The New York Times does a piece about the American South and what might be shifting politics….and what might Not….
“Why do black people still live in the South?” a black friend from Chicago asked me last year, genuinely bewildered. She had just seen the film “Mudbound,” which tells the story of a black family and a white family living intimately, side by side, in post-World War II Mississippi.
It was inconceivable to her that anyone would want to live in an environment where black people had faced the kind of poverty and brutality that was depicted in the film, and she wanted me, as someone who grew up in Alabama, to explain.
My friend was viewing the Deep South through the lens that popular culture and most of the country outside the South also use — the same stereotypes I heard when I left Alabama to go to college in the Northeast. I encountered classmates who thought they were surer about the South than I was — it was too racist, too religious, too backward, too conservative, even though they’d never been there.
And so Alabama voters surprised observers last December, when they sent Doug Jones to the Senate in a special election — the first time an Alabama Democrat had won a seat in that chamber since 1992. This fall, Democrats hope to elect more candidates to offices around the state and through the South. Stacey Abrams won the Democratic primary for governor in Georgia last month, becoming the first black female candidate for governor from a major party in the United States. Liberals around the country are feeling cautiously optimistic as they look to the midterms….
Ask anyone living outside the Deep South about it now, and you’ll usually hear a term: Trump Country. It’s where some of his most fervent supporters are. Last year, I attended a Confederate memorial rally near my hometown that was filled with hundreds of white working-class people, several of whom told me that their idea of the Confederate legacy was desperately vital to their sense of identity….