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Blue Dixie: Awakening the South's Democratic Majority Hardcover – Facsimile, August 19, 2008
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This arresting analysis from Moser, political correspondent for the Nation, debunks the belief in an enduring Republican South, which he terms the single most destructive myth of contemporary politics. The author wades into the swirl of stereotypes to challenge the conventional wisdom of many Democratic strategists, that the South is a Republican stronghold. Moser examines polls and voting trends that belie the idea of a conservative, fundamentalist, inherently racist voting bloc, looking instead at the history of the South as a breeding ground for progressivism and populist economic policies before proposing that the Democrats should stop trying to be the party of 'Republicans Lite' in order to win over Dixie. Moser details Jim Webb's and Barack Obama's successes in the South, praises Howard Dean's fifty-state strategy for re-energizing the Democratic Party in the region and gives insightful suggestions for how the party can continue the trend. Well-written, well-researched and perfectly timed with this year's election cycle, this fascinating read is highly recommended to anyone interested in unraveling political fact from fiction and detecting the myriad complicated relationships that knit a nation together. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"A wake-up call… Moser’s argument is cogent."—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Moser convince[es] Democrats that the South is a lot more complicated and interesting that they have made it out to be."—The New York Times Book Revew
"Conventional wisdom holds that the South is a solid GOP bloc… Moser explodes this myth."—Charleston City Paper
"Moser [represents] many progressives, liberals and populists in the South… in his important and entertaining new book Blue Dixie."—Independent Weekly (North Carolina)
"Moser argues that Democrats have lost elections when they don’t compete for the South… The solution is a message of economic fairness."—New York Post
"Well-written, well-researched and perfectly timed with this year’s election cycle, this fascinating read is highly recommended to anyone interested in unraveling political fact from fiction and detecting the myriad complicated relationships that knit a nation together."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Moser… argues that Democrats in the rest of the country should put aside their stereotype of the South."—In These Times
"Moser argues that Democrats can take back the South as the distance between haves and have-nots widens and a left-leaning demographic emerges."—Library Journal
"Blue Dixie makes the most compelling case I’ve read for why Democrats must not relinquish the South and, instead, compete hard for its votes, hearts, and minds with a bracing message of economic fairness!"—Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor, The Nation
Top customer reviews
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I was carried along in my reading by the intensity and enthusiasm of the author. It's fascinating reading and the author's knowledge of the wonderful,sometimes bizarre, aspects of southern politcs made this book especially compelling and interesting.
While most have correctly identified the South as being socially conservative, many (including the Democratic Party) have failed to realize how fiscally liberal the South is. Instead, many in the Democratic Party have become "me-too" Democrats; agreeing with the Republicans on fiscal issues while downplaying their own social agenda. This "New Democrat" type of moderation as not impressed the South. As a result, Democrats running in national elections in Dixie have gone nowhere.
Moser states that the Democrats need to employ a 21st century type of populism; one that argues for the power of good government to protect the common man. This populist style will resonate strongly with Southern voters, who have witnesses many jobs shipped overseas and a widening gap between the top-income earners and the middle class. With an increasing number of Evangelicals preaching a social gospel calling for more aid to the poor, a new populism, Moser claims, can indeed work. These issues are strong ones for the Democratic Party, and they should use thus to their advantage.
Unlike the Solid South of the early 20th century, the South of today is far from solid. Local Democrats in state legislatures have been able to win elections, and there are still more voters registered as Democrats rather than Republicans. Permanent minority status, Moser argues, is far from inevitable. If the Democrats can formulate an agenda arguing the positive aspects of good government, they can ultimately reclaim the South.
Especially relevant in an election year, Moser's book is a must read for Democrats and Southerners alike. Although he does make some subtle, snide, and at times unnecessary attacks on the GOP, his analysis is still solid. With a projected 40% of the nation's electoral votes by 2032, the South is by far too valuable a region to simply pass up. If the Democrats fail to heed Moser's advice, they may lose the South, and thus the presidency, for many generations to come.
This is a book that every Southern Progressive must read before they cast another ballot in a Presidential election. In eight quick chapters, Bob Moser is able to convey his arguments with facts and research that support his overall claims. This read is recommended to anyone willing to entertain the Republican myth in the south and unravel the voting inconsistencies of the South since Nixon.
The demise of the Democratic Party in the South is a culmination of multiple events as Moser recounts. He sheds light into the Republican's myth of how the South was won, but any Romanization of such accounts is not included without scrutiny. There is hope for Southern Progressives though. Moser calls for a Southern populist movement that unites the regions diverse ethnic and socio-economic population through the issue of Economics. Moser looks down upon the pandering to Dixiecrats by Democrats and asks them to wake up and see their new constituency- made up of Hispanics, Northern Yankees that have relocated in the South to retire and African-Americans.
Moser's argument is as follows: the Democrats betrayed the South by neglecting their new constituency of African-Americans that were eligible to vote. They also
failed to rally behind the white Southern Progressives that helped African-Americans win their rights. At the same time, Republicans developed a race-baiting tactic and swept up the region by gerrymandering. Democrats then became the "Republican-Lite" party; always copying the GOP and trying to out do them.
Moser claims, "Only one party calibrated its pitch and its organizing methods- focusing on the megachurches that were becoming the community centers of Southern suburbs- to the regions evolving culture and new economic realities." This is how the GOP was able to establish a successful base in the South and the Democrats have only imitated them and failed. This has created a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes it seem that the South belongs to Republicans thus Democrats do not challenge them. The end result is that Southern Progressives feel neglected and it shows. They do not show up to vote.
The South is not a lost cause for Democrats. By exposing the false claims of the Republican party and using Moser's strategy and grassroots organization, Democrats have a great chance of turning the tide in this region. Moser uses personal narratives of people living in the South that seek the change that Progressives envision. Democrats cannot continue to neglect the region and must fight for the votes. Moser explains that a populist message of economics will unite the region behind a Democratic any day. Democrats cannot afford to ignore the region any more. Bob Moser never said it would be easy but Democrats have to fight to win back the region. Blue Dixie explains even to a political novice what Progressives need to do to win back the South. Can Democrats build a new progressive majority in the South? Yes we can!
Despite what many so-called pundits perceive, Southerners are really not as politically homogeneous as they expect. If you take away the divisive social wedge issues, Southerners really want a populist government.
Bob Moser does an excellent job in giving us a history of Southern politics from just before the Civil Rights era right up to the Democratic primaries of 2008. He shows us how the DLC inspired agenda of trying to out-Republican the Republicans in the 1990's and early part of this decade failed the Democratic Party miserably.
The Democratic Party in the South shall not be ignored now or in the future when the population is even more representative of the national electorate.