The Deep South has a long history, stretching back to before the Civil War, of Democratic politics. Being a Democrat was not just a preference; it was tradition. In recent decades, beginning in the 1960s with Barry Goldwater, the South has shifted towards the Republican Party in presidential elections. Over time, congressional seats and governors mansions have also slowly moved over to the GOP. However, at the local and most of the state levels, most offices remained affiliated with the Democratic Party. They are considered "old-school" (or "Blue Dog") Democrats who embraced FDR (and, often, JFK and LBJ) as their standard-bearer, rejected Jimmy Carter, fell in love with Reagan, and warmed up a bit to Clinton.
Within the past decade--and particularly within the past couple of years--support for the Democratic Party in the Deep South has almost vanished. What few Democrats that actually managed to win in the mid-terms have started switching sides
, claiming that the Democratic Party has strayed too far from them. In the party that has often touted itself for having a "big tent" of diverse people and opinions, "you really can't be a conservative" anymore. Since November, dozens of state legislators have left the Democratic Party, sometimes switching majorities in the legislatures--- Louisiana Republicans now have a state House majority for the first time since Reconstruction. Even last week, the final remaining Democrat holding a state office in Louisiana, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, defected
. This near-total realignment of southern politics, fifty years in the making, will have tremendous ramifications as many of the states begin to combat the growing size of the federal government.