This week Minnesota Public Radio’s “The Daily Circuit” hosted UMBC political science professor Thomas F. Schaller for a show on the role of the South in U.S. politics. Schaller is the author of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South and appeared with David Woodard, professor of political science at Clemson University.
Schaller articulated the argument, central to his book, that the South is no longer required for Democrats to win a presidential election. He further suggested that the South — though it will, to an extent, always “remain distinct” culturally — is becoming increasingly like the rest of the United States. “In 30 years or 40 years,” Schaller said, “I don’t think we’ll see the kind of distinction between South and non-South that we see today and that we saw 100 years ago,” as new populations move into the region and younger, more secular voters in the South voice more liberal views on social issues.
For the full interview, including a debate between Schaller and Woodard on the role of race and class in Southern voting patterns, see the show recording (now online).