Weird Arguments About Democrats and the South

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What is with this urge to invent alternative theories to white working class blowback over the Civil Rights Act as an explanation for the total Republican takeover of the South? That’s what it was!

This entry was posted in Elections, US House, US Senate.

7 Responses to Weird Arguments About Democrats and the South

  1. GDub says:

    I don’t deny that those days had a significant impact on the voting patterns of today, but 1964 was 50 years ago. That’s two generations of folks that had no personal experience with those days, but a lot of experience with some pretty significant social and economic changes.

    The real challenge is to explain how a state like North Carolina, with fast population growth over the last 20 years–particularly from the Northeast–and concentrations of traditional Democrat-friendly industries like finance and high tech, could actually perhaps be in a worse position for liberals than it was 20 years ago.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      I do think it would be difficult to explain how North Carolina is in a worse position for liberals today, largely because it is not in a worse position for liberals today. Obama won North Carolina in 2008 and lost it only narrowly in 2012. Republicans had a good year nationally in 2010, and they used their majorities largely to consolidate their power – for example, through one of the worst Voter ID laws in the country. And in spite of this, NC just reelected a Democratic Senator in a terrible midterm year for Democrats. It’s still very much a purple state, especially so due to districting and an inefficient concentration of Democratic voters in the big cities. But the fact that we’re talking about North Carolina as the northernmost Southern swing state, and not even so much Virginia anymore, is pretty impressive for liberals I think.

      • … NC just reelected a Democratic Senator in a terrible midterm year for Democrats.

        No, Kay Hagan lost. Also, too, the NC Democratic Party is a complete mess. So that doesn’t help.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          DErp, my bad. Still, the fundamentals for Dems aren’t actually that bad there. GOP strength is riding on an aberrant, and highly consequential, election year in 2010 that gave them control of redistricting. The state’s demographics are still shifting in a more cosmopolitan and diverse direction favorable to Democrats. And electorate changes catch up to demographic changes on a long lag.

  2. Tsuyoshi says:

    I do not see how North Carolina is in worse shape for liberals than in 1994…

    North Carolina votes for president, 1992: 42.65% Clinton, 43.44% Bush

    North Carolina votes for president, 2012: 48.35% Obama, 50.39% Romney

    So, Obama (a black Northerner) did… better than Clinton (a white Southerner)? Depends on what you think about the Perot vote, I guess.

    North Carolina senators in 1994: Jesse Helms (R) and Lauch Faircloth (R)

    North Carolina senators in 2014: Richard Burr (R) and Kay Hagan (D)

    Even though he is a Republican, I would argue that Burr is better than Helms or Faircloth were. I don’t really know anything about Tillis, who is replacing Hagan. Wikipedia says he started in politics advocating a bike lane (!?).

    But anyway, regarding the influx of new people to North Carolina, I think the old people are getting more Republican over time. You can favorably compare North Carolina (along with Virginia and Florida, other states in the South with lots of new people from the North) to Texas and Tennessee (which are getting lots of new people, but mostly from other states in the South). I think North Carolina is in decent shape, with the new people offsetting the increasing conservatism of the old people.

    If the North Carolina Democratic Party were a complete mess, it would not surprise me. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party, in a state that is significantly more Democratic than North Carolina, is surprisingly incompetent.

  3. GDub says:

    Well, other than a disagreement about whether a Senator won or lost (she lost), everyone seems to try have great reasons for losing.

    “Old people are getting more Republican”–come on? Turnout–blah blah blah. These are all wonderful reasons for someone else getting more votes.

    Using the 2008 election (not even close for a number of external reasons) is bad enough, but comparing a loss in 2012 with the 1992 election (there was a significant third party candidate that year, young people) obviously masks a lot of problems.

    In statewide offices in the last 20 years, the Terry Sanford brand of Democrat has pretty much lost out, despite all the demographic changes. I don’t think you can blame that on 1964.