Three recent upsets in special elections for US House of Representative seats in the deep South, have Democrats rethinking their political fortunes in the region. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson famously said: "There goes the South for a generation" as he signed the Civil Rights Act. But recent and unlikely victories mean it might be time for the Democrats to draw a new map.
Alabama Pollster John Anzalone told the AP:
The Republican brand has taken a hit. When you have economic anxieties, the wedge issues that Republicans use just aren't that important. People aren't fat and happy now. They're worried.
This sounds like a more-nuanced incarnation of Barack Obama's bitter-gate comments.
Another factor helping the Democrats is the fact that candidates are not shy about embracing "values issues" co-opted by the Republicans. Southern voters find pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-gay marriage candidates, running on a Democratic ticket. What makes these candidates different from the Republicans? They do not accept Republican foreign or economic policy, nor do they carry George W. Bush's baggage.
Are the Spring's special election upsets a signal that the Democrats are going to widen their congressional majority this fall. If the incoming Democrats have a lot of red in their platform, what kind of majority will this be? Are Democrats giving up their core values, or finally understanding their constituency, and thus what it takes to win?