An Echo, Not a Choice
The Long Southern Strategy was “long” because all three components of the strategy—choosing to exploit white racial angst, fear of feminism, and evangelical righteousness—were necessary to build a solid red base in the states of the old Confederacy. The stark polarization that resulted from these partisan choices unraveled the New Deal coalition. It also redivided white Americans not just along the Mason-Dixon line, but across the imagined fault line of southern identity. Thus, conservatism was redefined on the basis of white southern identity, and that definition became the baseline ideology of the Republican brand nationwide. A partisan sorting and realignment followed. As a result, the distribution of white Americans who harbor Racial Resentment or Modern Sexist attitudes or who identify as Christian fundamentalists is no longer even across the parties, and now, within the GOP, there is not enough opposition to fully suppress such prejudice or religiosity.
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