The GOP’s Southern Strategy is a fait accompli — white Democrats in Dixie are becoming as rare as the Louisiana black bear and the Gulf sturgeon. In a revealing — and depressing for the Charlie Melancons of the world — article, Associated Press writer Ben Evans surveys the carnage of Tuesday’s elections.
Democrats didn’t just see most of their recent gains obliterated, they lost at least 19 Southern House members and a senator, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. Even some of the most conservative Democrats such as four-term Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia and 10-term Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi couldn’t withstand the wave. It also snared such veterans as John Spratt of South Carolina, the 14-term chairman of the House Budget Committee, and 14-term Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia.
When the new Congress convenes in January, there will be at most 16 white Southern House members out of 105 seats in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Two races in Virginia and Kentucky were still too close to call, so the total could be as low as 14.
The setback continues a four-decade decline for Democrats in the South, where they once dominated. The slide began after the civil rights movement, when Republicans under President Richard Nixon began employing a Southern strategy to retake the region by appealing to white anger over desegregation. The GOP later highlighted liberal Democratic positions on social and welfare issues.
Read the full article here