Lately, I have been trying to gain more information about what the factors are that lead to some of the poorest states in the Union being staunch conservatives. Not in the sense of implying that there is something about conservatism that has lead to them being poor, but rather, just to explain why southerners, who are statistically more impoverished, tend to have more conservative political views.
In my quest, I've found a somewhat interesting article: http://www.forbes.co...lly-republican/
It is written by a Republican, as well, which is probably why I find it so interesting.
The poorest states, based on per capita income, are, from first to last: Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, and North Carolina. Of these, exactly half—Arkansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, and West Virginia—have Democratic governors and three have Democratic majorities in the lower house of their legislature, so these state governments can hardly be classified as completely Republican. On the other hand, only North Carolina voted for Obama in 2008, so in that sense, these states may be leaning Republican.
Looking at the list of the 10 poorest states, all except Montana are east of (or border on) the Mississippi River. That means they are older states. Those nine also happen to be concentrated in the South. This is significant: They were all slaveholding states. They focused on producing commodities, whereas the northern states produced more value-added goods, more manufactured goods, more capital-intensive goods. Combined with national policies that conferred economic advantages on the relatively industrialized, higher capitalized North—policies that created some of the friction that led to the Civil War—the South’s economic development lagged.
As is common in societies based on producing raw commodities, the Old South had an elite that owned the land and employed a poorly educated workforce to plant, tend, and harvest the crops. Historically, then, education was of less importance, and therefore emphasized less, in the South than in the North—a trend that contributed ongoing economic advantages to the North.
After the Civil War, Republican carpetbaggers from the North kicked around the defeated South, further widening the economic gap between the two regions. One political consequence was that the Deep South was monolithically Democratic for the next century. Only in the last generation, when the secular counterculture took over the Democratic Party, did many Southerners finally bury the distant past and register as Republicans.
In short, he blames the focus of the economy in the south, combined with the civil war, for explaining why the South is poorer than the North. However, it still doesn't explain why that seems to be correlating with conservative politics.
What do you guys think? What's with the South?