Many Republicans worry that their party hasn’t entirely grasped the evolving nature of the South. To them, that means fully giving up on what was known as the “Southern strategy,” an approach to winning elections based largely on appeals to rural whites on cultural touchstones such as abortion and race.Hey, WashPost reporter! You forgot Dan Soucek's favorite "issue" of gay marriage!
But the reporter did get some recent history correct (though not mentioned in what follows is that both Sen. Steve Goss and Rep. Cullie Tarleton were the targets of the Art Pope et al. slime machine, which benefitted, yep!, Bobblehead Dan Soucek and ex-Pope staffer Jonathan Jordan):
Not all Republicans are ready to abandon the “Southern strategy,” a game plan that Helms famously used to great effect as recently as 1990 with a TV ad stoking white resentment over affirmative action. Even last year, amid a Republican surge, the tactic appeared in some rural corners in the form of a racially provocative mail piece.Nor was it lost on the reporter why the new Republican majority in the General Assembly is mucking around with voting access, like imposing a new photo i.d. requirement and limiting early voting:
Paid for by the state GOP and sent into a half-dozen legislative districts, the mailer took aim at a North Carolina law passed by Democrats that allows death-row inmates to appeal their sentences on the grounds of racial bias.
“It had a photo of a black person who was intended to look like a criminal,” said Joe Hackney, the Democratic minority leader of the state House.
Yet Republicans continue to give Democrats material to portray the GOP as out of step. In Raleigh, the Republican-controlled General Assembly is considering bills that would curtail early voting and voter registration and require a photo identification to cast a ballot.
Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis said the measures are intended to reduce voter fraud or costs, but Democrats say they are really about blocking young and minority voters. At the end of two weeks of early voting in 2008, 2.6 million North Carolinians had cast ballots — more than turned out on Election Day. And Obama won the early vote by about 170,000.
“They changed the universe in North Carolina,” said Tom Fetzer, a former state GOP chairman and former Raleigh mayor. “They changed the universe of people who voted.”