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Democracy Heading South: National Politics in the Shadow of Dixie Hardcover – April 26, 2001

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Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cochran, a native Georgian labor lawyer and professor of political science at Agnes Scott College, uses V.O. Key's 1949 classic, Southern Politics, as a blueprint for analyzing fundamental structural pathologies in contemporary American politics, which he does with chilling clarity. "Key argued that because Southern politics lacked strong, responsive parties, was based on a narrow electorate, and was designed to perpetuate white supremacy, Southern electoral institutions lacked the coherence, continuity, and accountability that could make Southern politics rational and democratic." Just as this politics hobbled the South's ability to become an industrial democracy, Cochran argues, its contemporary structural twin is crippling America's ability to become a postindustrial democracy, with policies shaping global market forces to serve the common good. "Specifically, the maladies of the Solid South included elections that ignored or blurred issues; weak, elitist and even demagogic leaders; a proclivity to avoid problems and coast along with the status quo; rampant corruption and policymaking by deals; voters who were confused and apathetic; an appallingly narrow electoral base, including low turnout among even those lucky enough to be enfranchised; a resulting tilt toward the elites, while the have-not majority got taken for a ride." Explaining this list's familiar ring, Cochran fuses insights from an impressive range of fields, tracing the interaction of money in politics with historical processes of party realignment and carefully nuanced racial politics to produce a poorly aligned national two-party system that bears many one-party characteristics. Attentive to differences as well as similarities between the Old South and American politics today, Cochran's argument is subtle yet sweeping, profound yet almost self-evident once his powerfully coherent picture is completed.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Cochran, an attorney and political scientist and a Georgia native who now teaches at Agnes Scott College in that state, argues that U.S. politics increasingly resembles the politics of the pre-civil-rights "solid" South,^B and that's not good for democracy. It's not the birthplaces of current leaders or their political values that concern Cochran. He's more interested in our movement toward the "solid" South political structures classically described by V. O. Key: "lack of meaningful party competition, low levels of popular participation, and an emphasis on racial conflict to the detriment of economic issues." Cochran describes the system that dominated southern politics into the 1960s, discusses the "convergence" of national and southern politics over recent decades, and then analyzes the consequences of this convergence for government's ability to solve national problems. A final chapter draws a parallel between the nation's efforts to adjust to globalization and the South's "traumatic transition from an agricultural to an industrial and urban society" and suggests political reforms that could move national political structures away from "Dixification" and toward participation and accountability. Mary Carroll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; First Edition edition (April 26, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700610898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700610891
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,554,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 2004
Cochran argues in a well researched and thoughtful approach that the South's political history is playing out in today's national politics. Using examples throughout Southern history, the book illustrates that special interest, voter apathy, and spin are all nothing new to the political process. I also found his account of the future of the Democratic party interesting. Overall this book is an interesting read for those interested in politics. I would recommend this book especially those who are interested in learning more about politics in the South.
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2 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Paul Scarborough on January 4, 2004
The Author is evidently sorry about his own Sothern Heritage. My guess that he wrote this biased, simplistic trash to feel better about himself. Must have had alot of guilt about the political direction his homeland as taken since 1980. Barbs aside, If you are a closed minded Bush hating robot you will love this book. If you are a conservative you will just laugh. However,if you are honestly wanting to improve your understanding of the current American political situation you will not find much of value here. This is more angry, bitter, leftwing sour grapes that you have already seen from the Marxist Micheal Moore and Socialist Al Franken.
Note that even the title of the book puts down the South; must be a form of self loathing. The book does have one truth- The rise of the South in the last quarter of the 20th century and its increasing ability to influence the US political sitiuation. The South's increasing population, economic and political power; coupled with a sharp turn to the Republican party has indeed altered politics to the point of a left winger
like Howard Dean saying that he wants to be "The Candidate for guys with Confederate flags on their pickups". The Author- My guess a fustrated liberial TRIAL LAWYER knows this too. His home region becoming the tip of the Conservative spear. You know thats gotta hurt. I know my review is biased but so is ALL of American Politics in the first decade of the 21st century.
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