Election 2012

South Hasn't Warmed to Obama

The self-designated consensus-builder has trouble making friends below the Mason-Dixon line

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Ever since his national debut at the 2004 Democratic convention, Barack Obama's calling card has been that he practices consensus-oriented politics that transcend traditional divisions. But four years after his historic presidential election, the country he sought to bring together is even more divided than when he launched his candidacy. And no place is more polarized than the South.

Any hope that the nation's first black president would usher in a period of reconciliation in the old Confederacy has crashed on the rocks of a harsh reality: African-Americans overwhelmingly support him and whites make up much of the opposition. Far from being a transformational figure in the South, Obama has instead reinforced the region's oldest and sturdiest divide.