What’s Missing From This Analysis of the GOP?

Weekly Standard writer Jay Cost notices that over the past century or so, the base of the Republican Party has shifted from the North and Midwest to the South and South and Southwest. Do tell.

What’s remarkable about this is that in his analysis, Cost utterly ignores the two main reasons for this. Which are (you guys know this; I’m just explaining it in case any righties drop by):

!. White Flight. During Reconstruction and for decades afterward, the old “party of Lincoln” was pretty much shut out of the South. “Solid South” used to refer to the fact that the southern states were a reliable block of votes for Democrats. Beginning in the early 1950s, however, a new generation of Democrats embraced desegregation, civil rights and equal opportunity for African Americans. The old southern Dixiecrats began to shift out of the party, a trend much accelerated by the Southern Strategy. Southern white supremacists and segregationists stampeded out of the Democratic Party and into the loving arms of Republicans.

2. The party is getting older, and retired voters often move to warmer states.

But neither of these factors is even mentioned by Cost. Here is his explanation for the shift:

The booming postwar economy sent voters South and West, and eventually transformed all of the Sunbelt states into either swing states or safely Republican enclaves (with California having now swung back to the Democrats).

That doesn’t tell us how the North and Midwest became less Republican. Of course, record numbers of African Americans moved North in the mid-20th century, but until the 1960s or so I believe most African Americans voted for Republicans. Party of Lincoln, and all that. But yes, migrations of voters probably were a factor, but IMO not the most significant factor.

Anyway, Colt goes on to speculate that the reason Republican voters are not terribly happy with the field of potential presidential candidates is that the southerners have all dropped out. Yeah, that must be the reason. Can’t think of any other ones. (/sarcasm)

Other Stuff to Read:

World Will End Tomorrow. Party on!

Huntsmania! Doesn’t seem voters are catching it, though; just media.

The Gingrich implosion continues. Newt may be wishing the world will end tomorrow.

Hey, if believers are raptured tomorrow, wouldn’t that sew up the election for President Obama? And maybe we can take back the House!

14 thoughts on “What’s Missing From This Analysis of the GOP?

  1. White flight and age are certainly major factors, but so is population density.

    While the Democratic base tends to be in cities, with sorrounding purple suburbs, rural areas trend heavily Republican.
    Here’s an anlysis from 2004. Look at the map an you’ll see this pretty starkly. http://tabacco.blog-city.com/red_vs_blue_big_lie_maps__cartograms_of_2004_presidential_el.htm

    Remember that 2004 was right after 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq. I couldn’t find one from 2008, which would look slightly different.
    If you look at NY State, where I live, outside of NYC, Albany, and other smaller cities and their immediate suburbs, the rural areas are indistinguishable from Mississippi or Alabama.
    What’s going to be interesting is the Mid West next year. These were traditional blue-collar areas, which have swung back and forth from D to R over the past 30+ years. Recently, as we all know, OH, MI and WI elected R Governors, and many people have buyers remorse after those candidates who ran as moderates now proved to be hard right idealogues.
    Without spending a great deal of time on analysis, I think you can sum this up as the results of two fairly simple factors, outside of natural demogaphics – right wing talk radio and FOX News; the first is readily available on AM/FM all up and down the dial all around the country, and the second is endemic in that it’s in every minimal cable or satellite package.
    I live about 60 miles from NYC, and I can’t pick up one Liberal radio station – except for one out of Buffalo, and that one only at night, and then only if there’s no local Buffalo sports team playing.
    And FOX comes with the minimum cable package, but MSNBC is bundled into a higher prices package. Why is THAT legal, I wonder? I bitched to Cablevision, but of course, they didn’t give a sh*t.
    The next 17+ months (and decade, or so) will be very interesting as the right, having shown it’s really ugly side, will fight tooth and nail, and then everything else that’s available, legal or not, to win. The demographics are changing, and they only have a few more elections to change this country back to pre-1920 before we move forward, leaving them behind, and they and their party are swept into the dustbin of history . But we need to be prepared – they will take the nation down with them if they have to.
    Party over country!

  2. Hey, if believers are raptured tomorrow, wouldn’t that sew up the election for President Obama?

    I was thinking, Wow, won’t be any point in the Nebraska GOP gerrymandering our legislative districts now.

    Also, I got dibs on a shiny yellow Mustang parked by my office, if “Left Behind” by its owner.

  3. Who would be more excited about the Rapture occurring; the sanctimonious assholes who will be Raptured or those of us who are left behind WITHOUT those sanctimonious assholes. I say let it rip. If I can get rid of some of the biggest (fill in expletive here) that I personally know, it may prove that there is a god. But then again, if Jesus did come he wouldn’t be taking these people anyway. They may be saying they’re Christians but their actions say otherwise. Crap, most of them will still be around.

  4. A healthy percentage of Republicans believe that ACORN will directly affect, make it possible for Obama to be re-elected in 2012 – never mind that ACORN no longer exists. Any ‘analysis’ of the GOP, if it doesn’t include the plethora of wrong beliefs rampant among party faithful these days, shouldn’t even be called an ‘analysis.’

    I again refer to cognitive dissonance but am beginning to think that clinical term applied to Republicans is not applicable – they’re just plain stoopid.

  5. Older, close in suburbs have been swinging to the Democrats. The 2010 elections somewhat reversed the trend but that was pretty much a vote against 1) the economy and 2) fake bipartisanship aka unilateral disarmament. If the recession had been hung on W and the Republicans like the Depression was hung on Hoover and progressive policies had been followed benefiting the bottom 95%, Democrats would have had a sweeping win.

    Republicans have been doing extremely well in the exurbs and further suburbs. No, the reason is taxes not race. A very simple case can be made that Republican policies have pushed taxes on to the backs of the middle class from corporation and the super rich. Statistically, that shows as an increase in payroll taxes while corporates are paying about a quarter of what they did in 1950 in their share of revenues. Yup, from a high of 33% to a low of 7% and now around 9% as corporate profits soar.

    It’s not “no taxes” it is a shift in taxes to the middle class. Now, the corporates and Repiblicans aim to steal the entitlements (Ryan’s Medicare vouchers that all but 4 GOPers voted for).

    If Republicans turn off Hispanics and Asians nationally like Pete Wilson did in California, they have only a short time to either complete the looting or depend on faux Democrats.

    Unless the Democrats get better or are replaced with a real opposition, it won’t matter. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people will indeed perish from this earth.

  6. Eugene Robinson delivered the ultimate smackdown on this GOP apologism: Take a look at the 1964 Electoral College map. Explain to me why, after passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Barry Goldwater, who was against the Act, won his own state of Arizona, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia and – um that’s it.

    For bonus points, explain to me why the latter four states went Republican for the first time in 100 years.

  7. Rick Massimo…Wasn’t it Goldwater the who said ” adultery in the defense of liberty is no vice”? Or was it Gingrich?

  8. …finished slogging through From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism which had been recommended to me by the author, go figure… But it was good and actually entertaining. Maybe that was due in part to having grown up in the south and having lived a lot of the recounted history. It’s not a quantitative analysis but there’s something to chronicling the platforms of winning candidates as the south went from red to blue. The GOP quite simply enlarged their tent and modified their platform, often in contradictory ways, to include southern segregationists. There were countless euphemisms and silent dog whistles. This has to loom large as a contributing factor.

    Beware…Y2K approaches. Wait, no, it’s 10-28-92. Ok, so there was a minor technical glitch with that one but this time it’s a sure thing, mark my word:

    9-22-11 !

  9. I think Jay’s completely wrong in his estimation that the voters are looking for a candidate with regional roots that the Subnet voters share. Palin was the darling of the right for a time and Alaska isn’t anywhere on his chart. Who voted for Bill Clinton because of his Arkansas roots?

    The regional electoral mix is crucial in the strategy a campaign builds around the electoral college. For the individual voter, the home state of each candidate is trivial.

    The GOP voter isnt the problem. Every GOP candidate has a fatal flaw. Rodney has romneycare. He’s screwed. Ron Paul can be hanged by quoting Ron Paul over the years. He’s a kook with a narrow appeal – the fact is congress could not pass anything – literally- that Ron Paul as president would sign. We have never seen the kind of gridlock that would ensue. Newt is a footnote.

    At the moment, the GOP has nothing. That’s the problem.

  10. Of course, record numbers of African Americans moved North in the mid-20th century,

    Yeah, and one of the major destinations was Detroit. That’s why when Newt Gingrich was tearing down Obama he mentioned looking at Detroit to see the result of Obama’s failed socialist programs. Newt could have been talking about bailing out General Motors or he could have been speaking in racist dog whistle to the GOP base.
    Newt has a style of speaking where ambiguity masks his words so that he never said what he said, but his message is always understood by those tuned in on the same wave lenght.. maybe I’m just too prejudicial against Newt and am looking for any little drop of slime that falls from his lips…But I can’t understand why Newt would single out Detroit to fault Obama except for the fact that when you put Detroit and social programs in the same sentence it comes out as “black with a negative under current”. Forgive me if I come off as a racist…but that’s what I’m hearing from Newt.

  11. …maybe I’m just too prejudicial against Newt and am looking for any little drop of slime that falls from his lips

    Hardly. Newt has earned every bit of our ill regard. How quickly we forget that he was once before seen as a liability to his own party. But his party got wackier which made him right for it again. Last time around he proposed taking people kids from them for a wide variety of infractions in what sounded like a Dicken’s novel on steroids.

    If he is, as John Stewart suggests, someone who has two ideas every minute, they are almost all quite looney. But some in his party have referred to him as a “towering conservative intellectual” so what do we know?

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