Anti-South Backlash

There's been a lot of anti-South backlash the last few days, with folks pointing out the similarities between the electoral map and the politics of the War of Northern Aggression.  But the fact is that the Late Unpleasantness has nothing whatsoever to do with voting for Bush, and blaming "racist and bigoted Southerners" for our loss is counter-productive and just hurts our chances for 2008.  Because the people who voted against us in Tennessee are many of the same people who voted against us in Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.

A wise man once said that Pennsylvania consists of Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in the middle.  True enough, and the only thing that kept Pennsylvania from going red was Philadelphia County's 400,000 Kerry margin.  Or put another way, only 20% of Pennsylvania's counties (compared to 19% in my home state of Tennessee) went Democratic.  You've got a red state there folks, with a big blob of blue tacked on at the river. (Santorum, anyone?)

The North voted for Kerry not because it's somehow more tolerant, more inclusive, more caring, less racist, or less evangelical.  No--the North voted for Kerry because it has larger cities.  And we've nearly squeezed the maximum amount of blue from those cities.  The only way to make Pennsylvania more blue is to try to appeal to the same voters we're rejecting out of hand in the South.  

So instead of writing off the South completely, out of some belief that its Bush supporters are qualitatively different from the Bush supporters north of the Mason-Dixon line, we need to find ways to appeal to rural voters as a whole. And please notice that I am not talking about the religion thing.  We are not a party of religious fundamentalists and we can never compete with that.  But if we start condemning rural voters in the South for their values, we will also alienate rural voters everywhere else. So let's quit with the regional stereotypes and start figuring out ways to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters who live in rural and urban areas alike.

Tags: (all tags)



I agree, it's not neccessarily a southern, regional issue, as much as it is a rural-urban issue. I mean, I looked at rural counties in Illinois that voted for Alan Keyes over Barak Obama by a 60-40 margin!
by Jerome Armstrong 2004-11-07 05:33AM | 0 recs
Re: southerness
Whom do you think lives in these cities?  And whom do you think lives in rural communities?

We need to stop glossing over differences and trying to be polite. The fact is cities vote Democratic because cities are diverse and the white residents tend to see value in diversity.  

The rural areas are monolithic bastions fear based racists "christians" threaten by anybody who doesn't look and act like them.  They live in a failed and dying culture, a failed and dying economy propped up by blue states subsidies, and a failed and dying religious/values system.  Their marriages fail at higher rates.  They drink high than average amount of alcohol.  They kill themselves at early ages from smoking at higher than average rates. Their children abuse drugs and get pregnant at higher than average rates. They drop out of high school at higher rates.  They complete college at much lower rates.  They don't value their own children!  They fund their schools at lower rates.  Instead of addressing their own failings, they blame others.

I'm sick of being polite. The fact is rural Red State America is full of failed ignorant moral degenerates that only know how to hate and fear.  

by rusrivman 2004-11-07 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: southerness
Somehow, I don't think such an analysis is going to do much to bridge the gap with the rural voter.
by Randi 2004-11-07 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: southerness
No?  I'm constantly being told what's wrong with me. (urban/blue state)  It's time we get on the offensive and start pointing out what's wrong with them instead of being apologists.
Funny thing happens when you tell the truth.  People recognize it.  We need to offer a clear choice.  We won't win Oklahoma, but we will lock up Iowa and Wisconsin.  We'll get creamed in Alabama, but we'll win Florida.  Screw Texas, I'll happily take NM, AZ and CO.
by rusrivman 2004-11-07 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: southerness
Re: Texas...the dem national party will out of Texas whatever they put into it. They IGNORE us dems down here. We DID have a dem gov at one point, we elect dem judges. The TX sec of state webpage lists how prez candidates have done over the years...49% of Dallas County went for Kerry this year
 Bill Clinton/ Al Gore DEM 2,281,815 37.07%
 George Bush/ Dan Quayle(I) REP 40.56%
 Ross Perot/ James Stockdale IND 20%  

 Bob Dole /Jack Kemp REP  48.75%
 Bill Clinton /Al Gore(I) DEM 43.83

We ARE down here but the national party just see a shade of red and looks elsewhere!

by rainbow4321 2004-11-07 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: southerness
Compete in TX!  But compete on modern Democratic values instead of imitating Republicans!  I'd rather lose 60%-40% on the correct positions, than win 51-49% on backwards looking sellout positions.
Eventually we will win again in Texas, but not by embracing the bigoted old Democratic past now coopted by Republicans.
by rusrivman 2004-11-07 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: southerness
Please stop

I'm a southerner who just moved into your neck of the woods (if rusriv is russian river).

Those dumbass rural southerners voted against Kerry because we keep calling them dumbass rural southerners.  

Note I said voted against Kerry, not for Bush. I think there were more ABK (as opposed to ABB) than we'd like to admit.

Such an attitude will only have them continuing to vote against us.

But I do agree with your point that we should let Red America stew in the mess they've created. A little tough love could be constructive.

by gina 2004-11-07 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: southerness
Well, I trust that after you have lived in a tolerant, diverse and educated society for a year or so, you will realize the folly of your vote.  Of course, we also have our rich and simple minded "christian" folk who vote Republican as well, but we manage to keep them in the minority and don't allow them to force their medieval thinking on the rest of us.
by rusrivman 2004-11-08 05:23AM | 0 recs
Re: southerness
It's early in the morning.  I think I misread your post.  I thought it said you voted ABK.  I wrote a rather refrained response considering I'm still drinking my first cup of coffee.  I'm proud of myself.  lol
by rusrivman 2004-11-08 05:26AM | 0 recs
Re: southerness
I agree -- it won't bridge the gap. But you know, voting against Bush was a pure gimme, and the rural voters went for him out of spite.

I have a strong suspicion of election fraud, and we'll know a lot more by the end of the month. But if this election is indeed legit? I'm leaving for Europe. Her leaders realize America's becoming unhinged and are getting ready to meet her challenge.

Here's an interesting Islamic look at the beast we're fighting. Unfortunately, this particular gentleman seems to think bigotry is a good thing.

Please note he's in complete agreement that my fellow Texas voters -- most of whom went for Bush -- have more in common with the Saudis than the French.

by goldengreek 2004-11-07 08:54AM | 0 recs
The same is true for Oregon
Remove Portland Metro Area, and Bush wins Oregon by 80,000.

Urbanites are living in a liberal bubble. And what is written above totally echoes and articulates my gut feeling in a way I never could.

Liberals are also church goers too.

Instead of just twinning with congregations in Liberia, etc, liberal church congregations must also twin (and meet with) with rural congregations too, to break the rural/urban divide.

Secular urban activists must also literally "drive" (using gasoline) their efforts into the suburban and rural counties now.

Perhaps together we can make a more inclusive environment for a president that unites the US people.

by redpeter 2004-11-07 05:50AM | 0 recs
Re: The same is true for Oregon
No, urbanites are urbanites.  They aren't in any more of a "bubble" than the rural voters are.  At least they are more likely to interact with people different from them.  
by wilder 2004-11-07 06:45AM | 0 recs
Rural - Urban
Good job!

We need to drop gun control - now!  There aren't any deputies on duty at night in my rural community.

Another huge issue in our area is racial preferences.  People hate them with passion.  Not racists, normal people.  Hell, I do, and I went to Berkeley.  Why should someone eles's kid get into college ahead of my kid when my kid worked harder?

This isn't a racist town.  We have a huge influx of Hispanics and its no big deal.  Everyone is dating everyone else.

But I hear huge support from everyone for no one starving, and everyone going to college.

I think that losing these two anchors, focusing on personal freedom including guns, choice, etc. Really plays well in the west and most of rural America.

I'm a huge fan of the endangered species act, but we need to make it a happy occasion for a landowner to find an endanged species.  We need to show (and mean it) to rural people how a clean environment is good for jobs.

We also need to fix the media lock by the Repubs.

by beeste 2004-11-07 06:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Rural - Urban
If we drop affirmative action, we should also demand a ban on legacies.
by wilder 2004-11-07 06:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Rural - Urban
Wilder makes a valid point about there being a rural bubble just as much as an urban bubble, and yes, the two must mix more.

pls clarify for me, what is a legacy? as posted above (and repeated below):

If we drop affirmative action, we should also demand a ban on legacies.

by redpeter 2004-11-07 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Rural - Urban
I think a legacy means the following: if your dad or mom or grandparent or rich uncle went to University X, then the entrance requirements for you are reduced or dropped.  Example: GWB went to Yale, so did GHWB (and I believe Prescott too).  There's no way GWB could have gotten into Yale on his record alone.
by An American in Berlin 2004-11-07 07:50AM | 0 recs
And so a legacy is a form of affirmative action, ....

so what's the problem with affirmative action for qualified candidates from the minorities, then? seems fair to me ...

have both or ban both

I'm just speaking rhetorically....

by redpeter 2004-11-07 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Rural - Urban
Shrub was rejected by Univ of Texas law school back with no "legacy", no admittance!
by rainbow4321 2004-11-07 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Rural - Urban
This is a joke right?

So the path to beat Republicans is to be just like them. I wonder what makes you guys support Democrats. Is it just the brand name? So if Democrats drop a few progressive polices and adopt a few right wing polices they would be acceptable in the south? I dont think so.

And lets say that Democrats do drop their support for Affirmative action, would they get 90% African American vote? Or the minorities vote for that mater? I don't think so. The way to deal with religious right is to take them on, both in policy and in ideology. Don't forget any Bush failure is their failure too and they are open to a lot of criticism. They have to back this guy to hell  and back or they have to distance themselves. In any case they have lost the argument.

by Nick 2004-11-07 08:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Rural - Urban
A joke - nope.

I'm not advocating that we become like them.  I'm being honest about what kills us in rural America.  Bias by skin color is still bias by skin color.  We lost in 2000 in Tennessee due to gun control.

Eliminating poverty, building opportunity for all, and a great educational system will be more effective (and much more likely to be adopted) than givng racial preferences to the promotion of the descendants of the past victim of poverty.

I strongly believe in protecting the environment and stopping the worst of global warming.  But you have to get rural land-owners to work to their enlightened self interest.  

We've got the Clinton legacy of low deficits.  That's good.  I've won quite a few arguments that things didn't suck in the 90's and now we've got Bush.  It makes their heads hurt.

Focusing on personal freedom will help progressives and democrats.  We need to think like FDR and build coalitions.

And we need to understand what drives rural voters.  I live there and talk with my co-workers all the time.  We are probably 60 to 40 for Bush at my office (I'm the boss) but half the pro-Bush people have strong reservations about Bush and Repubs, while having strong reservations about gun control and too much regulation.

And we are not a monolith in Rural America.  That's sure not true in the west!  People really think they are voting "Freedom First" (NRA line).  It's bullshit, so let's enlighten them.

by beeste 2004-11-07 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Rural - Urban
If every time Democrats loose an election they decide to move a little bit more to the right then what you would have are two right wing parties.

If you drop the Affirmative action then there is no reason for African Americans to vote for Democrats in huge numbers.

And do you  think that the left would accept that? I don't think so.

I also don't believe that what kills us in rural America is Affirmative action. This may be your experience but you have not offered any other proof to back this up.

by Nick 2004-11-07 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Rural - Urban is no joke
We don't need to abandon social justice principles, but we do need to tweak them and we need to tweak our message. Do you suggest that we abandon the rural/southern demographic and cede thirty states to the Republican party? Politics is about the art of the possible. We need to make some modest pragmatic adjustments in our approach and our message.

This boils down to one simple question. Do you want to be politically correct or do you want to win elections?

by Gary Boatwright 2004-11-07 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Rural - Urban is no joke
What social justice? I don't support Affirmative Action because it is politically correct and because it is trendy. I support it because it addresses some imbalance in US society today.

And I agree. Let us be pragmatic. Can Democrats risk alienating African American vote?

Retuning the message is one thing and dropping the message is another.

And why do we want to win election if we are going to do the same things as Republicans?

Yes the politics is the art of possibilities and it is possible to take on religious right and win. We don't have to rollover and play dead every time they are on the march.

by Nick 2004-11-07 11:35AM | 0 recs
The worst stereotyping, in my opinion, is being generated by the right, and that is the stereotype of the Liberal.

Also, I think the regional thing has been a problem as well that the Radical Right has exploited effectively. Remember the "Vermont, Massachusettes, New York, Hollywood" Liberal stereotypes from the election? Dean was supposed to go back to Vermont, take his Hollywood friends with him, Kerry was a Massachusettes Liberal?

The regional stereotyping angers me to no end. I live on the I-75 corridor in Michigan, where from Saginaw, Flint, to Detroit we trend Democrat. The west and much (not all) of the north trend Republican. But Michigan is a "blue" state.

How ridiculous! The truth is, appealing to geography will just never work. We have to appeal using a better message.

I'll say it again, I want Liberal to be a positive word in every region of the U.S., and the only way we can do that is to spend some money on marketing. Refine the message, whip up the media and marketing outlets, get out on the streets, into the churches, into homes and businesses, and bring to light what the REAL Republican agenda is today, compared to our defense of Liberty, Freedom, and Justice.

by Green Irishboy 2004-11-07 06:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Stereotyping
I want to add that the Republican party is working overtime in my home town newspaper and on the streets to change Flint Republican. At least, to appeal to enough voters to weaken the Democratic strength of Genessee county, particularly in the the suburbs. They don't talk about unions vs. free markets (the old division); only religion and "values".
by Green Irishboy 2004-11-07 06:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Stereotyping
We need some pro-liberal slogans which we can slap on a bumper and use on the airways for starters.  I suggest




that's from "It's a Wonderful Life" in case you were wondering.

and of course




Any additions?

by Ryan 2004-11-07 08:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Stereotyping
If the GOP is pushing regional stereotyping as part of an overall strategy of cultural warfare, then one logical Democratic response is to push economic stereotyping as part of an overall strategy of...class warfare.

Yes, class warfare.  Have you ever wondered why the Repubs are so quick to howl Class Warfare at any Democratic proposal that sounds a wee bit populistic?  It's because they're shit scared of the possibility that the Dems might seriously engage in class warfare.  That's something the Democrats have not done for the simple reason that they back off every time the opposition protests about Class Warfare.  This is no way to win.

by LaughingHistorian 2004-11-07 11:15AM | 0 recs
It's silly
to consider what would happen if the cities were taken out of blue states, but not to also consider what would happen if the the rural areas were taken out of the red states. Take the rural areas out of Florida, and you've got a blue state. Take the rural areas out of Nevada, and you've got a blue state. Take the rural areas out of Colorado, and you've got a blue state.
by demomatt 2004-11-07 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: It's silly
What I was trying to say is that the notion of "blue state" or "red state" tends to ignore the fact that rural/urban demographics appears to have more influence on voting patterns than does region.  (Although perhaps New England is different).
by Christopher 2004-11-07 10:23AM | 0 recs
Anti-south backlash
What you say has some truth in it, but I also think the Democratic party has a special problem in the south. Even when it puts up strong candidates who know how to talk to rural voters (Inez Tenebaum, Brad Carson), they lose. Al Gore lost his own state. I think even Bill Clinton would have a tough time winning any southern states today. But there are heavily rural states elsewhere (Montana, North Dakota, Iowa) that still elect Democrats. The animosity between north and south is as old as this country, and it's an undeniable part of the Democrats' problem today.
by bryan302 2004-11-07 06:15AM | 0 recs
Western strategy
We need to turn Colorado, New Mexico, and into solid blue states (Arizona?). We need to make Montana a swing state. We need to close the gap in Wyoming and Idaho, and evetually turn them into swing states. We need to work on the Dakotas. This would help not only with electoral votes, but with the Senators (and representatives) in those small states.

Sound crazy? I bet Nixon's southern strategy did too. I'm not certain as to how to do this, but a good place to start would be dropping the guns (at least federally) and probably talking about conservation.

by demomatt 2004-11-07 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Western strategy
Nixon's southern strategy played to the lowest among us, racists.  He offered them a party when the Democratic Party rejected its racist past.  I would rather win or lose on principles than be like the Repugs
by rusrivman 2004-11-07 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Western strategy
Exactly!  As I said in an earlier post, it is simply not tenable for democrats to abandon the core of a progressive agenda if they want to maintain a meaningful difference between themselves and the Republicans.  Now Colorado, New Mexico and other purple states need special care, but those in the hard core red -- well -- we are not going to win those anyway.  We need to craft winning coalitions for presidential elections that take on board the fact that we are unlikely to break the solid south.

While this may be difficult, it will prevent us from searching for the "perfect southern politician" to be our party nominee.

by wintermute1 2004-11-07 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Western strategy
Montana is in play. They've already had their taste of the radical right, and spit it out.
by Jerome Armstrong 2004-11-07 11:47AM | 0 recs
Very nice post.

I live in Pennsylbama.  Have the Dems move away from the fat cats and become the party of the working man again, move toward state-by-state or urban/rural positions on gun control, and Pennsylbama becomes a lot more blue.

And quit talking so ugly about rural/religious/Bush voters.  It's exactly what Rush Limbaugh et al pound into their heads every day.

by Mary Mary 2004-11-07 06:20AM | 0 recs
Re: x
very good, Mary.

I would add "union, union, union".  In most the battleground states that stayed blue, (MN, WI, MI, PA), the union vote was a critical part of the coalition.  Without it these states are red.  

Continued Democratic unclarity on this (aligning with corporations for campaign funds at the expense of unions (NAFTA, etc.)) hurts.  Especially in red states, unions are one of your chief sources of Democrats.  Nourish them, don't screw them.

Kerry started well with "Benedict Arnold corporations" but all that was left in the end was tinkering with the tax code to try to affect offshoring (a minor part of the problem).  He admitted that that was the only thing he could do about the problem.

George Bush tore up the budget surplus with his silly tax cuts, so why do Democrats think it's so vital to stay on the good side of beltway economists?

by sTiVo 2004-11-07 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: x
About unions: here in WI, it wasn't just the union vote that helped carry us for Kerry, it was the union activism.  They ran their own phonebanks and GOTV operations, and made sure they got their people out.  They supplied KE04 people with space and lines for their final push, too...I can't overstate how much they did for us.  Just tremendous work, and they did it all on the strength of...say it with me...


Goddess bless the papermakers.

by aspen 2004-11-07 11:14AM | 0 recs
The GOP...
...has been on the wrong side of just about evey issue in the past 70 years. The reason they've managed o survive this long is because they've changed their tune to pretend they are FOR all those things they used to be fervently AGAINST.

"Of COURSE we believe in civil liberties for blacks. Of COURSE we believe in women's suffrage. Of COURSE we believe in Medicare. Of COURSE we believe in the Clean Air Act".

The list goes on and on. The gay rights issue is just the latest, and 20 years from now, once the issue has settled in our favor, they'll pretend - again - that they favored equal rights for gays all along.

The key to winning is to expose the GOP platform for all to see. Get out of their way - let them hang themselves.

Once Americans realize that the GOP zealots really DO want to outlaw abortion, really DO want to roll back the New Deal, then those rural voters, women voters - whoever - will see the GOP for what it is.

by Toadvine 2004-11-07 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: The GOP...
I agree. I also think there are fissures within the Republican party that are very exploitable for the Democrats. Social conservatives hate Hollywood, for the trashy movies and TV programs it puts out. So why do Republicans sit back and let the Bush Administration deregulate the media, basically allowing them to garner more power and influence over American cultural life? Likewise there is an obvious conflict within the Republican party over issues like abortion and fiscal policy. The Bush administration has succeeded in papering over these, but for how long? Watching the Republicans cheer Giuliani at the convention this summer, I kept wondering what they would think if they saw the pictures of him marching in the gay pride parade in New York all those years.
by bryan302 2004-11-07 06:43AM | 0 recs
In spite of the pundits - the same clowns who were predicting a Kerry win - telling us the Dems have to woo the rural voter, the religious voter, the moderate female voter, I think it's clear the Dems have to stick to their guns. We are correct on the issues.

If we can stop watering down the GOP, then the differences beetween the parties will become far more clear.

by Toadvine 2004-11-07 06:52AM | 0 recs
Re: The GOP...
Exactly right!  

And they switch every decade.  Sixties they targeted crime (blacks), seventies was women's lib/affirmative action, eighties was unions (especially teachers), nineties was guns, and here in the oughts it's homosexuals, with those trial lawyers awaiting their turn in the barrel.

Don't people see that the Rs manufacture issues to win votes?  Give in on all these and they'll just come up with another one.  

Think about it.  Have the right-to-lifers promulgated the fact that abortions in the U.S. went down under Clinton and have gone up under Bush?  What would Rs do if Roe v. Wade were overturned?  Just say, OK, now that we've vanquished evil ya'll go ahead and vote for Dems?  

by Mary Mary 2004-11-07 09:55AM | 0 recs
I think...
...that abortion access is favored by about 70% of women voters, and probably a similar % of men.

More than 1 person who just voted for Bush told me, "If Bush threatens abortion access, I'll be right there with you"

I responded, "What the hell are you smoking? You think Bush is kidding?"

Anyway, I say let them overturn Roe v Wade. America voted for these clowns. It's long past time for the Democrats to let America see what the GOP has in store for the USA.

by Toadvine 2004-11-07 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The GOP...
I'd just like to add that the abortion issue is almost a moot point in rural America anyway.

You can't get an abortion there; there are no providers.

by Mary Mary 2004-11-07 10:04AM | 0 recs
Also keep in mind that north Florida
and the panhandle are very southern.  

Jacksonville is sometimes referred to as "the capitol of South Georgia."

We are getting hurt in those places.  It's not about abortion, it's not about gays, it's about culture.  Lawton Chiles was pro-choice and liberal but they loved him because he was a true southerner.

by Lebowsky 2004-11-07 06:36AM | 0 recs
One small and maybe insignificant thing
that shows the problem is the habit Kerry has of sticking his finger at people.

Compare that to the gestures Edwards used.

I had a real culture shock when I moved up north at how rude people are up there.  They don't think they are being rude but, by our standards, they are.

by Lebowsky 2004-11-07 06:39AM | 0 recs
Re: One small and maybe insignificant thing
By their standards, you are probably rude, too.  Please don't act like they have to change for your sake.
by wilder 2004-11-07 06:55AM | 0 recs
Re: One small and maybe insignificant thing

when in rome...

when I travel abroad, I try to be respectful of their manners and norms. I also try to speak the language.

What's wrong with doing the same region wise in the US?

I read a book a couple of years ago, I think it was Why Do They Hate Us and it examined religious fundamentalism (simplified by me) as a reaction of less developed/less modern (less western) nations who feel their cultures threatened by modernization.

I would imagine rural people who tend to come from more autoritarian families (at least in the south) have been raised in a culture less equipped to handle change, including changes in their ideals. (I speak as someone who lived in the south until 3 months ago)

If we want them to come to our side, we have to meet them on their terms and them pull them our way. If this is wrong, well, it really doesn't matter because we need them more than they (believe) they need us.

by gina 2004-11-07 07:55AM | 0 recs
Agree, up to a point
Here's where I agree:  if we really want to build a coalition, we have to redefine the playing field away from social wedge issues to economic ones.  Otherwise, even when we win, we will find ourselves providing over the same divided electorate as Bush is now -- neither good for the nation nor good for the party.

We should consider, for example, moving affirmative action to a class-based program rather than race-based.  I don't think we should AT ALL change tack on gay marriage or abortion:  we are right, they are wrong, we just need to engage voters on this issue in a non-apologetic way.

I do think, however, that talking about religion and values is important -- not only electorally, but because it is the right thing to do.  Look -- a great deal of voters are religious and they have the incorrect assumption that a vote for the GOP is somehow more religious, which is just categorically false.

We have a message on that score -- a damn effective one -- and we need to articulate it better.

by ChrisR 2004-11-07 06:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Agree, up to a point
I disagree about talking about religion.  

The people who are swayed by JesusTalk already believe that Dems, by definition, are immoral.

These same people believe that their religious beliefs should determine this nation's laws, and this attitude must be discouraged at all costs.

In the second debate, John Kerry tried to explain why his personal religious beliefs could not be allowed to sway his positions on the law.  I thought he did really well, didn't you?  But the only answer that would have satisfied that questioner and the millions just like her would have been his vow to overturn Roe v. Wade.  

I wouldn't ever have a Dem candidate talk about religion; I would always have them say that it's a private matter.  

Then I would cut TV commercials featuring members of his/her congregation talking about what a good person the candidate is.  

by Mary Mary 2004-11-07 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Agree, up to a point
     If we fail to frame economic issues in ways that resonate with religious voters we'll be passing up a sizable chunk of the electorate which should be ours for the taking.  The notion that anyone who buys into Jesus-talk is a knee-jerk Republican is grossly oversimplified.
by LaughingHistorian 2004-11-07 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Agree, up to a point
Hi Mary

As part of the 1/4 of the white Protestants who voted for Kerry and oppose the theocratic wing of american politics, I don't agree that JesusTalk only sways people who think Dems are immoral anyway. There are socially conservative working class folks who would support an economic populist agenda, but who perceive the Democratic party as looking down on them. The religious among the southern working class often see the Democratic party as the party of the elite, the self-proclaimed intellectuals who sneer at the allegedly simple-minded folk who believe in Christ. These people voted Clinton in 92, even while Clinton supported a woman's right to choose and supported gay rights, because they didn't get the idea that Clinton thought they were fools.

Now I don't think a Democratuc candidate ought to talk about his religion if he feels his religion is a private matter, and I love your idea of having bis parishioners saying things about him. But I personally liked it quite a bit when Barach Obama thanked his pastor and his church by name after winning in Illinois. I think that a Dem who openly expressed his faith could strip away enough of the social conservatives to put us over the top on economic issues.


by keith johnson 2004-11-07 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Agree, up to a point
I concur Keith ... being another proud member of the 1/4 white Protestants who backed Kerry.
by safeashouses 2004-11-07 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Agree, up to a point
Perhaps JesusTalk needs to be defined: do you believe that Jesus is your personal Savior and that anyone who has not accepted Christ will burn in hell?  That life is a literal struggle between good and evil and that Satan lives?  

That's JesusTalk to me; you have to forgive my ignorance but I was raised Catholic, who as you all know are not Christian. <g>

by Mary Mary 2004-11-07 04:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Agree, up to a point
HI Mary

I'm not sure that I ought to get sidetracked into a religious discussion, but since you asked me my opinion, I will tell you: I believe that Christ is the only way to salvation. I do believe that other religions offer profound spiritual insights (I particularly find Buddhist ideas quite appealing) and that we Christians ought to learn from our religious friends. But on the basic Christian claim that Christ is THE way, THE truth and THE life, that's what I believe. This is my religious belief and I while I recognize that lots of people disagree, I would hope they would be as respectful of my beliefs as I try to be of theirs.

But does that mean that a person who honestly doesn't believe the whole Christian thing will end up damned forever? My opinion is that in the end no one will honestly not believe the whole Christian thing. I am hopeful that everyone will come to whatever reconciliation is needed for salvation, and I think that Christ is the way to that reconciliation.

And this is the point (it seems to me): in a pluralistic society we all have to respect each other even when we disagree. I am bothered when my Christian brothers and sisters seemingly ignore Christ's teachings about our bringing justice to the powerless, and ignore his teachings about judging others and I am equally bothered when my Christian brothers and sisters want to impose religious law onto the civil society. Even if a conservative Christian believes that gay relationships are sinful (I don't share their view BTW) why must he think that we should impose his religious law onto the civil society?

But all of the above is my religious belief, and I know that a lot of people don't agree with me. Still, I think there is a lot of common political ground between those of us who disagree religiously, and I think the coalition building we have to do to regain our political voice requires us to find that common ground.


by keith johnson 2004-11-08 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Agree, up to a point
OK, then we were talking about the same thing.  Thanks for your response.

Would you believe you're the first person I've ever 'met' who holds these 2 beliefs: Christ as the only avenue to salvation, and not imposing religious laws on civil society.  It makes me feel lots better knowing you and others like you are out there.

by Mary Mary 2004-11-08 01:54PM | 0 recs
So Dean wasn't crazy when he said that we need
to appeal to the rural vote.  I knew what he meant when he said it (awkwardly).  Make him DNC chair.  He's actually got a clue.  
by LionelEHutz 2004-11-07 06:46AM | 0 recs
But Dean was rude by Southern standards
In his campaign, he certainly didn't have a clue how to talk to people in the South.   He said "I'm gonna talk to them" and he talked about God in such a way that it was a political bargaining chip, not the foundation of people's lives.

I dearly hope that he is good enough to learn lessons and not repeat mistakes, because he can be useful.    But he's got some learnin' to do.

by Andmoreagain 2004-11-07 08:36AM | 0 recs
not just the rural vote
Bush didn't do much better among rural folks this time than he did in 2000; he got the rural folks out to vote, though (so a consistent % advantage meant more Bush voters at the polls) and he improved his standing nationally (though not in MN) among suburbanites and city dwellers. We have a number of problems here at the national level: one is failure to communicate with rural people, in and out of the South, and we're going to need candidates who know how to do that. (Keep that in mind when you vote in the primaries.) The other is people who vote on terrorism and trust Bush to keep us safe. I still can't believe they do trust him, but apparently they do. Kerry won almost every "safe" Gore state by a lower margin than Gore, and the exceptions are states (OR, MN) where Nader did well in 2000; that change has less to do with rural values voters than with terrorism and the power of wartime incumbency, and frankly I don't know what to do about that.
by accommodatingly 2004-11-07 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: not just the rural vote
Something else to consider, which I am at a loss on how we overcome this.

Throughout the election I worked feverishly talking to everyone I know and thousands that I didn't know, and probably made many enemies trying to persuade people to vote for Kerry.  The following is the strongest pattern of responses I encountered.

Has Bush handled the War on Terror?  NO
Has Bush handled the war in Iraq? NO
Should we have gone into Iraq?  NO
Bush and the Economy?  Horrible
Bush helping the poor?  Horrible
Bush and the environment?  Horrible
Will you vote for Kerry?  NO
Will you vote for Bush?  YES

The primary response for voting for Bush was I just can't vote for a Democrat, I was raised Republican and since that is how my parents and friends vote, then that is how I will vote.

I know there are other factors at play here, but this is a prevailing mindset in the South and rural areas in the North, and Midwest.  How we overcome it continues to escape me.

by liberalintexas 2004-11-07 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: not just the rural vote
Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant may have some insight on this. In the strict father frame, you do what daddy says without question.

He says that we have to find a way to communicate with the "nurturing parent" to get them on our side.

I think we need to find labels for our policies that speak to the "strict fathers" so that they come to our conclusions. We have to make their changes in perspect follow logically from their perspective.

by gina 2004-11-07 08:13AM | 0 recs
Ku klux klan
The klan, Whish has discarded its white hoods for christian fundamentalists choir outfits, did not and does not only exist the south. These people are everywhere and they all agree with Pat Roberson and company that the attack on new york city - a city which rejected the leadership that followed )by 85% Manhattan, 75% Bronx and Queens) - was God's punishment for homosexuality and femenism. Oh, they backtracked puplcly but don't kid yourself that they changed their minds privately. George Bush is a fundamentalist christia. They are as dangerous as the Fundalmentalist moslim and please don't lie to us and tell us differently.
by forjoeb 2004-11-07 06:53AM | 0 recs
Rural, ex-urban areas: Missouri, too
The Missouri maps looks just like the PA map
with two big blue dots at each end (Kansas City
in the west, and Saint Louis in the east) and
Republican heartland all in between, save maybe
two college towns.

by dc2000 2004-11-07 07:38AM | 0 recs
city size the critical factor? No!

No--the North voted for Kerry because it has larger cities
I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. If you look at the county-by county map of the electoral results (posted at many places, but  was looking at the one at you will see that in the blue states, almost every major urban area is blue, with the sole exceptions, as far as I can tell, of Spokane and San Diego. Now look at the red states. Dallas-Ft.Worth, San Antonio, and Houston are all red. The only big blue towns in Texas are Austin and El Paso. There is not one blue county in Oklahoma. In Alabama, Mobile and Birmingham are both red.Tennessee is split, with Knoxville and Chattanooga red, and Memphis and Nashville blue. Tampa-St.Pete in Florida is Red, as is every other major town on the west coast, and so is Jacksonville. Orlando is split. Salt Lake City and Reno are both red. Anyway, I think you get my point. In the red states, especially in the South, the cities are less Democratic than they are in the blue states. Even the blue cities in the south, with notable exceptions like Miami, are less blue than they are in the North and West. This is really not just about the rural-urban divide. And I don't think it's really about gun control, either. Why would country people want to carry around concealed handguns or assault weapons? Shotguns and ordinary rifles have never, ever been on the table anyway. It may be that these people vote the way they do on gun control, but if sdo, that is a marketing issue and not a substantive issue. Anyway, I think you can see that there is a more substantive cultural divide between the red and blue states than what you are talking about.

by blerb 2004-11-07 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: city size the critical factor? No!
I have a comment about Dallas, may be red but it is a very pale red! With a little TLC it could be blue :> Kerry took 49% of the votes in Dallas County...hell, Dallas County elected a Hispanic lesbian last week for county sheriff!!! It said in the papers that she worked with the local gay and lesbian groups in order to figure out the best way to talk about it if the subject came up during the election. The Hispanic and AA population is a large part of the census/populaton. The county is huge and has both urban AND redneck towns so something is working for the dem officials in the county!
by rainbow4321 2004-11-07 11:16AM | 0 recs
funding for labor and religious organization
The rules for funding for religious organizations also need to be evaluated.
Bush administration did relax the rules
for these organization. The same probably
should be done for the labor organization.
by jr00 2004-11-07 08:17AM | 0 recs
Very good post
The red/blue, racist/un-racist, christian/atheist, rural/urban dichotmy being spewed forth is mostly mythology (designed by Rove among others) and we are falling for it hook, line and sinker.
by flavorflav12 2004-11-07 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Very good post
Good Comment.

Karl Rove wants us fighting like this.  He especially wants to avoid a FDR coaltion, where we clean up our weak points and start solving the problem.  

We need to understand rural people.  We can connect. but we will need better media to do so.

by beeste 2004-11-07 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Very good post
this is no longer the 1800s!  The old regional coalitions with a different message for different groups doesn't work with a national media market!  Republicans know this.  Democrats are still trying to find the right compromise.

And if you check your history book, you will learn that coalition regional politics didn't work in the 1800s either!  Democrats only took control of this country in the 20th century when they presented a unified message, the welfare state.

by rusrivman 2004-11-08 05:33AM | 0 recs
GOTV lacking in southern cities
I did a small analysis of Jacksonville, FL. It showed there was nothing special about GOTV in J'ville. See below...

Jacksonville GOTV

I'm sure there are similar stories elsewhere, for some reason I started digging here and found enough to keep digging. This isn't a story about fraud, its a story about missed opportunities.

Jacksonville, FL is predominantly Democratic by Party ID, but has voted for George Bush by wide margins in the last two elections, with Bushs' winning margins being +44,000 in 2000 and +61,000 in 2004.

I started looking at the precinct breakdowns for registered voters and results. In Jacksonville there are some obviously R precincts like the Mandarin Moose Lodge (Precinct 06K with 2,049 R's and 1,288 D's and 492 NA), there are some pretty mixed precincts like the Argyle/Westside Lions Club (10S with 719R - 830D - 216NA) or The Country School (11D 910R - 745D - 218NA) and there are some very Democratic precincts like First Timothy Baptist Church (07P 168 R - 2,961 D - 267NA).

First thing I noticed is that turnout seemed pretty low across the board in Duval. Not many precincts at or above 60% and quite a few below 45%. Sad to say most of the below 40's were in areas like First Timothy (07P). At First Timothy, 44.73% turned out and cast 1,309 votes for Kerry and 223 votes for Bush. Here's where the sad part comes in, Kerry at 1,309 means that nearly 1,700 LIKELY Kerry votes stayed home. Looking at 11D I see 59.4% turnout, resulting in a 921-217 Bush win. 10R turned out 50.14% resulting in a 642-260 Bush win.

Here are some examples of missed Dem opportunities:

                               Turnout%        Registered(R-D)    B/C    K/E    Missed

07P First Timothy Baptist          44.73        168 - 2,961   223     1,309    1,652
09H Grand Park Community             43.25        43 - 1,479    42    643      836
09J Ephesian Missionary Church         44.85        50 - 1,434    33    668      766
10A Charles Clarke Community       41.48        39 - 1,740    38    743      997
10G William Raines Senior High School    35.09        49 - 1,986    35    725    1,261
08D Ribault Senior High                38.63        35 - 1,147    37    444      703

I would wager a similar analysis in other metropolitan areas of the south would discover many missed Dem voters.

by nholshouser 2004-11-07 08:26AM | 0 recs
In order to win over these voters we must first communicate with them.  To communicate with them we have to first embrace them.  To embrace them we must first love and respect them.  I'M SERIOUS!!!  There is a sense in the South that Northerners (Yankees) look down on them.  They resent that, and are happy to oppose whatever we propose.

These people care about American, they've just been hoodwinked by a slick propaganda machine.  Nobody listens to you when you're yelling at them.

We must establish that the Democratic party is the party with true Christian principles ("Blessed are the peacemakers" sound familiar to anyone?).

If we don't respect them, if we don't like them, if we don't care about them, they will never listen to a word we say.

by Ryan 2004-11-07 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Stereotyping is so stupid. I live in the multicultural part of Broward County.  We may not be like peas in a pod, but we have learned to get along pretty well. "Y'all" better get used to getting along because this isn't going away.  

But your post hasn't changed my mind about boycotting the red counties in Florida. We bring in all this revenue in South  Florida, But the roads in central and northern Florida. the voting machines, everything is better there than it is here.

by misscee 2004-11-07 10:45AM | 0 recs
But Religion IS a value
How can you possibly imply that  we need to respect their values.....but we can't become religious, because we're not fundamentalists?

This seems to be the gist of what you're saying.    There are degrees, man, degrees.     We don't have to wave bibles.     We just have to cool it on the secular intellectual national candidates (probably leave out NE candidates for a few cycles), and the guns, and a few other things.....

But don't do mental gymnastics to avoid any commitment to a greater place for religion in Democratic politics or candidates.    

by Andmoreagain 2004-11-07 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: But Religion IS a value
There are values that we all share that have little to do with the Bible.  A strange notion, but true.
by Christopher 2004-11-07 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: But Religion IS a value
probably leave out NE candidates for a few cycles

Sure, because a person from the Northeast is sinful by nature, right?  </sarcasm>

What are those "few other things"?

by Mary Mary 2004-11-07 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: But Religion IS a value
I'm talking strictly pragmatically.       We could maybe run a secular NE'er again.....but it's clear that that has big handicaps.    So why not look at the cultural alienation from the northeast and west coast and go where there's possibilities to give Americans somebody to identify with?      

what are those few other things?  and your sarcasm?  FYI,   I'm from NY.   Not religious, never was.   Live in CA now.    Always a Democrat.    Have no problem with sin whatsover.   The concept doesn't exist for me.    

Those 'other things', in varying combinations, would be pretty obvious.....having foreign policy, military, or national security credentials;  having an ability to identify at least symbolically with 'regular people';  being roughly centrist or moderate fiscally; having sellable positions during (and prior to)  a national election.    Are you going to ask me what sellable is?    Nobody who comes out and says I'm going to raise taxes, nobody who lectures citizens in any way, nobody who can't  say why he or she believes something, nobody who is not comfortable with religion etc.      

I don't like kowtowing to those less openminded or liberal than me.....but that's politics.  

by Andmoreagain 2004-11-07 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: But Religion IS a value
Thank goodness; I thought you were going to suggest dropping civil rights and abortion rights, as I have seen waaaay too often on Dem boards this past week.

I was sarcastic because John Kerry seems to be a quite religious man.  I know he was raised to be religious.  But somehow he becomes secular because he's from the Northeast.  

I think to gain certain votes, you not only have to be religious, you have to be the right kind of religious, and Catholic (or Jewish --- HELLo Joe Lieberman!) ain't it.

by Mary Mary 2004-11-08 03:46AM | 0 recs
Interesting pattern
The states Louisiana, arkansas, mississippi, alabama, and georgia were the only states that voted for strom thermond and goldwater.
by lightarrow 2004-11-07 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting pattern
I am pleased to tell you that Georgia went for Harry Truman instead of Strom Thurmond in 1948.  In fact, Truman won Georgia in '48 with 61% of the vote.

Georgia was one of only six states that for Goldwater in 1964, though.  Goldwater only carried the five Deep South states --- SC, GA, AL, MS, LA --- and his home state of Arizona.

Perhaps even more regrettable, Georgia was one of the five southern states that George Wallace carried in 1968. The other four were AL, MS, LA, & AR.

by MBSullivan 2004-11-07 04:34PM | 0 recs
100% wrong
Rural southerners are not the same as rural northerners.  Ohioans out in the sticks are midwesterners (just a more conservative variety).  They generally don't have a Jim Crow History or many other issues unique to the South.

I also think the Penn. analogy is very light.  Dems have been carrying Philly forever but what is changing is that they're also able to carry more and more of the vote in some non-urban areas.  Philly's urban core is actually shrinking but the exurban counties (Bucks, etc) are growing and tend to be full of young professionals.  

I think this kind of thinking is actually dangerous.  The southern approach has been tried again and again and does not work for us any longer.  We can appeal to exurban and urban voters (and some rural voters) in Upper Midwest and Southwest.  And, aslo, remember white rural America is a dying demographic in our society.  This is not a group to tie our future to.

by lojo 2004-11-07 09:00AM | 0 recs
That analysis is absolutely wrong!
It is a Southern Red State issue, and history shows as much.  The south did not go from being heavily democratic to heavily Republican because of "tax-cuts".  This is the culmination of a hate filled, intolerant Southern strategy set forth by the GOP.  Using code words like "states rights" and "elitists" to hide their biggoted agenda.  I am also a son of the South, and still live in South Carolina, and I can tell you that intolerance is alive and well.  Further, the metro Atlanta area makes up about 45% of Georgia's population, why then is it so red?  Because they can not stand a Northern elitist (abolitionist) taking away their state's rights (ability to be intolerant).  You guys better wake up!  There is a culture war going on, the problem is that Republicans actually recognize this.  Yet we talk about how we can compete for those voters who vote exclusively, or primarily on those issues.  We can not--and should not!  All we can do is reframe the values debate, and make the playing field one that adresses issues that carry a more populist message.  If you try to value the merging of church and state, and taking away a wooman's right to choose, and denying gay couples the same rights you do heterosexual couples, then you just lost the vote of one, black male, heterosexual, god-fearing, pro choice southerner.  Yes I am religious, but like so many others, I know that it takes more than being intolerant to others views to lay claim to the moral highground.  From Bill O'reily, to Rush Limbaugh, to Bill Bennet, I know these people are hypocrites, and I will fight that battle till the day I die, and I only wish all Democrats, including you, shared this same resolve.
by partyguy708 2004-11-07 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: That analysis is absolutely wrong!
It's not a question of disagreement or resolve. It's a question of tactics. Do we adopt their tactics? Do we demonize the rural/southern demographic?
by Gary Boatwright 2004-11-07 10:27AM | 0 recs
by lightarrow 2004-11-07 10:00AM | 0 recs
Uh, Bush ain't a Southerner
...he just acts like one on TV.  From what I understand.

And I just cannot accept any of these types of reports until ALL the votes in Florida, Ohio, and even in New Hampshire have been counter.  I even smell a rat with the Pennsylvania results.

Over at dKos, there is a very interesting map up regarding the Blue/Red State demographics.  It clearly shows that the US is mostly blue/purple states.  Go here:

Daily Kos - Maps Part II, More Non-Mandate Data

(this is my first time posting here, I hope my link post is correct)

by smugbug 2004-11-07 10:00AM | 0 recs
Here's a purple map
courtesy of Robert J Vanderbei and Princeton University: linked text
by Gary Boatwright 2004-11-07 10:29AM | 0 recs
Here's a link to map at dkos
the link is broken at dkos linked text
by Gary Boatwright 2004-11-07 10:33AM | 0 recs
Our Greatest Strength
I think that one of our greatest strengths in the next elections will be the bush agenda itself.  What will the country and the world look like in 2 or 4 years?

Iraq: expensive anarchy
Tax cuts: record debt requiring more revenue to pay the interest (to foriegn banks)
Tax "reform": increasing tax burden on the working class
Entitlements (Social Securtiy, et al): bankrupt
Environment: ravaged
Military influence: bogged down in Iraq
Diplomatic influence: marginalized

There will always be a block of voters in every state who will vote for republicans or democrats.  But if we are united as a party, and are firm in our believe that the bush agenda is weakening our country we can appeal to the moderates in every state.  To do that, we need candidates who can effectively present that message, and our alternative plans, and we need to counter rove's spin machine.

by Winston Smith 2004-11-07 10:39AM | 0 recs
Massachusetts Liberal
When the president uses the term Massachusetts Liberal as a negative, the nation is out of wack!  For the president to use the name of one of the members of this nation in that way is just another one of the reasons he is unfit to run this land.  He is very fit to ruin this land!
by seanwilliam1776 2004-11-07 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Massachusetts Liberal
Finally, someone who gets it.  I am from South Carolina, but it would not be right if Clinton had said Dole was a far right winger from Kansas.  Bush is suppose to be President of The United States, not of every place but Mass.  I can not imagine another President since the 1900's even saying something like that.  You know what's more frightening, is that the media never even made this an issue.  Have I mentioned how much I hate these people?  Listen up lefties, we better recognize that this is a war period.  If not this country is headed to hell.
by partyguy708 2004-11-07 05:18PM | 0 recs
Feel confident we can bring back the catholic

vote...fundys sooner or later love to bash

catholics (the so called pope is anti-christ

crowd and people raised on chick tracts).
Feel confident we can bring back moderate

evangelicals but it boils down to a values

package that resets the table on abortion,gays and guns. (God knows liberals need guns now)

need major push in rural areas and cable

actual commercials promoting our values


by Aslanspal 2004-11-07 11:18AM | 0 recs
This is pathetic.  Fuck the South.  Fuck the hicks.  A bit more turnout in DECENT areas of Ohio and we win.  But instead we have FIFTH COLUMNISTS telling us to surrender to the enemy.
by rfr 2004-11-07 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Concessionists
Way to engage the debate jackass.

Can you eat without your momma's help>

by safeashouses 2004-11-07 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Concessionists
I agree.  Just how many of our progressive principals do we have to abandon for a region that has been taking revenge on the democratic party for 2 generations because they felt "betrayed" when dems finally supported blacks getting equal rights?

Concentrate on Ohio and the southwest.  Then, let the south decide what it is they want -- prosperity and progress or backwardness and republicanism.

by wintermute1 2004-11-07 04:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Concessionists
Karl Rove couldn't be happier with your attitude.  

Hicks?  Hell yeah, insult them all.  March left, hard.  Write off the red states, and the red counties.  Don't learn from Ken Salazar's victory in Colorado.  

Be condescending.  Don't reach out.  Don't try to solve the problem.  Make finding an endangered species a complete disaster for a land owner.  

Keep promoting bias based on race.  Announce your are going to take away their guns.

And for god's sake don't build a sensible coalition of progressives and moderates, with a bit of give and take.  Stay pure.

And get used to losing, and a Supreme Court from 100 year ago.

by beeste 2004-11-07 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Concessionists
I don't want to write off Colorado, New Mexico, or any other state with significant progressive potential.  I don't, however, want to begin the post-Kerry search for solutions by going back to the democratic habit of pandering to some fictional element of Dixie that is just "waiting to be convinced" to vote for liberals that they despise.  That is not only a waste of time but also a profound show of disrespect to core democratic constituencies that continue to support us.

Pragmatism yes, but not completely shorn of principle.

by wintermute1 2004-11-07 07:11PM | 0 recs
A Yankee Who Live in the South
I'll be honest, I do look down my nose at Southerners.  I lived in Louisiana for 3 short months and I absolutely hated it.  The people there are missing out on a lot and very obviously repressed.  The opportunities down South pale in comparison to the North and our educational system can't be beat.  I was in northern florida a few years ago and teachers there are lucky to make 25g's a year.  They send letters home to parents begging for donations of school supplies.  That's no way to run a school, and it just shows me that the south doesn't value a real education.  The majority of people I've met in the south lack critical thinking skills.  I will not compromise with these people.  And tell me why I see so many license plates from southern states up here in the north?
by KeenVictoria 2004-11-07 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: A Yankee Who Live in the South
They send letters home to parents begging for donations of school supplies.  That's no way to run a school, and it just shows me that the south doesn't value a real education.


I taught in Tennessee for 13 years, the last 6 in a rural school located (I'm not kidding) in the middle of a cotton field.

The only time you hear about education issues in the South is once every election cycle when some Democrat we've never heard of comes along and tells us that our education system sucks and that they're going to do something about it.

So, with the maturation of these empty promises, we send letters home begging for money so we can do our job the best we can. And our parents send what they can.

Too bad you hated Lousianna so much. I've always had fun there with the Jazz culture, scrumptuous food, and wonders of nature. Not to mention the fabulous arcitecture, artists...New Orleans is one of my favorite cities and I'm not just talking about Burbon Street.

For as well traveled as some librals claim to be, I'm surprised at how ignorant many are to the finer cultural points of the South. I guess that makes many of y'all a bunch of uneducated close minded regionists.

No wonder we lost my South.

by gina 2004-11-07 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: A Yankee Who Live in the South
I second that.  I've lived in Dallas all my life -- in an area that is about 95% GOP too -- and many of my friends are your standard southern Bush supporters.  Southerners strongly resent northern arrogance like that and that's a big part of why people on the fence down here tend to vote Republican.

Most southerners are very decent people who are not bigoted or even crazy creationists.  I know so many people that share my values and thinking and still vote Republican because they always have and don't give it a second thought.

In many respects, southern culture is superior to northern culture.  We're much nicer and willing to help our fellow man down here.  "Southnern Hospitality" is no myth.  

The Republican party's biggest flaw, as I see it, is that the business elite group that controls the party is often at odds with the rest of the party.  Their MO is to implement policy that benefits the business elite, and then pay lip service to the christian fundamentalist group.  I don't really think they intend to pass a Gay Marriage Ban Amendment.  Au contraire, they want to keep it as an election issue that they can reuse in 2008.  We need to expose that strategy.  

Instead of bashing southerners, Democrats need to understand southerners.  They're not a bunch of ignorant hicks -- trust me.  We need to convince them that the Democrats' policy more closely represents their values and that the Republicans' policies only favor the rich.

Much of that strategy will have to be negative.  I think we need to get more negative.  The Republicans deserve it for one, and I think it would surprise a lot of southerners what the GOP really stands for.

by dan2 2004-11-08 09:16AM | 0 recs
First the South has to Face reality
 To begin with before one can deal with a person or an individual a common reality must be agreed upon.
this means that the south has to admit and face that their traitorous, oath breaking, treasonous, bigotted behavior was the cause of the civil war. There never was a war of northern agression.
For the south to keep naming places after traitors such as lee, jackson, stuart and the rest of that losing scum who broke their oaths to the United States in the name of slavery is unacceptable.
When the south admits that it fired the first shot. It was fighting to protect the right of slavery. It was the home of the klan and citizen councils and it is the home of the regressive fundie/born again heresy.
Then when they admit their failures can we help them but as long as they revel in their ignorance and hate we cannot communicate with them or hope to have them join the civilized states.
Please there is no more of a southern backlash then there was a backlash against the japanese on Dec. 8th 1941
by Rational 2004-11-07 02:28PM | 0 recs
cheap rating
cheap shot to give me a 1 for expressing an opinion.    Why not take me on?  Try arguing with me?   What are you afraid of?
by Andmoreagain 2004-11-07 04:51PM | 0 recs
Just realized - you probably don't know
'1's are not for comments you disagree with.   You inappropriately rated me twice.   a 2 would have even been debateable.  

Again, when it's questionable, confront the poster.

by Andmoreagain 2004-11-07 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: First the South has to Face reality
agree. You rated me troll. I'm no troll, I worked my ass off in Tennessee until I moved. I still consider myself a southerner and a democrat from the lefter side of the party. Dems had better learn to understand the south in more positive terms or be prepared to give up all your dreams of a better America.

Don't like hate spewing bigots, then be the change you want.

by gina 2004-11-07 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: First the South has to Face reality
It is the same rating I got for expressing my opinion by another southern apolagist trying to defend the indefensible and justify the treason of those who regarded slavery more important then the oath they took when they got their appointments at West Point and the army.

The South has been the source of the Klan, the bigotry of Nixon's southern strategy, anti gay violence and protection of anti choice terrorists.

Sorry but I feel any one who feels that we should lower ourselves to the same level as the south rather then demand that they grow up is undercutting any civilized growth.

by Rational 2004-11-07 07:14PM | 0 recs
Then Don't Lower Yourself
I am no Southern Apologist. I'm just telling you how it is. The South is not some Demon Land. My neighborhood had every shade of people in it. My neighborhood had gay men living next door to octogenerian men. My neighborhood had families of all kinds.

Bashing the whole South for the actions of some makes you just as ignorant as the bigots who outnumbered us this time.

No, we should not compromise on our values. Yes, racism and all the other isms are not to be given in to.

But I want America to win.

Bashing the South doesn't feed the hungry in Memphis. Bashing the South doesn't send poor children in Nashville to good schools. Bashing the South doesn't produce jobs in Knoxville. And bashing the south doesn't do any of those things in Oakland, DC, or NYC either.

Ranting may feel good, but in the words of Jack Johnson, "you are only what you hate."

We need to get our acts together and fight instead of bashing southerners because they are in a different echo chamber than we are.

by gina 2004-11-08 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Then Don't Lower Yourself
So you agree that there never was a war of northern aggression only a uprising by slave holders to protect their right to own and trade in other humans?
You agree that it is outragous that even today that there are government institutions in the south named after traitors and bigots like lee, stuart, jackson and forrest ( founder of the klan)
You agree that the fundies and other"christians" in the south are a drag on humanity and promoting negative and despicable practices on humanity.

If so please explain why judge Roy Moore has an approval rating in the high 80% ?
Why everyone was SO understanding of Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond and Trent Lotts bigotry just to name a few.
Why the motion to change the state constitution ( Alabama? Miss? )so as to remove the ban on interracial marriages barely passed and only after economic and legal sanctions were threatened?
Why the bomber of a planned parenthood clinic (Rudolph) was protected and sheltered by his fellow southerners?
Why that center of enlightenment Richmond came to the edge of violence when a statue of Lincoln was built while no one protests traitors statues in places of honor?
Even in Germany there were people who didn't approve but that did nothing to stop the Holocaust or WWII.

by Rational 2004-11-08 02:57PM | 0 recs
Of course those are awful things
And they should never be forgotten.

But consider that if you ask some Germans, they still believe that Poland bombed them first.

I don't think we can underestimate the power of the aristocratic class to shape public perception.

Read this recommended by Paul Rosenberg in this thread.

Liberals in the United States have been losing political debates to conservatives for a quarter century. In order to start winning again, liberals must answer two simple questions: what is conservatism, and what is wrong with it? As it happens, the answers to these questions are also simple:

Q: What is conservatism?
A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.
Q: What is wrong with conservatism?
A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world

Arundhati Roy, in her book An Ordinary Person's Guide To Empire looks at the massive propaganda campaign in the US and in other "democracies. " Again, don't unnerestimate the things the powerful will do to keep power. As Agre points out, these people have been around a while and they've had a lot of practice.

But Roy has another message that is pertinate here

In most parts of the world, the invasion of Iraq is seen as a racist war. The real danger of a racist war unleashed by racist regimes is that it engenders racism in everybody-perpetrators, victims, spectators.

We can't fall for their tactics. We must work differently because we are better than those who would divide us. And we must work smarter to win.

Southern Backlash makes me think of this quote by Michael Gerber, Author of The E Myth...Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It know one must understand.
And to understand, one must have an intimate awareness of what conditions are truly present. What people know and what they don't. What people do and what they don't. What people want and what they don't. How people do what they do and how people don't. Who people are and who they aren't.

I'm angry too. Members of my own fucking family voted for that horrid man. But its not because they're biggots.

Rational, I'm actually glad you troll rated me because I think this is a great discussion. You are obviously intelligent and have a great deal of empathy for the opressed in our country. Your passion for righting wrongs, for justice makes you a beautiful American...or just person, I'm assuming you are American.

by gina 2004-11-08 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Of course those are awful things
Excuse me but its time we stopped bringing a knife to a gun fight.
If someone voted for this evil they are evil.
Just as the Nuremburg tribunal would note accept the "just following orders" and " I didn't know what was happening" from Guard at Aushwitz and germans who built the gas chamber, ran the trains and lived down wind of the furnaces so we cannot accept that these people are just ignorant they are evil.
I have a brother who is evil and has been either a mercenary, while pretending to be an US soldier, or sucking off of the government tit by making more weapons. Is it easy to say this NO. But just as the brother of the Unibomber recongized a duty to society that exceed his familial ties so must we all recongize that whether it was stupidity, greed or misguided fanatism that the people who voted gfor bush and his fellow thugs are evil and not until they admit their sins and renounce their ill gotten gains should they be allowewd back into the society of civilized company or accorded treatment beyond that of a mad dog trying to spread its infection.
by Rational 2004-11-08 07:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Of course those are awful things
Oh as a side light yes the Germans of today do admit to the starting WWII.

Until the south admits to the error of its way they will never progress beyond the knuckle dragging reactionary fans of thier traitorous losers ancestors.

by Rational 2004-11-08 08:22PM | 0 recs
Baby Steps in NC
It should be noted that Mecklenburg County in North Carolina went for Kerry.  That's where Charlotte is, the biggest city in the state and unaffectionately known as the "Dallas of North Carolina."

We in the liberal oases believe the state will flip Blue in the next 10-15 years given the massive influx of people moving to work at Research Triangle and Asheville's ascendance.

by Mourning in America 2004-11-07 04:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Baby Steps in NC
I agree and I think that VA could be flipped blue in a few years, too.  I live in Georgia.  It's going to get worse here before it gets better.  I'm not sure how many election cycles it's going to take.  On the upside, my home county, once the epicenter of the Republican party in Georgia, is becoming more ethnically and racially diverse and therefore we are trending more Democratic with each passing year.

As for Cristopher's original point: I agree that dismissing an entire region of the country as irrelevant and characterizing its citizens as a bunch of backwards hicks isn't going to return our party to the majority.  

Yes, a Democrat can win the presidency without carrying a single Southern or Great Plains state, but we will not take Congress back with this narrow approach.  

Like it or not, we have to broaden our appeal if we want to regain governing majorities.  Part of broadening the appeal is taking "culture and values" issues off of the table.  Republicans have been successful at making elections about the character of their Democratic opponents instead of about the kitchen table issues that affect people's everyday lives.  Democratic candidates must neutralize this line of attack because once the voter has decided that a candidate shares his/her values, then and only then will the candidate get a fair hearing on the issues.  And on the issues, we win.

I agree that our candidates shouldn't go around quoting scripture in some lame attempt to pander to a demographic that will never be sympathetic to our party's message.  However, our candidates can and should talk about what is important to them personally.  They should talk about what led them to seek public office.  They should talk about the positive results that good, effective government can bring about in people's lives.  They should talk about what they hope to accomplish in public office and why.

Perhaps most importantly, I think that our candidates should hit back quickly and forcefully when Republicans attack their character.  After all, why should voters think that a Democrat will stand up for them once in office if that Democrat won't even stand up for himself or herself during the campaign?

Just some random thoughts on a Sunday night.

by MBSullivan 2004-11-07 07:29PM | 0 recs
Maybe we deserve it?
Living in a part of NC where I am ass-deep in fundamentalists, I may have a different perspective on it.

First, I question that evangelicals are what brought the Dubya wagon home. If Americans attending religious services once a week or more constitute 14% of the electorate, even if every single one of them voted for Dubya they couldn't have done it for him. The influence of the fundies on the election is, I suspect, conservative media spin.

Second of all, the bigger picture often hides the literal truth. Kerry lost by less than 700 votes in my county, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2 to 1. (And we are still trying to figure out whether we are one of the growing number of counties where all the early voting wasn't counted because they misunderstood the capacity of their new machines.) A county-by-county look will show the same scenario in many counties.

Third, Democrats took back the NC House. Did the fundies get confused and forget which lever they were supposed to pull after the top of the ticket?

Fourth -- and this is where I think Southern states really might deserve the ass-kicking we're getting -- the number of people who will remain quiet, go along with the fundies, out of either politeness or genuine fear or discomfort with comformity is HUGE. They may or may not have pulled the lever for Bush behind the curtain, but they weren't likely to argue about it publicly. We need to overcome our reticense and speak bluntly about the harm we see in supporting this President.

What complicates speaking out for many Southerners? Gingrich's word list is still in play here, and it's had almost two decades to infiltrate and take over the political dialogue. People find themselves unable to express their own political opinions, because the fundies and the Gingrich-ites have co-opted some of the words nearest and dearest to their own hearts. When they try to argue with political decisions that make them uncomfortable, they find themselves rebeling against words once used to define the ideals of their own cultures.

by GypsyWriter 2004-11-07 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe we deserve it?
>We need to overcome our reticense and speak bluntly about the harm we see in supporting this President.

I wholeheartedly agree.  Kerry ran a decent campaign, but he shied away from challenging the President on certain issues.  

I am still bewildered at why we didn't make Abu Ghraib a centerpiece of the campaign.  Or the Iraq-Niger "misstatement" from the SoTU speech.  Or even the Plame scandal.

The GOP strategy for many of our attacks was to kick up dirt and create plausable deniability.  Still, though, if we had attacked them with enough material from every angle, I think the public may have begun to catch on to the dirt kicking bit.  Can't they take responsibility for anything?

by dan2 2004-11-08 08:33AM | 0 recs
Southern Hicks
I regret that I only have but one lifetime to call them what they are. They are the Ku Klux Klan in Christian Fundamentalists choir robes. Nothing more. Do not forget that Pat Robertson - unquestionalbly their spiritual leader - said that the attach on New York City was God's punishment for Homosexuality and feminism allowing abortions. He meant what he said. I call these people what they are and will never reach out to them. Our only hope is to tell the truth and maybe save some of their young.

I suppose if ann frank had just reached out and tried to respect them and talk to them she would have changed things. NOT!!!

If we never win again so be it but we should never ever join them anywhere on anything that we disagree on. No more voting on the 85 million before we vote against it. He was a lousy candidate and that's why he lost. He was wishy washy just like they said. He tried to do it by talking softly when he shouold have been calling a lie a lie instead of 'well I didn't use that word....." He shoould have told the truth.

by forjoeb 2004-11-07 07:27PM | 0 recs
When it comes to the environment.....
Southerners ARE unbelievably stupid in that the refuse to acknowledge this as a good thing.  Why?  Southern pride.  My goodness what is so 'evil' about recycling, other than the fact that it started in the North?

Asking someone to recycle is NOT a condescending, nor is it an assault on their 'values.'  Yet, what do we get when anybody has the audacity to increase the amount of recycling or request a park in a sub-division?

'Hell, I don't park my car on the lawn, what more ya'll want?'  'Go back North to your liberal parks, Yankee.'

So very defensive, so utterly devoid of common sense. And yes, we're talking about urban, suburban and exurban areas.  People ask me why I voted for Kerry and I say 'you know, I actually CARE about the environment.'  The response is: blank stare and just WAITING for me to denigrate Southern 'values.'

To me, this is perhaps the most indicative of the South's anti-North bias.  How one can find something 'UNCHRISTIAN' about recycling is beyond me...other than the fact that it is 'worldly' since other regions started it and the cities with the best recycling attitudes are always in the North.  

And kindly DON'T say 'well, it was the WAY you said it.'  No, I have been universally described as the 'nicest Yankee' most Southerners have met.

Moral of this story: don't ever run an environmentally-friendly, New England Catholic who is divorced in the South.  It WON'T EVER, EVER, EVER happen.  Southerners truly have a chip on their shoulder about liberal, condescending Yankees. The 'spite' vote probably cost Kerry at least 3%, throw in the gay bashing festival and you've got a Southern romp.

Edwards could've done OK, but let me tell you, Southerners can be nice - until you 'spite' them.  Then, it gets real ugly.  In fact, Southern Democrats are the greatest people on the face of this earth.  Too bad there's so few of them.

by yankeeinmemphis 2004-11-08 02:45PM | 0 recs


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