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Saturday, Feb 27, 2010
by PopMatters Staff
by Nicholas Dawidoff
The New York Times Magazine (25 February 2010)

“Sixty years ago, in his classic book “Southern Politics in State and Nation,” V. O. Key wrote, “The politics of the South revolves around the position of the Negro.” In 1964, legend has it, the Democratic president Lyndon Johnson turned to an aide after signing the Civil Rights Act and predicted doom for his party: “We have lost the South for a generation.” Two generations later, the enduring, invisible presence of Cullman’s old sundown sign can seem to reflect racism’s tenacious hold on the Deep South. During the 2008 presidential election, exit polling revealed that an overwhelming 88 percent of Alabama’s voting whites chose John McCain, a total far exceeding what the incumbent George W. Bush received four years earlier against John Kerry, generally thought to be a weaker and more liberal candidate than Barack Obama. (The same pattern held true in Mississippi and Louisiana.) About these discrepancies David Bositis, the senior political analyst at the nonpartisan Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, says, “I attribute all of it to racial bias.””


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