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The Long Southern StrategyHow Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics$
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Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190265960

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190265960.001.0001

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The Not-So-New Southern Religion

The Not-So-New Southern Religion

(p.225) 7 The Not-So-New Southern Religion
The Long Southern Strategy

Angie Maxwell

Todd Shields

Oxford University Press

In an effort to win southern white voters, the GOP embraced the old southern religion turning the church faithful into the party loyal. They did so because in many parts of the South, the church remains the central institution defining, organizing, and politicizing its surrounding community. A “sacred canopy” drapes over the region, where there is a common cosmology that is intractable from southern white identity, including its reverence for white supremacy and patriarchy. In general, as a block, white southerners were more evangelical, Protestant, fundamentalist, and moralist than the rest of the country. The not-so-new southern religiosity satisfies an appetite for certainty, conformity, and even social status. As a means to solidify southern white support, the Long Southern Strategy framed southern white Christianity as under attack and cast the GOP as its protector, the price of which is increased cultural defensiveness, anxiety, fear, and distrust.

Keywords:   southern religiosity, Christian fundamentalist identity, evangelicalism, sacred canopy, Modern Sexism, Racial Resentment, Ethnocentrism, biblical literalism

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