The idea of Southernization came from the observation that "Southern" values and beliefs were becoming more central to political success, reaching an apogee in the 1990s, with a Democratic president and vice-president from the South and Congressional leaders in both parties being from the South. Some commentators said that Southern values seemed increasingly important in national elections through the early 21st century. The term "Southernization" was used by American journalists in the late 2000s to describe the political and cultural effects.
Values and beliefs often ascribed to the American South include religious conservatism, and patriotism or nationalism. Besides the cultural influence, some said that the South had infiltrated the national political stage.
In 1992, the winning presidential ticket consisted of the Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton and a Senator from Tennessee, Al Gore. Many leaders in Congress were also from the South, from both parties. Meanwhile the Republican Party underwent its own Southernization as more Republican leaders called for a low-tax, low-investment industrial society, principles previously held by conservative southern Democrats. Commentators suggest that politics reached its apogee of Southernization in the 1990s.
Today, the American South has more electoral votes than ever, due to an increase in population. The increasing influence of the region, however, appeared to go beyond that. Liberal commentators had said that "Southernism" had gained prominence under the George W. Bush presidency. They accredited many concepts such as frontierism and jingoism, as well as anti-abortion and anti-international trade sentiments to the American South.
- Adam Nossiter, "For South, a Waning Hold on Politics", New York Times, 12 Nov 2008, accessed 12 Nov 2008
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- Richard Bernstein (July 12, 1996). "BOOKS OF THE TIMES;An Ex-Conservative Indicts the Right", The New York Times.
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