essay was prepared in March 2015, prior to the 2016 election season
that eventually resulted in Donald Trump’s victory. However,
the far rightwing’s capture of the presidency makes this
essay’s main arguments even more important. The far right,
racism, militarism, inequality, and poverty are all centered in the
South. The majority of African Americans, the main protagonist of
progressive politics in this country, live in the South. And the
South has more electoral votes, battleground state votes, population,
and congresspersons than any other region. The South is changing
rapidly, giving rise to more progressive demographic
groups--especially Black and Latino migrations, LGBTQs and
urbanites--and a growing Democratic vote. These trends can only be
maximized if the importance of the South is understood as a strategic
necessity and the chance to win state by state, is acknowledged and
acted upon. Hard as the fight is and will be, downplaying the
Southern struggle is a losing political strategy and forfeits the
moral high ground on the biggest issues facing the country.
importance of the fight for the South is a matter of considerable
controversy. Whatever the rhetoric it’s safe to say that most
progressives outside of the South have put little time, energy or
money into this struggle since the height of the southern Civil
Rights movement. Many have outright given up on the South,
considering it either a reactionary lost cause or simply unwinnable.
beg to disagree, and in this essay will make the case that failure to
the fight for the South downplays the centrality of the Black
struggle in U.S. politics, strategically surrenders the upper hand to
the far right and the Republican Party and cripples the fight against
poverty. The South is a dynamically changing region and the fight for
it is absolutely crucial to defeating the far right and winning a
we argue that as regards building the progressive movement into a
powerful force in this country, the South is crucial.
Defeating the right and building a strong progressive movement in
this country needs the leadership, experience and energy of African
Americans, a growing majority of whom who live in the South.
Targeting the Southern racist rightwing in its own backyard, on
issues of race, poverty, militarism, climate change and democracy, is
a crucial part of a broad movement to defeat the right nationally in
public opinion, on policy and in elections. To fail to do is a losing
political strategy and forfeits the moral high ground on the biggest
issues in the country. Organizing the South is also vital to building
the progressive movement and an independent progressive wing of the
Democratic Party that is key to defeating the far right and corporate
power. Defeating the far right and winning a jobs, peace, justice and
sustainability agenda will be difficult if not impossible if the
South is left to Republicans (or rightwing Democrats).
action to win political power in the South is a strategic, not an
optional, component of any strategy to defeat the right. As
regards to elections and political power, we argue:
A critical mass of Southern states can and must be won if we are to
block or defeat the right in presidential elections. Three of the
five or so critical battleground states are in the South: Florida,
Virginia and North Carolina. Southern blue and battleground states
plus Washington D.C. hold 38 percent of the electoral votes needed to
Winning an anti-rightwing congressional majority depends on winning
in the South, as the South has a bigger congressional delegation than
any other region and Southern congresspersons also hold key
leadership posts within the Republican Party’s congressional
There are tremendous opportunities to build progressive political
power and governance at the local level in the South as 105 counties
have a Black majority. (Only one county outside of the South has a
of these points will sharpen in the coming decades, as the South is
projected to continue to experience greater population gains as
compared to the rest of the country. That population gain is rooted
in the ongoing transformation of the Southern economy which is driven
by changes in the global economy. Well aware of this, the far right
has launched a withering campaign of voter suppression, racist
gerrymandering and straight anti-democratic legislative maneuvers to
combat it. The South is becoming ever more important economically and
politically, not less.
some might dismiss the South, focusing strategically on the Northeast
and Pacific Coast as central to a progressive program and the Midwest
as the main political battleground, the South’s dynamic growth,
historical legacy of Black struggle and powerful political weight
make it a critical battlefield.
nuance is that the South cannot be won as a bloc, but only state by
state and county by county. In fact, winning the South in large part
means understanding that it is not a monolithic entity and winning it
piece by piece: i.e. politically deconstructing the South.
Background and Dynamics
is the South?
any region of the country is always a bit arbitrary, as regions are
defined by history that is constantly changing and always involves
first blush one might define the South as the former Confederacy.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, a bloody line in the sand was
drawn between the Confederacy and the Union. It is often forgotten
that Texas and Florida were part of the original core of hard line
secession states along with South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Georgia and Alabama. When Lincoln called for the armed recapture of
Fort Sumter, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina joined
a number of slave states and territories did not join the
Confederacy: Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky
and Kansas. West Virginia split from Virginia in opposition to
lot of water has passed under the bridge since the Civil War, and the
South has been transformed in important ways. Gone are some of the
most powerful hallmarks of the South, especially slavery, the
plantation economy, sharecropping, whites-only voting and Jim Crow.
All this makes defining the South even more difficult.
the U.S. Census defines the South as the eleven states of the former
Confederacy plus the former border states of Delaware, Kentucky,
Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.
essay will adopt that definition but excludes Delaware since it never
had many slaves, never had a significant plantation economy, never
seriously considered seceding, never formally adopted Jim Crow and
never had a significant Black population. (Figure 1) Since the U.S.
census is the primary source of data there may be times when our data
sets include Delaware.
1 The South, The Southwest, Border States and Rust Belt.
Stereotyping: Variation and Transformation of the South
South has always been extremely diverse internally, with areas
dominated by plantations and slavery or sharecropping (often called
the Tidewater, the low country, the Delta or Black Belt), areas
dominated by white small farmers (often including small scale slavery
and sharecropping, sometimes called the Piedmont) and areas dominated
by very poor white folk (often called the mountains, or Appalachia).
Belatedly a number of fairly large and medium size cities came into
being, mostly in the Piedmont areas though including a few port
cities. And in the last forty years different parts of the South,
especially the emerging large cities and the Sun Belt, attract
significant migration from outside the South, including immigrants.
term transformations of the South began slowly following the Civil
War. Industrialization began to supplant the plantation turned
sharecropper economy and a modern transportation infrastructure was
built on rails. The so-called New South of industrial towns like
Atlanta, Birmingham and Durham, mostly post-Civil War in origin and
located outside the prime plantation areas, exploded into centers of
steel, tobacco and textile manufacturing in the late 19th
and early 20th
of agriculture began displacing hundreds of thousands of
sharecroppers and small farmers. The historic Black Migration to the
North starting in 1915 was a response to the push-pull factors of
displacement off the land, and the lure of jobs and relative freedom
in the industrial economies outside of the South.
explosive growth of the military industrial complex gave new energy
to the Southern transformation in the mid and late 20th
centuries. The South is home to approximately 41 percent of U.S.
military installations and numerous military-related institutions
which extended the already strong Southern militarist traditions.
the old industrial heartland of America, the 1970s and 1980s marked
the era of deindustrialization in which thousands of Northern
factories were shuttered and fled off shore and to the non-unionized
South. Tourism and a steady stream of retirees moving to better
weather have contributed to rapid growth of Southern and Southwestern
such as Miami, Houston and Dallas-Ft. Worth, have been collectively
dubbed the “Sun Belt.” Additionally, finance fled the
expensive Northern cities and suddenly Charlotte, NC flourished as
the second biggest financial center in the country, trailing only New
the 1950s, long before Silicon Valley, Durham, Chapel Hill and
Raleigh, leveraged the University of North Carolina, Duke University
and North Carolina State to create the high tech Research Triangle
Park, anchored by IBM. Since then the “New Economy,”
“Information Revolution” or “Knowledge Economy”
has filtered throughout the South with growing strength.
state is a different combination of these elements. The toxic mix of
slavery, secession, sharecropping, white dictatorship and Jim Crow
welded the South into the country’s most politically and
economically identifiable region, but now the main trend is
diversification. Despite these growing economic and social
differences, the legacy of slavery, secession and Jim Crow—racism,
conservative Christianity, anti-government sentiment and conservatism
on all rights issues—continue to combine to create a rightwing
white majority that reinforces Southern particularity, even as the
economic and social basis for that uniqueness is undermined.
these various transformations have been extremely uneven. The South
today is a study in economic and political contrasts. Overall, the
region remains the poorest in the country with nine of the twelve
poorest states. But Virginia and Maryland rank in the top five
richest states in the country. The region has a growing majority of
African Americans in the country, but Kentucky has but few while
Blacks are about 35 percent of the population of Mississippi.
it might be helpful to view the South as consisting of three
archetypal (and interpenetrating) political/economic/demographic
subregions plus two unique states.
subregion--consisting of Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and South
Carolina--is marked by high percentages of Black people
(approximately 25-35 percent) and relatively backward economies. This
is what has historically been known as the Deep South, minus Georgia.
second subregion, consisting of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina
and Georgia, is marked by significant Black populations
(approximately 20-25 percent) but also by strong industry, finance,
new economic development (high tech) and strong economic and
demographic growth, including immigrants. Tennessee and Arkansas are
split between their poor white Appalachian regions and their heavily
Black areas on the Mississippi River, and seem to be moving in this
direction, though with somewhat smaller Black populations (17% and
there are the overwhelmingly white and very poor states of Kentucky
and West Virginia. Oklahoma is similar but is not part of Appalachia
and is quickly changing. Black and Latino populations are growing and
it has always had a large Native American population.
and Texas have become unique states due to their strong roles in the
international and national economies, their extreme internal
diversity demographically and economically, and their large
similarities and differences across the region point to the strategic
challenges and opportunities it poses to progressives both inside and
outside the South.
Drivers, Political Trends
destruction of the historic Southern plantation economy along with
its white dictatorship and Jim Crow racism has, ironically, given
rise to two contradictory political motions.
longer a political or social outlier, corporate neo-liberals rather
than plantation owners now dominate most of Southern politics. In
fact they have encouraged and taken advantage of the longstanding far
rightwing Southern populist movement to drive a powerful nationwide
rightward motion since 1980. That far right is now mounting a serious
challenge to the rightwing capitalists for power in the Republican
the South has become the center of the racist, militarist right wing
that threatens to dominate the country, this “nationalization,”
together with the powerful African American presence in the region
that has produced many of the glorious progressive traditions of the
country, gives rise to openings for Democrats and progressives if
they choose to seize the moment.
is this high stakes political polarization that, above all, makes the
struggle for the South so crucial.
main business wing of the Southern Republican coalition is not just
corporate, but the extreme rightwing of corporate forces in the U.S.:
big oil and energy, military, low end retail, big Pharma and
are powerfully flanked by regional, state and local elites, usually
more rooted in backward white Southern traditions, like real estate
developers, big car dealers, low-wage construction, regional and
local capitalists, conservative law firms, the criminal justice
complex, fundamentalist churches and small businesses—the state
and local chambers of commerce and Christian coalitions.
forces are joined to an often extreme rightwing populist/white
supremacist base of affluent white suburban right wingers, tax
revolters, gun enthusiasts and reactionary white workers and straight
up white supremacists around an ideology of exclusionary blood and
soil white nationalism, small government, and jingoistic military
the face of this formidable Republican/rightwing coalition, more
moderate and progressive forces are developing at different rates in
different states. The Solid South is Solid no more and although the
Republicans still win most Southern states, the Democratic
presidential vote in the South has been rising over the past couple
potential to defeat the Republicans in the South starts with the
powerful African American community (and Latino community in Texas
and elsewhere) and extends to the wider multiracial civil rights
coalition of liberal churches, trial lawyers, progressive educators
and students, unions and other liberal professionals.
is being buttressed by new forces arising from the nationalization of
the Southern economy and society, a process which includes
urbanization, large scale national and international migration, the
growth of the health industry, public education and government,
tourism and retirement communities.
are high political stakes underlying the South’s resistance to
health care expansion, growth of government and public education, as
workers in these sectors tend to be relatively liberal and unionized.
There are important and growing immigrant rights, women’s and
LGBTQ movements in the South.
cities are growing rapidly in size and becoming bluer. As in the
North, some older suburbs are becoming multi-cultural battlegrounds
rather than exclusionary white enclaves that are economically and
politically detached from the inner city. In fact a number of
suburban areas have reincorporated to the city in places like
Jacksonville, FL (the largest city in the South) and Memphis. As
demonstrated most vividly in the Moral Monday/Forward Together
movement in North Carolina, African Americans continue to hold the
potential to lead another major transformation, a Third
party seriously represents the economic interests of white small
farmers or poor whites, a potentially volatile sector, especially as
their economic positions inevitably become more unstable. Many tend
to fall back on backwards racist and sexist traditions and/or in
behind the rightwing corporate forces. However, they also have
progressive traditions to build on, from the New Deal to worker and
union militancy, to the Populist movement to civil rights.
change is also a huge issue in the South, which is projected to
suffer much greater economic and social harm than the more moderate
weather regions of the country and which has a history of
state is different, but something like this process has already
broken up the Solid South.
D.C. long ago became a majority African American city and a
progressive Democratic bastion. Maryland became a battleground state
in 1960 and has proceeded to become a solid Blue state. Formerly
Florida voted like a classic Southern state since its founding.
However as its economy diversified and its population exploded it
moved to the center and since 1992 has been a classic battleground
state with the country’s fourth highest electoral vote count.
Virginia and North Carolina became battleground states in 2008.
the outcome of the battleground elections in Florida, Virginia and
North Carolina could determine the presidency. Georgia will likely be
the next state to become purple. Together with Maryland and
Washington D.C., these Southern states alone have 84 electoral votes,
more than 31 percent of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the
potential of Mississippi lies in the fact that African Americans
constitute almost forty percent of the electorate. And down the road
a bit is Texas, which could well be a national game changer given its
huge size and large people of color vote.
Point by Point:
the Battle for the South is Crucial and Can Be Won
ONE: The South is the most concentrated expression of both
anti-racist and anti-poverty struggles.
South is the historic home of the worst racism in the country. It is
where the majority of African Americans reside and a destination for
new migrants from around the country and the world. The South is also
where poverty rates are the highest and income polarization is sharp.
A growing majority of African Americans live in the South where they
have spearheaded the country’s most powerful traditions of
progressive struggle and culture, especially since the 1950s.
The fight against racism cannot be
won without defeating racism in the South.
2010 census indicated that 55 percent of Blacks lived in the South,
18 percent in the Midwest, 17 percent in the Northeast and 10 percent
in the West.
Table 1 Black
population by region 1990-2010
US Black population
the Black population has increased in all U.S. regions since 1990,
the South has had the most growth. Gentrification as well as economic
restructuring are motors of this growth, as they are displacing
numerous African Americans from Northern cities. In addition, for the
first time, the 2010 census showed that many Black professionals are
also returning to the South. The percentage of the Black
population that lives in the South is growing.
changes are reshaping the historical racial binary across the South
as Blacks return to the South and transnational migrants make their
way to Texas, Georgia, Florida, Virginia and the Carolinas. Black
return migration has increased the percentage of African Americans to
55 percent. Latinos started arriving in the late 1980s, and are
expected to grow as a percentage of the population rising to above
30%, Figure 2a, mostly concentrated in Texas which, of course, was
formerly part of Mexico.
b Demographic changes in the South, projected to 2040
It is near impossible to think of strong national progressive
politics, a strong movement or organizing effort, without the deep
involvement and leadership of Black people.
fast being replaced by Latinos as the main source of low-wage labor
in the rest of the country, Blacks are still central to the Southern
labor force. This provides leverage and organizing opportunities and
places Blacks at the crossroads of labor and anti-racist organizing.
new Black-led grassroots organizing efforts are underway, most
notably the Moral Monday/Forward Together movement in North Carolina
and #BlackLivesMatter and other fights in the wake of the Trayvon
Martin, etc. cases. The NAACP, which in some Southern states has more
than 100 chapters, is a revitalizing force. African American churches
in the South are still incredibly numerous and potentially powerful.
These fights are once again demonstrating the ability of African
Americans to drive the fight for a Third Reconstruction.
The deep involvement and leadership of Black people are indispensable
to forming a strong progressive electoral bloc.
Jesse Jackson candidacy electrified the electoral potential of Black
people. And since 2000, African Americans have surged to the polls,
constituting thirty percent of all new voters, voting for the
Democrats (even before Obama) at an astonishing ninety percent rate,
and surpassing whites in voter participation for the first time in
fact, there has been steadily rising Black presidential election
turnout since 1996: 53 percent in 1996, going up to 67 percent in
the percentage of African Americans voting Democratic has skyrocketed
to more than ninety percent.
is the pivot of politics: Democrats and progressives cannot win
without massive support from people of color and Republicans cannot
win without suppressing the people of color vote.
The South is the most polarized center of the fight between the
rightwing cross-class white political forces and the multi-racial
political crux of the matter is still that white voters in the South
vote about 75 percent Republican compared to the national white vote
of about 60 percent Republican. And Southern Republicans tend to be
further to the right than in most other regions. Race and racism are
at the heart of the struggle for the South.
To sustain their momentum, the far
right has implemented a powerful campaign against voting rights and
for voter suppression, and racial gerrymandering that must be met by
a powerful democratic, antiracist response.
There are excellent opportunities
to fight for progressive organization, political power and governance
at the local levels in the South because there are 105
Black majority counties. The only
Black majority county outside the South is St. Louis (which is
actually an independent city, not a county). Despite this ripe
organizing opportunity there has not been a major attempt to organize
in these areas since SNCC. La Raza Unida Party had a brief but quite
successful strategy in the Mexican majority areas of South Texas in
TWO: The fight to combat poverty, improve the strength and quality of
life of poor and working people, and their connection to the struggle
against racism, is concentrated in the South. Overall,
the US is extremely polarized by income. Most of the Southern states
suffer the double whammy of high inequality and low median income.
The South is the poorest part of the country and has the highest
poverty rates as well as sharp income polarization. Figures 3 and 4.
3 Median incomes and income polarization, 2013
4 Poverty rates in states with above average income polarization 2013
and Maryland have relatively low poverty rates, and less income
inequality than other Southern states attesting to their shifting
politics at the state level as well as their relationship to the new
2012, the South had a non-metro poverty rate of 22.1 percent—nearly
7 percentage points higher than in the region’s metro areas, a
greater difference than in any other region. The difference in
poverty rates in the South is particularly important for the overall
non-metro poverty rate because an estimated 43.1 percent of the
nation’s non-metro population lived in this region in
poverty is a result of the region’s history of racially-coerced
plantation labor and racial suppression which has stunted its
economic development and produced the most reactionary labor laws in
the country. Despite these laws, labor organizing is growing in
certain parts of the South, and struggles to raise the minimum wage
have great potential. Between the years
2011 and 2012, union membership increased the most in California (up
110,000 union members), Texas (up 65,000), and Louisiana (up 30,000).
Unions still have an important role to play in the South.
addition climate change poses a clear and present threat to the
economic and social development of the South, not to speak of
increasing environmental disasters.
THREE: The South is the key center of the far right and the
Republican Party; neither can be defeated without battling for the
South is the stronghold and most dynamic center of the far right and
the Republican Party. Neither can
be defeated without winning key Southern states such as Florida,
Virginia, North Carolina and, soon, Georgia.
The South currently has 192 electoral votes; it takes only 270 to
win. The battleground states of
Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, with 57 votes, already often
hold the balance of power in presidential elections. Georgia, with an
additional 16 electoral votes, is likely to become a battleground
state before long, possibly followed by Mississippi. Texas, due to
its size and large percentage of Latino and Black voters, could be a
national game changer in a decade or so.
At the state level, Republican control of Southern states has had
increasingly drastic results as the Tea Party has gained strength.
Today Republicans control all but Virginia and Maryland. In North
Carolina, long under Democratic control of the state government, the
Republicans took power in 2010, consolidated it in 2012, quickly
implemented the entire ALEC agenda of nullifying the Affordable Care
Act, voter suppression, drastic cuts and privatization of schools,
tax reform for the wealthy, closing abortion clinics, undercutting
and privatizing Medicaid, legalized and subsided fracking, slashed
unemployment benefits and gerrymandering. Throughout the South the
far right has launched systematic attacks on voting rights, passed
starkly racist voter suppression legislation and undermined the
democratic workings of the government through systematic legislative
and executive rule breaking. Taking on and defeating the right at the
state level, with a focus on the purple states, is crucial to
defending democracy and the people’s quality of life.
FOUR: The South possesses the largest congressional delegation of any
region and the most electoral votes, and both are projected to grow
at a faster rate than other regions.
winning at least some states in the South is not only the key to the
presidency but also to control of Congress and of its key committees.
Currently there are 110 Republican congresspersons from the South,
more than half of the 218 needed to control the House, and 49
Democrats. There are 23 Republican senators, almost half the number
needed to control the Senate, and seven Democrats. All Southern
states today have Republican governors and statehouses controlled by
FIVE: The South is the biggest center of military industrial complex
and therefore central to the fight for peace and against militarism.
South is home to approximately 41 percent of U.S. military
installations. Six of the top ten states receiving Department of
Defense funds are Southern states, including VA, TX, MD, FL, GA, and
AL. The Washington Metro area accounted for approximately 11 percent
of federal Department of Defense expenditures in 2005. Virginia ranks
second among states in military procurement, behind California.
(Table 4, Appendix) according to the National Priorities Project
SIX: The South has more population than any other region and is
growing more rapidly than other region. Therefore it will become even
more powerful in national politics and more people will be under the
control of Southern state and local governments.
By 2040, it is estimated that 39 percent of Americans will live in
the South and the majority will live in the Sunbelt regions of
California, the Southwest, and the South.
means that this region will wield even more power at the federal
level, both the presidency and Congress.
is increasingly difficult for progressives to argue that we represent
a large, let alone majority, constituency unless we have a base in
the South. Any progressive program and movement must exhibit an
understanding of the past, present and future of the South. We cannot
allow the rightwing at the state and local levels to continue to rule
over such a large portion of folk, especially when so many are Black
SEVEN: The South is not only rapidly changing economically, racially
and demographically, it is changing in ways that represent the future
of the country, not the past. The
South is gaining in importance not only politically, but also
economically. Its people and politics are becoming more diverse.
III. Main State
D.C. became the only non-state to have electoral votes in 1961.
However it is limited to a number
equal to the smallest state, which of course is 3. Since 1961 the
residents have been overwhelmingly Black and Democratic. Obama beat
Romney by 13 to 1.
with ten electoral votes, is already deep blue. Since
1960, Maryland has voted Republican only in the landslide wins of
Richard Nixon in 1972, Ronald Reagan in 1984 and George H. W. Bush in
1988. In 2012, Barack Obama crushed Mitt Romney here (62% to 36%).
has more electoral votes, 29, than any other battleground state and
the fourth highest electoral vote in the country. The Democrats have
won every presidential election in Florida since 1996 except for
2004, but have never polled more than 51 percent of the vote. Florida
has increased from a population of 6,789,443 (3.34% of the total US
population) to 18,801,310 (6.09%) since 1970. Florida is a true
with 13 electoral votes, just recently became a battleground state.
It was reliably red since 1952 with
the exception of the LBJ landslide in 1964. In 2004 Bush won the
state by seven points. But in 2008 Obama won by eight. In 2012 Obama
again won, but by only four points. The small but growing Latino vote
was key to Obama’s victories. Virginia is one of the handful of
true purple states, and is growing rapidly.
Carolina has 15 electoral votes and is now the 9th
largest state in the country. It
voted reliably red from 1952 through the 2004 election; Bush won by 8
points in that latter year. Obama broke the red streak by one point
in 2008, but then Romney won by two in 2012. North Carolina is
another true purple state, and one whose population is rising fast.
At present the Moral Monday/Forward Together movement is probably the
largest Black-led progressive movement in the country, and probably
one of the strongest state level progressive movements in general.
is the 8th
largest state in the Union and has 16 electoral votes. It
is still a reliably red state, but the Republican margins have been
shrinking rapidly. W won by 12 and 17 points but in the last two
presidentials the Republicans prevailed by only 7 and 5. With a large
Latino immigration, Georgia is projected to become a majority people
of color state in the 2030s, and with hard work can be turned into a
battleground state much sooner.
Southern states plus Washington D.C. with 84 electoral votes, account
for more than 31 percent of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the
economy and population is quite stagnant and in 2012 dropped an
electoral vote and is now down to 6. It
is a reliably red state, but Republican margins have recently fallen
from the 20 point range to the 12 point range. Mississippi has the
largest percentage Black vote, about 37 percent. The NAACP and its
allies are a dynamic force in the state. The potential of Mississippi
was demonstrated in 2012 when a wide coalition unexpectedly defeated
the reactionary Personhood state amendment. That amendment would have
considered conception as equivalent to achieving personhood.
is the second most populous state in the country and has 38 electoral
votes. The state did not turn red
until 1980 but has been deep red ever since. W carried the state by
more than twenty points each time, but the Republican margin narrowed
to 12 in 2008 and 16 in 2012. In the 2010 census non-Hispanic whites
accounted for only 45.3 percent of the population and Latinos 37.6
percent. The racial picture is confounded because more than ten
percent identified themselves as “some other race.”
Blacks constituted 3.8 percent and 2.7 percent as two or more races.
Whites are definitely less than 50%.
are raised hopes that Texas might before long become a battleground
state, largely due to its racial/ethnic makeup. But Mexicans in Texas
are notably more conservative than in other states. By the voting
numbers there is a way to go, but over time Texas could be a national
focus of this paper has been to argue for the strategic national
importance of the battle for the South. In making this argument we
have indicated some important points about strategy, i.e. how to win
the battle for the South. However, a developed strategy will require
a far deeper dive than what we have attempted here.
particularity of the subregions that we indicated would have to be
explored in detail, as well as an examination of how different
strategies connected to each subregion have fared. State by state
analyses and strategies are a crucial necessity. This fight will be
long and hard, but it is absolutely necessary if we are to defeat the
far right and make any real progress in the fight for racial justice,
democracy, peace and economic equality.