Barack Obama is running a 50-state campaign, and some of his more breathless supporters have talked up the candidate as the first Democrat to win the South in decades. Not so fast, writes Thomas F. Schaller. As the political scientist explains in a New York Times op-ed, the Obaman dream of retaking the South rests upon false assumptions about race and voting patterns.
Obama's supporters believe that a flood of black voters can drive Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia into the blue column. But in fact Democrats do worse, not better, in Southern states with large black populations—because more whites there vote Republican. "Even if unprecedented numbers of black voters turn out," writes Schaller, "the white vote will serve as a formidable counterbalance."