[image courtesy of NY Times article]
Across the South, Barack Obama’s smashing primary victory in North Carolina last week reflects a new reality — a half-century of rising Republican red tide has crested, with signs of receding.
A week ago yesterday, Democrats won a special Congressional election in a Louisiana district held by Republicans since 1974. That outcome might well be replicated Tuesday in Mississippi, where a biracial Democratic coalition is optimistic in the second round of another special Congressional election.
In response to Mr. Obama’s energizing of black Southern voters, enlightened self-interest may well convince many of the region’s undecided superdelegates to endorse him. Over the last two years, there have been little-noticed Democratic gains in Congressional and state legislative elections across the South, as the solid black Democratic base has been joined by whites disenchanted with the Bush administration. New concern about the economy may be adding momentum.
The trends suggest a region in transformation, with dynamic economic growth, an expanded black middle class, the arrival of millions of white migrants, the return of scores of thousands of African-American expatriates, and an emerging native white generation with little or no memory of racial segregation. The result has been greater tolerance, an expanded pool of talent, and growing openness to new ideas.