Influence of the Religious Right
Often, fiction writers have leave to portray truths that are unsavory if presented by the non-fiction press. In his novel Revolt in the Year 2100, science fiction author, the late Robert A. Heinlein, describes, in chilling detail, a future United States ruled by a religious clique of the most intensely conservative types imaginable. This story is on the order of 40 years old. What is chilling is that we are not 140 years from it as Heinlein posited, but quite possibly 20 years or fewer.
The Southern Confederacy was bolstered by the pulpits of the mainstream Christian denominations. They supported slavery, spousal abuse, child labor, elitism and so much more that we now associate with the Confederate mindset.
The South has become, as Dean Velvel ennunciates, virtually a separate nation within a nation. They are entrenched and have come to exist to perpetuate their own existence.
Dealing with them may be possible for the Democrats, but before it will be possible, the Democrats must become shed of their elitist leadership and those who do the same as the Southerners, lobby for power to keep things as they are for no better reason than to maintain their power.
A third party might have a chance if the mass media were not against them from the start. Not that I agree with them, but note how much coverage the Libertarians and Greens receive in the mainstream press. The last time a third party received any press at all was when Ross Perot ran for president. He was flawed, but at least, he was an alternative who garnared nearly a seventh of the vote.
The Howard Dean campaign gave out bumper stickers that resonate with me completely. "I want my country back."
-Daniel Graham Andover, Massachusetts