The Vital South: How Presidents Are Elected

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Harvard University Press, 1992 - Political Science - 400 pages
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Carry the South, control the White House. What the Democratic Party could once take for granted--a region so vast and unified that its vote in presidential elections is nothing short of decisive--Republicans now claim as their own. The first book to chronicle this massive shift of electoral power, The Vital South explores the history, meaning, and ramifications of a Republican South in the realm of presidential politics. Timely, thorough, and clearly written, this is the essential political book for 1992 as well as a definitive source on southern presidential politics for years to come.
In a sweeping panorama, The Vital South looks back to the early republic and forward to the transformations of the 1990s. Deftly combining political narrative, in-depth analysis, and telling anecdotes, the book offers insight into both the dynamics of presidential campaigns within the South and the impact of the region on national elections. Earl and Merle Black, well-known authorities on southern politics, concentrate on elections since the Great Society epoch; they analyze the Nixon and Reagan years and the critical 1988 election of George Bush, and measure them against the triumph of Jimmy Carter, the sole Democrat to break the long spell of Republicanism in southern domains. Closely observing presidential candidates as they court the South, the authors illuminate party practices and clarify the meaning behind the rhetoric of campaign politics.
Dixiecrats, Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, demographic shifts, urbanization, civil rights, desegregation, racial polarization, the reemergence of conservative social and cultural values--all are part of this kaleidoscopic story. It is a tale essential to an understanding of presidential politics in our time.

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Contents

The South and the Electoral College
29
The Changing Geography of Presidential Electiohs
58
The South and Democratic Nominations
79
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Earl Black is Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Political Science at Rice University.

Merle Black is Asa G. Candler Professor of Politics and Government at Emory University.

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