Saturday, July 10, 2004

Southern Strategies

The American Prospect TAPped blog comments "There's an intriguing article in next week's New Republic by John Judis, who argues that John Edwards points the way to a viable Democratic southern strategy -- contrary to those who argue that the South is dead to Democratic hopes Part of Judis' argument is practical: The Democrats can't afford to cede the Republicans 153 electoral votes and 22 Senate seats before the race even starts. But he also has a solution. Thanks to demographic shifts -- chiefly Latino immigration and the rise of idea-industry professional classes in southern suburbs -- Democrats in the region need no longer run as anti–national-party conservatives:

In the '80s, aspiring Southern Democratic politicians had to cobble together majorities by combining the black vote with the little that remained of white, working-class loyalty to Democrats. But the emergence of these new, post-industrial areas has provided Democrats a new potential base of support. At the same time, the national party's turn toward the center under Bill Clinton made it possible for Southern Democrats to court white, working-class voters without dissociating themselves from the national party.

Kenneth Baer has a differing view

The brilliance of the Edwards selection is not that he will enable Kerry to win states in the South (short of a landslide, they are still completely out of reach), but that he will help Kerry remain competitive in “southern” areas of non-southern states

Baer cites a very insightful study, Beyond Red and Blue, by Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth which break the country down into ten political regions. Most states are a mixture of two or more political regions.

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