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September 08, 2016


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Non-partisan elections show very little ethnic polarization (white and black precincts tend to vote similarly). I wish we had nonpartisan elections to the state legislature like Nebraska so at least those elections were policy-based rather than tribal.

I'd be surprised if the Democrats could nominate a candidate capable of getting over 30% of the white vote like Bill Clinton in 96 and Carter in 76. Would a native Southerner ever be able to win the Democratic primary again?

Mississippi is one of my favorite states.

This year will be interesting to watch, but there had been a trend in the 2000s in which the differences between red and blue states are driven by different voting patterns among higher income, college educated voters. Red states had socially conservative up scale voters. Blue states had socially liberal up scale voters.

Mississippi is interesting because it's major white suburbs are tax havens of Tennessee (De Soto county), a more upscale and wet suburb of the state capital (Madison), a more downscale and dry suburb of the state capital (Rankin), and three coastal, tourism, shipping, and increasingly casino dependent counties along the coast (Hancock, Harrison, Jackson).

It's an interesting mix that will be interesting to see how it works out.

The next native Southerner to win the Democratic primary for the Presidency will most likely be African-American.

The fact that over 80% of the white voters of _any_ state are going Trump is just depressing.

Logan, which Southern state is likely to elect a black Democrat as Governor or Senator?
If I were betting, I'd guess the Republicans nominate a black Southerner before Democrats do, given that we have Tim Scott and other plausible black Republican candidates for Governor and Senator in the South.
I could see nominal Southern states like Florida or North Carolina electing Hispanic Democrats as Governor or Senator. I still wonder in a Democratic primary if a Southern Democrat could possibly still win as by necessity they'll be out of step with the national party (in order to win statewide election in a Southern state).

I don't know enough about the Democratic bench in the South to make specific predictions. I can say that it seems quite possible for GA, NC, or VA to produce a local-born white statewide official who is sufficiently liberal to win the Democratic nomination. And this within the next decade or so, far sooner than "ever."

Another way to put this: John Edwards was a loathsome human being, but someone with his political profile is quite possible today and could certainly win the nomination.

In other words, I think you're not quite right, Dave. Rather, I think what you're arguing is that we're unlikely to see a Bill Clinton or Al Gore analogue for some time to come. That is not quite the same thing as "born-and-raised white Southerner."

Of course, the next white Virginian or Georgian to win the Democratic nomination might lack any "southern" tropes, even if born-and-raised in the region. But that seems a rather weak reed.

The guy who just got nominated for Vice-President seems like an obvious possibility, though maybe we're thinking of someone younger.

He was born in Minnesota and grew up in Kansas, which is why we're not including him. I'm not sure, in fact, that a Virginia-born child of transplants or immigrants would fit Dave's category. They likely wouldn't be culturally Southern in any recognizable way.

A Democratic equivalent to Bobby Jindal or Nikki Haley would certainly qualify as a native Southerner. Virginia is questionable as a Southern state in the same way Maryland was a generation ago (some regions of the state exhibit Southern accents and culture but the majority of the state is Mid-Atlantic or general American). The South is a shrinking cultural region on top of being a low status one. Probably why a native Southerner is not seen as condescending as easily as Northern politicians are.

I take your point, Dave, but I wish others would weigh in. There is a Potter Stewart quality to this discussion: Bobby Jindal southern, Tim Kaine not, and not just because Kaine was born in Minnesota.

Concretely: who is on the Democratic bench to make a credible run for statewide office in the South outside FL and VA? Are they "southern"?

By the way, Dave, I can very easily falsify your statement: "The South is a shrinking cultural region on top of being a low status one. Probably why a native Southerner is not seen as condescending as easily as Northern politicians are."

Response: New York City. The accent is low status and comes across as condescending. (drops mike, walks offstage)

"New York City. The accent is low status and comes across as condescending."

Does it come across as condescending _when_ it is typed as low status (a Brooklyn accent vice a Manhattan accent)?

Well, linguists are in agreement that there is no such thing as a Brooklyn accent. Or Queens, or New Jersey, or whatever. There are strong racial and class distinctions, and those races and classes are not distributed evenly over the Tri-State Area. That gives the impressions that there are local accents: you're unlikely to find a Jewish corporate lawyer living in Tremont or an African-American pipefitter in Todt Hill.

All recognizable New York accents are stigmatized, which is why the incidence has been dropping among younger generations. Not disappearing; we're far from that, save the northwest corner of Brooklyn and parts of Queens. But it's dropping.

Whether they all come across as condescending, I can't tell you for sure. I suspect so, but I would. How does Pete Davidson sound to you compared to Woody Allen?

ObReference: http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/lexicon_valley/2013/01/lexicon_valley_on_r_dropping_or_nonrhoticity_in_new_york_department_stores.html

Massachusetts natives similarly insist that they can tell the difference between the accents of, say, Quincy and Brockton. I've never been able to detect such distinctions. I wonder if that's a similar case.

I swear there is a difference between the New Jersey accent I heard from tourists as a kid (twenty years ago) and the noticeably New York accents I hear now.

The first doesn't code as condescending but as aggressive and rude (typical tourist behavior). The second comes across as milder but also different in tone and affect.

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