And even if the Tar Heel State is a loser for Obama, there are Democrats who see value in sending a clear message to the GOP that they have not given up the South. That’s why Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton — both former Democratic Southern governors who became president — will address the convention in prime time.
But battling the conservative, Republican, white-male dominance of the South will be tough. Mitt Romney was too moderate for much of the region in the GOP primary, losing South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Even one of the South’s most prominent black politicians — former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis — recently switched to the Republican Party. He does not see a political future for himself as a Democrat in the South.
In fact, of the 22 U.S. senators representing the former states of the Confederacy, only five are Democrats. White Southern Democrats in the House are also in the minority. They have been defeated by Republican gerrymandering that concentrates minority voters into isolated districts and frees GOP candidates to pursue hard-right agendas with a secure base of conservative, mostly white votes.