Should the Democratic Party Abandon the South

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  1. The question of whether the party should give up on the south is largely a tactical one. Tomasky’s ugly-minded little hissy-fit was… strategically flawed, to say the least. Not unlike a lot that I hear on the Republican side. So there’s that. Flawed, flawed, flawed. If there’s one thing the GOP should demonstrate, it’s the perils of trying to build a coalition of 51% and attempting to surgically remove large swaths of the population from those votes you’re trying to get.

    I do mind that heterodox Democratic politicians can’t seemingly do it without taking a piss on their party. The Republicans are pretty good at running heterodox politicians who are still proud rock-ribbed Republicans.

    I don’t know where you are coming from with this statement. Pissing on your own party is how you become a heterodox. Regardless of party.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

      @will-truman

      I feel like Gardner and Paul are able to have heterodox social opinions without losing any status as rock-ribbed Republicans or pissing on the social conservatives in their parties. I don’t mind if Southern Democrats come out strongly for gun rights (as a random example that just came to my head) but they can’t seem to do it without being mealy-mouthed and aplogetic about being Democratic Party members.Report

      • Assuming that the Gardner mentioned here is Cory Gardner from Colorado, I would add that it remains to be seen if he really has heterodox social opinions, or if that was just campaign posturing. At the least, his social opinions changed pretty drastically between his last campaign for the US House (running in a very conservative district) and his US Senate campaign (where he needed a tie or better in the Front Range suburbs).Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

      Of course another answer could be that the D-brand is a damaged in Kentucky as the R-brand is damaged in San Francisco and Brooklyn.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

      You might be further onto something that partisans on both sides have impossible dreams of a permanent majority. Karl Rove gloated about permanent majority for the GOP from 2000-2004. The Democratic Party thought they had a chance at permanent majority in 2006-2008.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

      “Pissing on your own party is how you become a heterodox”.

      It’s the difference between telling your brother he’s wrong and an idiot and kicking him in the nuts, really.

      It’s pretty much in the eye of the holder, since the line is a bit fuzzy. I think whats-his-face actively endorsing Bush in 2004 is a pretty solid example of the “pissing off your own party” thing.

      Most of Lieberman’s career was being a conservative Democrat who often broke with the party. After losing the primary, he sort of transitioned to just pissing off his party.

      Olympia Snowe does not agree with the GOP as much as other Senators do. (or did. Did she lose?) However, she’s really careful not to be a giant dick to the party either.

      Again, kinda eye of the beholder as to whether a disagreement leads to basically being a giant dick because you’re a minority voice on the issue. (You can look to the far left. Bernie Sanders probably disagreed far more with the Democrats than Lieberman ever did, but Lieberman was far more of a ‘piss of the party’ sort about it).Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to morat20 says:

        @morat20

        This is a good observation and I agree with you on the Sanders/Lieberman divide. What’s his face is Zell Miller.

        But yeah am I tired of Democratic candidates running from being seen with Obama. I realize that he is unpopular with the country but I think voters would have more respect for a candidate who was brave enough to be seen with their President/Leader of the Party. Though I am the base and we apparently still love Obama.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to morat20 says:

        Morat20,
        I think you mistake “selling out” for “trying to piss people off”. McCain’s far more of the “maverick” than Lieberman ever really was.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

      Here’s the difference.

      Joe Manchin shot the cap ‘n’ trade bill. But, Joe Manchin isn’t going on Sunday TV shows undercutting the President.

      That’s the difference. On policy, Joe Lieberman probably agrees with me on policy a lot more than I agree with Manchin.

      But, Lieberman took glee in undercutting his party. Manchin has policy disagreements, largely on cultural issues.

      On the actual question, I think the problem has been that basically, the DNC has tried to run a bunch of candidates scared to admit they’re Democrat’s. I mean, can you ever see a Republican candidate for a Senate seat, even in a bright blue state, have problems admitting that they voted for Mitt Romney?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        “On the actual question, I think the problem has been that basically, the DNC has tried to run a bunch of candidates scared to admit they’re Democrat’s. I mean, can you ever see a Republican candidate for a Senate seat, even in a bright blue state, have problems admitting that they voted for Mitt Romney?”

        This is largely what I was talking about!Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        And, importantly, the decision to run those candidates and to shape message to support those candidates is costing the democrats a lot of winnable races by convincing their base to stay home.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Uh, guys, while the parties do play a role in trying to recruit candidates, in the end in the U.S. our political candidated are self-selected. To say the national party chose to run a particular type of candidate is to largely misunderstand that process.Report

      • +1 to James. The DNC, DCCC, DSCC, etc. – these are basically national grantmaking organizations that send money to candidates and state parties based on some type of national electoral strategy or other (or a vacuum thereof), and, of course spend heavily on national ads in presidential general elections. The organs that actually are recognizable as political parties in some kind of corporeal way (fielding door-knockers and lit-droppers, hosting rallies, etc.), those are the state parties. They run candidates in races, manage the party voter rolls (where you have to register as a party member or independent, you’re a member of the Democratic Party of New York” etc.).

        The state parties are going to continue to do their thing in every state, whatever Michael Tomasky thinks about it. All major races will have a democrat in them (sometimes there are exceptions) that is backed by a state party doing its best to win the office. What’s at stake is how various races figure into the national funding strategy – how they direct their national resources, and what kind of political message the national party will try to create using ads in the biggest state races and presidential races. No one at the national level is going to announce they don’t care about winning offices in the South, and no one is going to deny candidates there their verbal encouragement. The question is how much money gets directed to those races, and how much the national party seeks to change its image in order to try to compete better in the South.

        The arguments for writing off the South basically say, Don’t do anything significant to direct more resources to the South in a conscious effort to try to reverse the trend there, and don’t try to rebrand the image of the national party (or “rebrand the image across the nation, and across the South, of Democrats”) or make major national policy concessions in order to try to be more palatable, because the costs (especially of the rebranding/policy concessions) are too high for the likely payoff. It’s basically a status-quo argument, against an argument for what it is argued would be an overreaction. And no one would suggest that individual Democratic candidates in the South won’t be doing those kinds of things in their races – of course they will. The question is what the national party apparatus does with its money and how they craft their messaging.

        Tomasky says to completely cut off all funds to the South. Ignore him. I mean, that’s not even a nonstarter. it has no relation to anything the national party managers would ever even consider. Tomasky is purely venting spleen here. To assess the “write-off” argument it’s necessary to find someone who’s making it in realistic terms. they’re out there, as are those who are arguing against them within the party and in allied quarters, as Saul points out.Report

      • The national parties often do recruit candidates. Like Hanley says, they don’t get a final say, but they do convince people to run (with the promise of money) and convince people not to.

        That said, how many southern and/or embarrassed-to-be-Democrats are we talking about here? Grimes? Nunn? Who else? I mean, who that wasn’t an incumbent? For all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding Wendy Davis and the always-soon-to-be-changing-winds in Texas, the Democrats did not even field a senate candidate.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        It’s not necessarily an indication of a commitment to an intention o nthe part of the national party to compete in the South generally to see them bigfooting the decisions about who runs for seats as Democrats in various races. They can let the primaries run their course and then support with national money in the general and not be “letting the south go” – or do that less so, and, frankly, still not be letting it go (though some Democrat-associated people may say they are doing so in that circumstance).

        In truth, I don’t know that it’s possible for the party to let the south go. I do think it’s possible to moderate the commitment of resources and express little consternation over the reality that the South is going to vote how it wants to vote, and that some people don’t mind calling that letting it go.Report

      • Oh, they can do more than that. They probably won’t, by and large, but they can. They can try to “run against the South” the same way some Republicans run against other parts of the country. Probably not in their electoral interest, but some will want it to be.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        This is kind of like our Twitter CFB discussion. They *can* do a lot of things. They *can* make their official position that they encourage nine states in the Deep South to secede, and should that happen that they would urge the president not to resist the secession. They can do that, but what bearing would saying so have on this discussion?Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

      To add, ’cause I just thought of it.

      I will agree w/ some people though, that basically, much of the white vote in the South is going to be unreachable, as long as we’re friendly to non-white people.

      After all, it seems that the new conservative movement’s clarion call is that, “sure, your life is shitty, but look, a brown or black person is getting something for free!”Report

      • A lot of the white vote is going to be unreachable. The rest, though, isn’t. Tomasky wants to draw a straight line between the winnable states and the non-winnable ones. Which you can do when you’re talking about allocating funds. But as a national party, you can’t tell the voters in South Carolina to go to hell and hold on to enough voters in North Carolina to win there. There just isn’t that level of precision.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Yes, I think it would be bad for Hillary Clinton to say, “go to hell, South Carolina” during the 2016 election.

        On the other hand, if the choice is say, trying another conservadem candidate in rural South Carolina or Tennessee because they’re charismatic to win a House seat, or trying to win some seats in parts of New Jersey, Washington, and so on with a relatively down the line Democrat?

        I’ll pick the latter every time.Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Sorry that is just bs. Just assuming that white southerners are is silly. S. Carolina elected just tim scott as a senator.Report

    • Jesse, Morat, I largely agree.

      Once you’re endorsing the other party, or declining to say who you’re going to vote for, you’re in a different league. I wouldn’t have blamed the Democrats one bit for ousting Miller if he’d run for re-election. For that matter, since it was a safe Democratic seat, I don’t blame them for primarying Lieberman.

      I even agree with Jesse, somewhat, about the “afraid of being a Democrat” (particularly as it pertains to Landreiu and Grimes)… I don’t think being less afraid would have won their seats. I think that reading the writing on the wall, though, they should have gone out with dignity. But they also didn’t have nearly the history of heterodoxy. They might have gotten away with it if they’d been more Liebermanesque before (though Grimes didn’t have the opportunity).Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

        In the current electoral climate, probably not. But, if I’m a marginal Obama voter in Kentucky, and the Democratic candidate can’t even bother to admit they voted for a guy I like, and I’m not somebody who thinks a lot about politics and the ramifications, why should I go out and vote in the first place?

        Again, I’m not talking about policy stances in those specific states. I know a Senator from Kentucky or Louisiana isn’t going to be the Sierra Club’s best friend, regardless of their party. I’m talking about a basic psychological stance that it seemed like Grimes in particular was ashamed to be a Democrat.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Should the Republican Party give up on the African-American vote?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

      There are a few ways we can answer this. Morally and by tactics.

      If you are going for morals, the answer is no. No party should ever write off a certain segment based on their race, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, gender, etc. No party should also ever take a groups vote for granted either. Baker’s infamous “Fuck the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway” shocked everyone and rightly.

      On a level of purely cynical realpolitik, the answer becomes more gray sadly. And cynical realpolitiks does let each party take a certain segment of the population for granted. The GOP can take socially conservative evangelicals for granted and the Democratic Party might be able to take the minority vote for granted.

      Of course there is a question about how you appeal to say the socially conservative evangelical vote and the LGBT vote at the same time which might be really impossible. You can’t please the supporters of SSM and the opponents of SSM. I would argue that it is more moral to support SSM and write off people who would vote for you if you would renounce SSM. Marion Barry’s late career was a blight because he cynically began opposing SSM where he supported it before because he thought it would get him votes for his council seat.

      I think this is where the patronizing part comes in. You want to reach more from group X and Y but doing so would mean questioning or compromising on things that are really important to your base. So then you need to attempt to tell groups X and Y that they are confused and really don’t like what ever policies draw them to the otherside. Kevin Williams did this in 2012 when he was gobsmacked about how promises of “free stuff” helped Obama and he couldn’t comprehend why minorities were not attracted to the GOP message of self-reliance. Of course he couldn’t understand that maybe there is a legitimate philosophical basis for viewing the welfare state as morally correct.Report

      • Fun fact: If the GOP had gotten a bit more than a third of the black vote, they would have won the 2012 election. It’s not always a matter of winning this vote. If the Democrats had lost as little as 5% more of the white vote, they would have lost the election.

        A lot of people – and this applies to the Republicans primarily, but it fits with this conversation – seem to think that you win this vote or you lose it and shrug off the groups that will “always vote Democrat” or “always vote Republican.”

        The problem is that margins matter. The GOP didn’t need to win the black vote to win the election. Winning a significant chunk of it would have done the trick. Democrats could win without the white vote, but they had to be competitive.

        Now, with the electoral college, you can dismiss states from the presidential election calculation because, well, it’s all or nothing. The problem is, when defining your party, there are voters in Virginia who think like the voters in Georgia that you’re pissing away. There are voters in Iowa like those voters in Oklahoma.

        “But people like that will never vote for us anyway!” Some of them won’t, but others will, have, and do. But they won’t if you say “Screw the rural vote!”

        Without the rural vote, the Democrats would have lost that 5%.

        There are limits to what you can do to win the votes that aren’t yours, because at some point you stop representing the people who do vote for you. But you don’t alienate voters because they don’t vote for you. You alienate them because you have to, when you have to.

        Where is the sense of necessity in Tomasky’s piece? What tactical imperative does it represent. Not much of any as far as I can see. He’s not arguing that you have to let the south go out of necessity. He’s arguing that you let it go because you can and because they suck. Maybe that they could get more done legislatively or something… but if they’d said screw the south a decade ago, there’d be no PPACA.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @will-truman

        I agree that we are talking about margins and that this is more about winning a bit more of the White, Southern vote than it is about completely dominating the South.

        Tomansky was probably writing from anger but I did not read it as the complete mental breakdown that others did. I think partisanship makes us read things like mental breakdowns.Report

      • Well, it’s about a couple things: First, winning elections in the region. I seriously see absolutely no reason for the Democrats to do anything other than what they have done: try to compete in whatever states are competitive and focus your energies there. Is there anything you do other than that? But Tomasky seems to think even that’s too much, and that they should shrug off potentially winnable seats in Georgia because he hates southerners* and on some level I believe feels demeaned at the thought of his party courting votes there. Which is tactically dumb, but perhaps emotionally satisfying.

        On the margins, it’s less about southern states, outside the ones he sees as okay because they have more civilized voters (imported from other states). It’s more about, I believe, dismissing certain types of voters that the south is emblematic of (to him). That’s not just dumb, but potentially devastating to the party, because those voters aren’t always located in states you’re willing to concede, and don’t always vote against you.

        * – It’s noteworthy here that this is not just his reaction to this election. It’s a part of an antipathy he had since long before this election. When he says he thinks the south should go to hell, I believe he means it.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      As opposed to their current strategy of trying to outlaw it?Report

  3. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I tend to side with Will’s assessment here, that much of this seems to driven by a region of the country that certain liberals dislike out of hand.

    There will always be places where parties are wiser to spend more money than others, because the odds of winning or losing are pretty steep. But deciding that you are just giving up on them assumes a static electorate — and for that matter static parties — and is a pretty good recipe for future defeat.

    Expanding off the point that Jaybird made in his question above, how much to do you think that RInce Preibus would give to go back in a time machine and say to his immediate forbearers, “Um, guys, you might want to rethink the whole ‘we only need white people to win in perpetuity’ strategy.” What Tomasky et al are proposing is essentially the same thing, IMHO.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Oh, and I’ll add this…

      This is kind of another example of how the liberals are starting to go down the same rabbit hole that swallowed the conservatives. When you stop asking yourselves, “how can we appeal to a broader base” and start making arguments that making the tent smaller and purer is the key to long-term victory, you might as well hire Karl Rove and be done with it.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I don’t think we can just focus on the 50.1% of the vote. Even though I’d add even if we did and won with the same margin Bush did in ’00, a Democratic candidate wouldn’t have tried have the crap Bush did on the other side of the policy aisle.

        But, I think there is a way of expanding the Democratic vote, without going after the “bubba” vote to use a term I got tired of in online arguments during the mid-2000’s.

        I think there’s far more votes in going after the votes of the young, the non-white, and various other edges of society in the long term than trying to win the vote of a 47 year old middle class white guy in Alabama.

        Because however we change our stripes, his natural inclination is going to be with the guy who is naturally closer to him. I mean, if we get his vote anyway, great. But, we’re not going to kiss his ass and change policy positions to do so.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        In fairness, Tomasky is one screeching opinion voice on the left while Chait is not making the arguement that Saul seems to be ascribing to him so I think Tomasky is pretty much alone on it. I see no sign that the Democratic Party itself is seriously considering writing off the south.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Everybody dislikes the south’s views on a lot of things, not just the liberals.
      Came up a lot when they were running Palin — lot of paternalistic views that rub the rest of the country raw, and get folks up in high dudgeon.Report

  4. There seems to be an assumption in the OP, or at least in the discussion the OP is engaging, that the “solid south” is solid in the same way it was in the heyday of Jim Crow. There seems to be a really sweeping assumption that all 18 (or so) states that count as “South” are homogenous, at least when the white majority is concerned. And that’s a mistake and overgeneralization. Like most overgeneralizations, it probably has some truth to it, but it’s still an overgeneralization, and a naive one at that.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I don’t really see how the idea cashes out in a very big way anyway. There will still be 50 state Democratic Parties; they’ll still compete, they’ll still field candidates. They’ll do the balancing between national issues and local politics and culture that those arguing that Dems must compete in the South say must be done.

    When people talk about giving up in the South, I think they really mean two not-that-important things (compared to siome kind of broad pullout). !) don’t base nay kind of strategy on ever doing surprisingly well there, because it’s just not going to happen, and 2) therefore don’t sink a lot of national money into a desperate effort to revive a real competitiveness in the region. For the time being, those will be wasted resources.

    I guess a 3) would just be, and don’t worry too much about it. It’s just going to be a losing region for Democrats for a while. don’t take the losing itself as an indication of crisis and distend your national strategy all out of proportion the problem that losing represents, which is manageable.

    I don’t think people mean taking active steps to change the profile of the party nationally to become even less salable in the Sounth. I think people get @will-truman ‘c correct point that you have to have a basic marginal competitiveness even around rigidly losing voting shares, a-la Republicans and blacks or Dems and white men. Maybe someone like Tomasky is even saying otherwise, but, believe me, no one in the party is thinking that way. to the extent the argument is going anywhere, the view is just, look don’t freak out about it and take ill-advised steps to try to change something in the short term that can’t be changed in the short term.Report

    • It seems to me that a lot of this depends on what exactly we’re talking about.

      I agree that very few are advocating declaring political war on the south, so to speak. I think things like this are a first step towards doing so, but even so it’s an unlikely path. Whatever else one might say of them the party itself is smarter than that.

      But I’m also not sure who is saying that the party should move heaven and earth to become competitive in the south again. Most of those responding to Chait and Tomasky seem to just be saying something on the other of don’t just decide not to compete.Report

      • All of which is to say, I’m not entirely positive what the playing field here is, and what is actually being discussed as what the party should and shouldn’t do. I suspect at the end of the day most people agree that the party should try to compete where it can and shouldn’t expend much in the way of resources where it can’t. There may be differing levels of optimism or pessimism, but even that’s based on incomplete information (we don’t know the specifics of how competitive North Carolina or Georgia might look in 2016 and beyond).

        Which, to me, leaves the whole thing in one of two places I don’t like very much:

        1) This is the opening salvo into a larger discussion about which voters – not just which states – the party can do without, which does start to get into slightly dangerous territory for the party (and, I’d argue, for the country). Or…

        2) It’s mostly the result of Tomasky having the opportunity to vocalize his disgust with my home and its inhabitants and perhaps have more-than-usual nodding in agreement, which I (shockingly) do not care very much for.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

        Well, @will-truman, welcome to the last 40 years if you’re a liberal in a major coastal city. Only, ya’ know, elected officials are saying it instead of a guy who writes foe a magazine.

        But to Michael’s point, yeah. I think a lot of this is tied up with internal Democratic arguments during the early and mid 2000’s from guys like Mudcat Saunders, who still thought it was 1992, and the DNC needed to win Arkansas to win the Presidency.

        Now, there’s an actual new coalition and we don’t need to appease the “bubba” vote to win the Presidency.Report

      • I’ve lived in both sides of the cultural divide and have ties to both.

        And you know what? Tomasky is still being a shithead.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yeah, I don’t really know what’s in play, either, @will-truman .

        I would say that you don’t have to look as far afield as Michael Tomasky to find people who will shit on the South at the drop of a hat. They don’t even feel the need to dress it up as an argument about what might be best for the electoral fortunes of a political party. It seems to me it’s at least plausible that there might be an argument to the effect that a resource-management strategy in the Sout might be in order for the Democrats.

        Which is to say, to me your offense here seems a bit – not entirely at all, but possibly a bit – selective to me.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Will Truman says:

        @will-truman +1 to that.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:

        Tomasky’s piece is pure sour grapes: They won’t vote for us? Hell. we don’t want their stinking votes.Report

      • My offense is not at the resource allocation argument. It’s at Tomasky specifically, and also involving history that predates this piece.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        Tomasky’s deprecation of the region is rather over-the-top, I’ll give you that. I think he thinks he has standing, having grown up in WV, which he says was not the South then, but now is.

        Wondering: would someone born and raised in Mississippi but now residing in D.C. or New York and writing Dem-friendly columns who wrote this same exact column get the same reaction out of you, @will-truman ? Should they, even if they wouldn’t (or would)? Do we doubt that there are such people in those positions from that region who have similar or worse views of where they’re from and counsel the same strategy? I certainly can’t produce any, but I think it stands to reason that there are. But I can completely accept “If you can’t produce them, I have no interest in addressing their hypothetical existence.”

        @mike-schilling

        His argument is
        1) I hate the South, it’s all one big shithole.
        2) they’re not going to vote for Democrats (except for certain obvious pockets) no matter what, so don’t make any concessions of any kind – ideological, cultural, strategic/campaign-funding – to try to change that.

        I disagree with all parts of that, but they’re all only off a bit to somewhat (to perhaps mostly), not 180 degrees. There’s at least some shithole in every region, but everyplace is someone’s home, and there are redeeming things about everyplace. Or maybe we’re expected to say there’s no shithole anywhere?Report

      • MD,

        My animosity towards Tomasky is not limited to his comments in this particular article, and pre-dates it. When someone talks with a degree of wistfulness about how the country would be better off if me and mine were not a part of it, I tend to take that personally. Which Tomasky has done.

        Now I can roll my eyes and overlook it, sometimes, under some circumstances. If someone is jaw-wagging at a bar or somesuch, for example. But it’s one of those things where a degree of good faith or “Hey, I’m just talking out of my arse here” or a proclivity to talk that way about all sorts of folks, needs to be demonstrated.

        But that’s sort of what I meant when I said that this is another chance for Tomasky to express his biases. He’s talked about the south in the past, and has actually lamented that he doesn’t talk about it more. I perhaps shouldn’t blame him that he can talk so freely about his disdain for certain people (even if he calls them “nice”), but I can that he seems to really want to take advantage of it and relish in it.

        But on to this more specific… argument, and specifically when and how it’s okay to talk about the South as being fetid. Whether the south is fetid or not has comparatively little bearing on whether the Democrats should use resources there… unless your argument is that the entire region, black and white and liberal and conservative, is simply a part of a Calvinistian Unsaved. It’s not only saying that the south is fetid, but that it should be left that way because of the people. That’s a troublesome argument.

        It matters not only what is being said about the state of the south, but in service of what. I might disagree with someone who says the south is fetid and that’s why it’s important to have Democratic presidents so that the people can be helped, but I understand the sentiment. It’s another thing to say, rather directly, to let it go to hell. That it’s not only fetid, but that fetidity is its proper place in the world. Making an argument that they should suffer for their sins is not a very liberal argument, and the detour is notable. (It’s where the “all sorts of folks” can be a mitigating factor.)

        Also, importantly, venue matters. It’s one thing to say something in a bar or some other talking-out-of-your-ass sort of place. It’s another to do so at a high-profile venue for advocacy. You’re not just talking, but you’re actively trying to convince other people. That… isn’t good.

        On standing… he has partial standing, though it only sort of matters. He is from West Virginia, which is sort of southern state. Wasn’t a southern state when he grew up, but has become moreso now. (Something I actually have a lot of opinions about, but have difficulty expressing them with all of the above in mind.) Well, okay. Maybe somewhat mitigating. But not entirely, as I’ve seen some people from the south say things I consider (through gross exaggeration or outright lying) pretty unforgivable with regard to their home.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        Whether the south is fetid or not has comparatively little bearing on whether the Democrats should use resources there…

        Right, I totally agree. I understand your reaction to the piece. All I was really saying is that a person can find people saying these kinds of things about the South all over the place… I just haven’t seen you this angry about it before in absence of a political argument being made from the perspective of the Democratic Party before… or at all, for that matter. But nevertheless, I understand your reaction to the first part of the column where he just gratuitously shits on the region.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        …But on this

        unless your argument is that the entire region, black and white and liberal and conservative, is simply a part of a Calvinistian Unsaved. It’s not only saying that the south is fetid, but that it should be left that way because of the people. That’s a troublesome argument.

        …are you saying that the Democratic Party has an ability and an obligation to try to “improve” the South by, basically Northern standards? That’s a kind of paternalism that’t not really what the party competing in the South can mean. As James says, these races are local. Dems competing there simply means that the South has a few more options about who they elect to represent them – them, who they are, whatever they make themselves.

        Northern/coastal/elite/Democrats won’t either “leave” or “not leave” the South the way it is. The whole country is going to leave the South to tis devices regardless of how much the Democatic Party – which would be be the southern Democratic party were it come to pass – competes there. There won’t be any constructive latter-day Reconstruction that northern/elite Democrats will either elect to do or not do in the South. However fetid the South will stay, or however much it will rise from fetidness, the South will do that for itself.Report

      • I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit go to into an anti-Tomasky rant. My first response left it as an “ugly-minded temper tantrum.” Not that the resource allocation argument itself is necessarily so, but Tomasky’s commentary was, and I don’t believe that he was simply making a resource-allocation argument. I went into Tomasky because you seemed to be suggesting that it was unremarkable. At least, compared to other stuff out there. Which it may well be, but he has a bigger megaphone than many, and we’re discussing his piece. In other cases, I bite my tongue. But if we’re going to talk about Tomasky’s argument, then that includes the lead-in and what he has said prior to the lead-in.

        ‘Let them go’ism is something that does make me angry. Maybe I am inclined to let it go sometimes, but when you make that argument, I take the argument he presents here less charitably and am less inclined to bite my tongue.

        …are you saying that the Democratic Party has an ability and an obligation to try to “improve” the South by

        Not at all. Apparently I deleted the “I wouldn’t entirely agree with that stance…” part. They may have the ability, and whether they have an obligation is up to them. And I’d likely disagree with a number of ways that they do want to improve the south, and they are pointing out the problems with an effort at alleviating them. But it’s at least a sentiment I can understand, one more likely than not to be in good faith with good intentions, which makes it easier to accept the good faith and good intention of the comments, even if poorly expressed and/or the depth of the problem overstated (in my view).

        I wrote a piece a long while back on Let them go’ism, which was relatively even-tempered and trying to make a case that “it isn’t helpful”… but it was inspired in part by how much antipathy I do have towards the sentimentality that the country would be so much better off without those people in it.Report

      • To be clear, I am not conflating resource allocation arguments with ‘Let them go’ism. I speak of Tomasky himself in such a way because he has said both things, and in his case, I believe the two are related.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        They may have the ability

        Really?Report

      • They would argue that with PPACA and various times they have run things down there, they already have, and can again if and where they win again.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’m not quite following who & what you’re talking about. Again, we’re talking about what the national Demcratic Party can do for the south, materially.Report

      • The Democratic Party can improve the South (by northern standards) by passing national legislation or winning elections here and there by instituting their ideas.

        Unless you mean what they can and cannot do until future elections, which I would agree isn’t much.Report

      • Beats me. You asked if I thought the DP had the ability and obligations to help the south, and I answered on the first part that they may have the ability.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        I guess so. I mean health care would help some. I’m sekptical about fundamental change, though. Like, you can maybe force them to allow Medicaid expansion whichin theory will help some people. But I’m skeptical you can change the baseline reality about why they’re so opposed to doing that to begin with – until they change it, is I guess what I’m saying. I’m not sure a lot can be done about the attitudes that make it so hard for Demcrats to compete, which is what drives Tomasky’s attude. And then the question becomes, how much do you change yourself (nationally) to adjust to those attitudes in order to make people in a region feel differently about you.

        There will always be Democrats available to be voted for in the South. In fact, if the Democrats are going to continue to offer the kind of policy ideas that are the kinds of vehicles it can commit to to helping the South, it may be more important for the party to try to maintain a focus on defending and creating those ideas. If and when attitudes in the South change such that they have interest in those programs, there will always be Democrats available to vote for. I’m not sure Dems do their party or the prospective beneficiaries of their party in the south any good if they give up too much on those commitments in an effort to be competitive in the South now or very soon at high cost.

        If your “Democrats can help the South” idea is right, I’m not sure it follows that “but they can only do it if they go to the South and bend and change and spend to try to get them to feel differently about Democrats now.” A “of they want what we’re offering, maybe they’ll come to us” strategy could – I’m not saying will, but could – work just as well. Nothing makes people sour on one-party dominance like a lack of alternatives. Being more present in the South in the short term may only reinforce for the South why right now they prefer Republicans. But over time, having only Republicans may help them see why it’s good to have some Democrats, at which point the thing you want Democrats to do might be much easier and more fruitful for everyone. (Especially if Obamacare turns out to be an unexpected slow-burn success there.)Report

      • So we’ve evidently been having completely having different conversations.

        I didn’t realize that the improvement you were referring to was specifically on the attitudinal axis. I was thinking about well-being (things like health care, or if you prefer civil rights protection of minorities and women) .Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’m talking about both, but I don’t think the former happens or certainly is sustainable (via policies the Dmeocrats have any kind of comparative advantage in providing) without the latter. People will have to buy in to the broader ideas that Democrats believe in in order for their policies to be sustainable in those areas. They’re entirely defeasible where there is a supermajority politics that is strongly hostile to the basic animating ideas. In my view, for well-being improvement to happen down there northern-Dem style, basic attitudes about the role of government and, well, Democrats, will have to change somewhat down there.

        That can happen different ways, maybe. Perhaps it would happen if Democrats devoted efforts to change that n the short term. But that could also fail. Perhaps a change would happen if people in the South really had only one viable option for a while, and not the one offering those policy approaches. If the Dems maintain clarity that they’re going to continue to offer them rather than make muddying concessions in short-term sops to present attitudes down there, it would always be clear that that option exists if you’d just pull the appropriate lever. Could work. Could also fail. It would conserve resources and preserve clarity of identity/message, though. I’m not arguing for one approach over the other myelf, right now. I’m kind of just arguing for the status quo.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        I think I flipped latter and former there, but I think I’m clear what doesn’t happen sustainably without what.Report

  6. There’s also the increasingly-solid red stripe up the Great Plains from Texas to North Dakota (with parts of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana). At least IMO, the Mountain West and the South don’t hang together — but for the time being, there are some common interests.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Yeah, I think we’re seeing with Heidi and folks like her, a lot more scrappy dems coming up from the Mountain West. If I had to send money based on who’s appealing to voters in their damn state, I’d send money up there before sending it to the South.

      That’s not the only calculus though. I’m all in favor of money pits, provided the other side is shoveling more’n mine. (You can read this as a naked reference to Tennessee).Report

  7. Avatar zic says:

    The population in the south is changing. People who moved north in the Great Migration are moving south to retire. Young people are moving south for work and cheaper cost-of-living.

    So just because the South is solidly Republican now does not mean it will be so in ten or twenty years; and there is no such thing as a permanent majority.

    Dean’s 50-state strategy was correct. It’s also the strategy I see Republicans adopting for state and local offices, and they’re winning that battle; something @will-truman and I have both been saying for some time.Report

    • Avatar Lyle in reply to zic says:

      To boot in at least Texas the hispanic population percentage is increasing. This leads to predictions that after 2020 Tx may be in play (perhaps sooner).Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to Lyle says:

        Of course the demographics are changing. Every illegal obama gives amnesty to helps the dems. Why do the dems need white people in the south when they can just import new voters?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to zic says:

      I’m highly cynical about the demographics of the South changing that quickly….We are most likely talking 30-40 years down the road and I don’t want to live through 30-40 years of Republican rule.

      I’m largely with Jesse when we wrote this above:

      “On the other hand, if the choice is say, trying another conservadem candidate in rural South Carolina or Tennessee because they’re charismatic to win a House seat, or trying to win some seats in parts of New Jersey, Washington, and so on with a relatively down the line Democrat?

      I’ll pick the latter every time.”Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Why the cynicism? I don’t think winning state-wide elections in Mississippi is going to happen anytime soon, but the fact is that racial voting patterns in the South mean you don’t need huge swings in demographics or huge gains in the white vote to win in many places. Georgia, for example, is only 56% non-Hispanic white. It doesn’t take outlandish assumptions for a Dem Senator or Governor to win there in a Dem-leaning year. Ditto for NC, which voted for Dems in 2008 and where Kay Hagan only lost narrowly in 2014. If we have to exempt Florida, Virginia, NC, and Georgia, we’re no more writing off the South than the Dems are writing off the Mountain West, where Dems can absolutely win statewide in Colorado and New Mexico.

        It’s just not a particularly helpful or meaningful discussion, and has a lot more to do with the knee-jerk regionalism that I see in a lot of my fellow liberals than it does with rational strategic decision-making.Report

      • Effort ought to go where victory and defeat are most hanging in the balance. There is actually an existing bias towards states where parties are already most competitive. The only question is to the extent whether that bias should be complete – whether heretics should be entirely cut off – or whether Democrats should more firmly narrow their goals. Some might say “consolidate” though in either case it’s something of a defensive posture that can cause problems.

        Really, for a party stalwart, I’m not sure there’s any good stance to take other than “wait and see.” The specifics here matter a great deal, and it’s information nobody has yet.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @don-zeko @will-truman

        I see where you are coming from. I do think that Florida and Virginia and maybe NC and later on Georgia will be in play for the Democratic Party. I am more unsure about Texas.

        That being said, I think in the immediate future there is more of a chance to pick up seats in the North, Midwest, and West. I do think that Democratic supporters have a gripe about putting money to candidates like Grimes who seem to have gotten mealy-mouthed about having a D next to her name. Steve Beshear is a Southern Democrat who at least likes his D.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @will-truman

        I don’t think heretics should be cast out completely. I do think it is an interesting question about how much heresy should a political party support before it gets to be close to “why are you with us?” There is going to be a lot of realpolitik analysis. A party with 51 seats in the Senate is more likely to support heretics than a party with 55 or more seats.

        My big problem with Grimes was not her heretical stances but the fact that she tried to avoid basic questions about whether she would have stood with her party and voted for the ACA. I think she would have gotten points if defended ACA. I think the Democratic Party would actually do well if they told people “I know you disagree but ACA works and here is why….”
        The gun stuff. Yeah that is a heresy from my view but I don’t care. I want candidates who say “I am a member of the Democratic Party and proud of it!”Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @don-zeko

        I find the Federalist article is a sign of my cynicism because he seems to be saying that the Democratic Party should not talk about stuff like disparate impact, structural/institutional racism because it makes young White Southerners like him feel hurt.

        Young, White Southerners are far from being Senator Bilbo and other unreconstructed bigots but the problem with disparate impact and structural racism is that it exists whether people are racist or not. You have to be able to confront it and people are going to need to put their feelings aside:

        http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/26/us/ferguson-racism-or-racial-bias/

        There are still huge gaps between how most minorities see Ferguson and how most whites see Ferguson. This is something that the Democratic Party needs to confront and should not abandon to vote getting. I find this divide to be highly troubling and I got in trouble here for saying that looting and minor vandalism is not an appropriate response to the Ferguson and Gardner decisions.*

        *I do have an issue with too much of left-wing rhetoric being rooted in graduate school seminar language but that is another story. A protestor in Berkeley said she stopped a train because the train “represented power.” This seems like an overly grad school way of thinking to me. Too many metaphors.Report

      • Saul, the funny thing is that it actually seems to more typically be the party (whichever) with 45 senators most vocally complaining about heretics than the party with 55 senators.Report

      • This talk about “heretics” seems to reinforce @tod-kelly ‘s point above and in other posts about how liberals seem to be going down the path of being blinded by ideology. It has the ring of true-believerism. Of course, I guess all that has to be balanced against what to party claims to stand for, so there is room for something like an idea about “heresy.” But if one is going to frame a notion of “heresy” on how someone else interprets a clumsily (to our eyes) written amendment, that person is probably going down an infelicitous path.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @gabriel-conroy

        Parties have to stand for something. It doesn’t make sense for the Democratic Party to be the “whatever” party.Report

      • @saul-degraw

        That’s pretty much what I just said.Report

      • For example:

        Of course, I guess all that has to be balanced against what to party claims to stand for, so there is room for something like an idea about “heresy.”

        Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I think you have to consider the nature of what is being called heresy (ridiculous word choice, but whatever) before saying that the casting out (also an overstatement) of it on one side reflects an equally troubling move toward the same rabbit hole as the casting out of other heresy on the other side did.

        You can conclude that neither heresy is more worthy of being cast out of a modern political party and hence reflects a similarly troubling move, but you should at least consider the substance before so concluding IMO.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @saul-degraw You wrote:

        “Young, White Southerners are far from being Senator Bilbo and other unreconstructed bigots but the problem with disparate impact and structural racism is that it exists whether people are racist or not. You have to be able to confront it and people are going to need to put their feelings aside”

        Why do you need to add the “Southerners” qualifier? If we’re generalizing, then young white people everywhere understand race differently than you or I do. This comment is part of a common attitude among northern liberals that the difference between the North and South on race is one of kind, rather than one of degree, which then allows them to avoid their share of the connection to the historical crimes of white supremacy.

        Yes, my ancestors owned slaves and enriched themselves with stolen labor. But Saul, your ancestors most likely were enriched by red-lining and other discriminatory practices too. There’s a reason that MLK marched in Chicago, that Northern opposition to the Civil war was virulently racist, and that policies like Stop & Frisk persist in Northern cities. The fact that Southern racism was and still is worse means that the Civil Rights movement needed to start here, but not that it can end here.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The South was the home of Senator Bilbo, which is why we hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever.Report

      • @michael-drew

        If I read you correctly (and if you were responding to me), I think I agree, which is why in my comment I focused on the “heresy” of supporting gun rights. It’s hard for me to believe that any non-whacko stance either for or against what we’d call gun control or gun rights ought to be “heresy” according to a national political party. That might have been me snatching low-hanging fruit, because I do believe Saul offered that particular example kind of tongue-in-cheek.

        For me, when we’re talking about national political parties in the US, we’re talking about large “organizations”–actually, a collection of local- and state-level organizations with the same party name–with constituencies that are often either at odds with each other or so different as to make widespread agreement on much of anything a miracle. Even in this post-“southern strategy” age, when the two parties are probably more ideologically cohesive than they had been through much of the 20th century, each party has different wings and local variants of each wing.

        In short, American political parties that don’t want to be shunted into 3rd party status, will probably never be ideologically consistent. So when someone invokes “heresy,” he/she ought to invoke it only when the values are too important for compromise. Such values are hard to suss out.

        And yes, parties have to stand for something. But they have to be flexible or they’ll lose out to other organizations that are more flexible.Report

  8. Let me propose a hypothesis for why certain areas of the country are becoming more solidly Republican. Those areas perceive that they have been or are being wronged by the federal government, and the Republicans are the ones saying “Let’s get the federal government reined in.” Examples — and I’m not taking any position on the rightness/wrongness of any of these — include: federal meddling with redistricting and election laws; federal opposition to religion-dictated statutes that have been valid for decades previously; federal declaration of large wilderness areas apparently without consideration of local impacts; federal transportation funding for things that aren’t roads and liquid fuels; federal EPA rules on all sorts of stuff that make things more expensive or harder to do.

    If this hypothesis is correct, then the answer to the headline question is “Yes, at least for the time being and for state-wide elections.” The actions that are driving those areas towards the Republicans are meat-and-potatoes for the national Democratic Party. In line with some of the previous comments, “for the time being” may be longer than many people think. It’s not just a matter of convincing voters; it’s a matter of convincing state and local office holders who have an outsized voice in terms of convincing voters, and who are in many cases the “wronged” parties.Report

  9. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    I’ve lived in the South – Virginia. I don’t hate it. I think Democrats can and have win in VA, and in FLA. I think North Carolina is on the table for the right sort of Democratic president. For statewide offices, there’s a shot, too.

    I even think that Texas may be possible to elect senators and governers from the D column, but to win a majority of House seats is going to take a lot of work because of all the gerrymandering.Report

    • @doctor-jay

      I agree. I also think it’s a mistake to identify 18 states, slap on the label “THE SOUTH,” and assume they’re all homogenous.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Tennessee is winnable for the right D candidate too. Memphis to the west is heavy Democratic; Middle Tennessee is enough up for grabs to be competitive and while Dems won’t win in Eastern Tennessse, there’s enough Dem activity in the city of Knoxville and around the University that it could put them over the top.

      Mississippi and Georgia may be long shots right now, but with enough party building and the right candidates, could be brought back in to the “you’ve got a decent shot” column. I recall there was some reason for Democratic optimism in Kentucky this cycle, too, although that seems to have been more rose-colored glasses than realism.

      And, in every cycle, there’s a possibility an incumbent will stain the party brand with some sort of scandal. Dead girl, live boy, more illicit money than is within the margin of tolerance. If you don’t have at least a minimal structure and a reasonable candidate available, can’t capitalize on that sort of thing when it eventually happens.

      So that’s five of the nine southern states where, with work, money, and smarts, it’s possible for Dems to be competitive.

      Put it this way: upsets happen. Later this morning, the Baltimore Ravens host the Jacksonville Jaguars as 14 point favorites. By all reasonable predictive measures, Baltimore has everything going for it, from the obvious (home-field advantage) to the undefiniable (swagger) and everything in between (championship-winning quarterback, solid defense, better skill players, etc.). In all probability, Jacksonville is going to lose. But that does not mean Jacksonville should just forfeit. The odds are low, but if Jacksonville tries, an upset just might happen. Not an exact analogy, of course, but the important facets of it ought to be clear enough.Report

      • This is well-stated. It really should be taken on a state-by-state basis. The south includes states that they have won relatively recently, and it’s a tactical error to assume that they cannot be won again. Arkansas may be lost for good, but may not be, but I would expect Tennessee to remain competitive with the right candidates. It’ll be a long time before Mississippi is, but I’m not positive that they’re completely locked out of Alabama in an up year.

        It really should be taken on a state-by-state basis rather than “region minus a few states”… and taking things on a state-by-state basis is the way you do things, regardless of region, if we’re just talking about resource allocation. Which is partially why I am not as sure as others that resource allocation is all that’s being advocated here, or at least that there may be the desire to treat southern states differently (shrugging off races that might be winnable due to regional affiliation).Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Did I say “nine” Southern states? Bad Burt. I realize that by some reckonings, the South could be as many as 14 or 15 states.

        Point is, no matter how the regional bloc is defined, it’s not monolithic. Whether rightfully or arbitrarily, it’s divided up into different units calls states and each one is unique.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

        @burt-likko

        The question is how much is a winning candidate going to antagonize the more urban and more liberal base that exists for the Democratic Party in the North and the West. I think the reason we had “bipartisanship” in the old days is because Southern conservative Democrats would work with conservative Republicans from the Midwest or Sun Belt. Liberal Democrats from the North would work with Liberal Republicans. Now the liberals are all in one party and the conservatives are all in one party.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to Burt Likko says:

        People play/watch football in the MORNING?

        (shudder)Report

      • We also have to keep in mind whether the winning candidate from the more urban and more liberal parts of the North and West will antagonize the potentially liberal parts from the south.

        When “liberal” becomes so identified with the interests and opinions of “those who vote for Democrats in the North and the West and the urban areas,” the “loss of the south” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially if we assume the South has no cities or that the North and the West are indisputably liberal. (For the record, at least in Chicago and I expect other localities that are part of the Democratic coalition, there are a lot of “fiscally liberal but culturally and socially conservative” politicians, and they’re mostly Democrats. At least in certain localities, a Democrat of a certain stripe will have to decide which heresies he/she will forgive and which he/she will go after.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

        @gabriel-conroy

        I know more socially liberal but fiscally conservative types but even those fiscal conservatives do not reach Republican levels of alleged “fiscal conservative” and taxes and spending are evil.

        There are cities in the South. There are conservative sections of Northern and Western and solidly Democratic states. The moderate Democratic candidate usually wins the election in SF. Though a San Francisco moderate could be to the left in most other places.

        If anything the big problem for the liberal vote is that we are too compact.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Burt Likko says:

        @scarletnumbers Not much a choice Way Out West where Likko lives. Early NFL games kick off at 10:00 a.m. here. Bars where people gather to watch the games often have late breakfast specials. And Bloody Marys. So that mitigates things, at least.

        I’m blogging in between plays of the less-than-a-masterpiece game shaping up in Buffalo, myself.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Scarlet, the single best thing about the West Coast is that you can roll over in bed on Saturday morning, flip in the ztV, and college football is already starting. Watch a couple games, and then you still have the evening to go do other stuff. It’s only the second good use of mornings I’ve ever discovered (and the other lets you stay in bed, too).Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

        @james-hanley

        I only had a TV in my bedroom when I lived in Japan and that was because my bedroom was in a glorified dorm/hostel.

        I like sunshine.Report

      • When I moved East, it was a really rude awakening to arise in Saturday morning and it was all “What do you mean there are not games on until noon?!”Report

  10. Avatar dexter says:

    @burt-likko , In Louisiana scandals don’t matter if you have a R after your name. After all, this is the state who’s senators are known as Diaper Boy Vitter and Double Bill Cassidy.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to dexter says:

      I’m going to disagree, @dexter . I think it’s a matter of how awful the scandal would have to be.

      Vitter can get away with having really weird extramarital sex with prostitutes as long as he keeps the hookers high-class and in DC.

      But what if he was videotaped killing a guy?

      Worse, what if he announced that he was an atheist?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to dexter says:

      Popular politicians do indeed get away with a lot in Louisiana. It’s not actually party-specific (or ideologically-specific), though, and does have its limitations.Report

  11. Avatar dexter says:

    @burt-likko , I think the reason the Diaper Boy kept his job is because, unlike Spitzer, he wasn’t pretending to make the banks pay for their crimes and most important, because Louisiana had a Democrat in governor’s office.
    Will is correct about BSDI here. Convicted felon Edwards came within a whisker of taking Cassady’s congressional seat. Some of the crimes committed by mayors and sheriffs are truly surreal involving everything from rigging garbage contracts to stealing gas for their boats.Report

  12. Avatar Chris says:

    Regardless of whether they should write off the South, if they choose to do show, I guess they should change the party’s name.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

      Also, everything I’ve seen about the Democratic Party and the South over the last few days, and specifically stuff about abandoning the South, has been about white males. More than half the country’s black population lives in the former Confederate states plus Kentucky, as does about a third of the Hispanic population. So in order to write off white men, you write off half the country’s black pepole, a substantial portion of the Hispanic population, and a lot of women, so that urban white people in Northern, Pacific, and Midwestern cities can have more control of one of the two major parties? If this happens, our political system is broken, and it’s not the conservatives who broke it.Report