For those of you not in the know, Southern Democrats were the pro slavery political party that dominated in the south before and after the U.S civil war. These were also the people predominantly responsible for the lynching, civil and political repression and intimidation that earmarked the southern identity for a century afterward to maintain social, political and economic control.
As we know, slavery was an outgrowth of the need for an inexpensive labor force and the human cost was deemed irrelevant. This draws an interesting parallel to the labor policies of the multi-national corporations of today that pursue an economic chess game of exporting manufacturing to whom ever can provide the lowest wage cost possible in pursuit of profitability.
One of the predominate features of southern democrats is that they were conservative. VERY conservative and clung to traditionalist principals and later a platform of states rights as an extension of the backlash against Reconstruction.
As the Democratic party began to become more representative of the mainstream progressive left, many Southern Democrats joined the Republican party or voted across party lines to the party that most emulated their idea of stoic traditionalism. This is a contributing factor to the political backlash of the Civil Rights act of 1964 that allowed the GOP to garner many more political seats in the south and further build inroads to traditionally Southern Democrat strongholds.
The GOP clued in to the conservative nature of this constituency and utilizing racism combined with religious and wedge issues that are often generational such as gay marriage and abortion mobilize a base predicated on an emotional and visceral reaction.
Classic examples are the riots of whites that resulted as the schools in Little Rock were desegregated by order of the supreme court and the little rock nine were found to have entered Central High.
During the 2000 Republican primary, a South Carolina push poll used racist innuendo intended to undermine the support of then-Bush rival John McCain: “Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?” (Wikipedia)
Well, now John McCain is the GOP candidate of choice and straightforward racism may be a bit too overt for the GOP given a black man as opposition so we can expect alternate means of negative campaign on the part of the right, such as accusations of sexism.
This is by far the most diverse group of presidential political contenders ever to have approached the dais and who can we assume that the Southern Democrats want to see prevail?