Dr. Joseph Crespino, Jimmy Carter Professor of History, published an op-ed in The New York Times on August 22nd. In “Why Hilary Clinton Might Win Georgia,” Crespino puts the 2016 presidential contest in the context of past Republican and Democratic campaigns to re/take the South. Crespino asserts that the shading purple of states like Georgia and South Carolina “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.” Read an excerpt below and check out the full article.
“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.
“What might be happening instead is something new in the South: true two-party politics, in which an urban liberal-moderate Democratic Party fights for votes in the increasingly multiethnic metropolitan South against an increasingly rural, nationalistic Republican Party. If that happens, it will transform not only the politics of the American South, but those of America itself.”