The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South

By Joseph A. Aistrup | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Contesting and Winning Elections

PRESIDENTIAL INFLUENCE CAN TRANSLATE INTO REPUBLICAN TOP-DOWN advancement--the contesting and winning of elections--in two interrelated ways. The first is that Republican advancement begins at the top of the federal electoral hierarchy and then trickles down to the lower tiers of office-holding. In this sense, top-down advancement represents an organizational method for building the party. Former Tennessee Senator Howard Baker (R) defined this aspect of top-down advancement: "First one wins for president, then for the senate, then for governor, and lastly adds more congressmen and comes close to winning the legislature" ( Bass and De Vries 1976, 294).

The second aspect is that top-down party advancement ensues at the subnational level in areas where upper-level Republican candidates have done relatively well. Top-down advancement identifies jurisdictions with the highest potential for GOP development. Even though this aspect of top- down advancement conjures images of some grand scheme or a "top-down strategy," in reality the basic mechanism through which top-down Republican advancement transpires is historically ad hoc rather than strategic. Especially in the 1960s and 1970s, top-down party advancement depended largely on the suppositions of potential Republican candidates that the conditions in a particular jurisdiction were favorable for election victory. The logic of top-down party advancement is that the success of Republican presidential politics provides an important cue as to how well a potential local Republican candidate might do in a district. Top-down influence can be thought of in a rational way: The better a Republican president does or is expected to do in a county, the greater the chance that a local GOP candidate will run and win.

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The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures, Tables, and Maps viii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Section 1 3
  • Chapter 1 Seeds of Change 5
  • Chapter 2 the Rhetoric of the Southem Strategy 18
  • Chapter 3: Colonizing the South 65
  • Chapter 4: Contesting and Winning Elections 90
  • Section 2 111
  • Chapter 5: Ideology 113
  • Chapter 6 Intraparty Coalitional Politics: the Coleman Paradox 143
  • Chapter 7 the Redistricting Explanation 167
  • Chapter 8: Democratic Incumbency 183
  • Chapter 9: Top-Down Advancement 211
  • Chapter 10 the Southern Strategy and Top-Down Advancement: Conclusion 243
  • Appendix 1 Interviews 249
  • Appendix 2 Demographic Clusters 251
  • Appendix 4 Pool Time-Series Design 258
  • Appendix 5 the Measurement of Republican Subnational Advancement 260
  • Notes 263
  • Bibliography 270
  • Index 287
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