The 2012 presidential election might be closely contested but the battleground states are almost all exclusively outside of the Old Confederacy. Florida, Virginia, and, to a lesser extent, North Carolina might be contested but only because these states have become remarkable less Southern. Indeed, southern Virginians refer to the northern parts of their state as “occupied Virginia.” In terms of American political history, specialists call the South’s evolution to the GOP “realignment.’ Typically, historians and political scientists explain the South’s remarkable political change in one word “racism.”
In his fine Strom Thurmond’s America (Hill and Wang, 2012), Joseph Crespino muddies that clear and simple explanation. In his work, the South’s realignment is more complicated than pure and simple bigotry. I hope you enjoy our conversation.