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Eisenhower’s success in gaining southern votes in 1952 pointed to the growing middle-class urban/suburban electorate as a potential source of Republican growth (and, thereby, partisan transformation) in the region.2 Similarly, other research into party change in the South over the next two decades included discussions of voting patterns in presidential elections.3 Still, by the early 1980s the connections between presidential politics and southern politics had not been thoroughly examined. As William Havard pointed out a quarter of a century ago, “Presidential electoral politics has, of course, been the subject of much analysis and comment, but the political relations between the [South] and the presidential institution in all of its functions—both symbolic and practical—have been carried out in a time of great change seem to have been scanted, so far as systematic analysis is concerned. The apparent absence of even scholarly interest in studying the relations between the enigmatic South and the nation’s chief executive . . . is a hiatus that cannot easily be either explained or filled.”4 In part to address this gap in the literature on southern politics, and in part because, as others had already recognized, analysis of presidential politics in the South offered an opportunity to explore political change in the region at a time of rapid and dramatic transformation, we (together with our late colleague, Tod A. Baker) brought together a group of outstanding scholars to develop a manuscript on the 1984 presidential election in the South. The original plan was to have a series of chapters discussing the presidential election campaign and results in each of the eleven states of the former Confederacy, modeled roughly after V.O. Key’s state-by-state approach in Southern Politics in State and Nation. This project, organized in conjunction with the 1984 Citadel Symposium on Southern Politics, was expanded between conception and completion to include some analyses of other important elections in the states as well and a conclusion that addressed the 1984 elections on a region-wide scale. We were fortunate to have the manuscript accepted for publication by Praeger and even more fortunate that Praeger found the project sufficiently interesting to continue publication of subsequent manuscripts on the 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000 elections in the South. Our working relationship with Praeger was highly positive throughout this period, and we deeply appreciate that publisher’s willingness to develop a continuing series of analyses for these five elections. When Praeger (Greenwood) discontinued publishing the series after 2000 when it changed its editorial focus, the series was carried through xviii ★ Introduction the 2004 election cycle in the form of a special edition of the American Review of Politics. We are extremely pleased that the University of Arkansas Press, in conjunction with the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society at the University of Arkansas, has now joined us in continuing this series with the publication of A Paler Shade of Red: The 2008 Presidential Election in the South. This association is especially rewarding because Diane Blair was a good friend and colleague who contributed informative and interesting chapters on Arkansas politics and elections to a number of the earlier books in the series. We always enjoyed working with her, and we are honored to be involved in a project that is so strongly supported by the Blair Center. We are also pleased that our colleague at The Citadel, Prof. DuBose Kapeluck, has joined us in this 2008 presidential election project. In the years since the publication of the first book in the series, The 1984 Presidential Election in the South: Patterns of Southern Party Politics, the literature on presidential electoral politics in the South has expanded significantly.5 In addition to the current series of books on specific elections, important works by Earl and Merle Black,6 Joseph Aistrup,7 Alexander Lamis,8 and David Lublin,9 to name a few, have underscored the importance of such a focus. Moreover, broader works on southern politics have continued to explore presidential electoral politics as valuable indicators of past change and future directions.10 As with the earlier publications, and in keeping with the point of view found in the rich literature briefly described above, we strongly feel that an analysis of electoral politics offers powerful insight into the nature of politics in the South. We see this book as part of ongoing efforts to track southern political change and to map the contemporary features of the region’s political terrain...


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