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Mon Aug 22, 2016, 07:12 AM

 

NYT: Why Hillary Clinton Might Win Georgia [View all]

Recent polls show something that has caught even the most optimistic liberals by surprise: Hillary Clinton is tied with Donald J. Trump in Georgia, catching up with him in South Carolina and generally showing strength in traditionally Republican parts of the South. It seems like the Democratic dream come true — demographic changes are turning Southern states purple.

But this story has less to do with the future than the past, and both parties run a risk in misreading it. Mr. Trump’s racially charged hard-right campaign reveals a fault line in Republican politics that dates from the very beginning of G.O.P. ascendancy in the South.

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Yet this year that mixture may not work. Mr. Trump’s extreme language and divisive policies are alienating moderate Republicans in places like the Atlanta exurbs — where Mrs. Clinton is running nearly even with Mr. Trump. And across the state, polls show a significantly low number of Republicans saying they’ll support their party’s candidate.

Mr. Trump’s campaign most closely resembles the presidential campaigns of George C. Wallace, the arch-segregationist Alabama governor. Indeed, Wallace’s legacy is telling. An economic progressive, he remained a Democrat his entire life. True, he galvanized white working-class disenchantment and pioneered a populist, anti-liberal rhetoric that Ronald Reagan and subsequent Republicans would use to devastating effect. Yet he never had much appeal among the new class of suburban whites; the two were like oil and water. So, too, it would seem, are Donald Trump and moderate Southern Republicans today.

Whether or not Republicans hold on to Georgia and South Carolina this year, the lessons they are likely to take away are predictable. Democrats will assume that these states, like Virginia and North Carolina, are part of a long-term liberal trend and push traditional liberal ideas harder in future elections. Republicans will most likely write off Mr. Trump as a one-time phenomenon and not do anything. In doing so, both parties will ignore lessons from the history of the Southern conservative majority.

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read:http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/22/opinion/campaign-stops/why-hillary-clinton-might-win-georgia.html?_r=0

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