October 23, 2007

Colburn's Book Reviewed

Retired St. Petersburg Times editor Martin Dyckman, author of a successful 2006 LeRoy Collins biography--also a University Press of Florida title--recently reviewed David Colburn's new book, From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans: Florida and Its Politics since 1940.

Dyckman smartly notes Colburn's quote that race was a "minor factor at best" in the rise of the Florida Republican Party and the national party's success in the Sunshine State.

To me, that's what stuck the most. How much did race, demography, and migration change Florida between 1940 and today? Which was the prime mover? What were the turning points?

This comes back to the original question, I think--of definition. What is a Yellow Dog? What is Dixiecrat? What is a Blue Dog? Where are Florida Democrats and what do they look like? Where are Florida Republicans and what do they look like?

I'm definitely in agreement that geography and people movement need more discussion in the mix. Wanna get to know Florida politics? Start by buying a map. If you can memorize even half the 67 counties in the state, you've got a shot. Otherwise you might try an easier state like say Rhode Island or Delaware.

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