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Painting Dixie Red

When, Where, Why, and How the South Became Republican

Edited by Glenn Feldman

Publication Year: 2011

Has the South, once the "Solid South" of the Democratic Party, truly become an unassailable Republican stronghold? If so, when, where, why, and how did this seismic change occur? Moreover, what are the implications for the U.S. body politic?

Painting Dixie Red is the first volume to grapple with these difficult yet critical questions. In this fascinating and timely collection, a distinguished group of scholars engages in an enlightening debate. Some make the case that the South has become Republican, and some contend that it has not. Some outline the region's exceptionalism, and some reject the idea of regional distinctiveness. Some point to white discontent over civil rights as the root of political changes, and some cite color-blind factors. All offer invaluable insights into U.S. politics during these ultra-partisan times.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page

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Front Matter


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pp. v

Introductory Quote

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi

I am grateful to many people who made this book possible. John David Smith showed faith and interest in the project from its inception. For that, and his wise counsel, I am very appreciative. Meredith Morris-Babb, director of the University Press of Florida, demonstrated faith, support, wisdom, and encouragement throughout...

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Introduction: Has the South Become Republican?

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pp. 1-18

Yes. Yes, it has. That is the short answer to this question, a profoundly important one for the trajectory of American politics and the fortunes of our two major political parties. It is accurate; it is succinct. It has all the benefits of brevity and none of the liabilities of length. Yet...

Part 1. Religion and Partisan Realignment

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pp. 19

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1. Voting for God and the GOP: The Role of Evangelical Religion in the Emergence of the Republican South

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pp. 21-37

When Barack Obama won the presidential election of 2008, he received strong support from nearly every demographic group in the United States. But one group remained staunchly opposed to his candidacy: white evangelicals—a group that pollsters usually define as Bible-believing, “born-again” Protestants who believe in personal...

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2. “Out-Democratin’ the Democrats”: Religious Colleges and the Rise of the Republican Party in the South—A Case Study

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pp. 38-54

Less than two years before then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton complained to a national television audience of a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” the conservative icon William F. Buckley detailed his own conspiracy in an essay for the New Yorker. Buckley described an annual gathering of nine men, some of the “most conspicuous right-...

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3. With God on Our Side: Moral and Religious Issues, Southern Culture, and Republican Realignment in the South

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pp. 55-76

In the popular imagination, the American South is an especially religious and conservative region. V. O. Key documented southern whites’ thoroughgoing resistance to racial change, and political scientists Earl Black and Merle Black demonstrate change and continuity in southern politics, with increasing racial equality in the region...

Part 2. State, Section, Suburb, and Race

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pp. 77

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4. A Suburban Story: The Rise of Republicanism in Postwar Georgia, 1948–1980

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pp. 79-97

Toward the end of 1963, the Republican leadership in Fulton County, Georgia— home to Atlanta and the most populous county in the state—published an upbeat assessment of their party’s prospects for electoral success in the form of a booklet. The...

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5. Virginia’s Northern Strategy: Southern Segregationists and the Route to National Conservatism

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pp. 98-121

In late July 1962, thirty Republican legislators from Pennsylvania arrived in Williamsburg, Virginia.1 Among the party were some of the Keystone State’s most powerful and influential politicians, including Albert W. Johnson, Republican minority leader in the state House; W. Stuart Helm, chair of the state Republican Party; and...

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6. Kennedyphobia and the Rise of Republicans in Northwest Louisiana, 1960–1962

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pp. 122-137

The death of Congressman Overton Brooks of Louisiana’s Fourth District created the need for a special election in 1961 to choose a replacement. This election became the first test for Republicans in Louisiana to use Kennedyphobia as an issue to increase GOP vote totals. John Kennedy’s 1960...

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7. Race, Grassroots Activism, and the Evolution of the Republican Right in South Carolina,1952–1974

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pp. 138-171

At the onset of the Great Depression, South Carolina was a single-party state with a political system dominated by rural elites. Democratic primaries were the only competitive elections and restrictive voting laws limited political participation. This one-party system...

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8. A Southern Road Less Traveled: The 1966 Gubernatorial Election and(Winthrop) Rockefeller Republicanism in Arkansas

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pp. 172-198

When Winthrop Rockefeller met the seven-year residency requirement to run for governor of Arkansas in 1960, that fact did not go unnoticed. The Louisiana newspaper the Monroe World ran an article that began: “The noisiest, struttingest and presumably richest northern ‘Yankee’ liberal in Arkansas— Winthrop Rockefeller—is being talked...

Part 3. Economics, Faction, and the Neo-Confederacy

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pp. 199

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9. “Gun Cotton”: Southern Industrialists, International Trade, and the Republican Party in the 1950s

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pp. 201-219

In 1959, Donald Comer—son of former Alabama governor Braxton Bragg Comer, president of Avondale Mills and a prominent advocate for the textile industry—reflected, “In [19]36 I wrote an article . . . in which I asked, ‘When Japan buys our cotton, whether she turns it into gun cotton and shoots shells at us or whether she ships it back...

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10. The First Southern Strategy: The Taft and the Dewey/Eisenhower Factions in the GOP

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pp. 220-239

Henry Zweifel was livid. As the Republican national committeeman from Texas, he had served his party loyally through the 1920s and the hard times of the Great Depression, when being a Republican in the Lone Star State was somewhat akin to hailing from the planet Gallifrey, but he had never witnessed anything like he saw...

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11. The Black Cabinet: Economic Civil Rights in the Nixon Administration

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pp. 240-290

When readers opened the November 1968 special election issue of Jet magazine, they were inundated with slick political advertisements from the presidential candidates. The black weekly offered no-nonsense messages from Freedom and Peace Party representative...

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12. M. E. Bradford, the Reagan Right, and the Resurgence of Confederate Nationalism

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pp. 291-313

“In a Southern context the fight over the past is (and always has been) primarily a dispute concerning choices for the past and the future,” proclaimed the Texas literary figure and political philosopher Melvin E. Bradford in 1987. Personally resistant to the profound social changes that swept over the American South after World...

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Conclusion. America’s Appointment with Destiny—A Cautionary Tale

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pp. 31-360

In November 2006, half of this country let out a huge sigh of relief; the other a loud cry of anguish.1 Both could be heard all the way across the Atlantic, indeed the world. For in November 2006, what had seemed impossible actually happened: Democrats won a majority, not only in one house of Congress, but in two; and the Republican...


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pp. 361-362


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pp. 363-386

Series List

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pp. 400-401

E-ISBN-13: 9780813040615
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813036847
Print-ISBN-10: 0813036844

Page Count: 400
Illustrations: 4 graphs
Publication Year: 2011