From Brad DeLong’s most prodigious of all blogs by a working academic, there is some support for my “William Jennings Bryan coalition” post of a few days ago, with heavy-duty social science graphs. As I understand it, the graphs show that 2008 southern voters were radically more responsive to race than voters in other regions, with the Midwest as the next most similar region, but not very similar. (It was the relatively underpopulated Plains that went for McCain, not the cities of the [post-] industrial Midwest.) Brad opines:
The whites in the heartland of today’s Republican Party just do not vote–and do not think–like the rest of us do. Richard Nixon wanted the Republican Party to lock up the South. Now it looks as though the South has locked up the Republican Party.
The post does not get any deeper into the history of the GOP’s southern problem, and emphasizes racism more than I did; yet one must note that for all Bryan’s humanism and good Christian intentions, southern racists were his hard-core base of support. In his last run in 1908, Bryan pulled more than 70% of the vote in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, and over 90% in those last two.