-bomb, which was indescriminately used on US troops, caused a massive influx of new Americans that didn't exist and didn't need housing before the war!

Posted by: Dr. Bizzarro on March 14, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

"why do you think public school funding lacks so greatly in the south and when did that trend start RW? um, does 1964 ring a bell.

Please educate yourself: Public schools are primarily funded via local taxes (most often property, but sometimes sales/excise and other taxes are thrown in). The states of the south, meaning "locally", have been DOMINATED by Democrats for decades and only until the last 10 years have the Republican party broken that string. The caveats are that Republican presidents often carried some southern states and that southern Democrats are not as far left as, say, CA or NE ones. But Democrats dominated the states throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s. DOMINATED them. Read up.

There aren't a lot of blacks in California period (6.7%).

Ah, so Californians are afforded the presumption of doubt if they don't live near blacks but if someone were born in a surburb in the south and chose to remain there (most adults live somewhat near where they were raised) they likely have racist tendencies (note: I'm not saying you even hinted that. You have been completely above board and I don't want anyone to think that I'm saying otherwise. I'm pointing to the predominate theme of these (rather bigoted) comments.

"But this is a political site and politics is about winning elections. Boston has huge racial problems, but when blacks and whites get into that voting booth they don't generally vote on that issue. Southerners do"

And now we've reached the point of mind-melding the intent of voters as they pull the lever. Let me guess, when they vote for Democrats they don't vote with 'racial problems' in their minds, but once the south swung GOP, that HAD to be the reason. Had to be.

What about when they voted for all those Democrats in the periods I mentioned (the facts are available to all.....Dems DOMINATED the south. While folks were sometimes voting for folks like Reagan they were voting Dem down the ticket)? What about when Clinton carried the south? Was there a temporary pause on racist voting, to be picked back up again when Gore lost the south?

Come on, folks.

Posted by: RW on March 14, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

The 'right' to choose your neighbors by forming homeowner's groups who ban those of dubious parentage?

The 'right' to direct other people to other neighborhoods? Redlining anyone?

This is an American value when, why?

Posted by: Crissa on March 14, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

specks: Truth of the matter is that the South of today resembles the mind-set of the founding fathers much more closely than any other region of the country.

Of course most of the Founding Fathers were slave owners.

The South had risen again.

Air conditioning. That explains Phoenix too.

Posted by: alex on March 14, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_election%2C_1992

Wow, Clinton carried the south! ...Err, wait, he got some of it, but by no means DOMINATED it; many of those wins were in the thirty and fourty percent range... (Remember, red was Democrat in 1992)

Some people seem to forget that Democrat and Republican are a range of selections - heck, it's a Democrat that's sponsoring the anti-abortion bill in South Dakota.

...Not that I'm proud of it, she obviously has no future outside of her state as a Democrat.

Posted by: Crissa on March 14, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Since "founding fathers" obviously makes some squeamish, I'll use "constitutional authors" this time. The constitution was a conservative document by it's very nature. Conservative in the sense that it understood the need for government but also understood the necessity of an unintrusive government. I don't think that's changed in the past 230 years....but then maybe I'm just a dumb Southern at heart.

My sentiments refer to both the Democratic and Republican antics of the past few years.

The 9 most dangerous words in the English language..."I'm from the government and I'm here to help"...the Reagan Revolution.

Posted by: Specks on March 14, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yes kaptian,
I agree. After the war and the Depression the cities were grubby and broken down. Greener pastures lay in the suburbs for everyone who could afford it. But in the past, in the South, race and integration were part of the prosperity equation.

I live in the South. The baptist church down the street is all white on Sundays. But on Tuesdays a Christian womens group meets there and about a quarter are black. On Fridays the church recreational center is filled with Korean families. This church is not some kind of liberal anomaly. It is an average place of worship. This would not have been the case 50 years ago in this same church shaded by the oaks and magnolias. You can still find straight-up racist mammy jars and KKK memorabilia at flea markets but I think the buyers are specialized collectors. The racism of the past is gone and there is no need rerun the battles of 50 years ago. That particulary reality has vanished.

Southern blacks are social conservatives who dont like gay marriage or abortion and are very much like Southern whites when you contrast their views to the hill people of Los Angeles. So conservatism, and Southern conservativism particularly, must be understood separately from racism if we are to understand the modern political landscape.

Posted by: bellumregio on March 14, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

Crissa,
I clearly stated that Dems dominated the states LOCALLY. The text is right there.

Posted by: RW on March 14, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

The ideological rhetoric of the Republican party is made to reflect the culture of the Scots-Irish. The present is the first time in the 2000 year history of Scots-Irish culture that they have been in, or near, the drivers seat of anything and find that they cannot simply be reactive and antagonistic to any government action.

Posted by: cld on March 14, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Crissa: Wow. That's... Uhh... Wow. No.

An eloquent rebuttal. Please elaborate.

Dr. Bizzarro: The Nazi clone-bomb, which was indescriminately used on US troops, caused a massive influx of new Americans that didn't exist and didn't need housing before the war!

How much housing construction do you think there was during the Great Depression and WWII? How many people put off marriage and/or having children? Ever hear of the baby boom? Guess when it started.

Posted by: alex on March 14, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

One more item: let's see how color-blind non-southern folks are when they head to the polls and decide whether or not to vote for Ken Blackwell, Lynn Swann or Michael Steele (MD isn't an original southern state).

Or does race not count THEN and people who vote for the Democrat (dare one say "white" Democrat) are only voting their convictions, whereas the southerners who vote for Republicans are obviously doing so because of race?

Posted by: RW on March 14, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Specks: Since "founding fathers" obviously makes some squeamish

Nope. I like the term. Use it all the time myself.

I'll use "constitutional authors" this time.

Most of whom were slave owners.

but also understood the necessity of an unintrusive government

Repeal the "Patriot" act. End warrantless wiretaps in the US. Hey, I'm all for it.

The 9 most dangerous words in the English language..."I'm from the government and I'm here to help"...the Reagan Revolution.

Unless said person from the government has your cotton subsidy check, or any of the numerous other things that keep federal money flowing from the blue states to the "small government loving" red states.

Posted by: alex on March 14, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

On the surface, the world of white suburbia looked little like the world of white supremacy. But these worlds did have much in common from the remakably similar levels of racial, social, and political homogeneity to their shared ideologies that stressed individual rights over communal responsibilities, privatization over public welfare, and "free enterprise" above everything else. By withdrawing to the suburbs and recreating its world there, the politics of massive resistance continued to thrive for decades after its supposed death.

This is offensive and completely inaccurate. Racism has nothing whatsoever to do with capitalism and it is most certainly not an individualist philosophy. Kevin Kruse is quite obviously a hack.

Posted by: FXKLM on March 14, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Alex
If you think or hope I'm going to defend slavery, sorry, I'm going to have to dissapoint you. However, surly you must admit that judging men and societal mores of 230 years ago by todays' is a bit unfair don't you think...Considering that Britain and the Colonies lead the world the abolition of the institution. Heck, the Constitution was written with that very thought in mind...but then again I'm sure for some it's more comforting to just remind us all that Jefferson, Madison and Washington were slave owners.

I think we should all publically censor Mary Tyler Moore for smoking on the set of the Dick van Dyke show 40 years ago. It's only right...right?

Posted by: Specks on March 14, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK
Since "founding fathers" obviously makes some squeamish, I'll use "constitutional authors" this time. The constitution was a conservative document by it's very nature. Conservative in the sense that it understood the need for government but also understood the necessity of an unintrusive government.

Which has about nothing to do with "conservatism", at all; though if you want to go "big government = liberal, small government = conservative", then clearly, in historical context, as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation, it was an immense, big government liberal document, not a "conservative" document, providing, again in historical context, a radically more powerful, radically more invasive federal government.

The small-government "conservatives", as it seems you would call them, were the ones opposing, not supporting, the Constitution.

I live in the South. The baptist church down the street is all white on Sundays. But on Tuesdays a Christian womens group meets there and about a quarter are black. On Fridays the church recreational center is filled with Korean families.

You know, it definitely says something that you can point to a Church that is only de facto segregated for Sunday services as the best example of inclusiveness.

Though perhaps not exactly what you mean to say by it.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 14, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Because it is unclear what the discussion point is this far down the thread, I clicked on the first link in Kevin's post. In essence, the theory is that the Democratic party "lost" the white middle class.

Well, notwithstanding the fact that we could use a definition of who the "middle class" are, the authors make an interesting argument, more fleshed out than Kevin's post.

If you look back, when I moved to California in the early 1970's, it was the heyday of the suburban growth around Los Angeles. Every week there was a new housing development being built, farther and farther "out." Perhaps the authors cited in Kevin's post would note that this correlated with Reagan as governor and with the passage of Proposition 13.

It would be interesting if in, say, the last two decades, growth of southern suburbs also fuels temporary conservatism.

Everyone should remember that a suburb does not stand in for racism. What it really means is that for many, you actually triple (or more) your actual living space. You become interested in property taxes for the first time. Also, your family expenses typically skyrocket. At the same time you are proud to have "made it." And, its important to note, its not a relief to have left the city (especially considering the commute) is more of a happy feeling based on the general notion of "success in life," often a success based upon years of work.

These are all ingredients which, when stirred
up, make for a nice bout of temporary conservative insanity.

You've won the pie eating contest, and now the first prize is more pie.

"How come its not easier? What is it with these property taxes? How come we've gone from easily affording our apartment to struggling with mortgage payments -- I know! Taxes are too high! And what is with all those people not working as hard as me? It must be the fault of illegal immigrants!"

I still don't quite buy it, because I'll bet you can graph the House of Rep seats pretty easily, but I can see why the authors thought it worthwhile to write about.

Posted by: hank on March 14, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK
I don't think that's changed in the past 230 years

And, btw, the document written 230 years ago was the "Declaration of Independence". The Constitution of the United States was written more than a decade later.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 14, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK
I don't think that's changed in the past 230 years

And, btw, the document written 230 years ago was the "Declaration of Independence". The Constitution of the United States was written more than a decade later.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 14, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Annie, as written by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weil,

http://www.yankeepotroast.org/archives/2006/03/brecht_weills_a.html

Posted by: cld on March 14, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

I stand corrected

Posted by: Speck2 on March 14, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

I stand corrected......again

Posted by: Specks on March 14, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK
...Considering that Britain and the Colonies lead the world the abolition of the institution.

"Britain and the Colonies" did not "lead the world" in the abolition of slavery. (Britain was clearly a leader here, though not the first, even among European powers; but the US was nothing like a leader.)

Posted by: cmdicely on March 14, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK


It is race. Everything in the south is race.

I have lived in the south for 60 years, but I am not a southerner.

A fairly recent phenomenon: I am surrounded by morons flying the confederate flag (even in the local cemeteries), and I don't even live in a trailer park!

These people can't fathom the fact that they were traitors to the republic and that they LOST the war.

Posted by: g on March 14, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

As the South boomed and Sunbelt cities added millions of suburban residents, they argue, its burgeoning middle classes naturally tilted to the Republicans' fiscal conservatism, which promised tax cuts and smaller government programs.
and
"The engine of partisan change in the postwar South was, first and foremost, economic development and an associated politics of social class," they conclude after sifting through reams of electoral and polling data. "The impact of legal desegregation and an associated politics of racial identity had to be understood through its interaction with economic development

It's primarily the economic boom, the burgeoning middle class, and the economic development. suburbia is a minor point. more important than either suburbia or racism was anti-unionization; unions are associated with the decline of northern manufacturing (rightly or wrongly), and the lack of unionization in the South has contributed to its economic growth in the post WWII era.

Posted by: republicrat on March 14, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Specks: If you think or hope I'm going to defend slavery

Where did I say that?

you must admit that judging men and societal mores of 230 years ago by todays' is a bit unfair

Yes, but saying that the contemporary South has the spirit of the Founding Fathers is painting a bull's eye on your chest. Who could resist?

Considering that Britain and the Colonies lead the world the abolition of the institution.

In the 1830's - long after we achieved our independence and long before we abolished slavery.

Heck, the Constitution was written with that very thought in mind

No, the Constitution was written with the knowledge that, given the political realities, we could either form a real country with slavery or have no real country at all (which certainly wouldn't have freed the slaves).

Jefferson, Madison and Washington were slave owners

Thankfully good Yankee abolitionists like Franklin and Hamilton were also in attendance.

Posted by: alex on March 14, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Sam Chevre said this for me: One other BIG piece is being missed--attitudes toward the military. The South is very pro-military; as the Democrats became less pro-military in the 60's and 70's, it hurt them greatly in the South.

Economic boom, antipathy to unions, patriotism -- all three are more important than suburbia or racism.

Posted by: republicrat on March 14, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Don't know of too many countries who gave the life of one man for every seven slaves freed...if a civil war is not a part of leading then I don't know what it might be called.

Posted by: Specks on March 14, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Specks: Don't know of too many countries who gave the life of one man for every seven slaves freed

That was us Yankees (to the extent the Civil War was fought for abolition).

Posted by: alex on March 14, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

"No, the Constitution was written with the knowledge that, given the political realities, we could either form a real country with slavery or have no real country at all (which certainly wouldn't have freed the slaves)."

Believe it or not, we're in argreement here.

Posted by: Specks on March 14, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that the Red State/Blue State maps largely reprise the old Confederacy is not an accident.

this isn't even a fact. the red county/blue county maps clearly show that it is an urban/rural divide.

Another word about fleeing to suburbia. Lots of cities have increasing tax rates over time, and much of the flight is motivated by a desire to reduce taxes. In the racially mixed suburbs that I have lived in, it has been believed that the cities spend their tax money more foolishly than the suburbs. Black businessmen (at least those I have known) don't like subsidizing bad schools and welfare any more than white businessmen do.

Posted by: republicrat on March 14, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

I urge everybody to just scan the comments section and look at the bitterness and negativity from the Lefty posters.

Not the mention the moral smugness.

It's no wonder Lefties are turning voters off.

Posted by: BigRiver on March 14, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat: fleeing to suburbia

I think the whole "white flight" thing is seriously overstated. When my parents moved to suburbia it was to get a bigger place to live and a yard. Many people, myself included, like suburbs as a compromise between urban and rural.

Ancient Rome had suburbs, so they're not terribly new. They've also long been considered by many to be desireable places to live. The difference between then and now is affordable transportation, which means that more people can live in suburbs and still get to where they have to go.

Undoubtedly some will chime in about the "end of suburbia", but I think we'll see electric cars long before everybody moves back to the city. If anything traffic seems to be a bigger motive for people to move back to urban areas.

Posted by: alex on March 14, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

race and the south has been a dominant issue since the founding of the country

the republican party was founded by abolitionists committed to ending democratic party sanctioning of slavery

a civil war ensued when republicans gained more political power than the democrats

"jim crow" laws put in by democrats refashioned economic and social ascendancy of whites in the south

after wwII democrats abandoned their southern constituents by moving against segregation and by eventually passing civil rights legislation that completely ended "jim crow"

in a switch of roles, republicans recruited disenchanted whites in the south and now we see the party of lincoln as the political party of the south

ironic reveral of roles - the political party that was created by anti-slavery "abolitionists" to defeat the democratic party who protected slavery welcomes "disenchanted democrats"

Posted by: james on March 14, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Specks, in an era when other countries were abolishing slavery with little more than a disappointed "aw shucks" from their slave-owners, half your country were gladly giving up the life of one man for every seven slaves, to prevent them from being freed. That's not leading, that's being dragged kicking and screaming.

Posted by: derek on March 14, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Must read.

Posted by: Carl Manaster on March 14, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Look, not wanting to live with another community is not automatically racist.

The American system of local school funding and management encourages people to move to areas of like-minded people to ensure their local tax dollars are spent in ways they like.

If you feel an urge to do charity, there are more efficient ways than supporting badly managed local government.

- There are Asian suburbs (Arcadia), Hispanic suburbs, etc. Not like Hispanics or Whites rush to live with Blacks either.

- And Hispanics and Blacks in California were quick to declare Asians a non-disadvantaged minority and try to impose quotas in schools that would force Asians to have to have higher marks to get in.

- At the end of the day having a White kid grow up in some of the inner city schools is close to suicide. They could be murderer, assaulted, raped or pressured into gang life. And if the Law enforcement process gets politicized, you can get an OJ type scenario where justice is impossible. Blacks have issues, but if you are only White guy around, the risk of you paying a disproportionately large price for slights by other White guys is high.

-There have been Black attacks on Jews in New York (Pre-Gulliani) and Black Attacks on Koreans in Los Angeles (LA riots) where police just stayed out of it. That Tookie guy who was executed, wiped out an Asian couple.

-No offence, but I'd cross the street to avoid a tough looking black guy I don't know. Simply because their communty's political power makes their bad elements more dangerous by disrupting law enforcement. Its the 'Bonfire of the Vanities' made reality.

I'll say this for the Democrats. Tagging someone as a cracker won't help win any votes.

Posted by: McA on March 14, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Black businessmen (at least those I have known) don't like subsidizing bad schools and welfare any more than white businessmen do.

Then why don't they vote for the GOP? The GOP has demonized black folks since Goldwater in '64 talked about protecting people from, "switch blade thugs." (paraphrasing here)

The south switched to the GOP because of the civil rights movement and there's no point even debating that anymore. The fact that a large segment of of the white population moved to the suburbs was a 2 for 1 benefit; One, getting away from blacks and latinos while also increasing one's prosperity by moving into a single family home.

These suburban communities were subsidized by the gov't and home owner loans from the G.I. Bill. You also must realize that schools are funded by property taxes and in cities where there are a lot of rental properties you don't get the same level of funding that you do in the suburban school districts.

Plus, you also have redlining of black neighborhoods which drops the value of your property. This happened in throughout the North and midwest. I'm not sure about the South.

Posted by: D. on March 14, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Plus, you also have redlining of black neighborhoods which drops the value of your property.

Posted by: D. on March 14, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, in a country where the police won't stop Black race riots for 3 days (LA), it makes sense not to live too near black communities.

Same effect as the French banlieu's

Posted by: McA on March 14, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP has demonized black folks since Goldwater in '64 talked about protecting people from, "switch blade thugs." (paraphrasing here)

Posted by: D. on March 14, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Well, being soft on crime hasn't help Black communities any, has it? The drug problem has wiped out most of the Black communties post-seregation economic gains...

A White gang beating up an Asian kid would be stomped on by media and law enforcement. A Black gang doing the same wouldn't make news because the media is afraid of Black activism.

A smart Asian person would avoid Blacks over Whites when they can afford to.

Posted by: McA on March 14, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

This report should not bring any comfort to the Republicans, if they think that their support rests on the rise of suburbia in the South and not their embrace of the "Southern strategy."

Just look at the similar shift which occurred in the North and West in suburbia. Yeah, many of the suburban counties went Republican in the 1960s and 1970s, but we find them now shifting back to the Democratic fold. Those rock-ribbed Republican counties of Nassau and Suffolk on Long Island which formed the core of the NY state Republican party have now pretty much shifted over to the Democratic Party. Orange County in southern California has also seen similar shifts. The Southern states which experienced suburban growth first - Virginia and North Carolina - are becoming uncertain electoral sources for the Republicans. With this background, why should anyone expect that the late adopter Southern states will continue to be long-term Republican bastions as they too experience suburban maturity?

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on March 14, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

McA, the redlining of black communities dates back to the 1930's so your inference that crime is the reason why black neighborhoods were lower valued is wrong and based on stereotypes.

As far as being soft on crime, most of the black people in jail in California today have been convicted of non-violent drug offenses. The same offenses that white people usually get sent to re-hab for.

Posted by: D. on March 14, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

McA, the redlining of black communities dates back to the 1930's so your inference that crime is the reason why black neighborhoods were lower valued is wrong and based on stereotypes.

As far as being soft on crime, most of the black people in jail in California today have been convicted of non-violent drug offenses. The same offenses that white people usually get sent to re-hab for.

Posted by: D. on March 14, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the LA riots were a little more recent than the 1930's. And the lack of arrests from that little orgy of destruction tells you that large politicized black communities are better avoided.

Or if you have to live near them, live in a neighbourhood of your own people (Koreans or Hispanics) who are prepared for home defense.

I don't care whether Black people are in jail for non-violent offenses or not. If White people have money for lawyers and rehabs, so what?

I know there are Black people capable of violent offenses still walking around in Black neighbourhoods, that's all that matters from a "where you raise kids" viewpoint.

Posted by: Mca on March 14, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

These people can't fathom the fact that they were traitors to the republic and that they LOST the war.

Posted by: g on March 14, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

So the idiots who make comments about the coasts declaring independence from the red states are traitors?

And war does solve problems?

Posted by: McA on March 14, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still looking for an answer to the Dem dominance of the South on the local level.

'Til then, I know Kevin Drum's head will hit the pillow softly, confident that he's better than all those racist Republicans. Sleep well tiger.

Posted by: Birkel on March 14, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still looking for an answer to the Dem dominance of the South on the local level.

The backlash thesis holds that the switch was made over national civil rights policies, and therefore affected political allegiances at the national level. First came the switch to voting Republican in presidential races. Senate and House races were close behind, though there was state-by-state variation depending on whether or not longtime segs jumped to the GOP (Thurmond) or continued their old voting practices as a Dem (Talmadge). Anything below the national level didn't matter in this regard, because it had no impact on the national civil rights dialogue.

You should check out Merle Black and Earl Black's Rise of Southern Republicanism (2002) if you're actually interested in understanding this, and not just trying to make snide remarks.

Posted by: Otto Man on March 14, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

I urge everybody to just scan the comments section and look at the simplemindedness and reality obfuscation from the Wingnut posters.

Not the mention the moral hypocracy.

It's no wonder Wingnuts are turning batshit crazy.

Posted by: BigMoron on March 14, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

RW,

Democrats didn't dominate the South until after Reconstruction. Look at the electoral maps. From 1880 to 1916, Republicans took ZERO Southern states. They broke the string with Harding in Tennessee in 1920. Why the anti-Republican sentiments? I'm going to go way out on a limb and guess it has something to do with the Civil War. This tide began to change with the passing of the Civil Rights Act and probably solidified with Reagan in 1980.

You're right about Clinton in 1992. I believe he took 5 Southern states. Of course he was from Arkansas and there was a 3-way Presidential race that year. In fact, in his two election victories, Clinton managed to get over 50% in exactly 3 Southern states: Arkansas in 92 and 96, Louisiana in 96. In fact those are the only states since Carter that a Democrat has managed that figure in a Southern state. I'd call that an aberration as opposed to any kind of trend.

Posted by: Double B on March 14, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Just to try and get through to you thick idiots:

South Africa is run by a black majority government. You don't get a lot of mixed suburbs.
It ain't because the government is racist.
Its because people are people.

Posted by: Mca on March 14, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

The silly thing about this discussion about the South is that it's voting patterns are really not that much different from the rest of the country. New York state is supposed to be this liberal area, but if you look at the Presidential voting results by county, as shown in this map, you can see that the outside of the big urban areas, New York State is red. So is most of the country. (An interesting counterexample is Vermont, which doesn't have huge urban areas, but is solidly Democratic). So the South has the same sort of political leanings as rural, suburban, and small-town voters elsewhere in the country.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 14, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

A decade after a vicious system of legal and economic segregation was dismantled, and South Africa hasn't completely integrated its suburbs? Say it isn't so! So McA, just out of curiosity, are you the dumbest man on the Malay peninsula, or is there some guy who breathes tuk-tuk fumes all day who manages to have you beat?

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on March 14, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Otto Man,

Thanks for assuming what I've read. Bollix says I about the book you cite.

On to another mine field of truthiness: Why are the Mountain West and Plains states solidly Republican? That's the case at the state and federal levels.

And why are so many Blue states run by Dems at the State House but by Republicans in the governorship.

Now, give me your unified theory of how racism matters to those discussions. Best of luck.

Posted by: Birkel on March 14, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

The real reason why non-black don't live in black neighborhoods is that many blacks there make live unbearable for the non-blacks. Blacks basically have political immunity when it comes to racism.

The real test is: how many self righteous white commenters here are actually willing to live in ghettos like Detroit? Actions speak much louder than words.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for assuming what I've read. Bollix says I about the book you cite.

Wow, what an intelligent response.

Posted by: TR on March 15, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Just for you TR:

I disagree with the assumptions of the authors cited by Otto Man above. Needless to say, I think they leave too many factors unaccounted -- as I've tried to imply in my own comments. There is a tendency to paint with too broad a brush on these issues and any look beyond the national party voting patterns will call into question conclusions based on Presidential voting patterns. Or House. Or Senate.

Better? If not, try a warm glass of milk.

Posted by: Birkel on March 15, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

Raised in the NE, live in the south (New Orleans) and I concur that racism is the bed rock principle on which modern Republicanism rests.

Posted by: Brian Boru on March 15, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

So, Birkel, the Black twins, who've spent their careers--and gained reknown--studying southern politics, history and culture, are guilty of overlooking important facts in their their wide-ranging writings, while you, on the hand, have managed succinctly to cover all the bases in repetitive blog comments which appear, really, to distill to your completely having missed the point that the Southern Strategy was aimed at national elections and had nothing to do with capturing state houses. I'm sure the Blacks would appreciate you're straightening them out. You can email them at Emory and Rice.

Posted by: Bloggerhead on March 15, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

I'm still looking for an answer to the Dem dominance of the South on the local level.

Heh.

That's because you ignored the response about Democrats and Republicans, as a party, being a wide range.

Did you miss my remark re: the assembly woman from South Dakota?

That local Democrats in the South would be to the right of Republicans in the coastal states shouldn't be a point on contention. That's just how it is.

Heck, just because you can trust a Democrat to be Mayor of Crawford, TX, 'cause you know him' doesn't mean those Democrats are going to be or be able to do the same things that Democrats in a more Liberal area would do... Or that they'd vote for some Democrat from further away.

So, yes, 'duh'.

And no, suburbs are not cheaper to build than apartments, per family.

Duh again.

Posted by: Crissa on March 15, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

A decade after a vicious system of legal and economic segregation was dismantled, and South Africa hasn't completely integrated its suburbs?

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on March 14, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Its a perfect example. Racism is an emotion. Even a Black majority government can't do anything about it quickly.

So why keep blasting the US government and republicans in particular? America had segregation only 40 years ago.

You can pass any law you want, but if people are uncomfortable enough to move and commute...you'll get physical segregation.

Blacks may have some entitlement that non-Blacks owe them, but those who live nearby pay far more (in terms of how their taxes are mispent, in terms of racism by the Black community, in terms of crime that isn't prosecuted properly because of race politics)

Basically MLK's dream turned all Malcom X in practice. And lots of White people will spew the PC line, but move if they have to.

Posted by: McA on March 15, 2006 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

(a) "racial backlash" - a phrase that "good whites" use because they refuse to acknowledge anything so harsh as actual racism exists. "racial backlash" connotes a *defensive* behavior, one which is *understandable*, given the "racial provocation".

It's amazing how far white people will go to deny the existence of racism. Now they "research" and write entire books about how the core guiding principle of the republican party is not racism.

And the write blog posts defending such pre-judged conclusions.

Definition of "good whites": white folks who believe that if they don't say "nigger", it ain't racism.

This book furnishes an excellent example. As long as they avoid saying "nigger", "good whites" will follow behind and come up with an alternate explantion. They *always* find an alternate explanation.

Posted by: cdj on March 15, 2006 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

Definition of "good whites": white folks who believe that if they don't say "nigger", it ain't racism.

Posted by: cdj on March 15, 2006 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

Its a great self-reinforcing argument to believe the whole world hates you and blame them for all your problems.

If someone has to make all your problems go away before they aren't a racist, its a lot easier to avoid or ignore you than it is to fix your problems.

Posted by: McA on March 15, 2006 at 4:58 AM | PERMALINK

The political difference between Red and Blue is primarily racial - Red staters hate and fear blacks and Hispanics. Two groups who will be minorities no longer in most Red states by 2100.

Demographics are not favorable for white racists.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on March 15, 2006 at 6:57 AM | PERMALINK

Demographics are not favorable for white racists.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on March 15, 2006 at 6:57 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not quite sure that Hispanics are automatically obliged to vote for Democrats.
But that logic does seem to shape immigration policy.

So explain to me how a Vietnamese migrant who doesn't speak English on entry into America is not 'disadvantaged' ...

Then explain to me how Hispanic/African-american attempts to define only their communities as minority are anything more than open, blatant racism.

Posted by: Mca on March 15, 2006 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

and these are the same people who support the Patriot Act and domestic wiretapping.

Posted by: merlallen on March 15, 2006 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

I live down here, I know conservatives and I can tell you; it's race, race, race under everything.

It doesn't take you long to learn the code words. "Vote Democratic! It beats working!" Who are they talking about not working? It goes without saying because everyone knows exactly what group of people are not supposed to be working and sponging off your hard-earned tax dollars.

Posted by: Brian in Atlanta on March 15, 2006 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats didn't dominate the South until after Reconstruction. Look at the electoral maps.

One more time, LOCALLY. And then, Democrats dominated the south for over one hundred years. In the south, you primarily had people voting for Reagan at the top of the ticket for prez and then voting solid Dem all the way down the ticket. Politics extends beyond the presidency.

"This tide began to change with the passing of the Civil Rights Act and probably solidified with Reagan in 1980."

The tide began to change in the mid 90s, after Hillary's health care plan was introduced and the face of the Dem party became socialized health care, tax increases (after running on middle class tax cuts) and gays in the military. The south was dominated by Democrats until around '96 or so. DOMINATED. If you guys will step back and realize that people voted for Reagan while voting for Fritz Hollings and Al Gore and Robert Byrd and so on, maybe we can find some common ground vis-a-vis a discussion. It's not just about the presidency. Heck, I would guess that a lot of Dems voted for Bush because of national security. Tom Daschle got a lot more votes in SD than Bush did, didn't he?

Clinton managed to get over 50% in exactly 3 Southern states:

A. Perot was in the race and garnered 19% nationwide while Clinton got around 42% total, so the 50% barrier was a rather huge total to achieve. In that race, 50% was a rout.
B. For president (why are you guys so focused on the presidency) Democrats have surpassed 50% of the national vote once since LBJ, so the abberation would be for ANY DEMOCRAT to get 50% under any circumstances.

"That local Democrats in the South would be to the right of Republicans in the coastal states shouldn't be a point on contention. That's just how it is."

That attempt doesn't explain why folks voted for those Dems for decades suddenly stopped voting for them in the mid-90s. It doesn't explain why folks voted for their Democratic senators (they're the ones who vote on the federal legislation, you know) and Democatic house members for decades, while you folks are focused on their votes for Nixon and Reagan. You ignore that the state of Louisiana got its first Republican senator since reconstruction in the 21st century. You ignore that the red state of Georgia generally had a contingent of two Dem senators and an overwhelming majority of Dem house members. You ignore that Tennessee went for Bush 41 while sending Jim Sasser and Al Gore to the senate.

"Did you miss my remark re: the assembly woman from South Dakota?"

I saw it. Your notation that she had no future in the party was notable, since she's supposed to be representing her constituents - be they Dem or GOP - and not a party. That "party first" was the primary focus is quite telling.

Ask Max Cleland how well that goes over.

-------------

And still no one wants to discuss (aside from the quandry of Dems dominating the south until recently, while folks are screaming that the south has been racist politically since the CRA) is that the post author lives in a county with a 1.7% black population while claiming racism for folks in the south who don't want to live in the inner city.

Do tell.

Posted by: RW on March 15, 2006 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

It goes without saying because everyone knows exactly what group of people are not supposed to be working and sponging off your hard-earned tax dollars.
Posted by: Brian in Atlanta

Trans-national corporations?

Posted by: CFShep on March 15, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Its hard not to see the rise of suburbia in the South as a reflection of cheap land prices and the availability of cars and interstates.

But clearly a motivating factor seems to have been that the rural areas where the cheap land was also didn't have many blacks. The devastation of intown communities where there were blacks much more reflected racism. Suburbia had to go up to accomodate everyone. That didn't necessitate that the intown neighborhoods had to go black. Not wanting to send your kids to school with black kids definitely explains that.

I don't think most people in the South today have a problem with sending their kids to school with black kids. But I think they do have a problem still if blacks are the dominant culture in the school. At this point, this can be the case in suburbia and those schools are avoided by whites. People have a problem with black culture and that doesn't seem to be racism to me. That's not liking someone else's values and feeling it detracts from their child's upbringing. These seem to be facts throughout America evidenced by the fact most, if not all of the rest of the country, is more segregated than the South. I promise you, Kevin lives in a neighborhood that is mostly white with some asians and maybe even a sparkling of blacks. Hey, that's suburbia in the South minus a few asians.

Posted by: Chad on March 15, 2006 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

I think the chicken came first

Posted by: seo on March 15, 2006 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

..Hey, that's suburbia in the South minus a few asians.

Here's a quick summary of the demographics of the south (an education for anyone willing to learn before displaying their penchant for not knowing the basics before attributing demeaning intentions towards others that they do not know): quite a few blacks live outside of Birmingham, Atlanta and Memphis. No, really, they do.

Posted by: RW on March 15, 2006 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

In those decorous Jane Austin novels, when the father goes to check on the family's 'interests in Jamaica' they're going to oversee their sugar plantations.

There may well have been little direct holding of African slaves in England and thus little investment domestically but you'd better believe there were extensive holdings nevertheless.

Just out of sight to polite society.

English 'blackbirders' continued to furnish African slaves to the markets in Cuba/Santo Domingo long after England 'abolished' slavery.

Anyone see the piece in the New York Times recently about the archeologists turning up extensive slave burial grounds in ....NYC...which had an extensive slave based economy for much of its history?

Negro slavery was not an exclusively American Southern institution. It was introduced by the Dutch and, after a couple of nasty wars were fought between themselves and with the Arabs for control of the trade, taken up by the English, the Spanish and the Portuguese.

Brazil didn't get around to emancipation until...what the 1880 - 1890's?

Even as Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclaimation slave markets continued to operate in DC, Maryland, and elsewhere with complete impunity. That bit about 'those states currently in rebellion'...

South American, Central America, and the Caribean basin were all slave-based economies fostered by European imperialists.

Arabian slave traders operated vast slave trade based economies for 1,500 years. One of their most lucrative specialties were castrated Africans for the China market. They commanded high margins because only one in 20 survived.

They also supplied slaves to the British East India Company and the VOC in Malaysia and Indonesia repectively.

There are still child slave markets in India catering to the Gulf emirates.

Rome? Athens? Egypt? You betcha.

I'm by no means an apologist for this abomination but even the Vikings, for crying out loud, were primarily slavers.

You look around long enough in history and you'll be hard pressed to find any group which wasn't either enslaved or slave holders/traders.

Posted by: CFShep on March 15, 2006 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

"quite a few blacks live outside of Birmingham, Atlanta and Memphis. No, really, they do."

I'm not sure if you were disagreeing with my points or not, but I agree. But most are very clustered into distinct areas. A lot of Clayton County is going black in Atlanta. There are distinct areas in Cobb that black. You can find them by looking at the distribution of the high schools football team. But in the rest of the suburbia, it looks much like what I think Kevin's neighborhood looks like with fewer asians.

Posted by: Chad on March 15, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Ain't about my pistol
Ain't about my boots
Ain't about no northern drives
Ain't about my southern roots
Ain't about my guitars, ain't about my big old amps
"It ain't rained in weeks, but the weather sure feels damp"
Ain't about excuses or alibis
Ain't about no cotton fields or cotton picking lies
Ain't about the races, the crying shame
To the fucking rich man all poor people look the same
- Drive By Truckers "The Southern Thing"

Posted by: WillieStark on March 15, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

It isn't economics. You don't have to be a pub to make money.

It's essentially race, as any honest (this excludes most pubs) Southerner will tell you.

There is also a residue of the Confederacy hanging around in the South's hostility to what George Wallace called the "central" government.

But it took racism to overcome another residue of the Confederacy: hatred of the Republican party.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 15, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

you right

Posted by: seo on March 15, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Ricky,

Yes, Southerners continued to vote Democratic in local elections long after they stopped giving Democrats their automatic support in national elections. I'm not sure what your point is.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 15, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

It sounds like the South will be conservative for a long while yet. The description of white flight to the 'burbs, and the description of people choosing their "right" to live with likeminded, like-skin colored, and like-economic background folk is truly scary becasue: it's what christians everywhere are doing. Claiming first that they are discriminated against (in a contry where 90+% of people claim to be Christian), then moving against those folks who are not like-minded (non christian religionists, but also secularists). the background claim always being: I jsut want to exert my right to live with those I like, i'm not really racist, or biased, against anyone. But, in a perfectly chaotic world, that's fine. ti's only when government steps in to try and correct these things that people begin to hate each other. Before that, they jsut co-exist in different spheres: the choice to be separate but equal may be the United States' longest legacy to the world.

Posted by: Chris on March 15, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

You can find them by looking at the distribution of the high schools football team.

Oh, man, you're opening yourself up with that one. :)

"But in the rest of the suburbia, it looks much like what I think Kevin's neighborhood looks like with fewer asians."

Sorry, but, no. You'd be hard pressed to find any area of the state with is almost 19% black. Kevin's is 1.7%. Do I think that Kevin ran from the coloreds? Of course not. Neither did Cobb countians - who have ~19% of its citizens who are black - they don't want to live in Fulton county for various reasons (taxes, inept gov't, horrendous, and I mean atrocious, schools, etc.). Race could be one of those factors. I can't look into the hearts of folks - especially those who happen to vote a different way, as opposed to the majority of commenters here (apparently). I'd hate to play poker with some of the mind readers here.

"Yes, Southerners continued to vote Democratic in local elections long after they stopped giving Democrats their automatic support in national elections. I'm not sure what your point is."

Hello, Daryl. Long-time no chat!
My point is that someone blindly attributing the "hey, the GOP had the southern strategy that was racist, Nixon & Reagan won the south and now the south is solidly GOP so therefore the south was and is racist because they don't vote for Democrats" is rather myopic, uninformed and illogical when considering the facts. I voted for Max Cleland and I voted against Max Cleland. I voted for Zell Miller and I voted against Zell Miller. I voted for Wyche Fowler and I voted against Wyche Fowler. How those votes could be interpreted into a possibilty of racism is, for lack of a better word, asinine.

IMO, of course.

Posted by: RW on March 15, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm...the previous comment left out some html. Sorry, my contention was that you'd be hard pressed to find any portion of the state that had
http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/popInfo.php?locIndex=7868

I was born in downtown Atlanta. Both of my children were born in downtown Atlanta. No way in hell did I want to live in downtown Atlanta, or Fulton county, primarily because of their ineffective gov't, terrible schools, crime and most of all high local taxes. Instead, I moved to surburbia and live in a quiet sub-division that has quite a diverse population. I'll have to ask one of my black neighbors how they feel living near an obvious racist since I (a) live in the surburbs and (b) vote Republican for the most part, and therefore fear living near them or having my daughter sit in the desk next to their son at school (which she does, btw).

Posted by: RW on March 15, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Hi, Ricky!

The way I interpret the shift is that, starting with Roosevelt, there has been a rift between Southern Democrats and the Democrats in the rest of the country. That rift only showed up in national elections (because locally, most Democrats were politically conservative). The rift gave rise to the Dixiecrat challenge to Truman, Harry Byrd's challenge to Kennedy, and Wallace's challenge to Humphrey.

In recent years, the former conservative Democrats have increasingly shifted their loyalty to the Republican Party, transforming both the electoral preferences of the South, and also transforming the Republican Party as well.

As for your voting for Saxby Chambliss over Max Cleland, I can't think of a kind thing to say about it, so I'll keep my mouth shut.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 15, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Terrible schools are a result of people moving the tax base to the suburbs. As I stated before, schools are subsidized by prop. taxes and when a large portion of the tax base up and moves, it not surprisingly affects the community.

As I've stated before black people like the suburbs and like good schools for their kids but they don't vote for the GOP. It's because the GOP uses divide and conquer tactics like Willie Horton, Attacking affirmative action and using code words like, "law and order" to brutalize poor black communities.

Posted by: D. on March 15, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Grew up in Kansas - Lawrence, Kansas was the home of the abolitionists during the border war, which was the prequel to the Civil War - Lawrence was torched by Quantril and his southern brethen.

However, in the late 50s, the bars were segragated - Even Wilt could not go into many places. Wes Unseld, the great NBA pro, refused to come to Kansas in the 60s because of ill treatment suffered there by his brother George. George had been involved with peaceful demonstrations to help break the anti-black policies of the area.

Even native Americans from the Haskell Indian School were barred from restaurants and bars.

A professor of mine, who had grown up in Louisville, said to me that the difference between southerners and northerners in racial views, was that in the south, they liked the Blacks personally, but not legally; in the north, they liked them legally, but not personally.

As to White Flight, it has happened all over the western states. Many whites from California have relocated to Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho and Utah. They have brought their Repug anti-tax, anti-minority feelings with them - they have become a force in local politics.

For an example, consider Northern Idaho. Yes, there have been a small group of Nazis, but artists and liberals have moved to the area. However, many Southern Californians have moved to the area just east of Spokane, WA and are very much Repugs - they dominate the local politics and tie-in with the heavily Mormon conservative area of Southern Idaho.

Racism knows no boundaries.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 15, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Do I think that Kevin ran from the coloreds? Of course not. Neither did Cobb countians - who have ~19% of its citizens who are black

Those may be the numbers today, but that doesn't really tell us anything about race and the suburbs after the Civil Rights movement.

What percentage of Cobb County was black in 1970?

Posted by: Marc on March 15, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Funny thing about Brown vs The Board of Education.

Now, where was that silly Board - Shreveport, LA?, Birmingham?, Little Rock?, Charlotte?,

Nah, it was Topeka, Kansas - Ad Astra Per Aspera

Posted by: stupid git on March 15, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

"Terrible schools are a result of people moving the tax base to the suburbs. As I stated before, schools are subsidized by prop. taxes and when a large portion of the tax base up and moves, it not surprisingly affects the community."

The city of Atlanta has the highest per pupil funding in the state (going off memory, it was around $10K per student a few years back) and the lowest test scores - by far - in the state. At the time, the best scores hailed from the aforementioned Cobb county schools, which had less than $7K spending per pupil, so that attempted excuse doesn't fly (and the state encourages high participation in the testing, so the "only the good students in Cobb take the tests while the mediocre students take it in the Atlanta schoos" excuse flies even lower). If your argument is that funding is the primary issue, then Atlanta schools should start funding Cobb county schools that have a much lower budget.

I don't think you want to argue that.

"What percentage of Cobb County was black in 1970?"

I'm not sure what it was in 1970 (you can look just as easily as I can) but I'm guessing that it was much higher than 1.7% and lower than what it is today where the total minority population is more than 30%.
The black population of the state has flourished.
http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0045/fig05c.jpg

Looking at that map (assuming the html doesn't flake) shows little change in many of the blue states. Does that make them racist? I say no, but I guess I'd be in the minority according to many of the folks chiming in here that apparently only see blacks on television.

Posted by: RW on March 15, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Coolide come down on a railroad train
With a little fat man
with a notepad in his hand.
Mr. Coolidge say,
"Little fat man,isn't it a shame
What the river has done
To this poor Cracker's land?"

Louisiana
Louisiana
They're trying to wash us away
They're trying to wash us away

-Randy Newman, "Lousiana 1927"

What's changed?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 15, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

I think Ricky's point is that "white flight" is not about fleeing from blacks, it's about fleeing from "ineffective gov't, terrible schools, crime and most of all high local taxes". That's probably true. But white flight together with Republican policies has the tendency to make urbans much worse in all these respects, and the victims of worsening conditions in urban areas are those people for whom "flight" is not a viable option.

Flight is not a sustainable approach. Ricky likes his new suburb just fine, but in 20 years, that'll be the new urban area, with the same urban problems showing up, and the same people who settled here today (or their children) will be fleeing again.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 15, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Well, entertaining as this is, a friend just e-mailed me an offer of some freshly caught redfish.

Let's see, I've already got some lovely lump crab meat and some shrimp in the fridge...hmmm..and some asparagus...I can see a sort of fisherman's seafood soup (Gulf Coast take on Cioppino if I get some 'ersters') and maybe grilled redfish and asparagus finished off with hollandaise.

See ya'll later.

Posted by: CFShep on March 15, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

"I voted for Max Cleland and I voted against Max Cleland. I voted for Zell Miller and I voted against Zell Miller. I voted for Wyche Fowler and I voted against Wyche Fowler."

I'm a little young to have voted for or against Wyche. But he did come speak at my high school at one point. I never voted against Zell Miller. It was disheartening to feel that I just couldn't vote for Max the last time.

Posted by: Chad on March 15, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

I think Ricky's point is that "white flight" is not about fleeing from blacks, it's about fleeing from "ineffective gov't, terrible schools, crime and most of all high local taxes".

You'd be wrong. The suburbs were seen as a refuge from the inner city and was an integral part of public policy in many places.
New York is a good example where you had people like Robert Moses who purposely designed the bridges on the parkways too low to accommodate buses so that poor people without cars, especially minorities, could not get to parks and beaches.

Posted by: D. on March 15, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

You know everyone seems so determined to call White people racist and blame them for shit 50 years ago.... it might explain why they don't want to live in area with enough blacks to run local government schools and cops.

How do you explain other migrants like Hispanics not liking certain Black neighbourhoods either?

Posted by: McA on March 15, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

"In recent years, the former conservative Democrats have increasingly shifted their loyalty to the Republican Party, transforming both the electoral preferences of the South, and also transforming the Republican Party as well."

It's also transformed the Democratic party.

Posted by: RW on March 15, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

"What percentage of Cobb County was black in 1970?"

I'm not sure what it was in 1970 (you can look just as easily as I can) but I'm guessing that it was much higher than 1.7% and lower than what it is today where the total minority population is more than 30%.

I can't find data from 1970, but in 1980 the black population percentage in Cobb was just 6.2% and in Gwinnett 4.1%. The city of Atlanta that year was 75% black, as a point of comparison. Sure seems to iunderscore the idea of suburbia as a white refuge.

http://www.atlantaregional.com/regionaldata/pop2000table7.html

Given the trends toward ever greater minority presence in the suburbs, I'd assume that the percentages in 1970 were even lower.

Posted by: Marc on March 15, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Sure seems to iunderscore the idea of suburbia as a white refuge."

So the blacks that have moved there are running away from blacks?

Posted by: RW on March 15, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

I wrote: I think Ricky's point is that "white flight" is not about fleeing from blacks, it's about fleeing from "ineffective gov't, terrible schools, crime and most of all high local taxes".

D. responded: You'd be wrong. The suburbs were seen as a refuge from the inner city and was an integral part of public policy in many places.
New York is a good example where you had people like Robert Moses who purposely designed the bridges on the parkways too low to accommodate buses so that poor people without cars, especially minorities, could not get to parks and beaches.

I don't see how that makes me wrong. I was saying that suburbs were a way of fleeing from the problems of the inner city. "Inner city" = "Black" is an oversimplification, because black people are not thrilled about the inner city, either, and there are black people in the suburbs.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 15, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

You know everyone seems so determined to call White people racist and blame them for shit 50 years ago.... it might explain why they don't want to live in area with enough blacks to run local government schools and cops.

How do you explain other migrants like Hispanics not liking certain Black neighbourhoods either?
Posted by: McA on March 15, 2006

Since we live here, we no doubt have a better grasp of what motivates our neighbors. Where do you live, McAnus....Oh, never mind.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 15, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Where do you live, McAnus....Oh, never mind.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 15, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

I probably have the same likelihood of having dinner with a black man as some of the liberals ... And I'm not in the United States.

Was there for some years though and learned the game. Don't say what u think, but everyone knows what to think.

Posted by: McA on March 15, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ricky writes: So the blacks that have moved there are running away from blacks?

Black people are just as susceptible to lifeboat ethics as white people, it's just that most of them don't believe that they're going to be the ones in the lifeboats.

(Did that make a bit of sense?)

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 15, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Black people are just as susceptible to lifeboat ethics as white people

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 15, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Why not just deal with the sinking ship?
The problem is Black 'street culture' - its antisocial, and encourages kids to drop out rather than achieve.

Posted by: McA on March 15, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Your examples are code words for negative stereotypes.

ineffective gov't = blacks are less competent/dumb
terrible schools = blacks are dumber then whites.
crime = blacks are criminals.
most of all high local taxes = blacks living off the gov't.

It has the effect of appealing to people who want better neighborhoods without explicitly saying, "come to the suburbs to avoid the blacks."

I'm not suggesting all people who want to live in the 'burbs are running away from blacks but for those who want to move away from black people it's an incentive.


Posted by: D. on March 15, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

thethirspaul:A professor of mine, who had grown up in Louisville, said to me that the difference between southerners and northerners in racial views, was that in the south, they liked the Blacks personally, but not legally; in the north, they liked them legally, but not personally.

my grandma puts it this way "Northerners like blacks as a race but not as individuals, Southerners like them as individuals but not as a race." course, she was talking about when she was my age, fifty years ago.

i was thinking about this more overnight, and i guess the thing that gets to me in this discussion of race and politics (having read over all the comments a/o 10:45) is the theme that Southern racism is pervasive, and Northern racism is an anomaly; Southern racism is institutional and Northern racisim is idiosyncratic. and the conclusion that b/c Southern racism is instiutional and pervasive it therefore becomes an explanation in and of itself for other behaviors. whereas Northern racism is dismissed as idiosyncratic anomaly, therefore not an explanation for any larger trends, be they behavioral in general or political in specific.

from what i've seen (living in CA, NC, VA, MD and now northern NY; and witnessed much more overt and hostile racism in NY than anywhere else) i'd say racism in general is {i'm not sure if this is exactly going to make sense} institutionalized on a small scale: i.e. in families, certain communties, certain professions to an extent. and either you're the kind of person who is susceptible to buying into racist/ethnic/biased stereotyping and will alter your behavior/voting/living arrangements, or you're not.

to make blanket statements that people in the South vote Republican because they're racist i think reduces the question past the point of silliness. and i opens you up to lots of questions that some here have tried to ask and been shot down for, like: if that's true, then are all the counties in NY, NH, and PA which went Republican also voting that way because they're racist? what about the phenomenon of a state that goes Rep for Prez, but has a bipartisan or mostly Dem congressional del (and "it doesn't matter" isn't an answer)?

maybe we shouldn't be looking so far in the past (Nixon) for explanations, and we should more be trying to get a coherent strategy going for the future.

Posted by: e1 on March 15, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Your examples are code words for negative stereotypes."

When you cannot hold your own in a logical debate, presume to mindread and assess negative connotations derived from your posterior.

Thanks for excusing yourself from further credible participation. Have a nice day.

Daryl
Yes, made perfect sense. I just don't know that I can speak for what "most of them" think.

Posted by: RW on March 15, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

When you cannot hold your own in a logical debate, presume to mindread and assess negative connotations derived from your posterior.

So you're saying that politics does not include code words? the "Southern Strategy" was a code word for appeal to white southerners by driving a wedge between them over the civil rights act.

You don't have, "read minds" to understand that George H. W. Bush's willie horton commercial was an attack ad, designed to elicit fear in the minds of people who have negative feelings towards black people.

Posted by: D. on March 15, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Don't say what u think, but everyone knows what to think.
Posted by: McA

Is the new troll strategy riddles?

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 15, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Having lived over thirty years in Texas, I can tell you that the majority political position was always conservative. All that happened was that conservative Democrats (i.e., Dixiecrats) switched to being conservative Republicans.

Up to 1964 no one could get elected to state wide office as a Republican. This was a legacy of post Civil War Reconstruction. Their attitude was that my daddy always voted democrat just like his daddy and so will I. "Lincoln screwed us and we will never vote for a Republican", in essence. Texas Democrats were effectively two parties, a conservative and a progressive wing.

When north Texas Republican John Tower won Lyndon Johnson's old seat in 1964 things begin to change. Within about two decades most of the state wide offices were held by Republicans. Old hand Democrats like Lloyd Benson could hold onto a seat but when he resigned to join Clinton's cabinet both Texas senators became Republicans.

I suspect the same is true for the rest of the south. The primary attitudes have not changed -- only the acceptability of voting Republican. It just took 100 years to start forgetting reconstruction.

-- former lonely Texas progressive.

Posted by: thebears on March 15, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Up to 1964 no one could get elected to state wide office as a Republican. This was a legacy of post Civil War Reconstruction. Their attitude was that my daddy always voted democrat just like his daddy and so will I. "Lincoln screwed us and we will never vote for a Republican", in essence. Texas Democrats were effectively two parties, a conservative and a progressive wing."

America will once again be a great nation when progressives realize that they can affect change more by being Republicans influencing than they can trying to fight Republicans. Maybe its a tribe mentality. It's only recently that I started hearing people describe my community as a tribe. But like it or not, its one party in the South. You are either with us or against us.

Posted by: Chad on March 15, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me, we are still a great nation. But you won't see any more great changes until the progressives realize they can get some things done as Republicans versus nothing as Democrats.

Posted by: Chad on March 15, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

thebears,
Good analysis. Perhaps it's also a good bit of "FDR helped us out of the depression so I'm voting for his party" mixed in along with their kids following suit? And as those folks die off, their piece of the conservative-south-pie is getting smaller and smaller each year?

Perhaps Occam's razor rears its head once more since Democrats don't have problems getting elected in the south....liberals/lefties do.

Posted by: RW on March 15, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Though I think there is clearly a subtext of racism in the development of post-WW2 suburbs in the South, I doubt that these suburbs are significantly more Republican than similarly modern suburbs in other parts of the country.

I think we should also take into consideration the radically new form of post-WW2 suburbs as an expression of, and further catalyst of, a breakdown in a person's sense of being a part of a shared community over the decades. Earlier urban developments, and indeed, prewar suburbs, are characterized by a strong relationship to the external community: relative compactness, focus toward the street commons (front porches), walkability, and proximity to local businesses. Most developments in the last 50 years, on the other hand, are characterized by an emphasis upon the private sphere: expansive yards, focus on the family room and back yard (front only for the garage), little provision for walking (experiencing the community only from within a car), and large distances from shopping and work centers.

It is only natural that the political interests of such a demographic will be dominated by themes like property rights and low taxes. The relative social isolation of such residential areas reinforces the sense of a person as an individual as opposed to the sense of a person as a member of a larger community, consequently leading to an estrangement from the sense of having a stake in the problems and interests of the commons, which of course have traditionally made up the backbone of the democratic platform.

Posted by: Sparks on March 15, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

This is the easiest questions you have ever asked Kevin. Racial backlash came first.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on March 15, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

It was liberal policies that allowed the middle class to grow so strong so quickly, and it has been the dismantling of those policies that has allowed the middle class to weaken so quickly.

Which liberal policies have been "dismantled"? I can't think of any. We've cut back on cash payments (welfare) to the poor, for instance, but that was never a policy aimed at the middle class. Most of the big entitlement programs in this country were always aimed squarely at the middle and upper classes: Medicare (just expanded), Medicaid (ostensibly for the poor, but its real political support derives from the fact that it picks up the nursing home bills of middle class folks), Social Security (has never seen a significant cut back or reform), student loans (people bitch about this program, but it's still quite large, and it overwhelmingly benefits the middle classes), farm subsidies (hardly a boon to the poor, and indeed probably makes food a bit more expensive than it would be otherwise).

So, I ask you again, which programs that benefit the middle class have been dismantled?

The finanical problems faced by the middle class are mostly the effects of labor market volatility, private sector healthcare cutbacks, anti-growth housing policies (that make housing expensive) and our insistence on tying education to one's physical address (which also exacerbates the housing affordability crisis in larger metro areas). It's certainly not anything to do with government spending too little on the middle class, or "dismantling" programs. (though failure to reform those programs to free up dollars where they're needed -- ie on universal healthcare -- does play a role).

Posted by: Red on March 15, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Now what came first, people wanting to not have to deal with everyone else's problems or insulated subdivisions.

Posted by: Chad on March 15, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK
The problem is Black 'street culture' ...Posted by: McA
Racism, the lack of jobs, and families destroyed by a judicial system that is also racist at core. If you never heard of "white flight" look to Detroit, Chicago, New York and any American city. Posted by: Mike on March 15, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

It's certainly not anything to do with government spending too little on the middle class, or "dismantling" programs. (though failure to reform those programs to free up dollars where they're needed -- ie on universal healthcare -- does play a role).
Posted by: Red

Bingo. The upper-middle class mortgage interest deduction alone is $77B this year.

And when you look at transfer payments generally, you have to remember that part of the purpose is support demand.

I've always maintained that the first, and possibly primary, beneficiaries of welfare programs aren't the recipients of the payments per se but the over-whelmingly middle class people who get mostly well paid and secure government jobs to administer/manage them.

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

From a liberal Southerner's perspective.

1. The assumptions about Southern suburbia offered are wrong. In virtually all Southern cities home prices in desirable (read: "white") urban neighborhoods have become so high that most people move to suburbia not to get away from blacks, but to be able to afford a home. And that fact holds true for all people regardless of race. So I'm quite sure that the actual instances of segregation in Southern urban areas are worse than in Southern suburban areas. Specific facts - in my home town the downtown areas are exponentially more segregated than the suburbs. Real numbers: My downtown school district has two types of schools, those that are 75%/25% white/black, and those that are 99%/1% black/white. My suburban school district is ALL 55%/45% white black. The same is true of the neighborhoods themselves. Downtown is much more segragetd on a street-by-street basis than are the suburbs. These are facts, and I'm convinced that in modern Southen cities there is little to no connection between racism and suburbia.

2. Southern defensiveness at work here, but I'm also convinced that the South is no more inherently racist than any other part of the county. The issue is instead that, to the extent that we have racists (and we do, I will admit), they are more motivated by racial politics because they actually live and work and go to school with blacks. So the issue of black/white race relations actually matters in the South in ways that it doesn't in Maine, or Vermont, or rural Michigan, or wherever.

3. The missing element in most of these analyses, to my point of view, is Southern hostility to federal government. The South is a culture of indignation and resistance. This manifests itself in ways from the Southern sense of "honor" to the fact that, for example, a Southerner is MUCH more likely to identify with a State than with the United States. Anybody been is SC lately and seen the enormous amount of merchandise with the State flag on it? Do you see that in New York? And it's easy to say that the hostility to the federal government is another instance of racism, but after a lifetime in the South I think this confuses the symptom with the illness. The underlying issue is that the average white Southerner doesn't want the federal government dictating ANYTHING to him - and that plays out in civil rights, abortion, Title IX, whatever. I will tell you that you hear lots more talk about Sherman burning our cities than you do about Johnson making us go to school together.

4. Finally, there is not much more that can be said about this except that as a liberal in the South I am less patient than maybe I should be with non-Southerners telling us that we are red because of race. First, it is much more complicated than that. Second, it says NOTHING about Nebrasksa, or Idaho, or South Dakota, who are just as red as we are, and probably for lots of the same reasons. The great majority of my white republican friends here in SC got that way over cultural issues. To take a small example, I think you would find most of them much more inflamed over the fact that their kids can check out "The Rainbow Party" from the school library than they are that they share water fountains with blacks.

Posted by: In SC on March 16, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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