Reelection: William Jefferson Clinton as a Native-Son Presidential Candidate

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Since the passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, only three Democrats have captured the White House--all of them natives of southern states. The ascendancy and reelection of Bill Clinton to the presidency is a prime example of this phenomenon, and although books have been published on the "native son" psychological variable in electoral contests, no work to date has investigated this aspect of Clinton's political career.

Covering all of Clinton's twenty-one elections to state and national offices, Hanes Walton Jr. explores one of the political success stories of our century, showing how Clinton's popularity in his southern home has had a profound influence on his national electoral dominance. Walton combines the native-son theory with the issue of race to describe how the Democrats have built a vital power base in the South, in large measure because of their popularity among African-American voters.

With an epilogue on the Monica Lewinsky scandal and its effect on the Democratic Party, Reelection is a major contribution to the literature on the psychology of national elections at a time when its insight into the possibility of Democratic leadership into the next century is most critical.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American Studies

Sophisticated and impressive.

Peri E. Arnold
Building on his 1992 study of Jimmy Carter, Hanes Walton, Jr. argues here that a "native-son" candidate is the Democrat's counter to the Republican South. Southerners- Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton- achieved the four Democratic successes in presidential politics since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Walton argues that the native-son variable attracts voters in the region, as well as the home state, across party lines.

This book develops a native-son theory and examines its utility, applied to Bill Clinton's electoral performance in Arkansas. Using county-level voting data for all of Clinton's campaigns, 1974 to 1996, Walton analyzes support for Clinton across five types of Arkansas counties.

Walton argues that Clinton's consistent appeal to black voters in his home state was in turn a key to building crucial support among African Americans outside the South in the 1992 Democratic presidential primary.

The reader may want more from Walton, but he achieves his main goal of conceptualizing the native-son variable and illustrating how it affects voters in the Clinton case. Along the way, this book makes a case for the utility to Democrats of the native-child electoral strategy.
Political Science Quarterly
Walton's research has numerous implications for the future of national electoral coalition building in general and possible winning combinations for the Democratic party in particular.
Journal of American Studies
Sophisticated and impressive.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Hanes Walton Jr. is professor of political science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has been a Guggenheim, Ford, and Rockefeller Fellow, and is the author of eleven previous books on elections, race, and African-American politics, including African-American Power and Politics (Columbia, 1997) and The Native-Son Presidential Candidate: The Carter Vote in Georgia.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Notes on a Native Son: A Foreword ix
Introduction xix
Presidential Politics and the Native-Son Contextual Variable: A Prologue xxv
Preface xxxi
1. Elections 1
Part 1 Epistemology and the Native-Son Candidate 23
2. Theory 27
3. Methodology 49
Part 2 The Political Context of a Native-Son Candidate 59
4. The Arkansas Electorate 67
5. The African American Electorate 89
Part 3 The Making of a Native-Son Candidate 117
6. The Congressional Vote for Clinton 119
7. The Attorney General Vote for Clinton 133
8. The Gubernatorial Vote for Clinton 145
Part 4 The Southern Native-Son Presidential Candidate 165
9. The Presidential Vote for Clinton 169
10. The Regional Vote: Clinton and Carter 187
Part 5 The Native-Son Candidate and the Democratic Party 209
11. The Democratic Party in Presidential Elections: The Native-Son Theory Revisited 215
12. Epilogue: Scandal, Public Support, and the Native-Son Variable 237
Appendix The Election Data: A Research Note 253
Notes 261
Bibliography 283
Index 295
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