The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, December 04, 2006

Love the South, or leave it?

Something that's been a hot topic of debate among progressives since the election is the whole issue of the South's love affair with Republicans. As with the whole "What's the Matter With Kansas" discussion, it's completely counter-intuitive. The very people who would benefit the most from Democratic government are casting their votes for Republicans who will worsen the very conditions that are pissing them off, especially economically.

This piece from TNR puts it pretty bluntly-- we should ditch the South because their alliance with the GOP stems from racism.

Schaller's book is Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South. Published this October, it argues, "The South is likely to become more Republican in the decades ahead," that Democrats can make and keep the Republicans a mere regional party, and that the best shot at a Democratic majority "in the immediate term is to consolidate electoral control over the Northeast and Pacific Coast blue states, expand the party's Midwestern margins, and cultivate the new-growth areas of the interior West." That's exactly how it went down November 7.

The American Prospect has a couple of articles looking at the GOP's "southern problem."

It's not just the values of the South that pose a problem. It is the region's appetite for government. The most solidly red states in the nation tend also to be the most reliant on federal handouts -- farm subsidies, water projects and sundry other earmarks. It's hard to be the party of small government when you represent the communities that benefit most from big government. George W. Bush tried to straddle this divide by pleasing libertarians with tax cuts and traditionalists with spending. The result is a huge deficit.

A lot of people are beginning to conclude that, although LBJ's observation that we've "lost the south for a generation" was an understatement, we might be reaching a point where it doesn't matter anymore.