Readers who would like to probe a little deeper into the reasons behind GOP domination of southern politics should check out Chris Kromm’s post, “Map Mischief: How gerrymandering has undercut Southern Democrats in Congress” at Facing South. Kromm, one of the savviest reporters covering social struggle and change in the southern states, explains:
In North Carolina, more than half (51 percent) of the state voted in 2012 for a Democrat to represent them in Congress. But this month, less than a third (31 percent) of the U.S. Representatives who will be sworn into office from North Carolina will be Democrats.
The mismatch between votes and representation is even more striking in South Carolina, where more than 40 percent of the state’s voters chose a Democratic representative, but only one of the state’s seven-member delegation is a Democrat.
In Arkansas, nearly 30 percent of voters picked a Democrat for the U.S. House. The number of Democrats who will represent Arkansas? Zero.
Kromm provides a chart showing the breakdown for 13 southern states states, and adds, “…The gap between the number of voters who vote Democratic for Congress and the actual number of Democratic representatives who will take office this month is four times greater in the South than the national average — a situation that exaggerates the power of Republicans in the South and fuels perceptions of the region as a monolithic conservative stronghold.”
Clearly Democrats would do much better in the south under nonpartisan design of congressional districts. But that will not happen in states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures. The best hope for fair representation for Democrats in the southern congressional districts remains a larger investment in recruitment and training of better candidates, along with more aggressive voter registration of African and Latino Americans in the region.