BILL MINOR: Wilkie examines GOP evolution in South

Journalist, author and professor Curtis Wilkie, who honed his writing skills on news fronts from Beirut to Bourbon Street, has dipped his pen into Gothic politics of Mississippi and the South and explored how the region may look in the post-Tea Party era.

After roaming the world for 25 years covering news hotspots, Wilkie fortunately has landed back in his native state as a teaching fellow in the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi.

His op-ed piece in The New York Times on Aug. 13 analyzes the evolution of Republican politics in the South from the Civil War to the present in what he finds are three stages – what he calls “waves” – each laced with a subtext of race.

The recent Chris McDaniel-Thad Cochran Republican Senate primary brawl, Wilkie said, served to revive Mississippi’s old bitter-end resistance. McDaniel, a creation of the state’s new Tea Party movement, as Wilkie relates, refuses to accept the validity of Cochran’s victory and leaves the state’s vital representation in Congress’s upper branch, for the time being, in doubt.

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