Politics

Southern Whites’ Loyalty to G.O.P. Nearing That of Blacks to Democrats

[New York Times]

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, accompanied by, from left, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, speaks with reporters just off the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, as lawmakers struggle with a stopgap spending bill that would prevent a partial government shutdown when the budget year ends next week. Tea party-leaning members of the House GOP caucus successfully attached language to that bill last week that would strip funding for President Barack Obama's health care program. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, accompanied by, from left, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, speaks with reporters just off the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Obama’s landslide victory in 2008 was supposed to herald the beginning of a new Democratic era. And yet, six years later, there is not even a clear Democratic majority in the country, let alone one poised for 30 years of dominance.

It’s not because Mr. Obama’s so-called new coalition of young and nonwhite voters failed to live up to its potential. They again turned out in record numbers in 2012. The Democratic majority has failed to materialize because the Republicans made large, countervailing and unappreciated gains of their own among white Southerners.

From the high plains of West Texas to the Atlantic Coast of Georgia, white voters opposed Mr. Obama’s re-election in overwhelming numbers. In many counties 90 percent of white voters chose Mitt Romney, nearly the reversal of the margin by which black voters supported Mr. Obama.

While white Southerners have been voting Republican for decades, the hugeness of the gap was new.

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