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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

More About Democrats and the South

My response to Tom Schaller at Salon about Democrats and the South got a decent buzz; I especially appreciate the shout-outs from the impeccably fair Chris Bowers at MyDD, and my ol’ buddy Armando at TalkLeft.Their takes and some of those in their comment threads illustrate an interesting anomaly about this debate on writing off, or even demonizing, the South. You’ve got a small contingent that thinks Democrats should significantly modify their platform to win in the South. And you’ve got a somewhat larger contingent that would just love it if Democrats not only wrote off the region, but shared their strong antipathy towards all sorts of aspects of southern culture, from fried foods to militarism to SUV-mania.But Bowers, Armando, plenty of their commentors, and yours truly, present a cross-ideological United Front in favor of the basics of Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy. We think the progressive message, presented with sensitivity to regional variations, can create a long-term Democratic majority, and that anything less will likely squander that opportunity. As Chris Bowers in particular notes, positioning Democrats as the anti-southern party won’t work any better than the Republican positioning as the anti-northeastern party ultimately did, as exhibited by the 2006 election results.The estimable Rick Perlstein posted an article on the New Republic site yesterday that escalated the Schaller hypothesis into an attack on the white South as hopelessly racist, and on anyone who doubts that argument as hopelessly myopic, if not dishonest.I’ll have more to say about the Perlstein article here or there.

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