In The Wake Of Midterm Losses, Some On The Left Say Democrats Should Write Off The South

Some on the left are suggesting Democrats should write off the South for the foreseeable future, but that would be as foolish as Republicans assuming that their dominance in the region will last as long as Democratic dominance did in the century after the Civil War.

Us_south_census

Mary Landrieu’s decisive loss in the Louisiana Senate Runoff on Saturday, which came as no real surprise to anybody, marked something of a sea change for Democrats in what was, until just a generation ago, their party’s ultimate power base. Landrieu’s seat, for example, had been held by a succession of Democrats for 132 years before her loss, and her departure at the end of the 113th Congress will mean that there will not be a single Democratic Senator in the Deep South and only one one Democratic Senator south of Virginia. Outside of the Senate level, Democrats aren’t doing much better in their old stronghold, with state legislatures and Governor’s Mansions in nearly all of these states either completely or mostly in the hands of Republicans and seemingly unlikely to shift back any time in the near future. As, The Wall Street Journal put it, come January the South will be something akin to a “Democrat free zone,” controlling 101 of the 138 seats in the House of Representatives coming out of the region, and every Governor’s Mansion from Maryland down to Florida, with the exception of Virginia, which Democrats only narrowly won in 2013, and Kentucky, which will be up in 2015.1 By contrast, as John Cassidy points out, when John F. Kennedy took office Democrats controlled all 22 Senate seats and 99 of the region’s 105 seats in the House. Even before Landrieu’s loss was official, pundits such as Nate Cohn and Ben Jacobs were noting what some have come to call the end of the Southern Democrat, blaming the loss of what used to be the Democratic Party’s power base both in Congress and in Presidential election on a combination of population shifts, cultural shifts, and, at the Congressional level, Gerrymandering that made it hard for Democrats to compete for House seats in states where they used to be able to win easily.

All of this has led to something of a debate among pundits on the left about how Democrats should respond to the loss of what is not only its historic power base but also the fastest growing region of the country. Michael Tomasky is among those saying that Democrats need to give up on the South, at least for now, as he stated in Daily Beast column on Monday:

With Landrieu’s departure, the Democrats will have no more senators from the Deep South, and I say good. Forget about it. Forget about the whole fetid place. Write it off. Let the GOP have it and run it and turn it into Free-Market Jesus Paradise. The Democrats don’t need it anyway.

Actually, that’s not quite true. They need Florida, arguably, at least in Electoral College terms. Although they don’t even really quite need it—what happened in 2012 was representative: Barack Obama didn’t need Florida, but its 29 electoral votes provided a nice layer of icing on the cake, bumping him up to a gaudy 332 EVs, and besides, it’s nice to be able to say you won such a big state. But Florida is kind of an outlier, because culturally, only the northern half of Florida is Dixie. Ditto Virginia, but in reverse; culturally, northern Virginia is Yankee land (but with gun shops).

So Democrats still need to care about those two states, at least in presidential terms. And maybe you can throw in North Carolina under the right circumstances. And at some point in the near future, you’ll be able to talk about Georgia as a state a Democrat can capture. And eventually, Texas, too.

But that’s presidential politics. At the congressional level, and from there on down, the Democrats should just forget about the place. They should make no effort, except under extraordinary circumstances, to field competitive candidates. The national committees shouldn’t spend a red cent down there. This means every Senate seat will be Republican, and 80 percent of the House seats will be, too. The Democrats will retain their hold on the majority-black districts, and they’ll occasionally be competitive in a small number of other districts in cities and college towns. But they’re not going win Southern seats (I include here with some sadness my native West Virginia, which was not a Southern state when I was growing up but culturally is one now). And they shouldn’t try.

Tomasky reiterated that point in a column that went up yesterday in which he addresses the fourth element of Republican control of politics in the South, namely the parties near-total majority control of state legislatures in these states:

I’m willing to pretend for a couple of paragraphs that it might be possible. Were it possible, the effort would require many, many millions of dollars over many years. It’s a 30-year project, easy. Now, if some rich Southern liberals want to finance and coordinate such an effort, great. Good luck to them. But if you’re telling me that the national Democratic Party should invest its finite resources into so long-shot a project as flipping the Louisiana state legislature so that it can pick up at best two House seats, I say that’s not corn silk in that pipe of yours.

And this brings us to the dilution of brand issue. Even if Democrats were to attempt to win back these kinds of seats, what sorts of candidates would they be putting up for office? On virtually every important issue, they will run against their national party. They’ll attack Obamacare. They’ll oppose or at best contort on same-sex marriage. They’ll “talk tough” on immigrants and oppose “amnesty.” They’ll be against gun background checks. They’ll strain to reassure the Southern white voter at every turn that they aren’t Pelosi Democrats or Obama Democrats or what have you.

It’s healthy for the Democratic Party to have a liberal wing and a moderate wing. Even Jesse Jackson used to say it takes two wings to fly. So I’m all for that, believe me. But I’m not for a party in which three-quarters of its elected leaders are for A, B, and C, and one quarter are implacably opposed to A, B, and C. That is a recipe for not standing for anything at all—and for not getting anything done because the votes can’t be rounded up.

Instead of trying to win back the South, at least for the time being, Tomasky argues in favor of using Democratic majorities in other parts of the country to concentrate on winning control of Congress and the White House and then using that power to “help” the people of the South supposedly being victimized by the Republicans in charge at the State Legislative, Gubernatorial, Congressional, and Senate levels. One problem with this strategy, of course, is that political abandonment of the South means, potentially, the abandonment of some 190 Electoral Votes, or at least the 148 that doesn’t include the two southern states that President Obama has managed to win in the last two Presidential election. Much as Republicans have been foolish to abandon the Northeast and West Coast, that would be a foolish strategy that could end up making winning national elections harder for Democrats in the future than recent experience would indicate. That’s not to say that Democrats should invest money in trying to win elections in the South that they clearly aren’t going to win any time in the near future, but it does suggest that Tomasky’s somewhat smug manner of writing off an entire region of the country is being suggested more as a fit of pique than a rational political strategy that has been thought through to the its logical end.

In many senses, Tomasky’s two columns seem to reflect not so much an analysis of the political consequences of what has happened in the South over the past two generations and what the Democratic Party can and should do about it as it does a fit of anger against the American South itself and a repetition of many of the same dismissive arguments we have seen from people on the left when addressing the fact that the region has become far more conservative than it used to be. In other forums, you can see the attitude reflected in far starker and more insulting terms as writers dismiss the American South with terms such as “Jesusland” and make the assertion that there is little difference between the South of 2014 and the South as it existed during the Jim Crow era an assertion that is quite simply false even if one recognizes the faults that still exist in the South, along with other parts of the United States. To listen to some people on the left, the South is full of little more than ignorant, Confederate flag waving, country music listening, gun toting, beer swilling rednecks. Some of this, of course, reflects the fact that there are certainly significant cultural differences between the South and other parts of the country, differences that interestingly seem to continue to persist notwithstanding the influx of transplants from elsewhere in the United States, but much of it seems to be part of the hyperpartisanship that has become a part of American politics. Because the South has become so heavily Republican, Democrats and others on the left feel the need to demean and insult the entire region much as people on the right feel inclined to do the same with regard to heavily Democratic areas in the Northeast, or indeed pretty much the entire state of California. In addition to be kind of silly in and of itself, it’s something that doesn’t strike me as politically smart because, if there is ever going to be a Democratic comeback in the South, or a Republican resurgence in California, it’s going to be much harder if there’s a record of people on either side of the political spectrum having spent years demeaning the very voters you are likely going to need to woo back in the future. In other words, the fact that people disagree with you politically shouldn’t be seen as a reason to demean and insult them, but to find a way to persuade them to change their minds.

That brings us to a final note involving an argument that John Cassidy, Harry Enten, and Jonathan Bernstein all make in their responses to the arguments that Tomasky and others have made about the Democratic future in the South. Democrats dominated politics in the South for more than a century, but it is unlikely that Republicans will see their near-total control in the region last nearly that long. Already, in states such as Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and Florida, there are signs that areas that have been heavily Republican for decades now are, at the very least shifting purple. To a large degree, this is is due to population shifts as people from the Midwest and Northeast move South and bring at least some of their political beliefs with them. The areas where these populations tend to end up, such as Northern Virginia and the Metropolitan Atlanta area, are fast becoming the political centers of their respective states, and making those states far friendlier to Democrats than they might otherwise be. These facts should stand as warning to Democrats and Republicans alike. For Democrats, the message is that giving up on the South entirely as Tomasky suggests, or dismissing the entire region in the manner that some who live in the Northeast and on the West Coast seem inclined to, would be to give up on political opportunities that could develop far sooner than they might otherwise expect. For Republicans, it stands as a warning not to rest on their laurels. They have admittedly scored some impressive political victories throughout the South, but those victories could slip away if the party ignores the fact that the South is changing just as much as the rest of America is changing. If the GOP doesn’t change along with it, the party will find itself let out in the cold no matter how warm the temperature might be in Dixie.

1 There are also Democratic Governors and one Democratic Senator each in Missouri and West Virginia to the extent that one considers those two states to be part of “the South,” which is a topic for another blog post not entirely relevant to this discussion.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Guarneri says:

    “In other words, the fact that people disagree with you politically shouldn’t be seen as a reason to demean and insult them, but to find a way to persuade them to change their minds.”

    You mean you shouldn’t accuse “them” of defensively clinging to their Bibles and guns? Tell “them “the only reason you got crushed in an election is that they are stupid?? And that the whole lot of “them” are most assuredly racist to the core? Good god, Billy Bob.

    If I didn’t know any better I’d say the lefts comfort in demeaning “them” says much more about the lefts intelligence and intolerance than those “icky” people with grits dripping from their mouths……..

  2. legion says:

    I think, until the gerrymandering can be undone, it’s pretty much a waste of money. Polls and popular support don’t matter if the effect of your vote can be dissolved by your address.

  3. JKB says:

    @Guarneri: those “icky” people with grits dripping from their mouths……..

    The only people with grits dripping from their mouths are those Liberals when they learn the Polenta is Italian for Grits.

  4. Guarneri says:

    @JKB:

    Maybe they can hire a Harvard professor to correct this blatant and devastating blow to our truth in advertising sensibilities. I know I’d sleep better at night.

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Outside of a few limited examples in swing districts, it would largely be a waste of resources for Dems to pursue Southern seats, and politically counterproductive given the current environment.

    Better to allow the GOP to be stuck with the millstone around its neck that the South has become. More than any other region of the country, the South is largely still reactionary and extremist. The GOP made the same Faustian deal that the Dems made for years in pursuing Southern votes – now they get to reap the fruits of that pact.

    Getting themselves out of the box they have put themselves into will involve allowing their more libertarian and Chamber of Commerce members to cross the aisle & cut workable deals – or they can continue to allow Southern bomb throwers to define their policy agenda. Either one of those choices benefits Dems in the long term analysis.

  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    @JKB:

    Ok, you’ve said a lot of f*cking stupid things on this site, but this takes the cake.

    Polenta is made from whole ground corn meal (ie, finely ground) reconstituted with water or broth into a soft substance, often called “mush” that is either eaten immediately after cooking, or cooled, sliced into cakes, and pan fried.

    Grits are course-ground and made from corn that has been treated with a lye solution, similar to the way hominy is produced.

    If you are going to try insult someone for their ignorance, try not to be so damned ignorant while you do it.

  7. al-Ameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    You mean you shouldn’t accuse “them” of defensively clinging to their Bibles and guns?

    They have every right to cling to their guns and bibles, after all they won the Civil War. The next time the South wants to secede, we should be more accommodating and let them go.

  8. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Don’t waste your time. Southerners are equipped soon after birth with gigantic chips on their shoulders. It’s the mother of all self-righteous inferiority complexes.

  9. JKB says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    What millstone?

    Here’s look into the demographics of those who recently elected this Senator from SC. The go find a picture of the soon to be sworn in Senator.

    Not to mention, on college campuses across this country there is a concerted effort to roll back the era of “free love” with Democrat totally-controlled California leading the way. Oh, you can throw up gay marriage but given recent court cases, that is a done deal just like baby killing, er, abortion. Lots of hot air on the issues but little to be done except on the fringes. On the other hand, there is an existential threat to the 2nd amendment and the right to keep and bear arms is very important in this time of riot and, apparently, unaccountable (government) police.

    And why are Yankees and other misguided Liberals moving South? Same reason Blacks are and Southerners aren’t moving to the NE, JOBS. Texas is the reason Obama can claim there have been jobs added to the country since he took office. Without Texas, it’s all negative.

  10. JKB says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    That’s funny, but you really should point out that traditionally grits are made with dent CORN and polenta is made with flint CORN. Both stone ground, but the flint corn is ground finer.

    They are not like the same thing at all, especially after the dent corn is treated with lye to make more of the nutrients available for human digestion.

    Not the same at all. As different at prosciutto and country ham.

  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    Neil, see above. Any criticism of the South is met with vociferous and lengthy explanations of why the South doesn’t, colloquially speaking, suck.

    That they completely miss the original point is just an added benefit.

    For your benefit, JKB, the millstone refers not to race. In fact it has nothing to do with race. It has to do with a culture that is, in a variety of ways, 180 degrees in opposition to much of the rest of the country.

    It’s a millstone for one reason – in order to get elected there, you have to pursue policy positions that put you at a decided political disadvantage with respect to the rest of the country. For example – see: “Mitt Romney”.

    The layout of the Republican primary season puts a great deal of early weight on the crazies lying on the far right fringes of the party’s base, and a good sized chunk of those crazies live in the South. Together, they force your more moderate candidates to track much further to the right than they (or indeed the party) would like to be, and that paints you with a dreaded “extremist” label in regions elsewhere where you need moderates to win. The South, or more aptly put the apparent compulsion in Republican party circles to pander to the ideological whims of Southern voters, puts your party into a box.

    Speaking honestly, I couldn’t care less if Republicans hold the South for decades. I honestly hope that they do.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    We ought to just let them take their confederate flags and secede .
    They are a net drag on the rest of us anyway.
    Good luck to them .

  13. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    Polenta is made from corn meal. Grits are made from the coarse germ of the corn kernel.

    In other words, polenta is made from the more valuable and nutritious endosperm of the corn kernel. Grits were historically the waste product of milling – i.e.e what was left over after the desirable parts had been collected.

    Short version – a cheap, subsistence food source for the poor …

  14. stonetools says:

    Let me repeat one of my popular tweets:

    Parties that embrace white supremacy dominate the South: parties that oppose white supremacy lose in the South.

    Start there, and understand what the compromises the modern Democrats would have to engage in to win back the South. I think, Doug that you kind of skip over all that when you talk about “cultural differences.”It’s a heck of a lot more than talking about accents, music, food and churchgoing.

    And this brings us to the dilution of brand issue. Even if Democrats were to attempt to win back these kinds of seats, what sorts of candidates would they be putting up for office? On virtually every important issue, they will run against their national party. They’ll attack Obamacare. They’ll oppose or at best contort on same-sex marriage. They’ll “talk tough” on immigrants and oppose “amnesty.” They’ll be against gun background checks. They’ll strain to reassure the Southern white voter at every turn that they aren’t Pelosi Democrats or Obama Democrats or what have you.

    Isn’t Tomasky simply right on this? I’m all for a big tent, but not for one that sanctions bigotry against minorities, gays, and immigrants. That’s the kind of tent the Democrats would have to build in order to win back the South, on top of re-embracing white supremacy. Include me out of that tent.

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @legion: I think, until the gerrymandering can be undone, it’s pretty much a waste of money. Polls and popular support don’t matter if the effect of your vote can be dissolved by your address.

    Yeah, that damned gerrymandering letting the Republicans rig the elections for Senate seats and Governorships…

  16. superdestroyer says:

    @legion:

    When the Republicans are getting 80% of the white vote in a state like Alabama, how much does the district lines matter? If the automatic Democratic Party voters were moved around to win more districts, the blacks would lose their CBC districts.

  17. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: Parties that embrace white supremacy dominate the South: parties that oppose white supremacy lose in the South.

    Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, and Tim Scott are most likely too polite to tell you what you really, really need to hear…

  18. Franklin says:

    @JKB:

    The only people with grits dripping from their mouths are those Liberals when they learn the Polenta is Italian for Grits.

    I gave that a thumb’s up for humor. I don’t care who you are.

    Note: I also gave Neil a thumb’s up for simply educating us further.

  19. JKB says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You are very confused about grits and polenta. In fact, hominy grits, what is mostly found today are more nutritious than the untreated corn meal used in polenta as the treatment with alkali makes the niacin available. Now, it is true that polenta was made with other types of meal before maize/corn was introduced to Europe.

    But if you disagree, you should run over an fix Wikipedia:
    “Grits are similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world such as polenta. ”

    I would accept that before the use of mechanical mills, the grits were the large screens, while the finer flour is used as masa, which is used in tortillas, etc. by indigenous American cultures

  20. Neil Hudelson says:

    @JKB:
    Considering flint corn flourishes in cold climates, and is rarely produced in large quantities outside of North America, I have I hard time believing that that is the corn of choice for Italians.

    I’m also sure you are aware that “dent” corn its just a colloquial term for approximately 95 percent of the corn used in milling and the term bears no real relationship with food choices (we can quibble about starch content if you want, but it won’t help your polenta/grits argument one bit.)

    You really shouldn’t be arguing grits with the son of a grain armer who moved to South Carolina

  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    It leads one to wonder why South Carolina requires, by law, that grits be enriched.

    You, as usual, are missing the broader point – grits represent a staple of the diet of those who consume them in a way that polenta does not. SC evidently got that memo.

    Short version – a whole lot of those people eating grits did so because they had to for lack of anything else. Polenta? Eh, boring side dish that nobody really eats.

    Today? Eh, it falls into the same reflexive reaction you guys evince to pretty much every imagined insult or slight. Evidently, you guys can’t get past being consumed with the idea that somewhere, someone who went to Harvard might be snickering at you.

    (see above for “mother of all self-righteous inferiority complexes”. You are unwittingly making my point for me …)

  22. JKB says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You know Southerners, we can’t do anything right. Supposedly we are all about White supremacy but elect Indian-American governors, the first Black senator since reconstruction (with overwhelming White vote and just a minority of the Black vote), Black Congressmen. Geez, it’s almost like White voters in the Southern elections didn’t judge the candidates by the color of their skin.

    But what can you expect, some here have trouble with the concept of porridge made from ground corn and regional similarities and differences

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Sort of makes you wonder why he calls himself “Bobby” instead of going by his actual name – Piyush.

    Likewise Nimrata Randhawa calling herself “Nikki”.

    I’m reminded of “Dave”, almost certainly in India, who answered the phone when I called about the warranty on our dishwasher.

    Are they saying that Southerners wouldn’t have elected them unless they adopted Anglo sounding names?

  24. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JKB:

    Why is it that, despite your constant whining about how the South has moved on with respect to race, you are the only person on this thread talking about race?

  25. charon says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Speaking honestly, I couldn’t care less if Republicans hold the South for decades. I honestly hope that they do.

    Plenty of people live in the South without either liking or supporting the local politics or religion. Sometimes, things like jobs keep people where they would otherwise not like to be.

    What about them – just their tough luck?

  26. anjin-san says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    somewhere, someone who went to Harvard might be snickering at you.

    I am pretty sure there are state college and JC alumni snickering at JKB as well…

  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @charon:

    They get to vote too, and if they dislike the stranglehold that the crazies have on their local & state politics, I’d suggest that they exercise that right.

    Or simply move to a state that isn’t stuck in 1855.

    Life’s filled with choices …

  28. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Google “tokenism” . You’ll learn something.

  29. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    the first Black senator since reconstruction (with overwhelming White vote and just a minority of the Black vote)

    Heh. I wonder why that is? Do you think it’s possible that black voters understand that he wouldn’t be representing THEM?
    I guess they’re probably too dumb to figure out who would be acting in their best interest.
    For the record, as long as there has been white supremacy, there have been minorities prepared to do the supremacists’ bidding for private gain. See also Clarence “Uncle” Thomas.

  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Speaking more to Doug’s original piece, it’s a fool’s errand in my opinion for Dems to focus on regaining the South, because the underlying conflict here isn’t political. Politics serves as a proxy for a deeper problem, which I alluded to above.

    This is (and indeed has been for decades now) primarily a cultural conflict. Society has progressed beyond a point with which social conservatives can reconcile themselves, and they are reflexively lashing out about that.

    Much of the anger (again, IMO) we see being lobbed from the far right devolves to rage at the realization that ascendency to political power has not resulted (indeed, will never result) in their parallel (and expected) gain of cultural power. The Bircher of 2014 is angry about the same things that the Bircher of 1955 was angry about. The names have changed, but the song remains the same.

    The GOP can not provide a political solution to what is essentially a psychological problem, and deep down those Birchers on the fringes of the party recognize that they have already lost the culture war, hence the fact that they have reacted psychologically like every other minority which found itself on the losing end of the stick – they have taken the stereotype used to define them, pushed it to the extreme and now wear it as a badge of honor.

    Short version – the problem of the South is the Southerner. Until he wants to come out of the corner and join the rest of us in 2014 (which no political party can force him to do), there is nothing to be gained by trying to talk him into doing it, which is what Dems would effectively be doing. It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of money, so why bother?

  31. danimal says:

    Dems shouldn’t write off the South, but they should consider winning the South a generational effort. Dems need to run as Dems and not as moderates, or Blue Dogs or antagonistic opponents of liberal elites. They need to stand up proudly and fight for progressive ideals that are not currently popular. Running away from national Dems won’t win Southern Dems leverage any more and they will be viewed as suspect coalition partners at best. If Dems follow this advice, they will lose in the immediate future, but the American people (even the Southern variety) respect conviction and courage. Standing up to Republican bullying tactics will gain grudging respect, and slowly votes. A re-imagined Democratic party can, and should be rebuilt. There is little more to lose at this time.

  32. EddieInCA says:

    I was born and raised in NYC and Los Angeles.

    However, the last seven years, I’ve been living and working in Georgia, Lousisana, and Texas.

    Georgia – You get 15 miles outside the center of Atlanta, and it’s still 1845 as far as the mentality is concerned. I heard the word “n**ger” spoken by white people more times in one week in Covington, GA than I did in 10 years in Los Angeles or NYC. Try to find a integrated table at a restaurant in Georgia outside the Atlanta Metro area. You won’t. The restaurant is integrated, but there won’t be one table that has a mix of black and white sitting together. You have poor whites in Georgia who have multiple, out of wedlock babies, and are living on public assistance in Georgia, railing against “Welfare Moms” and “Damn Obamacare”, without the slightest trace of irony. It’s all about that “n**ger” in the White House who “thinks he’s a damn king”.

    Lousiana – See Georgia, except it’s even worse.

    Texas – Lots of new jobs. All low wage. An economy built on Oil, which is being badly affected by the drop in oil prices.

    Bottom line. I have more in common with Canadians in Vancouver, and Brits in London, and Frenchmen in Paris than I do with most people from the South of the USA.

  33. gVOR08 says:

    @danimal: The split seems to be as much urban/rural as North/South. As the South urbanizes, there should be opportunity for Democrats, as is already the case in VA, FL, and TX. And you are completely correct, they cannot win as Republican Lite. The Democrats need to be, and be seen as, the party that represents the whole country, not just the economic elite already well represented by the Republicans. The 99% v the 1% (really the 99.99 v some of the .01). It shouldn’t be that hard to do this and retain control of the political middle that the Republicans have abandoned.

    You’re correct that it will take generations for many Southern/rural people to move away from focusing on cultural/racial issues, but there are gains that can be made now.

  34. Ben Wolf says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Outside of a few limited examples in swing districts, it would largely be a waste of resources for Dems to pursue Southern seats, and politically counterproductive given the current environment.

    One wins by attacking their enemies’ strengths, not focusing on their weaknesses. Your proposal leaves Democrats on the permanent defensive, locked in a siege mentality that will ultimately be self-defeating.

    The party could win back the working class white vote if it would represent their economic interests. I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  35. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: I’ve got a really bad memory for names and stuff, so forgive me if I’m wrong, but haven’t you done this anti-racist racism before? IIRC, you think that a black person who denies your politics is denying their race. It’s ugly.

  36. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    You know Southerners, we can’t do anything right. Supposedly we are all about White supremacy but elect… the first Black senator since reconstruction

    Um, there have already been other black Senators since Reconstruction — Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, Carol Mosely Braun and Barack Obama of Illinois, and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

    Refuting the argument that you can’t do anything right would have been strengthened had you gotten this simple fact right.

  37. EddieInCA says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Ben –

    In what way does the GOP represent the economic interests of working class whites?

    Seriously. What policy specifically?

    When the GOP gets to enact is policies, it’s screw unions, give big corporations more tax breaks, attack reproductive rights, lower environmental regulations, lessen liability for corporate malfeasance. What else do they offer that, specifically, would help working class whites?

    You know what would help working class whites?
    Stronger unions.
    Better workplace safety regulations.
    Minimum Wage indexed to cost of living increases yearly.
    That’s just for starters.

    All items actively opposed by the GOP.

    So what policy would help?

  38. Ben Wolf says:

    @EddieInCA:

    In what way does the GOP represent the economic interests of working class whites?

    Seriously. What policy specifically?

    What relevance do these questions have to my comment?

    You know what would help working class whites?
    Stronger unions.
    Better workplace safety regulations.
    Minimum Wage indexed to cost of living increases yearly.

    The Democratic Party does not support these policies and hasn’t for quite some time. There hasn’t been a major push on these things in decades, nor are they necessarily in the interests of the working classes.

  39. gVOR08 says:

    @Pinky: In all fairness, @stonetools: didn’t bring race explicitly into this, JKB did. And he did it with the stereotypical conservative expectation that Blacks will automatically vote for a Black candidate. Stone didn’t say Tim Scott doesn’t represent his politics, he pointed out that Black voters apparently decided Scott doesn’t represent their politics. Treating Blacks as individuals is not racist. Lumping them together and expecting them to all conform to your expectation is.

  40. EddieInCA says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    I’ll rephrase the question then.

    What policies – by either party – would help working class whites?

    Go ahead. Let me read them.

  41. Todd says:

    I don’t think it’s a case of necessarily “writing off” the south, as much of a case of now being free from the need to make decisions based on the need to “protect” southern candidates/incumbents. Just look at the run up to the mid-term election. There were several policies, specifically the immigration executive order that were not announced until after the election. These policies might have helped drive Democratic turnout, and possibly saved some marginal down-ticket seats. But they were delayed almost certainly at the behest of Senators such as Mark Pryor and Mary Landrieu who were destined to lose anyway. Looking a little further back, some of the worst “compromises” in the PPACA were done to please conservative Democrats such as Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson … who also lost their next elections anyway.

    When demographics get to the point that Democrats can win in the south with actual Democrats, as opposed to people who would be Republicans in any other section of the country, that’s when the national party should start investing in the south again.

  42. Todd says:

    Just to be clear about that last paragraph. Democrats should still run the type of candidates who have a chance of winning in the south. However, since every election seems to be nationalized these days, the party should not make strategic decisions based on the desires of candidates who won’t even say whether or not they voted for the President of their own party.

  43. Ben Wolf says:

    @EddieInCA: Altering the capital/labor income ratio, reforming corporate governance, getting serious about white collar prosecution, suspension or abolition of FICA, a Jobs Guarantee, increasing minimum Social Security payouts, establishing medical savings accounts with annual federal deposits for each citizen, a national debt-relief program, block grants to states based on population, ending the ongoing privatization of government services, throttling back the revolving door of lobbyists, negotiating college tuition rates rather than handing out whatever universities want, empowering Medicare to negotiate prices and expanding it while rolling back the Medicaid-related portion of the ACA, elimination of corporate taxation, breaking up systemically dangerous banks (JPMorgan, Goldman, Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc.), breaking up Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and TimeWarner, greater control and supervision of the Federal Reserve, limiting futures contracts to real transactions, forbidding originators from selling debt, requiring all derivatives to be traded on transparent exchanges with leverage caps, separating investment banking from commercial banking, repealing burdensome regulations from smaller businesses impacted by laws targeting large firms (Dodd-Frank), giving small banks better access to Federal Reserve lending (they currently operate at a significant price disadvantage to large players).

    I can go on.

  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    No, my proposal has Dems focusing limited resources on those areas where they will be of the most benefit. That is not, by anybody’s estimation, remotely the South. It’s a brutal cost/benefit analysis.

    Anywhere else outside of Jesusland, I would and do agree with you, but in regard to that area we’re talking about people who can, and do, vote against their own economic self-interest based on social or religious factors. That’s pretty much the definition of a fanatic. They don’t negotiate – they get what they want or they lob bombs in your direction.

    I’d much rather those bombs keep falling on the GOP, thanks, because one of two things eventually happens if they do – either the GOP wises up and starts throwing the far righters under the bus in order to save itself, or the rest of the country throws the GOP under the bus if it fails to do so. Either one of those options benefits us and crushes the nutjobs.

  45. EddieInCA says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Okay. So a combination of Rand Paul’s policies and Elizabeth Warren’s.

    Gotcha.

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I really didn’t believe it until now, but I am starting to suspect that the people who talk about the GOP being about “white supremacy” and how great a threat racism is today are serious.

    I was all set to go into a full mockery of that, and I still might, but instead I’ll give these Race Warriors a fresh target, some big-time racists who wield a great deal of financial and political power. They were recently caught exchanging e-mails where they speculated about President Obama’s favorite movies of the past few years. Among the titles suggested: 12 Years A Slave, Django Unchained, The Butler, Think Like A Man, and Ride-Along.

    They’re a couple of big Hollywood Democratic donors.

  47. Grewgills says:

    @JKB:
    You either don’t know grits or don’t know polenta if you think they are the same. They often have the same basic ingredients*, but they are not the same food.

    * Ingredients for polenta vary.

    Neil Hudelson beat me to it.

  48. Grewgills says:

    @EddieInCA:
    I have the inverse experience. I was raised in Birmingham, AL and have lived my adult life on the West Coast or further West with a few years in Europe. I have lived for a few months at a time back in Alabama since, but not for more than three months at a stretch since I left at 19. There are people I love there, but I can’t abide the politics or some elements of the culture. That said, you are far too dismissive of the changes that have happened in the South in the past 50+ years. 1845, seriously? Pick up a history book and read what was happening in 1845, Hell even read what was happening in 1965. There is still far too much religion in politics, racism (overt and covert), homophobia, and resentment over waning white male Christian privilege, but let’s be a bit more realistic in our assessments.

  49. Grewgills says:

    @JKB:

    White supremacy but elect Indian-American governors, the first Black senator since reconstruction …

    The first black senator elected in a confederate state since reconstruction. You do realize our current president was in the senate prior to this past mid-term don’t you?

  50. stonetools says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Anywhere else outside of Jesusland, I would and do agree with you, but in regard to that area we’re talking about people who can, and do, vote against their own economic self-interest based on social or religious factors.

    I’ve referenced several time the case of a white Kentuckian ( Ms. Evans), who has benefited from Obamacare by getting medical care that she would not have gotten absent Obamacare. Who did she vote for? Mitch McConnell, who is dedicated to abolishing Obamacare.
    Now how the h3ll do Democrats appeal to a voter like that? Or this guy:

    Broussard has all kinds of problems with the law itself — that it’s wrong to force people to buy insurance, that it will make businesses hire less. But there’s something else that bothers him: The law is the signature achievement of a man Broussard never wanted to see become president.

    “I don’t vote for black people, lady,” he says. “No, ma’am. I don’t vote for black people. They got their place, I got my place. That’s the way I was raised.”

    Hey, at least he was honest. I’d like Doug or any of the various posters who think the Democrats should keep sinking resources in the South explain how the Democrats can reach voters like that. I’ll wait.

  51. JKB says:

    @stonetools: explain how the Democrats can reach voters like that.

    Oh, I can hook you up with a voter like that. It’ll be easy to get her vote, she’s never voted Republican in her life and swears she never will. But you’ll need to run a white Democrat to get her vote. Oh, and ignore the plentiful use of the n-word. But hurry, she’s 86 years old.

  52. JKB says:

    @Grewgills:

    And is it your implication that the Southerner vote in Illinois is what got Obama elected to the Senate? And while it probably needs some, I don’t remember reading about Illinois going through Reconstruction.

  53. JKB says:

    @Grewgills: They often have the same basic ingredients*, but they are not the same food.

    Just keep telling yourself that.

  54. EddieInCA says:
  55. Grewgills says:

    @JKB:
    You said Tim Scott was the first black senator since reconstruction. That statement is patently untrue and Obama is an example of a black senator elected since reconstruction and before Tim Scott.

  56. Grewgills says:

    @JKB:
    I’ve eaten and served both in a variety of styles, they ain’t the same. Sit a plate of polenta in front of any of my Alabama relations and they will tell you unequivocally those ain’t grits.

  57. Tyrell says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I have been a loyal member of the southern wing of the Democratic Party since before I could vote. I voted Republican once, for Richard Nixon in 1972. Senator George McGovern, a honorable man and WWII veteran had a campaign disaster and lost in a landside after radical elements took over the leadership of the Democratic party. The southern Democrats remain strong at the local and at many state levels. Around here the Republicans haven’t won a local race since the reconstruction era. I doubt if our county even has a Republican registration book!
    The southern Democrats are centrist, pragmatic, working class people. We have had a big influx
    of young people into our meetings. The southern Democratic party is on the rebound. Give us a few more years. And the leaders of the national Democratic party will face another 2014 disaster if they choose to write off the south !

  58. Grewgills says:

    @Grewgills:
    and sit a plate of grits in front of an Italian and try to convince them it is polenta. You’ll have about the same luck.

  59. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Tyrell:

    No, they won’t, Tyrell. There is nothing of political value left in the South for the DNC to lose.

  60. jukeboxgrad says:

    JKB:

    I don’t remember reading about Illinois going through Reconstruction.

    Earlier you said this:

    You know Southerners, we can’t do anything right. Supposedly we are all about White supremacy but elect Indian-American governors, the first Black senator since reconstruction

    So now you’re telling us that when you said that “Southerners [elected] the first Black senator since reconstruction,” you meant us to understand that you were only taking into account the South, and not places like “Illinois.” Because no one remembers “Illinois going through Reconstruction.”

    So your original claim was actually this: that the first Black senator elected since Reconstruction (in the South) was elected by Southerners.

    OK, so you weren’t making a stupid mistake. You were just presenting an even stupider tautology. Thanks for clearing that up.

  61. Ben Wolf says:

    @EddieInCA: That’s a non-response to a list you specifically asked for. Unfortunately I can’t say it’s a surprise.

  62. Just Me says:

    When discussing the control the democrats have had in the south for over a 100 years it’s important to remember that for many of those years the democrats were cheating (they were the inspiration for things like secret ballots and the voting rights act).

    I think it’s a mistake for parties to write off any section of the country. I find democrats though rather insulting when it comes to southerners.

    I also agree that while the culture of the south plays a role, the democrats problems in the south are more about rural/urban than it just being the south. This is why democrats struggled in Iowa and places like Montana. The Democrats need to be aware that in the process of writing off the south they may be tossing rural, non southerners out as well and that will make winning difficult.

  63. superdestroyer says:

    @Just Me:

    The Democrats know that rural whites are a shrinking percentage of the population. The reason that so many Democrats feel comfortable ignoring blue collar and middle class whites is demographic. Look at how Virginia is now not part of the solid south due to adding thousands of naturalized immigrants to northern Virginia. the Democrats know that Asians are trending to be as loyal to Democrats as Jews. The same can be seen with Latinos. Elite Democrats had rather just “elect a new population” rather than try to appeal to middle class whites.

  64. Sherparick says:

    @EddieInCA: I lived twenty years in Germany at different locations, respectively near the Dutch and French borders, and was a frequent visitor to England, Benelux, France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. I have also visited the South frequently during trips back to the states while visiting ex-military friends in places like Clarksburg and Knoxville Tennessee, Biloxi, Mississippi, and Alexandria, Louisiana. Except for two trips to Naples, Italy, the only places I really felt myself to be a “stranger in a strange land” was my visits to rural South, although on the surface people were as nice and polite, while still letting me know I was outsider. The sad tragedy of the South is that its white culture was forged in the early 19th century on the premise of white supremacy and exploitation and lawful violence against the Black population, first through Slavery, and then with the overthrow of Reconstruction, Jim Crow. And sadly today we are witnessing the overthrow of the Second Reconstruction. When 85% to 90% of white voters are voting Republican, as the Anti-Black party, in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina, the biggest cultural issue driving this train is race (really, the hysteria driven 2nd Amendment issue is about the Whites arming themselves to protect from and intimidate Blacks). The election of a Democrat African American as President completed the identification of Democratic Party as the “Blacks” party in minds of White Southerners and was taken as an existential threat to “White Privilege” by White Southerners (and White Northerners with Southern sensibilities regarding “racial” hierarchies).

    However, there is a huge moral problem with Tomasky’s position. He is leaving the African-Americans in the lurch in the lurch. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119019/civil-rights-movement-going-reverse-alabama. Once the “Democratic Party” was the “Republican Party” of today, the party of White Supremacy. But the immorality and tension of that position with the ideals contained in the Declaration of Independence, along with the outside pressure of the Cold War, caused a repudiation of that idea. It is going to be a long, slow slog (sixty years?), but morally there is no other choice (arguably, the old Republican Party developed a fatal weakness and became only the “businessman’s party,” with no moral purpose, when it turned its back on is Black supporters from the late 19th through the New Deal – the Democrats should not repeat that mistake). The weakness of Southern Republicans is their greed, and using their reestablishment of White Supremacy may be a lever to deter foreign investors from going into the South and its Neo-Apartheid regime.

  65. Barry says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Better to allow the GOP to be stuck with the millstone around its neck that the South has become. More than any other region of the country, the South is largely still reactionary and extremist. The GOP made the same Faustian deal that the Dems made for years in pursuing Southern votes – now they get to reap the fruits of that pact.”

    You’re assuming that this is a millstone, and sufficiently heavy to outweigh the advantages.

  66. Barry says:

    @JKB: “Here’s look into the demographics of those who recently elected this Senator from SC. The go find a picture of the soon to be sworn in Senator.”

    Then go look at the voting stats; they tell a different story.

  67. KM says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    with gigantic chips on their shoulders. It’s the mother of all self-righteous inferiority complexes.

    I have never understood why Southern Pride requires absolute unflinching defense of every aspect of Southern life and culture, no matter how ugly or bizarre. You can be proud to live where you live while acknowledging it’s been not so great in the past. You can be proud to be the nth generation of Georgians while admitting your ancestors may not have been nice people or done some regrettable things. It takes away from the dignity you are trying to protect by acting like nothing was, is or will ever be wrong. I think the South would get a lot more respect if they weren’t so blatantly defensive – like the guy in the terrible thin combover vehemently denying he’s losing his hair, it’s just sad at this point.

  68. Sherparick says:

    Right now, if I was an African-American politician in Mississippi, I would start thinking about infiltrating the Republican Party. To see the naked anti-Black, anti-anti-Racism at white heat in Movement Conservatism, see the vitriol directed at Cochran and Haley Barbour during this year’s Mississippi primary election about “Democrats” e.g. Blacks voting in the Republican run-off. Participating in Republican primaries might give “relatively” moderate white Republicans who will not making kicking Blacks and Hispanics in the teeth North Star of public policy would help and perhaps defuse the racial divide as political party divide.

    (By the way, Republicans in the period from 1877 to 1952 basically did just what Tomasky recommends the Democrats now do. For the first fifty years, I guess it was not a problem as they dominated both Congressional and Presidential elections through most of this period. The last 20, not so much.

  69. Barry says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    “Short version – the problem of the South is the Southerner.”

    No, the problem of the South is the White, Right-Wing Southerner.

    It ain’t liberal Southerners, and it ain’t non-white Southerners.

  70. Pharoah Narim says:

    @EddieInCA: You know what southerners HEAR when Democrats advocate those policy positions? “We are going to reduce the amount of employment, but the jobs left will be really good” Many southern communities already have that dynamic….a few really good jobs and a lot of other jobs that will get you to the next paycheck.

    The Party really needs a regional message that doesn’t conflict with its core message WHILE distinguishing itself from Republican messaging. It’ll take some thought and nuance, something Democratic party strategists are incapable of or too intellectually lazy to engage in.

  71. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: New flash! Uber wealthy white people are condescending to black and brown people…regardless of political party. You heard it here first!

  72. dmhlt says:
  73. stonetools says:

    However, there is a huge moral problem with Tomasky’s position. He is leaving the African-Americans in the lurch in the lurch

    Tomasky doesn’t recommend total withdrawal.

    No—the way the Democratic Party can best help the poor people of Mississippi is to control Congress and the White House. So the point is to win those. With respect to the White House, no one can guarantee anything of course, but at least the Democrats do have these days a built-in Electoral College advantage. As for congressional majorities, I say it’s far more likely they’ll win them in the North and on the West coast, and to some extent in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states, than via the South. And if they ever get that majority, they will (one hopes) pass progressive laws, and those laws will benefit the people who live in the South. So I’m not for abandoning the people of the South. I’m just saying the best way to help them is by building a congressional majority in the quickest and easiest way possible, and that, alas, is not through the South.

    I agree with him here. We’re not going to win many Congressional seats in the South anytime soon. He goes in detail, with statistical analysis in the second article. He’s convinced me that there are no gains to be had there in the foreseeable future. The Democrats need to rebuild in the Midwest and try to extend in the Mountain West. That’s the path to the Democrats’ regaining a majority.

  74. stonetools says:

    For Democrats, the message is that giving up on the South entirely as Tomasky suggests, or dismissing the entire region in the manner that some who live in the Northeast and on the West Coast seem inclined to, would be to give up on political opportunities that could develop far sooner than they might otherwise expect

    Doug, who confidently and correctly predicted that the Democrats would win every Red State Senate race, now says forget about that and says the Democrats should keep competing because the South is changing, due to an influx of Northerners, and it just might be that somewhere, sometime in the future, the Democrats might start winning. To be honest, this doesn’t seem to be a coherent strategy.

    Others Doug references argue that the Democrats should keep competing because:

    1. Its good for the soul of the Democratic Party (Cassidy).
    2. Hey, you never know, another wave election might come along (Enten).
    3. Its good for the soul of the country that the Democrats compete across the whole country, and not just in places that they can win(Bernstein).

    None of this is a strategy for how Democrats can win in the South proclaiming its brand and its agenda. It’s pretty clear that Republican lite no longer works.
    Now, Doug and others talk a lot about demographic change. The problem is that demographic change is slow. Sure, in 15 or 20 years, the Democrats could be competitive but what should the Democrats do in next 10 years? Spend millions of dollars beating their head against a brick wall? And how do you recruit candidates to run campaigns where no one expects you to win?
    If Alison Grimes, a scion of a Kentucky political dynasty, can’t be competitive in Kentucky, and Landrieu (ditto) in Louisiana, then who would want to run in such races?

  75. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Barry:

    You’re assuming that this is a millstone, and sufficiently heavy to outweigh the advantages.

    Yes, I am …

  76. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Barry:

    No, the problem of the South is the White, Right-Wing Southerner.

    It ain’t liberal Southerners, and it ain’t non-white Southerners.

    Judging from the election results, the first group vastly outnumbers the others. I’m not sure that being the only vegetarian on an island of cannibals is much of a virtue.

  77. Grewgills says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    1) That depends on where you are in the South, it is not as monolithic as you portray it.
    2) Being outnumbered is not a moral failing.
    3) Condescension won’t move principled moderates and liberals in the South to the R column, but it can keep them home, so maybe try and keep the smug sense of superiority to a minimum.

  78. Tyrell says:

    @stonetools: “White supremacy” – don’t try to feed us that tired, old argument from a ’60’s campaign manual. Today’s southern Democrats are not racists, are centrists on many of the issues, favor a responsible fiscal policy, and a sensible foreign policy.
    The national Democratic party was turned toward left field some years ago,away from the working class people who have grown tired of their money being taken and turned over to the government.
    That is not some racist thing.

  79. Sherparick says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Because Scott, Haley (who comes from a Sikh family) , and Jindal (from a high caste Hindi family that converted to Roman Catholicism) have adopted the ideology of White Supremacy and White Privilege. Because they don’t fit the picture of a Southern White, they are useful shields to the charge. Also, the extension of White Privilege to immigrant groups, particularly after the first generation, is an old story which as an Irish-American, I could tell you. (It was even happening with Hispanics until 9/11 hysterical panic took off in the white heartland.)

  80. Sherparick says:

    @Tyrell: The Democrats failed to represent all working class people regardless of races over much of the last 30 years, particularly when it came to the trade deals and supporting unions. But frankly, after the election of fairly conservative, but Black, Democrat who has been much more Fiscally responsible than any Republican and is bigger tax cutter than George W. Bush (3/5th of the Stimulus bill was tax cuts, the second Stimulus in December 2010 was a two-year cut in the FICA tax that all working people pay, and then he negotiated a bill that made the W’s tax cuts permanent, with a small increase for those making more than $350,000 being the biggest difference. He reduced America’s intervention in two wars while pounding are declared enemies relentlessly and ruthlessly (the tens of thousands dead in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia demonstrate the ruthlessness and disregard for “collateral damage,” along with Osama Bin Laden). So fiscally conservative, tax cutting, and a sensible “militaristic” foreign policy. Yet the white southern vote goes from 33% Democrat in Louisiana in 2008 to 15% in 2014. And “Democrats” has become another name for Black folks in Mississippi and Alabama. Please be honest and say its “white privilege” that you are voting for, not against “Government.”

  81. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    The national Democratic party was turned toward left field some years ago,away from the working class people who have grown tired of their money being taken and turned over to the government

    Your complaint about the national Democratice Party lacks substance and does not correlate with what has transpired since the Reagan era. The last two Democratic Party presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have been centrist-moderate presidents. Left field left the Democratic Party about 25 years ago.

    Tax rates on the upper tax brackets are at historically low levels in the post-WW2 era, Obama having increased the top bracket tax by 4% to restore the rate to what was effective in the prosperous Clinton years. Working Class people have not seen their taxes increased by any president in the past few decades.

    In 2009 Obama followed through on efforts to save hundreds of thousands of auto industry jobs (you know, working people jobs). Let’s be honest here, working people in the South are anti unionized working people, which is why the South was opposed to Obama saving auto industry jobs.

    Complaints about NAFTA should be directed to both Republicans and Democrats – free trade Republicans supported the Clinton Administration in getting that one passed.

    ACA? The South hates it because a Democratic president brought it forward. It’s a Republican idea, and if a Republican president had promoted it the South would have supported it.

    Foreign policy? I find it interesting that the South supported Bush in going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but has a problem with Obama in that respect.

    I think that The South actually has a big problem with Democratic Party stands on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, and THAT I understand completely. Culturally, the South is almost another country and the differences are not easily reconciled.

    I have many relatives in Texas, Arkansas, and Alabama and the only ones who are not into the culture war issues are a family of scientists in Huntsville.

  82. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Grewgills:

    You’re misunderstanding my point. I am not denigrating those folks, nor am I suggesting that they should give up the good fight.

    I’m simply saying, flat out, that the DNC should not waste money or time trying to win unwinnable congressional races in the South, and those races are indeed almost entirely unwinnable. Don’t confuse brutal realism with condescension.

  83. Grewgills says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Perhaps I misinterpreted

    I’m not sure that being the only vegetarian on an island of cannibals is much of a virtue.

    That certainly sounds condescending and dismissive of those few ‘vegetarians’.
    I understand that much of the South and rural mid West and rural mountain West aren’t a good electoral investment for Democrats, as large parts of the NorthEast and Pacific are poor investments for Republicans. Cultural differences are considerable and that seems to the primary dividing line in national politics for the time being. That said, casually dismissing an entire region with any stereotype is as unhelpful as it is pervasive. We share a lot more cultural similarities than either side would care to admit and many of the differences are of rather recent vintage.

  84. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Grewgills:

    It was intended to demonstrate the futility inherent in being a Dem leaning voter in a Southern state.

    Consider this scenario:

    I’m a hypothetical field commander, tasked with allocating limited troops and resources in the course of battle. A small contingent of my troops are stuck deep behind enemy lines, surrounded by thousands of enemy troops.

    I’m not going to send more troops in on a suicide mission to rescue them. They’re on their own and will have to survive / fight on as best they can. While unfortunate, I can’t afford the loss of the additional men and materiel I would lose trying to retake the ground when it will make me that much more vulnerable with regard to defending the ground I already hold. I focus those resources on holding the ground I already control and on taking ground that is within the realm of the possible.

    I get that some people want to be conciliatory and regard my position as being offensive, but that’s life. I’m a wartime consigliere, and I’m not interested in singing Kumbahyah & wailing “can’t we all just get along??”

    No, we can’t, and that is the basic nature of the game. When you are dealing with what amount to terrorists, which we are, you don’t search for common ground & try to hold some sort of delightful ongoing bake sale. You eradicate or otherwise neutralize the threat for the good of all – the Democrats AND the sensible Republicans who are effectively being held hostage to the whims of fanatical bomb throwers.

    Those who either can’t or won’t accept that simple fact have no business being in the command tent.

  85. Grewgills says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I don’t disagree with the argument about allocation of resources. In much of the South the only advantage to national Democrats to investing in races there is to force national Republicans to spend there. I can support that strategy and I can support labeling bigots bigots. I just have a bit of a sore spot re the stereotyping of any race, religion, or geographic region.

  86. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Don’t forget sliced into cakes and served topped with Bolognaise sauce. Not one of my favorites, but my dad and grandfather used to like it.