More South

This time by George Will.

Beginning in the 1950s, millions of Midwesterners and Northeasterners moved to the South. But, Alexander says, instead of voting Democratic, they voted Republican “at higher rates than native whites.” Even today, “identification with the GOP is stronger among the South’s younger rather than older white voters.” Republican strength has been highest among persons young, suburban, middle class, educated, non-Southern in origin and concentrated in the least “Southern” high-growth areas.

As Democrats embrace Kerry because of his “electability,” and as he ponders a strategy — including a running mate — for assembling 270 electoral votes, they and he should understand this: Their Southern problem is rooted not in regnant racism but in the region’s increasingly individualistic, optimistic, entrepreneurial and religious culture. As Democrats build from the easiest to the most challenging electoral votes, should they gamble on finding the 270th in the South?

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Erick Erickson

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