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From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans: Florida and Its Politics since 1940 Hardcover – October 14, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0813031552 ISBN-10: 0813031559 Edition: 1st

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From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans: Florida and Its Politics since 1940 + Up for Grabs: A Trip Through Time and Space in the Sunshine State (Florida Sand Dollar Books) + Government and Politics in Florida
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida; 1st edition (October 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813031559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813031552
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,581,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this sweeping overview of modern Florida politics, Colburn challenges the country's preconceived notions of the Sunshine State's political leanings. From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans is the result of a lifetime of observing and analyzing a once small and rural state that has transformed itself, in less than fifty years, into a political powerhouse and national weathervane." - Reubin O'D.Askew, Governor of Florida 1971-1979"

Book Description

The rise of Florida as bellwether for the politics of the South--and the nation
 
"In this sweeping overview of modern Florida politics, Colburn challenges the country’s preconceived notions of the Sunshine State’s political leanings. From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans is the result of a lifetime of observing and analyzing a once small and rural state that has transformed itself, in less than fifty years, into a political powerhouse and national weathervane."--Reubin O’D. Askew, Governor of Florida, 1971-1979
 
"An insightful analysis of how the Democrats lost--and the GOP gained--the most important swing state in the nation."--Cynthia Barnett, author of Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S.
 
Likely to raise hackles among Democrats and Republicans alike, this dynamic history of modern Florida argues that the Sunshine State has become the political and demographic future of the nation. David Colburn reveals how Florida gradually abandoned the traditions of race and personality that linked it to the Democratic Party. The book focuses particularly on the population growth and chaotic gubernatorial politics that altered the state from 1940, when it was a sleepy impoverished southern outpost, to the present and the emergence of a dominant Republican Party.
 
In the twenty-first century, Colburn says, Florida is a dynamic, highly partisan, largely conservative state at the cultural, social, and economic intersection of the Western Hemisphere. But the transition hasn't been entirely felicitous. Allegations abound that the state is a "banana republic" favoring the wealthy, a piece of paradise that embraces "immigrants, natives, seniors, rednecks, evangelicals, and yes, flim-flam artists and mobile home salesmen. All of whom came to the state looking for ways to improve their lot in life."
 
Colburn depicts the state's colorful governors at the center of every postwar development from Cracker to Sun Belt politics, from segregation to integration, from boosterism and modernization to economic and environmental crises. As the story of one of the most influential states in the nation, the book redefines Florida politics.

Customer Reviews

No Democrat could do no harm in the author's eyes.
Jose Lopez
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Florida politics and history, and the changes wrought over the past three decades.
John O. Clark
Plus, there is a picture of a parody of a Florida election ballot that is not clearly identified as a parody.
Captain Hornblower

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Captain Hornblower on November 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm afraid I have to disagree with a previous reviewer that called this book very even handed. I found Colburn to have a very pro-democratic bias in his account, but I will start with the positive things I have to say about the book.

The book does present a great overview of Florida's political history, at least at the state level, during the critical period of change in Florida from 1940 to the relative present. Colburn is very adept at incorporating explanations of demographic changes in Florida's voting population, and how this affected statewide elections, in a way that was very clear and accessible to the reader. Taking such statistical data and turning it into a clear narrative is not an easy task, and Colburn did a great job with it. I would have liked the narrative even better if Colburn had not chosen to focus almost exclusively on the governors and state legislature. Instead, I think he could have included more of the local or Congressional races that were interesting or telling of change in Florida's political makeup. But that was his choice, and with an issue like that, I have to let the author decide what he was going to write about and accept it as I read the book. Plus, it really did not hurt the book not to include those elements.

What did hurt the book's effectiveness was Colburn's obvious pro-Democratic bias. Every author is going to bring some bias to his/her work, but Colburn doesn't do a good job at trying to be balanced in his presentation-which an author tackling such a subject with such a clearly academically-based book should do.

For example, Colburn called Governors Askew, Graham, and Chiles a trio that represented remarkable governorship.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jean Valjean on March 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to obtain insight into Florida politics during the second half of the 20th century. It is a very reader friendly book which can easily be read during the course of a week. This book focuses on the political changes in Florida which had been dominated by the Democratic Party for over a century prior to the relatively recent change toward becoming a Republican dominated state. This is despite the fact that the majority of Floridians remain registered Democrats. The focus has been primarily on Florida governors during the years since World War Two. There has been some focus on racist politics on the part of legislators during the 1950s and 1960s which impacted on efforts to integrate Black Floridians into the schools and other sectors of life.

Several factors were explored in this book which brings light on how this change came about. One factor noted was how the Republican Party was able to dominate the State's reapportionment process which determines the District lines for State legislators. During the late 1990s with the cooperation of several Democratic Black legislators who did not believe that the the Democratic Party was sufficiently supportive of their desire to have strengthened districts which would allow for the election of Black candidates into offices and, thus, to have a stronger role in the State's political processes. As a result, this has helped to tip the odds in favoring Republican Party candidates. Other factors noted involved the growing presence of Cuban Americans and retired people migrating into the State.

This book is very even handed and would not please partisans who are either Democrats or Republicans. One thing is very clear about the State of Florida is that it remains a very politically volatile state and is subject to change at any time in the near future. We can continue to expect the unexpected from Florida and this book shines a very bright light on this fact.
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Format: Hardcover
As for the historical aspect of the book, it is something that I highly recommend for followers of Florida politics. For those that moved to Florida after the election of Jeb Bush, this book will let you know why more seasoned Florida Democrats have such strong feelings for Leroy Collins, Reubin Askew, Lawton Chiles and Bob Graham. Colburn really does a good job of stressing their accomplishments. In addition, he explained that these Democrats won while sticking to core liberal values. The days of conservative Yellow Dog Florida Democrats ended with Haydon Burns, even though he eventually had to change with the times to lure Disney to Florida. And if you don’t know who Governor Burns is, another good reason to read this book.

As far as the political analysis of the book, he gives mixed insight. When looking at past elections, he does a great job explaining the coalitions that both parties were able to forge in order to win, or lose, elections. But when doing the issue analysis, Colburn mostly centers on two issues, race and taxes. He seems to contend that race was the biggest issue in Florida politics until the election of Reubin Askew, which entirely changed that. This, I agree, is a correct assumption.

But in post-1970s election, especially from 1990 until today, he concentrates on taxes as the main driving force behind the issues, and rarely talks about social issues, education or crime. Yes, he does mention them, but not as strongly as the tax issue.
For example, when discussing the 1990 election for Florida governor, his thesis regarding the defeat of Bob Martinez solely hangs on the unpopularity of the service tax. Yet during his entire discussion, he fails to even talk about the gun laws that were being signed into law by Martinez.
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From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans: Florida and Its Politics since 1940
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