I read Ms. Mapes's article with some joy to find that even in the Third World of the United States true conservatives and recognized Dubya's reign for what it is: creeping fascism. It is encouraging that the overpopulated bastion where good public policy goes to die (or is still-born) is returning to voting in their own interests.
That said, I blanched when I read the passage about how Ronald Reagan's personal qualities were the trigger to a massive shift from Democrat to Republican. This is at best revisionist history and and at worst absolutely erroneous. Mapes writes: "In presidential politics, that [support of Democrats] began to dissolve with the rise of Ronald Reagan, whose charm and Western appeal helped trigger massive changes in Texas voting." While charm and Western appeal might not have hurt Reagan, what sealed the deal was that he made it clear that racism was okay again. While attitudes in every survey during this period showed a leftward shift, former Southern Democrats voted Republican in droves. Reagan Democrats were for the most part pissed off white folk who were confident that Reagan would do all he could to reverse progress on social justice issues in all realms.
I think it is important for us to be clear about what really happened during the Reagan Administration because it marks the beginning of our decline in clear and certain terms that we will live with for decades to come.
Peter D. Carlson
Mount Prospect, IL
Feb 29 2008 - 11:44am