Book Review:Blue Dixie
Bob Moser, Blue Dixie: Awakening the South’s Democratic Majority. This is a fascinating read. Ever since Nixon’s “Southern strategy” of 1968, Republicans have had a strong advantage in the U.S. South. So much has this been the case that Democratic strategists have focused on ways to win the U.S. presidency without the South–by turning the Mountain West and Southwest into the new swing states. This was key to Barack Obama’s victory this year, but he also won Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida and did better than expected in Georgia. Moser argues that because of increasing population, the South will soon have more Electoral College votes (provided we can’t amend the Constitution to finally get rid of this relic of the 18th C.) than the Northeast and Midwest together. Therefore, Democrats cannot simply ignore Dixie and expect to continue to be presidentially viable. (Of course, the GOP has a bigger problem since it currently is dominant ONLY in the South.)
Moser argues that Democrats can be competitive in th eSouth without compromising core progressive principles. His case is mostly convincing. The Institute for Southern Studies has long argued the same thing in different fashion. The ISS’s report, New South Rising, challenges pundits like Lyle Schaller who want to write off the South as “irrelevant” and permanently backward. As a liberal Son of Dixie in a state that McCain won handily (Kentucky also voted twice for Bush, but voted for Clinton twice, too), I cheered Obama’s victories in VA, NC, and FL, and the whisker loss in MO. But if we are to put the rest of the South in play for progressive policies, we have our work cut out for us. Much of the South went MORE conservative in a year when most of the nation moved left.
Bob Moser gives us many clues as to how to awaken “Blue Dixie.”
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