Republican Bill Cassidy soundly defeated Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu marking not only the end of her three-term tenure in office, but also signaling the exit of the last remaining Democratic Senator in the Deep South. Republicans now hold every governorship and every Senate seat from Texas to South Carolina. From the former Confederate States there are only three Democratic Senators: Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both from Virginia, and Senator Bill Nelson from Florida. In the U.S. House, Republicans hold a two to one advantage over Democrats and in state legislatures, Republicans control every single southern state.
Pretty impressive for a region that was dominated by Democrats from Reconstruction (1864) until the onset of the Civil Rights movement in the late 1960’s. A far cry from today, where the last strongholds of the Democratic Party in Dixie have been relegated to those districts in cities, college and university communities and the majority black districts. In the age of Obama, the divide between blacks and whites continues to grow with white southerners voting Republican and blacks voting overwhelming for Democrats. That, in itself, is an article for another time. Despite what Democrat talking heads would have us believe, the dramatic shift away from the party goes far beyond race.
It’s clear that 2014 was more than just a bad election for Democrats in the South. It was more of a turning point in a long term trend and likely the end of an era. To put it in perspective, it would be easier to find an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker than to find a white Democrat representing Dixie in D.C.
Speaking of extinction, it is worth noting that the Blue-Dog Democrats have also seen their last days on Capitol Hill. Now that the radical wing has taken over the party, there is no room for moderate voices. With the election of Barack Obama, we have seen the party becoming more radical. This message from Democrats is not resonating with the American people and even less so with White Southerners who historically and culturally are more conservative, more religious, and typically from more rural roots.
There are a wide range of opinions as to why Democrats performed so poorly in the mid- term elections. Some say campaign messaging was too narrowly focused, some blamed the economy or apathetic voters and many thought it was the unpopularity of this President. Likely, it was all of the above, but the bigger issue was an out-and-out rejection of the President’s policies and more importantly a rejection of the liberal-progressive agenda.
It’s not surprising that more traditional and independent-minded southerners also rejected Democrats who glorify government. To the delight of many Republicans and Conservatives, Democrats are seeking answers for the humiliating losses across much of the Southeast. My favorite solution, and one I highly recommend, was offered by the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky who suggested it was time to dump Dixie. In his article last week he said,
“Practically the whole region has rejected everything that is good about this country and has become just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized resentment. A fact made even sadder because on the whole they such nice people!”
He goes on to say,
“With Landrieu’s departure, the Democrats will have no more Senators from the Deep South and I say good. Forget about it. Forget the whole fetid place. Write it off. Let the GOP have it and run it and turn it into a Free-Market Jesus Paradise.”
So there you have it. The South is one giant, racially intolerant waste dump, lacking compassion, decency and secular values, which the writer says the country was founded upon. Where do I begin?
For starters, it is no secret that the South were the pro-slavery states during the Civil War, but the larger issue and one that is conveniently overlooked was about states’ rights.
It was Lincoln, a Republican, who emancipated the slaves. Southerners, however, were more concerned about an overly oppressive federal government than the slave issue. As a side note, Slavery goes back to the dawn of civilization. The United States nor the South were unique to slavery. I’m not condoning the actions of our ancestors, but just stating facts. Has the South suffered from racism? Yes. So have other parts of the country and, for that matter, the international community.
As far as Southerners not being compassionate and lacking what Tomasky calls “civic decency,” I suppose he means state-sanctioned compassion approved by the federal government. Charities, non-profits, and God forbid the Church, just don’t count.
The South is more conservative, more religious and cherishes its traditional values or as our friend, Michael Tomasky put it in his article, it is a “Free-Market Jesus Paradise.” After six years of Barack Obama, liberal progressives have run roughshod over the rule of law, ushered in moral decay that is reminiscent of Sodom and Gomorrah, implemented big government policies that destroy wealth and are an intrusion into the day to day lives of the American people. If this is the progress, tolerance, and compassion brought to us by the Democratic Party and the radical left, a “Free-Market Jesus Paradise” is exactly what Southerners, and in a broader sense America, could be looking for.
It comes down to Dixie. We are the last line of defense against the long arm of the oppressive federal government. Since we know a little bit about rebellion and from the results of the 2014 election, it appears that the nation is following their southern brethren in singing the praises of individual rights for all people. A new congregation must be gathered together to revive the American spirit, to renew our hope in God and in more traditional values. Maybe then we can return to the founding principles. The principles that we hold dear as Southerners, yes, but more importantly as Americans.