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Hillbilly Sudetenland



"Hillbilly Sudetenland" is the term I've coined in reference to the scimitar stretching from Oklahoma to West Virginia the comprises the 'more-red' (properly termed "Became more Republican") ranking in comparison to 2004. This modern Sudetenland is less global, more conservative, more reactionary, and more insular; it responds to social and religious conservatives. Yes I remember that Fulbright (also here) came from Arkansas but this arc is a new 'dagger pointed at the heart of' the republic.


Of the Election Results and President Map, the now familiar red-blue divide shows in the "expected to win easily", "expected to win narrowly", and "battleground states" of Election Results as well as the state winners, county bubbles and county leaders of the President Map.


The frame in the President Map that is arresting is the "voting shifts" that compares 2008 country results to 2004, 2000, 1996 and 1992. The Hillbilly Sudetenland is intensely visible in 2008-2004 comparison, made more remarkable for its "10%" or "15%" "Became more Republican" rankings. A similar intensity was present in the 2008-2000 figures but its size was larger, less distilled, in comparison to the current election cycle:

[The] South is no longer a solid voting bloc. [The] "suburban South," notably Virginia and North Carolina, [have] experienced an influx of better educated and more prosperous voters in recent years, pointing them in a different political direction than states farther west, like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and Appalachian sections of Kentucky and Tennessee.


Southern counties that voted more heavily Republican this year than in 2004 tended to be poorer, less educated and whiter... Obama won in only 44 counties in the Appalachian belt, a stretch of 410 counties that runs from New York to Mississippi. Many of those counties, rural and isolated, have been less exposed to the diversity, educational achievement and economic progress experienced by more prosperous areas.

Oklahoma is archetypical; McCain won all Oklahoma counties with 65.6% of the vote, the highest state percentage for McCain, despite higher overall Democratic voter registration: 

Although McCain was considered more moderate than the conservative Bush, he did better than the president did in 2004 in rural areas of Oklahoma, where social conservatism is dominant. His best performance was in the "Little Dixie" region of southeastern Oklahoma... McCain pulled in 70 percent of the vote to Obama's 30 percent in five Little Dixie counties... Bush got 56 percent in those counties in 2004.


That region is where Sen. James M. Inhofe (R), who easily won reelection this year, said his "guns, God and gays" strategy was born, in 1994 at a cafe in Hugo. That strategy emphasizes protecting Second Amendment rights to own guns, stressing his Christianity and opposing expansion of rights for gay people. [Race] was "probably a factor" in some rural areas after folks became frightened by false information that Obama "was a Muslim who would take away their guns."


"People really believed that. It reminded me of when I was a youngster. I was brought up in the Baptist Church, and I was taught that if John Kennedy was elected president, the pope would be running the government." Exit polls found that more than half of Oklahoma voters identified themselves as white, evangelical or born-again Christians. Of those, a heavy majority went for McCain.

It is telling that Oklahoma continues to reelect one of the more odd and internationally tone deaf senators in Congress, James Inhofe, who is remembered for claiming climate change is a hoax (2003 and 2005 floor speeches) and for dismissing the abuse at Abu Ghraib, in his words being "outraged" at the national and international outrage over the excesses at Abu Ghraib. (Videos here and here.) Compare Senator Leahy's comments to those of Inhofe.


Adjoining Oklahoma, Arkansas went for McCain with 58.8% of the vote. Opposition to Obama was so great that conservatives were able to pass a measure blocking the adoption of children by unmarried couples, despite opposition by notables such as Bill Clinton and Beebe, the Democratic governor. Strong opposition to the candidacy of Barack Obama in Arkansas may have helped conservatives pass a measure blocking the adoption of children by unmarried couples: 

Conservatives mounted a grass-roots campaign, mainly through church groups, that framed the state's case-by-case approach to adoption requests as an affront to traditional family values... The ban affects all unmarried couples but was written with the intent of preventing gay couples from raising children in Arkansas... Exit polls found that the ban was primarily supported by conservatives, supporters of Mr. Bush and evangelicals.

De facto one-party government


Democrats may have reestablished a one-party system in American politics for the foreseeable future. Some assumptions that a colleague and I have been discussing:


Two term presidency for Obama


Given the organizational and managerial the Obama campaign has demonstrated to date, there is no obvious reason to suspect that he will not win a second term. A two-term Obama allows the opportunity to develop substantial successors for 2016.


Democratic greed and cupidity does not (soon) reemerge


While I believe that an Obama executive branch can hold to its mission, a Democratic congress could again become slothful and greedy. My point is that I believe there is a very different risk calculus between the ability of the executive and the legislative branches to retain their focus and unity, as opposed to simply lumping all together as 'Democrats'.


While it took Democrats some forty years to become a takeover target for Republicans, it does not have to take that long the next time. As previously noted, I wager that Emanuel's appointment as chief of staff was more to keep Obama's own troops in line as opposed to assaulting the Republicans. I infer that Obama is already working to shape and prioritize a longer term agenda than the pork barrel folk have interest. Herding cats will become a useful metaphor.


Successful management of the new minority


Hispanics are displacing African-Americans as the primary minority. If Democrats can manage Hispanics as they have African-Americans, they stand to double their ethnic support base. The reverse to this is what a colleague calls large "promissory notes" to the new Hispanic community and the existing African-American community.


Demographics remain firm short of catastrophe


The white vote is voting increasingly liberal on the low age range, i.e., Democrats may not have to capture all the Hispanic/African-American vote in the medium term. In the longer term, white vote is diluted by demographic changes. While minorities are "predicted to represent 39 percent of the total population by the year 2020", the pendulum shifts in 2050:

The nation will be more racially and ethnically diverse, as well as much older, by midcentury, according to projections released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Minorities, now roughly one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become the majority in 2042, with the nation projected to be 54 percent minority in 2050. By 2023, minorities will comprise more than half of all children...


By 2050, the minority population - everyone except for non-Hispanic, single-race whites - is projected to be 235.7 million out of a total U.S. population of 439 million. The nation is projected to reach the 400 million population milestone in 2039.


The non-Hispanic, single-race white population is projected to be only slightly larger in 2050 (203.3 million) than in 2008 (199.8 million). In fact, this group is projected to lose population in the 2030s and 2040s and comprise 46 percent of the total population in 2050, down from 66 percent in 2008.

Conservative (Traditionalist) Republican party worldview hardens


If Brooks is correct in his assessment of the post-election struggle of Traditionalists versus Reformers in the Republican Party, Traditionalists will hold sway in the near-term as they control: 

  • Congressional Republicans [now that] Republicans from the coasts and the upper Midwest are largely gone.
  • Republican institutions [comprising] a movement of activist groups, donor networks, think tanks and publicity arms. The reformists [have] no institutions.
  • Donors... Reformist Republican donors don't seem to exist.
  • Conservative mythology [of] a small, heroic movement marching bravely from the Heartland into belly of the liberal elite. [Anyone] who deviates toward the center, who departs from established doctrine, is a coward, and a sellout.

Brooks also feels that Republicans will become "an ever more rigid" movement. While Appalachia and parts of the Deep South may no longer be able to dictate Democratic ideology, they should provide a fertile ground for Traditionalists:

Less than a third of Southern whites voted for [Obama], compared with 43 percent of whites nationally. By leaving the mainstream so decisively, the Deep South and Appalachia will no longer be able to dictate that winning Democrats have Southern accents or adhere to conservative policies on issues like welfare and tax policy...

Forecasting future Republican national candidates, Brooks believes that all - just as with McCain - will have to "immediately tack right to be acceptable to the power base."


The race genie is managed without explosion


The "poisonous controversy" ignited when Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner in the White House in 1901 is alive and as explosive today as it was then. The good news to a majority of voters is that a color line has been crossed in the White House; that same news is a stain to be eradicated and rolled back to a violent minority.


One only has to review the tracking of extremist groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (See The Intelligence Project and its Intelligence Report (current issue and archives link) and the Active U.S. Hate Groups map.) We periodically have to look at Neo-Nazi, Patriot Right, and other paramilitary groups and I can assure you that it is not pretty. See:

How the US as a nation and individual interest groups manage or ignite race as a political issue will say much about the future of the US in the 21st century.


The next Smedley Butler is another Smedley Butler


Next: If the next Smedley Butler is Erik Prince


Darkness at Dusk

By David Brooks

New York Times

November 11, 2008


As Much of Nation Went Blue, Okla. Applied Extra Coat of Red

By Ron Jenkins

Associated Press

November 9, 2008; A18


Antipathy Toward Obama Seen as Helping Arkansas Limit Adoption


New York Times

November 9, 2008


The Underside of the Welcome Mat


New York Times

November 8, 2008


Hackers and Spending Sprees

Highlights from NEWSWEEK's special election project.


Nov 5, 2008, Updated: 5:01  a.m. ET Nov 5, 2008


Barack Obama, Forever Sizing Up


New York Times

October 26, 2008


'Ready for War'

Thousands Join Militant Black Supremacists

Intelligence Report

Southern Poverty Law Center

Fall 2008


The Intelligence Project

Tracking the Threat of Hate

Southern Poverty Law Center


Active U.S. Hate Groups

Southern Poverty Law Center


An Older and More Diverse Nation by Midcentury

U.S. Census Bureau

US Department of Commerce

AUG. 14, 2008


Complete List of Population Profiles

U.S. Census Bureau


The Population Profile of the United States: Dynamic Version (Internet Release)

[Latest Data]

U.S. Census Bureau


James Inhofe Republican Jr Senator (OK) (2008 race)




Members of Congress / James Inhofe

U.S. Congress Votes Database


Indicator 1: Population and Geographic Distributions

Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities

US Department of Education



Senator Inhofe on Climate Change

by Michael Mann, Stefan Rahmstorf, Gavin Schmidt, Eric Steig, and William Connolley

Real Climate

10 January 2005


Special Edition: Coverage of Iraqi Prisoner Abuse Scandal


Aired May 16, 2004 - 11:00   ET


Waiting for 'Torture Fatigue'

By Bill Berkowitz


May 12, 2004


The Deranged Mind of James Inhofe

Maybe the Dumbest US Senator of the All

By Bruce Jackson


May 11, 2004


In His Own Words: Jim Inhofe & Torture

YouTube video capture


Guantanamo Inhofe CNN

YouTube video capture


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Abuse Of Prisoners In U.S. Military Custody


Office of Senator Leahy, 202-224-4242

May 5, 2004


Climate Change Update

Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe(R-Okla)

January 4, 2005


The Deranged Mind of James Inhofe

Maybe the Dumbest US Senator of the All



May 11, 2004


The Science of Climate Change

Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe(R-Okla)

Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works

July 28, 2003


Serving Christ in the Senate

Today's Pentecostal Evangel

June 30, 2002


Crackpot Theology Makes Bad Foreign Policy

by Doug Bandow

Cato Institute.

June 4, 2002


Gordon Housworth

InfoT Public  Risk Containment and Pricing Public  Strategic Risk Public  Terrorism Public  


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