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August 21, 2007


Hi Brendan,

it looks like this shift in the Southern Democrats' alignment started to change just after 1912 or so - can you put that in perspective? What happened around that time that would cause this change?

Here's a guess:
Direct election of the senate meant that senators had to be more responsive to the people. Elite "liberal" southern senators were replaced by populist Jim Crow southern senators.

Does this theory fly?

Of course, my theory doesn't explain the House.

Hmmm, the explanation must be women's suffrage! Yeah, that's it!

I'm not sure; you'd have to consult some histories of Southern politics, presumably. It might just be the beginning of the long, slow rise in salience of the issue of race and region in national politics.

1. (northern) progressives turned off by Taft began shifting to the democratic party.

2. the end of the czar speaker era led to more center coalitions in congress, allowing progressives from both parties to vote in similar fashions on some issues.

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