Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why are so many people scandalized by the fact that a ton of Southerners are Republican?

The reaction to this has been really weird, I think.

Romney did worse among white Southerners than Obama did among blacks and Hispanics, for example. I tend to think that's because Obama takes positions that blacks and Hispanics - for whatever reason - consider much better than the Romney alternative. There might be a smidgen of the "first black president" thing going on (I've got no problem with that - I find that element of the Obama presidency very appealing too), but these guys supported Democrats back when they were white as well. So I'm assuming it's mostly Obama's positions that they find attractive.

I would think these same principles would apply to white Southerners (who - let's repeat - were less enthused about Romney than blacks or Hispanics were about Obama). Southerners tend to be more conservative and more religious than other whites... and they tend to vote more Republican than other whites.


Isn't that... kind of obvious.

No single post inspired this - just one or two I saw in the last hour plus a bunch of others immediately after the election. For some reason people have been acting like a twenty point gap among white Southerners is some kind of scary thing evocative of Jim Crow or something like that.

If a twenty point gap among white Southerners implies something like that, then does an eighty point gap between the candidates among blacks or a fifty percent gap among Hispanics mean that we're going to have a race war on our hands?

I don't think so.

This is all really, really stupid. But the Southern punching bag is a sort of security blanket for the rest of the country. It's much easier to make wild accusations about Southerners than tackle tougher questions about how to appeal to the center-right and right-wing portion of the electorate. You want a real civil rights fight? Talk about the voter suppression that's going on in the South and elsewhere. Don't fret over a 20 point gap. Southerners are more conservative. Big deal. That's a snoozer.


  1. "but these guys supported Democrats back when they were white as well."

    Wow: some black voters were formerly whites?!


  2. I think it's simply an anomaly: when we throw race, education, age, income, gender, and religion into the mix on the right-hand side, we find that we have accounted for the overwhelming bulk of political preferences. That's how Nate Silver was able to do so well in forecasting the 2008 Democratic primary.

    But that doesn't work for southern whites: there is something else going on there...

    Brad DeLong

  3. if this were twitter, i would favorite this post.


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