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The Hand of the Past in Contemporary Southern Politics

The Hand of the Past in Contemporary Southern Politics

James M. Glaser
Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    The Hand of the Past in Contemporary Southern Politics
    Book Description:

    A central story of contemporary southern politics is the emergence of Republican majorities in the region's congressional delegation. Acknowledging the significance and scope of the political change, James M. Glaser argues that, nevertheless, strands of continuity affect the practice of campaign politics in important ways. Strong southern tradition underlies the strategies pursued by the candidates, their presentational styles, and the psychology of their campaigns.

    The author offers eyewitness accounts of recent congressional campaigns in Texas, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In the tradition of his award-winning bookRace, Campaign Politics, and the Realignment in the South, Glaser captures the "stuff" of politics-the characters, the images, the rhetoric, and the scenery. Painting a full and fascinating picture of what it is like on the campaign trail, Glaser provides wide-ranging insights into the ways that the "hand of the past" reaches into the southern present.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13299-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. Introduction: The Morphing of Southern Electoral Politics
    (pp. 1-13)

    The South is a very different place at the turn of the century than it was just forty years ago. It is different on many dimensions, its changes dramatic and widespread. This is not the first “New South,” however. The term goes back to just after Reconstruction, when it was coined by Atlanta journalist Henry Grady to celebrate a new era, and there have been several “New Souths” since.

    While it is possible to identify several southern eras, strands of continuity run through all of them. William Faulkner stated the point too baldly, but at every point, the past has...

  5. Chapter 1 Seeing Red
    (pp. 14-48)

    The first case I look at is a 1996 election in East Texas, a place where Republicans are winning in presidential and statewide elections, but Democrats have held on at the congressional level and at most lower levels as well. How have these Democrats resisted the southern Republican tide? Here is an example of one successful Democratic candidate using a campaign formula that has long been effective in this rural corner of the state. With each passing year, however, there are fewer of these Democrats left in Texas, as in the South in general. But as this was a Democratic...

  6. Chapter 2 Give Them He--
    (pp. 49-87)

    Mississippi’s Fourth District is a classic 1980s southern congressional district, a heavily black—41 percent—district in the Deep South.¹ In places like this, Democrats have a chance to win elections by putting together a large unified black vote and a large enough white liberal and moderate vote to win elections, as they did through the 1980s and 1990s. In this hotly contested 1998 race to replace Democrat-turned-Republican Mike Parker, a Democrat won. It is a case that illustrates how biracial coalitions can still be forged given the right Democratic candidate and the right (heavily black enough) district. But there...

  7. Chapter 3 The Slow Talker
    (pp. 88-120)

    In the 1950s and 1960s, southside Virginia was the stronghold of Harry Byrd and George Wallace. In recent decades, it has belonged to Ronald Reagan and Oliver North. In the case to follow, the obvious question is how can a Democrat win in a place like this—a rural, traditionalistic, Old South area that has been trending Republican for decades? The answer comes in the person of Virgil Goode, whose distinct person-to-person home style, conservative philosophy, and parochial tendencies have broad appeal here. The Democratic Party has long relied on politicians like Goode to stay in power, but with Republicans...

  8. Chapter 4 Polis, Polis
    (pp. 121-150)

    North Carolina’s Eighth District is a place where the old meets the new, where Charlotte’s burgeoning suburbs continually creep into the rural counties east of the city. And the metropolitan line represents the line between the old and new politics, a Republican warm front meeting a Democratic cold front on a political weather map. The even balance of old and new makes this a “toss-up” district, one that the Republicans win in the 1998 race described in this case. The growth of southern metropolitan areas has been a long-term boon to Republicans. The story here is representative of what has...

  9. Chapter 5 Krispy Kremed
    (pp. 151-178)

    I end the string of cases with this one, a 1998 election in South Carolina’s up-country that represents the southern realignment taken to its furthest point. What do elections look like in a place where the Republicans so dominate the scene? How does being in such a lopsided place affect the psychology of the actors? How has the Republican Party dealt with its huge majority status and the fact that it encompasses more interests and groups by virtue of its “big tent”? In answering these questions, I argue that there are significant parallels to a time past when Democrats were...

  10. Conclusion: Partisan Change and Political Continuity in the South
    (pp. 179-188)

    The southern realignment has been dramatic, but it has not been sudden. Since the 1960s (and even somewhat before this), the Republican Party has been steadily gaining ground in the electorate. Only in the 1990s, however, did it become the majority party with regard to voting in the region, and gradually this majority status has become reflected in office holding, particularly at the congressional level. Nor has the realignment been even. Some parts of the South have “gone Republican.” Some places have not gotten there yet. And the urban centers and majority black areas are still heavily Democratic. The region...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 189-198)
  12. References
    (pp. 199-208)
  13. Index
    (pp. 209-218)