The GOP's "Southern Strategy" or How to Permanently FAIL in national politics

>> Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From June 1998:

The Republican Party is increasingly a party of the South and the mountains. There is a big problem with having a southern, as opposed to a midwestern or a California, base. Southern interests diverge from those of the rest of the country, and the southern presence in the Republican Party has passed the “tipping point” and begun to alienate voters from other regions.

The most profound clash between the South and everyone else, of course, is a cultural one. It arises from the southern tradition of putting values—particularly Christian values—at the center of politics. This is not the same as saying that the Republican Party is “too far right”; Americans consistently tell pollsters that they are conservative on values issues. It is, rather, that the Republicans have narrowly defined values as the folkways of one regional subculture and have urged their imposition on the rest of the country. Again, the nonsoutherners who object to this style of politics may be just as conservative as those who practice it. But they are put off to see that “traditional” values are now defined by the majority party as the values of the U-Haul-renting denizens of two-year-old churches and three-year-old shopping malls.
—Christopher Caldwell, "Why the GOP is Doomed." Adapted from the Atlantic Monthly, June 1998, from an article entitled “The Southern Captivity of the GOP.”

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