I'll tell you in a series of four charts. The basis of this post comes from work I've been doing for my Southern Politics course. I've explained to the class how the Republican Party has evolved into a Southern Party over the last twenty years, but I had no visual evidence of this. Well, here's some evidence.
First, we see that over the last twenty years, the Democratic Party actually appears somewhat bipartisan as 48% of its House members were Democratic. That's balance. Especially when we compare the South to New England, where 75% of its members have been Democratic. Conversely, the six Plains states are remarkably Republican, much more so than the South. And, yes, I use the Confederacy to define the South, not the Census Bureau's definition. In my view, if you didn't secede, you're not Southern.
But, this only tells us where Democrats have come from, in the aggregate, over the last 20 years. It's better if we break it down by Congress. In the second graph, we see that New England hasn't always sent 75% of its' delegation to Congress as Democrats. Instead, we see a steady up tick. IN the 101st Congress, New England showed more balance, a 60:40 ration, then a steady upward creep, culminating in 100% of its' delegates being Democratic for the 111th Congress. Conversely, if you look at the dark, red line, the Plains states, you see something different. Perfect balance, then Democrats fall off the cliff in the 104th Congress. This, of course, is when Newt Gingrich-led Republicans regained the majority in the House after forty plus years in the wilderness. The Mountain West and South also severely experimented with Republicanism during this stage, yet the large Black population in the South, kept (and keeps) the South from becoming wholly Republican. The Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and West were never in serious likelihood of becoming Republican. Obviously, if the GOP wants to grow, New England and the Mid-Atlantic are areas of concern; I'd advise the GOP to concentrate on the Midwest and Mountain West.
Still curious, I wanted to know how Southern the Republican caucus had become. But, first, we'll examine the Democratic side. What strikes me when I look at the next chart is the remarkable balance of the Democratic caucus. This might make reaching intraparty deals a difficult proposition, but it's probably better than the Republican alternative, which I'll get to shortly. In the 101st Congress, four different regions (West, South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic) each provided at least 14% of the Democratic caucus. No one regional delegation clearly dominated. By the 111th Congress, the Democrats (no doubt, thanks Rahm Emanuel's efforts) had achieved even more balance. While the Southern Democratic share shrunk from 30% to 23%m there are still four regions comprising at least 18% of the Democratic caucus and the delegations from New England and and the Mountain West are larger. That's balance.
Now, let's examine the House GOP. First thing I notice is that in the 101st Congress, the Republican Party had commendable balance. Four different regions comprised at least 14% of the Republican House caucus. But, and quite noticeable, is that by the 111th Congress, only three regions comprised that much (South, West and Midwest). The Republican Party reached oblivion in New England (0%) and the Republican delegation from the Mid-Atlantic was cut in half (18% to 9%). What caused this change? The Southernization of the Republican Party. Southerners went from 22% of the GOP caucus to 41% in just twenty years. In so doing, Southerners pushed out New Englanders and those from the Mid-Atlantic.