Can Democrats Win Back the Deep South?
“It’s still a place that, to borrow a phrase, clings to its guns and religion, and I think it will continue to do so,” Felkel said. “As long as the Democratic Party still seems to be the party that’s opposed to religion and guns, a large segment of the Southern population is going to have trouble with that, especially at the federal level.”
“The people who helped to bring the Republican Party into power would not be viewed as Republican enough for some of these Tea Party types today. It’s a path to insignificance.”
But Felkel is also troubled by the direction of his own party, which he sees being hijacked by far-right activists with little regard for the GOP’s traditions. Felkel cut his teeth with the 1986 campaign of the legendary former South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell, but he’s afraid Campbell’s type couldn’t get through a Republican primary in this day and age.
“The people who helped to bring the Republican Party into power — President Reagan, Governor Campbell — those people would not be viewed as Republican enough for some of these Tea Party types today,” Felkel said. “It bothers me greatly. I think it’s a path to insignificance.”