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Southern Exposure

Dixie goes all Republican.

Aug 20, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 45 • By FRED BARNES
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Republicans took another bite out of Barrow’s district, based on the 2010 census, by removing Savannah, forcing him to move again, to Augusta. In 2008, Barack Obama won 55 percent of the vote in the old district. In the new one, he would have gotten 45 percent. According to the Cook Political Report, the district changed from slightly Democratic (“D+1”) to strongly Republican (“R+10”).

Barrow is a shrewd candidate. In 2011, rather than vote for Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader, he voted for John Lewis, the African-American Democrat from Atlanta. (The district is one-third black.) But Republicans are determined to defeat him, and he’s likely to be outspent.

Arkansas still has a Democratic governor, Mike Beebe, but he’s term-limited (leaving in 2014) and unable to stem the Republican tide as Bill Clinton did. “As recently as three or four years ago, Arkansas wholly separated in-state politics from national politics,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist John Brummett wrote in July. “It found a way to reject national Democratic party liberalism while not assigning its local Democratic politicians any complicity.”

It was Obama, Brummett told me, “who tipped Arkansas to nationalized elections.” How? “By beating Hillary and paying no attention to Arkansas and not mobilizing our black vote and seeming a remote liberal.” Now there’s no turning back.

For the 2012 election, Bill Clinton will address the Democratic National Convention next month. However, “Arkansas voters are perfectly capable of listening to Clinton extol Obama and then continuing to fear and despise Obama,” Brummett says. And continuing to remake Arkansas as the last Southern state to turn Republican.

 

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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