Michael Tomasky says Dems should say good riddance to the South and let it go.
I think maybe the Founding Fathers were right when they thought the slave problem absolutely unsolvable, so they cut a deal and hoped for the best, kicking that horrific can down the road until nothing less than Civil War was necessary. My only question for Lincoln would have been “do we need the South, would we miss it?”
I am still a believer in the 50 state strategy, but not if we’re going to become Republican lite (“less filling, more hate”) like Mary Landrieu and compromise our core beliefs just to hold onto a few seats in the Old Confederacy.
But it’s not just a question of numbers. The main point is this: Trying to win Southern seats is not worth the ideological cost for Democrats. As Memphis Rep. Steve Cohen recently told my colleague Ben Jacobs, the Democratic Party cannot (and I’d say should not) try to calibrate its positions to placate Southern mores: “It’s come to pass, and really a lot of white Southerners vote on gays and guns and God, and we’re not going to ever be too good on gays and guns and God.”
Cohen thinks maybe some economic populism could work, and that could be true in limited circumstances. But I think even that is out the window now. In the old days, drenched in racism as the South was, it was economically populist. Glass and Steagall, those eponymous bank regulators, were both Southern members of Congress. But today, as we learned in Sunday’s Times, state attorneys general, many in the South, are colluding with energy companies to fight federal regulation of energy plants.
Yeah, populism could work! If it doesn’t go along with a sell out women and minorities and the crucial secular values we’ve come to understand as America. That part’s kinda key.