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The Dynamics of Southern Politics
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The Dynamics of Southern Politics
Causes and Consequences



August 2018 | 432 pages | CQ Press
“I cannot praise the author enough for rising to the challenge of providing students with an accessible trip through time to show the emergence of the one-party South and how the South evolved over time.” 
—Keith Lee, Georgia College

Taking a hard look at the changing demographics in the American South, The Dynamics of Southern Politics discusses how this region remains exceptional while also addressing how that exceptionalism is eroding. Author Seth McKee tells a historically rich story going back to the end of the Civil War, tracks electoral changes to the present, and explores some of the most significant components contributing to partisan change. Supported by a host of detailed tables and figures, this book pairs a strong historical foundation with an in-depth analysis of the contemporary region. 

 
Tables, Figures, and Boxes
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Chapter 1. The Long Arc of Southern Political History
Overview of the Book

 
Explanations of Southern Political Change

 
 
Chapter 2. Before a “Solid South”
1868 to 1900: The Relentless Work of Democratic “Redemption”

 
Northern Republicanism in the South

 
The End of Reconstruction

 
An Unstable Interlude

 
Populist Threat and Its Removal

 
Summary of a Most Politically Volatile Period

 
Concluding Thoughts

 
 
Chapter 3. Democratic Past
Origins of the Solid South

 
The Timing and Tools of Disfranchisement

 
The (White) Primary System

 
The 1930s: Democracy Heads North

 
The 1948 Election: A Permanent Fissure in the Solid South

 
Summary of Southern Democratic Dominance

 
Concluding Thoughts

 
 
Chapter 4. Competitive Transition
The Not-So Placid 1950s

 
The Tumultuous and Triumphant 1960s

 
The Deceptively Quiet 1970s

 
Reagan and the 1980s Turning Point

 
Summary Evidence of the Competitive Transition

 
Concluding Thoughts

 
 
Chapter 5. Republican Present
Unintended Consequences?

 
Republican Control from Top to Bottom

 
Federal Contests

 
Statewide Contests

 
State Legislative Elections

 
The Peak of Republican Hegemony?

 
 
Chapter 6. Generational Change and GOP Growth
The Importance of Party Identification

 
Party Identification of Black Southerners

 
Party Identification of White Southerners

 
Life-Cycle, Period, and Generation Effects

 
Tracking Generational Change and Party Identification

 
Concluding Thoughts

 
 
Chapter 7. Issues: Race, Economics, and Religion
Issues, Ideology, and Political Sophistication

 
Sorting and Polarization Within the Southern Electorate

 
The Big Three: Race, Economics, and Religion

 
Race

 
Economics

 
Religion

 
Summary

 
 
Chapter 8. Sectional and Locational Differences
Southern Urbanization

 
Deep Versus Peripheral South: An Enduring Divide

 
Location and a Changing South, 1950–2000

 
Location in the New Millennium

 
Voter Preferences by Subregion and Location

 
Concluding Thoughts

 
 
Chapter 9. The Changing Southern Electorate
A Note on the Data

 
Racial and Ethnic Composition of the General Electorate

 
White Voters

 
Black Voters

 
Latino Voters

 
Race and Gender

 
The Democratic and Republican Coalitions, Then and Now

 
The Primary Electorate

 
Welcome Back Carpetbaggers! Southern In-Migrants

 
Concluding Thoughts

 
 
Chapter 10. Republican Responses to Demographic Change
Demographic Change in the Southern Electorate

 
Electoral Volatility in the New Millennium

 
The 2010 Republican “Tsunami”

 
Congressional Redistricting

 
Jim Crow in Miniature? Restrictive Voting Laws

 
The Importance of Shelby County v. Holder

 
Summary

 
 
Chapter 11. The South in Comparative Perspective
Election Patterns in the South and Non-South

 
Party Identification in the South and Non-South

 
Voter Preferences in Recent Elections

 
Enduring Southern Exceptionalism

 
 
Chapter 12. The Future of Southern Politics
The Old Southern Politics

 
A Longitudinal Look at Party Competition

 
The Re-Segregation of Southern Politics

 
Demographic Change and Democratic Promise

 
Final Thoughts

 
 
References
 
Notes
 
Index

“A thorough and empirically-based (not exhausting!) discussion of the role of race in southern politics from the Civil War to the present.” 

Branwell DuBose Kapeluck
The Citadel

“I cannot praise the author enough for rising to the challenge of providing students with an accessible trip through time to show the emergence of the one-party South and how the South evolved over time.” 

Keith Lee
Georgia College

“A historically rich treatment of southern politics that successfully introduces students to the way social science is practiced today.” 

Chris Cooper
Western Carolina University

“Thoughtful, meticulously researched, accessible to an undergraduate population.” 

Vaughn May
Belmont University

“The subfield of southern politics is sometimes criticized for focusing far too much on anecdotal evidence without having much of an empirical flavor. McKee remedies this.”

Vaughn May
Belmont University
Key features

KEY FEATURES:

  • An in-depth examination of the region’s historical and demographic features provides students with important context.
  • Analysis of historical events, long-term trends in election results, the compositional makeup and behavior of the electorate, the location and variation of partisan strength, comparative examinations of politics within and outside of Dixie, and recent changes in the dynamics of party competition illuminate for students the extraordinary and exceedingly rich evolution of the political system below the Mason-Dixon Line.
  • A wealth of figures, tables, and data tell the story of political change in the American South in a compelling easy-to-understand manner.
  • A series of text boxes offers more focused information on particular features of each chapter to give students a deeper understanding of the material.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2: Before a 'Solid South'

Chapter 5: Republican Present


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