Thinking About Romney’s Southern Problem

 

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

It’s pretty clear that Mitt Romney has a Southern problem. The Republican candidate has consistently lost southern states. Indeed, it’s probable that if the South didn’t exist, then Mitt Romney would already have the nomination sown up today.

It’s also pretty probable that Romney will be the Republican nominee for the 2012 presidential election. At this point, it would take an extraordinary event to deny him the nomination. It would need to be something on the lines of Romney saying that he doesn’t care about poor people.

It’s a very interesting exercise to think about how Romney’s weakness amongst southerners in the primary will affect his general election performance in the South.

The Republican Party in the South is composed of two constituencies: business Republicans and evangelical Republicans. Back when the South was solidly Democratic, wealthy white suburbanites (the business Republicans) were the first to start voting Republican. The white evangelicals came late to the party; indeed a dwindling number of them still vote Democratic. Romney is weak amongst the evangelical wing of the Republican Party in the South.

A good way to think about what this weakness means for the general election is to take a look at the 2008 Democratic primary, where Barack Obama was weak amongst several groups as well. Most famously, the president did poorly amongst white working-class voters in the Appalachians. This is a bad example to use, however, because Appalachian working-class whites have been moving against the president’s party for a while now. Southern white evangelicals, if anything, are becoming more loyal to Romney’s party.

There’s another group which Obama did very poorly with in the 2008 primary, and which is better suited to this analysis (see if you can guess what I’m talking about before finishing the next paragraph).

This group opposed Obama from the beginning to the end of the Democratic primary, despite his best efforts. People today forget this fact because group (unlike working-class Appalachians) is a strong Democratic constituency. Nevertheless, Obama’s weakness amongst this group made him lose states ranging California to Texas.

Indeed, if you look at Obama’s performance in the counties bordering Mexico in Texas, you’ll find him doing just as badly amongst Hispanics in Texas as he did amongst working-class whites in West Virginia and Kentucky.

The Hispanic vote in the 2008 Democratic Primary and the southern white evangelical vote in the 2012 Republican Primary have a lot in common. Both constituencies voted strongly against the party’s nominee during the primary, but both constituencies are still very loyal to the party during the general election.

So how did Obama’s poor performance amongst Hispanics in the 2008 primary end up affecting the general election? Well, there wasn’t much effect. Obama didn’t do great amongst Hispanics, but he didn’t do poorly. He did about average. Obama won the same percentage of the Hispanic vote that a generic Democrat winning a comfortable victory would win. He did underperform somewhat in several rural Hispanic areas.

By the same logic, Romney’s poor performance amongst southern white evangelicals in the 2012 primary won’t have much effect. Romney won’t do great amongst southern white evangelicals, but he won’t do poorly. He’ll do about average. Romney will win the same percentage of the southern white evangelical vote that a generic Republican will win. He will underperform somewhat in several rural southern areas.

There is one caveat to this analysis. Hispanic opposition to Obama was generally based on Hillary Clinton’s popularity and economic reasons. On the other hand, southern white evangelical opposition to Romney is based on personal dislike for Romney and religion. One could make a pretty strong argument that the latter two are more powerful forces than the former two.

But, all in all, Democrats shouldn’t get too excited about Romney’s Southern problem.

 

 

Evangelical Movement Within The Democratic Party - Good or Bad?

I was going to post this topic under a specific state as there is a race catching a lot of attention, but I am going to broaden this question and talk about Democratic strategy versus core Democratic values.

That actually brings up a larger question about Democratic values and what are they... really?

There is a growing movement since 2004 of evangelical leaders embracing the Democratic Party. Many feel that Bush used this base to get him elected, then turned on them.

The question I have for the readers of this post today, is:

Is a growing Christian base of leaders and voters good for the party?

There's more...

Billy Graham & the Rise of the Republican South: An Interview With Historian Steven P. Miller

PhotobucketThe topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.


In the age of Barack Obama, both the Republican Party as well as the South appear marginalized and out of step with the rest of America. Yet it wasn't so long ago that the South represented the foundation of America's conservative hegemony. Starting with Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, the Republican Party prevailed in nine out of the next fourteen presidential elections with a reliable Southern base.


Specifically, the Republican Party exploited white Southern resentment against the cause of civil rights and integration. The "Southern strategy" as it was later called, enabled Republicans to end the Democratic Party's previous domination of the South following the Civil War. A key figure in that realignment was the renowned evangelist Billy Graham.

There's more...

Huckabee: Romney responsible for implementing gay marriage in Massachusetts

Partial transcript from an interview with CNSNews.com:

Huckabee: ... You know, it's interesting, the California decision as well as the Massachusetts decision, I don't think should ever have been implemented by the governors, Schwarzenegger and Romney. They were both decisions that the governors simply could have said the court has said that we have to do it, but let them enforce it. Because those were administrative decisions that had to put that in place and there was no mandate.

Jeffrey: Right, but Governor Romney actually went ahead and certified same-sex marriages without an act of his state legislature.

Huckabee: It should never have happened. It should never have happened. And while we want to blame the courts--

There's more...

The disgusting rise of a disgusting test

Few moments in American history have so reflected a treasonous sentiment abroad in the republic against a key tenant of the Constitution as the speech in Houston this week by presidential candidate Mitt Romney to a largely Republican audience did against the separation of Church and State. Romney, a Mormon, felt compelled to give a speech to satisfy the requirements of what is essentially a religious test many Americans would like to make a requirement of candidates in America, supposedly the "land of the free."

The Constitution expressly prohibits religious tests for holding office. But the religious test as it exists now is not something written into law; rather, it is a reflection of two facts, one of which is worrying as it elevates religion too much into political and governmental affairs.

There's more...

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