Monday, November 12, 2012

NYT Examines the Alien Creature Known as the Southern Republican

Posted By on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Where will these gentlemen turn if the Republican Party abandons them?
  • Where will these gentlemen turn if the Republican Party abandons them?
Today’s New York Times looks at the election from a Southern perspective. Whereas the GOP nationally is talking about the urgent need to expand demographically, Republicans in the South are wondering what all the hubub’s about. They’re winning big. Who needs to change? They’re perfectly attuned with the only demographic that counts — hicks in the sticks!

Despite the local victories, Republicans in the South are aware that many of the post-election analyses have found the party’s image problems to be in the approach and the appeals that have led to its near total victory here. Southern Republican politicians continue to cruise smoothly to victory on the votes of white, socially conservative evangelicals. While some leaders have succeeded with a more centrist platform, like Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee, a large part of the Southern electorate still rewards politicians who promise to crack down hard on criminals and illegal immigrants, assume a defiant tone when speaking about the federal government and dismiss the idea of gay rights out of hand.

The outlook for Southern Republicans isn't all rosy, though. MTSU pollster Ken Blake points out the national GOP might go squishy and leave Southerners without a party to call their own. Then what? And here's some really weird news: Tired of losing national elections, Southern evangelicals are talking about retreating from politics altogether and leaving the rest of us alone.

The Rev. Brady Cooper, the pastor of New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn., said he had heard acquaintances in the days since the election speculating that social issues cost the Republicans the White House. To a degree, they were probably right, Mr. Cooper said. But he said that he could not abandon his values to win elections, and was increasingly moving away from politics.

“I’m kind of disillusioned more and more with the political process,” Mr. Cooper said. “One of their top priorities is being re-elected, and that kind of drives a lot of decisions that they make. And it means obviously going with the trends of the culture as opposed to the truth.”

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