Cover image for The rise of Southern Republicans
The rise of Southern Republicans
Black, Earl, 1942-
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Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
viii, 442 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
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JK2356 .B55 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This is an account of growing competitiveness in Southern party politics and elections. It track Southern votes shifting economic, cultural and religious loyalties, black/white conflicts and interests during and after federal civil rights intervention and the struggles of candidates and officials.

Author Notes

Earl Black is Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Political Science at Rice University
Merle Black is Asa G. Candler Professor of Politics and Government at Emory University

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The South's political identity has been transformed in the last half-century from a region of Democratic hegemony to a region of Republican majority. Earl and Merle Black, political science professors at Rice and Emory universities, respectively (and coauthors of Politics and Society in the South), sedulously examine this remarkable change. The Blacks first explain the historical circumstances that made the Southern Democratic Party virtually invincible until the 1960s and then analyze, decade by decade, the cultural, demographic and political events that eroded Democratic advantages and made a competitive Republican Southern strategy viable. Their analysis is based on data from an exhaustive, sometimes overwhelmingly dense, study of Southern congressional races that evaluates voting patterns according to candidates' liberal or conservative positions, and by voters' gender, race, party affiliation and political philosophy. Wisely, the Blacks also provide numerous graphs and charts that help readers make sense of their complex, statistically driven research. In the end, the authors produce a richly detailed and astute picture of the forces that combined to change the Southern political balance. They also predict that the South is likely to remain a highly competitive political battleground in which both Democrats and Republicans can prosper depending on local demographics, the appeal of particular candidates and national events. This is a work of serious scholarship that lacks any hint of partisan purpose. Committed readers will increase their understanding of both Southern and national politics. The Blacks' effort may well be the definitive statement on Southern politics over the 20th century. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The conservative Democratic Party that reigned throughout the South from the 1930s through the 1970s has been replaced by a highly competitive two-party system, conclude the Blacks (The Vital South: How Presidents Are Elected). These two leading scholars of Southern politics present a rigorous investigation of how voting in the peripheral South (Florida, Arkansas, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee) and the Deep South (Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina) was realigned since Ronald Reagan was first elected president in 1980. Reagan's call for lower taxes and reduced government spending appealed to Southern whites while alienating African Americans. The Republican Party experienced a successful surge in local elections during the 1990s because of the Reagan ripple effect, congressional reapportionment that no longer automatically favored Democrats, and vigorous Republican campaigns that made the Southern Republican party a force to be reckoned with. General readers may find the lengthy sections on election results tedious, but specialists will find this a most useful exploration of the evolution of Southern politics. Strongly recommended for academic libraries with strong collections in Southern politics and voting behavior. Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1. The Southern Transformationp. 1
2. Confronting the Democratic Juggernautp. 40
3. The Promising Peripheral Southp. 72
4. The Impenetrable Deep Southp. 114
5. The Democratic Smotherp. 138
6. The Democratic Dominationp. 174
7. Reagan's Realignment of White Southernersp. 205
8. A New Party System in the Southp. 241
9. The Peripheral South Breakthroughp. 268
10. The Deep South Challengep. 294
11. The Republican Surgep. 328
12. Competitive South, Competitive Americap. 369
Notesp. 407
Indexp. 433