First off, thanks for the comments. Even Turtle's tangential rant on sexuality and family values has sparked several new ideas for me. Reading over these comments and discussing them with the spousal unit over dinner (Question - Do you say dinner or supper to describe the evening meal?) has made something gel in the way I have been trying to sort out what the hell "The South" is to the Democratic Party (past, present, future).
What came through on the comments was a clear strand of resentment against this ill-defined group of political actors and power brokers I labeled "the elite". There's definitely a class element there, even when a poster has him/herself has entered the professional classes. There is regionalism, with both Bubbas and Bunkers weighing in. Gender was everywhere, with the elites consistently cast as male (though not thereby masculine) and the resistence being firmly grounded in Rules of My Mother. Generalities and stereotypes abound, being a hazard of the blogospheric temptation to assert rather than demonstrate, but even these provide things to think about. Don't talk down to us, we're not stupid, we're not racist and we're not irrational. We aren't voting for Hillary because we don't understand all these big tough political decision thingies, because we're closeted white supremacists, or because we're voting with our vaginas.
There is an enormous theoretical write up to follow, which will take some time to organize and set down. Here's the gist:
The Democratic Party and "The South" are inextricably linked. There are a number of political narratives to explain this relationship, stories we tell ourselves about ourselves to understand not just who we are, but who we should be. In this electoral cycle, because of who has run, the Democratic Party is finding itself at the end of a certain narrative, the one that says the failure of the New Deal and the Great Society is to be laid at the feet of poor and working class whites who would prefer to be bigots than to live in a just society. It is a narrative of resentment.
The path to crafting a new narrative that rejects resentment and will allow Democrats to reclaim our Jacksonian mojo leads us through "The South".