One-Minute Book Reviews

November 8, 2022

How the ‘Southernization’ of the U.S. Hurts Politics

Filed under: Uncategorized — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 9:29 am
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Media analysts often spoke of Donald Trump, during his first presidential campaign, as a rogue candidate, a one-off the country hadn’t seen before. On one level, it was true: No major party had ever nominated a reality-show host for president.

But the U.S. had seen something like Trump before, the authors Frye Gaillard and Cynthia Tucker note in their insightful book The Southernization of America: A Story of Democracy in the Balance (New South,  2022). The country had seen it in the presidential campaigns of four-time Alabama governor George Wallace, who proclaimed in his 1963 inaugural address: “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Many of Trump’s tactics, intentionally or not, were a page out of Wallace’s playbook. By failing to understand the depth of the racist fears and hatreds that Wallace had stirred up — and the degree to which they persist — the analysts underestimated not just Trump’s appeal but its potential effects.

I write about some of the ways U.S. politics has become “Southernized” over at Medium:

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