Why does the South have to dominate America?

Ever since the rise of the far-right Republicans in recent decades, it seems the South has taken on an influence out of proportion to its actual size and population.

In 1997-1998 I heard someone on the news pointing out that the president, the vice-president, the speaker of the House, and the Senate majority leader were all Southern Baptists.

Ever since 1964, no Democrat has been elected president unless he was a Southerner. Sometimes even that isn’t enough. (Even though Gore won the popular vote!)

I’m mainly thinking of the domination of the Republican party by ultra-right-wing ideologues and right-wing Christian fundamentalists (I know that there do exist some types of Christian fundamentalists that aren’t involved in politics, but I’m talking about the aggressively political ones). For some reason these types seem to be more concentrated in the South. Maybe I should start another thread, “Why does the South tend to be so conservative?”

I don’t want to ignore the fact that there are plenty of liberals and Democrats in the South; the liberal Democratic South is the heir to the civil rights movement of Martin Luther King, Jr., like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been doing lots of good work and incidentally helping remind us that the South is not entirely composed of right-wing white Republicans. These Southern liberals are not behaving in the way I’m writing about in this OP. It’s the conservatives that act like they have the God-given mission to dominate America.

I live in the South myself, but I am baffled at the arrogance I see at so many Southern conservatives acting like they are the only ones fit to run America. Why does a relatively small fraction of the United States have to intimidate the rest of the nation like this?

Before you start flaming away and demanding “Cite?”, I am just reporting my subjective perceptions. Yet I think perhaps there are plenty of others who see what I see happening in America, even if I don’t have quantitative figures to cite. I did cite some examples about Southerners disproportionately represented at the highest levels of government in recent years.

If Democrats are weakest in the South, having a candidate from there is the strongest possible origin.

Democratic strongholds will still vote for him or her, plus you will get some Southern votes based on the candidate’s region.


Political domination by region tends to switch off every now and then. The administrations after Kennedy are generally not considered “Southern,” per se, but rather as the “Sunbelt” presidents, which includes the Midwest in general. Northern Democrats, it must be remembered, had their own apparent monopoly on politics during the Reconstruction and Gilded Age.

You mean Northern Republicans. (Grover Cleveland excepted.)

Gah, yeah. But even Cleveland was a Northerner.

The South has WAY too much influence.

When Trent Lott let his racism show in public and he had to be ditched, who did they replace him with? Another conservative Southerner. Of course! :smack: Could anyone have expected anything different?

When Newt Gingrich’s scandalous behavior came out in the open, who did they choose to replace him? Bob Livingston of Louisiana. Oops, he’s got scandals too; out he goes. So Dennis Hastert was a hasty replacement. Now you might object, Hastert isn’t Southern; there goes your theory. But at the time it was openly known that Tom DeLay chose Hastert to be his figurehead Speaker, that DeLay of Texas is the real power in the House.

So these are examples showing that the heavy right-wing Southern domination of the government is very real. Suppose the rest of the country becomes uncomfortable with this and starts to ask why it has to be that way? :dubious:

and my relatives are from Arkansas…

we’ll fly the Stars and Bars over the White House.


I think you’re looking into this too much

Now you’re just reaching.

A real discussion about what roles/powers the South has is one thing, conspiracy theories are something else entirely.

I’d also like to note that I don’t consider Texas to be southern. Some people undoubtedly do. I consider Texas to be, well, Texas.


In a nutshell; traditionally, Southerners tend to be conservative toward family and church values. My obsevation as a born Californian, but growing up in the New South, is that folks who were once Southern Democrats, tend now towards the Republican party because of the emphasis on these values, especially in the tremendous flux of morals in the modern world.

From my life in Mississippi and North Carolina, I also see the Southern heritage of sparkling oratory skills and Good Ole Boy networking as being effective means to gain political power. I don’t like Trent Lott one bit, but he was an example of the particular genius of Southern politicians to speak well, tactically gain favor, and lobby his way to power. A great deal of this is Manners and social etiquette, which those raised to certain positions have it drilled into their being from a young age in the South. Who’d have guessed that would play so well to the nation in modern times?

I think it’s a game, and Southern politicians have a knack for playing that game; able to look good, appear to be a downhome likeable boy, and sink teeth deep into the staked out territory. And, sadly, nowadays, that’s what apparently works.


“The South shall rise again!”

I bet Thaddeus Stephens is shitting screaming, clawing kittens in whatever version of the afterlife he wound up in.

If there’s any kind of eternal justice, it’s very, very warm, and the only thing to drink is Mint Juleps and Lone Star.

You know, I had honestly hoped this thread would remain free of pointless “YEE-HAW!” hubris. And this is a debating point, exactlyhow? :rolleyes"

I can still hope the “Southern by the grace of God” cliché won’t be dragged out again.

elelle makes excellent points. This might be a good time to point at that we have things like two senators per state and the electoral college to prevent the most populous state or region from running the country.

church politics. southerners turn out to vote, driven by community issues, led by church leadership. many times, churches are where voting is held, and churches bus their members in where they feel it is necessary. our very own Gov. Huckabee got into trouble for stating this.

now, if only we could get them voting for the right things…sigh

-stonebow, stranded in Arkansas

Hastert is widely recognized as DeLay’s bitch. That’s no conspiracy theory. DeLay is known as a behind the scenes manipulator. DeLay set up Hastert to take Gingrich’s place after Livingston flunked out. If you weren’t aware of that, well, you just ain’t been payin’ attention, suga.

So if you’re saying the deck isn’t stacked, then how come the most powerful politicians in the government are nearly always Southern?

Sure, whatever you say. <cough>Confederacy<cough>

With the perspective of my Italian ancestry, I see maybe a loose parallel with Italian politics. The Sicilians have been getting the short end of the national stick for many years, but paradoxically they have long been disproportionately dominant in Italy’s national government. Vittorio Orlando, the most successful Italian prime minister ever (victory in World War I), was a Sicilian. Luigi Barzini, in his book The Italians, attributed Sicilian success in Italian government to several factors, including their hardscrabble life making them try harder, the way northern Italians thought little of the national government, leaving it to the South to take over, etc. However, I don’t know if any of this is applicable to America. The Italian national government is a joke, so who runs it is really of little consequence.

“American by birth, Southern by the Grace of God” :rolleyes:

hehe, sorry had to do it.

I think it is a strange phenomena, actually. I am from Mississippi, and I know for a fact that no democrat will win the presidency, but it is very strange to also note that the state government has a democratic majority. Our governor is a democrat, and the guy before the republican that was before him was also a democrat. I think this is because people from the south don’t trust the northeastern democrats. Like it was stated earlier, southerners place a huge emphasis on family values and religion and down-to-earthedness. Why can’t this translate to the federal government? I don’t know.

It truely angers me that a president has to be from the South to win. I want a northeastern democrat to win, but I wonder if it is even possible. In a way, the south still has the veto power over the president that it had when it was still a democratic power. Although it isn’t in the nominating convention, if the south doesn’t like a candidate, then it makes it hard for him to get elected. Bill Clinton got Arkansas, Lousianna, and a couple of other states. The true immovable southern states are Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia to a lesser and lesser extent. Its true that in these states, Texas isn’t considered south, but not as foreign as connecticut or New York.

Why does the South have to dominate America?

Well because the south is America. The fundametal concepts that gave birth to the establishment of the United States were born in the south. Liberty. Individual freedom. Johnny Gitar Watson. All measures important to a civilized society in the new world originated in the south.
Maybe it was the climate. Maybe it was something more.

Whoa. I’m not gonna touch that line, but I will sit back and watch the show for a while.

Fascinating. Where exactly in the South was John Locke born? Rousseau? Smith?

And I must say it’s amazing how quickly the South jumped up to the revolutionary cause. Left those pikers in Boston in the dust, they did.

I don’t know about you, but it looked to me like the South was against all that. When the north was talking about freedom for all the south was putting in qualifiers “unless you are black”.