Rep. Mike Ross (D-AK), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications, speaks at a Blue Dog Coalition news conference on the debt and the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction in Washington on September 14, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — White southern Democrats in the House of Representatives, who see themselves as a moderating force in Washington, say they are disappearing from the Deep South.
The cause may be the Voting Rights Act, a law passed in 1965 to give African-Americans a greater voice in politics, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The creation of majority-black districts called for by the law was designed to give African-Americans greater representation in Congress. It also created majority-white districts as a consequence.
African-Americans have historically voted Democratic. Since the 1980s, white Democrats have been shifting to the Republican Party, apparently because of what they see as increasing liberalism among Democrats. As southern Republicans have grown in numbers, they’ve been able to take over state legislatures and redraw voting districts in ways that have shut out Democrats.
The result is a shrinking number of conservative Southern Democrats, the Journal said. Over the decades they have been an important political factor. They helped pass everything from Ronald Reagan‘s tax cuts to last year’s debt agreement.
Conservative Southern Democrats comprise much of the membership of the Blue Dog Coalition of Democrats in the House. That coalition had 52 members before the 2010 election. Now it has 25.