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Southern Exposure: Dixie goes all Republican
The Weekly Standard ^ | The August 20, 2012 Issue | Fred Barnes

Posted on 08/11/2012 11:28:26 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

In 2010, the Alabama legislature went Republican for the first time in 136 years. In 2011, Republicans won the Mississippi statehouse and Louisiana’s legislature—for both, a first since Reconstruction. That leaves Arkansas as the Holdout State.

But Arkansas is wobbling. If its legislature falls to Republicans this year—the odds are 50-50 or better—all 11 states of the old Confederacy will be in GOP hands. And the political current that is transforming the South from a Democratic bastion into the bedrock of Republican strength nationally will be nearly complete.

In Arkansas, the ever-so-slow Republican trend accelerated in 2010. Republicans not only increased their state legislative seats by 50 percent, they also won two open U.S. House seats previously held by Democrats. This November, the one Democratic seat left (of the state’s four) is all but certain to be captured by Republican Tom Cotton, an Iraq war veteran.

And in 2014, Democratic senator Mark Pryor is sure to face a stiff Republican challenge. Thus, it was no coincidence that Pryor was the lone Senate Democrat to vote with Republicans in July to extend all the Bush tax cuts. He also voted twice with Democrats to limit the tax cuts to individuals earning less than $200,000 annually.

Beyond Arkansas, there’s more trouble for Democrats. Republicans, aided by adroit redistricting, are favored to oust the only white Democratic House member, John Barrow of Georgia, in the Deep South.

And in North Carolina, Democrats could lose as many as four House seats. Artful reapportionment by the newly elected Republican legislature (after 116 years of Democratic control) forced two Democratic House members to retire and left two others in Republican-tilting districts.

The rise of Republicans marks the end of white Democrats as the leading political force in the South. This is historic. For 125 years, white Democrats controlled statehouses across most of the region. In Washington, their role was pivotal because they chaired the most important Senate and House committees for decades. Nationally, since many of them were conservatives, they diluted the influence of the Democratic party’s dominant liberal wing.

Republicans made significant gains in the 1980 and 1994 landslides. But 2010 was different. Two things happened: State elections were nationalized, and white moderates joined conservatives in overwhelmingly voting for Republican House candidates. Exit polls showed a mere 17 percent of Southern whites identified as Democrats, 33 percent as Republicans. Whites voted 3-1 for Republicans.

No longer could white Democrats, whether conservatives or moderates, win elections by disassociating themselves from the national party. “The image of the state party became the image of the national party,” says Merle Black of Emory University. Black and his brother Earl are the leading historians of modern Southern politics.

“The Obama-Pelosi Democratic party just does not sell with many white Southerners,” Black says. In the Deep South, “the Democratic party has been reduced to African Americans, plus white liberals. That’s not close to a majority.”

Four of the six most conservative Democrats in the House lost in 2010. They had voted against Obamacare and the cap and trade energy bill. That didn’t save them.

In central Georgia, Democrat Jim Marshall, a four-term House member, was hawkish on defense. He was backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He outspent his Republican opponent, Austin Scott. But Scott won, 53 percent to 47 percent.

In Alabama, Bobby Bright, elected in 2008, had bucked his party’s leadership more than any other House Democrat. He, too, outspent his Republican opponent, Martha Roby, a 34-year-old Montgomery city council member. Bright had been a popular mayor of Montgomery, but he lost, 51 percent to 49 percent.

That one-term Democrat Travis Childers lost to Alan Nunnelee in Republican-leaning northern Mississippi was not a surprise. But the defeat of Democrat Gene Taylor, a 21-year incumbent, was. His seat had been considered one of the safest in the country. He lost to Republican Steven Palazzo, 52 percent to 47 percent.

John Barrow, however, survived the Republican wave in 2010. He easily won reelection, 57 percent to 43 percent, even after statehouse Republicans had taken Athens, his hometown, out of the district, forcing him to move to Savannah.

Republicans took another bite out of Barrow’s district, based on the 2010 census, by removing Savannah, forcing him to move again, to Augusta. In 2008, Barack Obama won 55 percent of the vote in the old district. In the new one, he would have gotten 45 percent. According to the Cook Political Report, the district changed from slightly Democratic (“D+1”) to strongly Republican (“R+10”).

Barrow is a shrewd candidate. In 2011, rather than vote for Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader, he voted for John Lewis, the African-American Democrat from Atlanta. (The district is one-third black.) But Republicans are determined to defeat him, and he’s likely to be outspent.

Arkansas still has a Democratic governor, Mike Beebe, but he’s term-limited (leaving in 2014) and unable to stem the Republican tide as Bill Clinton did. “As recently as three or four years ago, Arkansas wholly separated in-state politics from national politics,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist John Brummett wrote in July. “It found a way to reject national Democratic party liberalism while not assigning its local Democratic politicians any complicity.”

It was Obama, Brummett told me, “who tipped Arkansas to nationalized elections.” How? “By beating Hillary and paying no attention to Arkansas and not mobilizing our black vote and seeming a remote liberal.” Now there’s no turning back.

For the 2012 election, Bill Clinton will address the Democratic National Convention next month. However, “Arkansas voters are perfectly capable of listening to Clinton extol Obama and then continuing to fear and despise Obama,” Brummett says. And continuing to remake Arkansas as the last Southern state to turn Republican.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012; christianvote; democrats; dixie; elections; gop; realignment; republicans; southerndems
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To: manc
ah see, northern FL is still the old south.

I will concede that observation, especially as it applies to the Panhandle of Florida.

I wonder, though, about Jacksonville. Haven't been there in a long time. Have you? If so, what are your impressions?

41 posted on 08/11/2012 8:04:33 PM PDT by OldPossum
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To: OldPossum
live down the road in St Augustine St Johns county

and was there yesterday/ JAXis Conservative even if some from outside havemoved in but here is the rub for me and others.
They voted for a Dem which makes no sense seeing as the GOP won massive in 2010 They got a Dem mayor. Massive voter fraud it was and obama knows he lost the city. Many know it was fraud but the GOP did nothing and there is no way obama can carry the city or that area. Romney is in my town on Monday BTW.

42 posted on 08/11/2012 8:41:01 PM PDT by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)
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To: Jim Robinson

It already rose - and is doing measurably better than many of the other states.

43 posted on 08/11/2012 9:06:25 PM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

He wasn’t qualified to be a janitor.

44 posted on 08/11/2012 9:51:28 PM PDT by mozarky2 (Ya never stand so tall as when ya stoop to stomp a statist!)
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To: mozarky2
Indeed. That requires mixing chemicals, adherence to rules, hygiene and hard work, as well as dependability.
45 posted on 08/11/2012 10:16:06 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: central_va
It may be time for those 11 states to start planning their next escape attempt from the perverted USSA.

From your lips to God's ears. I believe the only way we will regain our freedoms & liberty, is when the 11 states (or better yet, 14-18 states, including some western states), secede from 0dumb0's socialist hell hole that he has put us in. I am voting for ABO (anybody but 0dumb0) with my vote for Romney, but even with the selection of Paul Ryan, neither Romney or the GOP reps & cowardly senator will have the gonads to repeal & nullify ANY of 0dumb0's socialist/marxist laws. The only way we will defeat & roll back any aspects of socialism is either with a new country, OR with American CW II and a complete purging of congress, the executive branch and the judicial branch....and complete nullification & repeal of the past 80 years of socialist laws from both parties.

Let either option begin!

46 posted on 08/11/2012 10:43:35 PM PDT by rcrngroup
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To: WKB; 2ndDivisionVet

To paraphrase you, WKB, you’ve always said, the South will save the Union.

Ironic, but true.

Thanks for the ping and post! I didn’t know about many of the stats in the article.

47 posted on 08/11/2012 11:47:14 PM PDT by dixiechick2000 (This hobbit is looking for her pitchfork...God help the GOP if I find it.)
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To: manc
Had one poster last night tell me VA and FL are not southern

VA is rapidly growing, with most of the growth in the northern part of the state and based very largely on DC government jobs and lobbying. Not hard to see why it would drift away from conservative principles.

FL is very different in different parts of the state.

Central FL (outside Orlando), the panhandle and Jacksonville are still Southern.

Tampa Bay area and Orlando are really more like southern CA than anything else. They're inhabited mostly by people from somewhere else.

SW Florida, Fort Myers and such, and SE coast north of Miami is retirees from all over, many NE liberals.

Miami itself is Latin American more than southern.

48 posted on 08/12/2012 3:59:15 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: manc

“...northern FL is still the old south.”

Even in the southern part of Florida, all you need to do is drive about 45 minutes inland and it’s very much like the old south too.

49 posted on 08/12/2012 4:02:24 AM PDT by MplsSteve (General Mills is pro-gay marriage! Boycott their products!)
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To: manc

Your area is gorgeous, having been there many times on my trips to FL.

And like you correctly point out, it is HEAVILY GOP (Praise The Lord)!!!

50 posted on 08/12/2012 6:53:32 AM PDT by GOPsterinMA (The Glove don't fit.)
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To: central_va

your right...BUT they tried before but were thwarted by a Dictator named Lincoln.

51 posted on 08/12/2012 7:36:16 AM PDT by BrianE ("Dead at 25 buried at 65 the average American" - Benjamin Franklin 1776)
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To: OldPossum
That is indeed true but one wonders if a lot of the oldtimers realize it.

No they don't and that is the sad part about it. Like you I know some older folk who continue to vote Democrat because that is what their families have always done. Ironically a number of these folk don't use modern technology (computers, email, smart phones) and many still watch the network evening news.
52 posted on 08/12/2012 7:44:05 AM PDT by TexanByBirth (Free Republic: where they may agree with the message, but they love to shoot the messenger!)
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To: All

exactly....invaded by Communists from non-Confederate states, it’s amazing what they do, for example we have relatives from WA state that over the years complained they have been invaded by Commies from Kalifornia, they moved in and drove the property values and taxes up considerably, and what the hell do they do? vote Commies into office in the area they move into.

Why did the Commies move out of their original area’s in the first place? crime? weather? high taxes? what do they do? bring their Commie ideas in their back pockets with them....unfreaking real.

And not only Floriduh and WaRshington, it’s been happening in MT, IN, MO, NC, TN and the Hill Country of TX just to name a few areas.

53 posted on 08/12/2012 8:09:03 AM PDT by BrianE ("Dead at 25 buried at 65 the average American" - Benjamin Franklin 1776)
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To: MplsSteve

very true

54 posted on 08/12/2012 8:50:24 AM PDT by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)
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To: GOPsterinMA

did you ever go to the chapel and the ovwer 200 foot cross?

A massive cross which the left cannot remove LOL.
The anniversary for the city ios coming up and the city is trying to get the Pope and the Queen of England and the Royal family from Spain.

It’s going to be a massive celebration and that would be a great time to take a vacation here if you ever get the time.

55 posted on 08/12/2012 8:53:02 AM PDT by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)
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To: Sherman Logan
agree with all of that.

The only area which is solid Dem is the south east of the state.
Maybe Tallahassee and Gainsville but Gainsville goes Dem because of the students there which I'm sure many vote here but also vote in their state they come from.

That is something our Gov needs to sort out, get rid of the snowbirds and others who use their vacation address or student address to vote here but then they vote up north too.

56 posted on 08/12/2012 8:59:07 AM PDT by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)
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To: rcrngroup

let the north join Canada especially the north, I for one would not lose one wink of sleep to see that liberal hell hole leave us alone.

57 posted on 08/12/2012 9:03:21 AM PDT by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)
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To: BrianE

got that right, to hear Beck, O, Reily etc we would think that he was the greatest man to have ever lived, funny how oabma tries to say he is like Lincoln but ignores the racist comments by Lincoln or closing down free speech etc.

58 posted on 08/12/2012 9:06:05 AM PDT by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)
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To: BrianE

what is it with these people who move into a state and then try and change their new state to make it look like th ehell hole they left.

The amount of times I;ve talked to a liberal Yankeee and asked themwhy they left.
The answer is always, taxes, weather, pollution, traffic, etc etc etc.

When I ask who made their taxes liek that etc they have no clue and ten we get onto who they vote for and it is always Dem’s.

They are totally ignorant or just flat ourt stupid, either way they’re like locusts who move, ruin the area and then move on again.

59 posted on 08/12/2012 9:10:44 AM PDT by manc (Marriage =1 man + 1 woman,when they say marriage equality then they should support polygamy)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
As a lifelong New Englander, I must say that I love the South. I visit down there frequently to visit family and as soon as I cross that Mason-Dixon line (you can tell because you start seeing Waffle Houses everywhere), the people get friendlier and the pace is just a little bit slower. People aren't as stressed-out and uptight all the time. I also prefer country music to the crap they play on the pop stations up here.

I'll hold out in New England as long as I can but it's nice to know there's a place to go. Don't worry, I won't be one of those northerners going down there to impose my city way of life - I'm leaving all that baggage behind!

Also, it will be nice to put Republican lawn signs in my yard without having to shine spotlights in my yard all night to keep the vandals away.

60 posted on 08/12/2012 9:19:27 AM PDT by SamAdams76
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