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ANALYSIS AND OPINION

EDITOR’S TAKE: South is GOP’s ace in the hole to keep control of U.S. House in 2018

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics editor

With President Trump’s approval ratings at historically low levels, Democrats have high hopes of taking back the U.S. House in 2018. But those hopes are tempered by a giant geographic obstacle standing in their way — namely, the South. To reclaim the House, Democrats need to flip 24 seats, shifting about 10 percent of the seats that Republicans now hold. But a 10 percent shift in the South would require winning 11 seats, and, if Democrats fall short of that total, they will need to shift an even higher percentage of seats throughout the rest of the country — as much as 19 percent if they come up empty in the South. And as right now, they have a realistic shot at flipping just seven Southern seats, five of which have been in Republican hands for decades and only one of which is currently open. (Posted July 12)

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EDITOR’S TAKE: Confederate namesake counties show Democratic decline accelerated by Trump

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

Davis

Davis

Lee

Lee

Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee loom large as icons of the Southern Confederacy, so much so that 11 Southern counties and one Louisiana parish bear their names. But if these lions of the South are aware of what is happening in their namesake counties today, they may be rotating in their graves. Changes in presidential voting in these counties over the past 40 years illustrate just how far the Black Republicans against which Lee and Davis would have railed are now transcendent—and how much white Southerners have forsaken their Democratic roots. The 2016 presidential results also show that the Republicanization of the South seems to be accelerating in these counties that bear the mark of Southern heritage. (Posted March 3)

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POLITICSNC.COM: Map shows that Pat McCrory’s loss in North Carolina governor’s race was due to Roy Cooper’s support in western counties that Donald Trump won.

EDITOR’S TAKE: Clinton ran worse in the South than Obama

♦By Rich Shumate, Chicken Fried Politics.com editor

election-central-16Prior to the November 8 election, Democrats were publicly hopeful that they might finally be turning back Republican hegemony in the South, to the degree that pro-Hillary Clinton ads were running not only in the battleground states of Florida and North Carolina but also in reliably Republican Georgia and Texas.

Election results show that thinking was not just wishful, it was magical.

In fact, Clinton did comparatively worse in the South than Barack Obama did four years ago (which, oddly, seems to undercut the notion that the South’s resistance to Obama was based on his race.) A look at region-wide and state-by-state figures in the presidential race shows just how grim election night was for Southerners with a D attached to their name.

Donald Trump carried 53.8 percent of the vote and 13 out of 14 Southern states. That performance was not as good as Mitt Romney’s in 2012, when he came in with 54.4 percent (although Romney only carried 12 states.) However, the performance gap between Trump and Clinton was actually larger than the gap between Romney and Obama because Clinton’s underperformance was even worse. (Posted November 11)

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EDITOR’S TAKE: New demography erodes Confederate fervor

♦By Rich Shumate, Chicken Fried Politics.com editor

southern states smThe newfound drive to retire the Confederate battle flag from the public arena may have been fueled by the visceral emotional reaction to the racist massacre at a church in Charleston, the Confederacy’s very birthplace. But the seeming ease with which Confederate artifacts are being swept away across the South can also be explained by another factor — shifts in the region’s demography that are eroding the regional insularity underpinning romantic attachment to the Lost Cause. (Posted June 28)

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POLITICO.COM: The case against the rush toward early voting

♦By Eugene Kontorovich and John McGinnis, Politico Magazine

southern states ttankEarly voting  has grown so rapidly in recent decades that in the 2012 election, almost one-third of the ballots were cast before election day. While this has made voting more convenient, it also threatens the basic nature of our democracy by erasing a communal American experience where decisions are made at a definite point in time, by voters operating under a common set of facts. In essence, early voting is turning elections into a form of opinion polling, and we need to have a discussion about whether this “quiet revolution” has gone too far.

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