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PDF The Hand of the Past in Contemporary Southern Politics

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Joseph A. Aistrup Kansas State University Search for more papers by this author.

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How American Politics Became So Ineffective - The Atlantic

View Preview. Learn more Check out. Abstract Objective. The fruits of southern Democrats' labor to establish and maintain a one-party system can be prominently displayed with data on U. House elections. These contests are an excellent barometer for depicting party strength because all U. House seats are up for election every two years and the number of southern congressional districts is large typically over a hundred for any decennial census.


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Figure 1 shows the percentage of Democratic and Republican U. House seats in the South from to We will revisit this figure in the next section that explains Republican ascendancy, but for now it is worth noting the astounding dominance of the Democratic Party from to a roughly flat line of Democratic control of the southern U. House delegation.

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During these fifty years the lowest Democratic share of southern U. House seats was 93 percent in We also see that Democratic rule in House contests begins in , but it isn't consolidated until after the Populist revolt of the s, when we see a marked dip in Democratic House seats in the election.

The mids to the late s, when southern Democrats are institutionalizing Jim Crow and enacting disfranchising laws, is captured in Figure 1, because House contests highlight this lengthy interlude when southern Democrats are engaged in locking down their one-party system. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, this text examines this political phenomenon.

Acknowledging the significance and scope of the political change, James M. Glaser argues that, nevertheless, strands of continuity affect the practice of campaign politics in important ways. Strong southern tradition underlies the strategies pursued by the candidates, their presentational styles, and the psychology of their campaigns. The author offers eyewitness accounts of recent congressional campaigns in Texas, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Americans preach egalitarianism, but democracy makes it hard for minorities to win.

Changing Minds, If Not Hearts explores political strategies that counteract the impulse of racial majorities to think about racial issues as a zero-sum game, in which a win for one group means a loss for another. James M. Glaser and Timothy J.

The hand of the past in contemporary southern politics

Ryan argue that, although political processes often inflame racial tensions, the tools of politics also can alleviate conflict. Through randomized experiments conducted in South Carolina, California, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and New Jersey, Glaser and Ryan uncover the racial underpinnings of disputes over affirmative action, public school funding initiatives, Confederate flag displays on government buildings, reparations, and racial profiling. The authors examine whether communities rife with conflict endorse different outcomes when issues are cast in different terms—for example, by calling attention to double standards, evoking alternate conceptions of fairness and justice, or restructuring electoral choices to offer voters greater control.

Their studies identify a host of tools that can help overcome opposition to minority interests that are due to racial hostility.

Article excerpt

Even in communities averse to accommodation, even where antipathy and prejudice linger, minorities can win. With clearly presented data and compelling prose, Changing Minds, If Not Hearts provides a vivid and practical illustration of how academic theory can help resolve conflicts on the ground. He is the son of Harold and Judith Kramer Glaser. Glaser received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University in