Do the Dems Need the South?

That’s what some are wondering after the party’s recent electoral success. Thomas Schaller, writing in Slate, encourages the party to write off Southern states and work on developing their inroads into the Midwest and Mountain states. The South is as solid Red as New England is solid Blue, he says (Christopher Shays is New England ‘s only GOP congressman after last Tuesday), so Democrats should follow Barry Goldwater’s old advice and not go “hunting where the ducks aren’t.” With the GOP a shambles in Illinois and Ohio, and Democratic strength growing at the state level in Colorado, for example, it seems like sage advise to connect the party’s bicoastal dominance by moving straight across the country and isolating the GOP in the South. As Georgia professor James Cobb writes, however, isolating the South means cutting off the party’s most natural constituents — Southern African Americans.

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