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Republicans' key electoral coalition appears to be 'in danger of coming apart'

October 9, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

During the 1980s and 1990s, political pundits used the term “Solid South” to refer to the seemingly impenetrable red wall that Republicans had achieved in southern states — which was a big departure from the years in which that term referred to all the southern states that allied themselves with the Democratic Party. Now, the Republican Party finds itself losing ground in the Sun Belt, and that shift is the focus of a New York Times article by reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns.

The piece not only describes the ground that Republicans have been losing in parts of the Deep South, but also, in southwestern states like Arizona — which has evolved into a swing state after being heavily Republican for generations.

“Nowhere has [President Donald] Trump harmed himself and his party more than across the Sun Belt, where the electoral coalition that secured a generation of Republican dominance is in danger of coming apart,” Martin and Burns explain.

Certainly, some of the southern states are still deeply Republican, including Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. But Florida has been a swing state. Meanwhile, Texas and Georgia are two Sun Belt states that could be described as “light red” rather than “deep red” at this point, and recent polls indicate that both states are in play for former Vice President Joe Biden in this year’s presidential election.

Martin and Burns cite Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as one of the reasons why Biden is competitive in both the southeastern and southwestern parts of the Sun Belt.

“Many of the Sun Belt states seemingly within Mr. Biden’s reach resisted the most stringent public-health policies to battle the coronavirus,” the Times reporters note. “As a result, states like Arizona, Georgia and Texas faced a powerful wave of infections for much of the summer, setting back efforts to revive commercial activity.”

Two of the Republicans who candidly discussed the GOP’s problems in the Sun Belt are former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Oklahoma City Mayor David F. Holt. Flake, a conservative who has endorsed Biden, said of Trump, “There are limits to what people can take with the irresponsibility, the untruthfulness, just the whole persona.” And Holt told the Times, “Cities in states like Arizona and Texas are attracting young people, highly-educated people and people of color — all groups that the national Republican Party has walked away from the last four …read more


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