Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness examines the uniqueness of southern politics and their policy choices.
While decades of scholarship on the politics of the American South have focused on partisanship and electoral outcomes as the primary elements of interest in southern politics, few works have focused on the more practical outcomes of these political processes, specifically, comparing state policy choices of southern states to non-southern states. This book examines six different policy arenas: voting access, gun control, health care, reproductive rights, water, and COVID-19 pandemic response, comparing policy choices in states in the South with states in the non-South. The authors find that the South is distinct in several, but not all, of the policy arenas examined. They conclude that the South as a region is unique because of the exceptional degree of one-party control evident in the South, coupled with a long-standing preoccupation with partisanship and race-based politics.
Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness provides valuable insights into how and why states behave in the manner they do and where southern states may diverge from the rest of the country. It will be of interest to scholars of southern politics, state comparative policy, public policy, American politics, and federalism/intergovernmental relations.
1. Why Study Southern Policy Making?
2. Where is the South?
3. Model and Methods
4. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act
5. Reproductive Rights for Women
6. State Commitment to Clean Water
7. State Firearm Legislation
8. Fatal Police Violence
9. COVID-19 Pandemic Response
10. Is Southern Policy Making Distinct?
"With crisp, engaging prose, Morris, Mayer, Kenter, and Anderson explore the ways in which policymaking in the southern states remains distinct and the ways in which it has converged with the rest of the nation. This volume is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand policymaking in our federal system or the enduring legacy of the American South."
Christopher Cooper, Madison Distinguished Professor, Western Carolina University
"Over the past seven decades, scholars of Southern politics have tended to focus their intellectual curiosity and studies on elections in the South. Since that time, Morris, Mayer, Kenter, and Anderson have taken an innovative new approach in which they seek to answer the question of whether policy differences exist between Southern and non-Southern states. This work takes the study of Souther politics away solely from elections and helps to shed light on the regional impacts in the formation of public policy."
Scott E. Buchanan, Professor of Political Science, Georgia College & State University
"John Morris and colleagues have provided an excellent addition to the literature on southern politics, especially in the underdeveloped area of policy making in the South. The book offers an insightful analysis of southern distinctiveness along with how we define the South. The authors provide a compelling model of state policy making by utilizing a common set of explanatory factors (political variables, socioeconomic conditions, and state need) to explore policy development in six very timely and highly relevant policy arenas ranging from the Affordable Care Act to reproductive rights of women to state firearm legislation to fatal police violence to the pandemic response. Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness is an excellent addition to not only classes on southern politics but also courses on federalism as well as policy development and policy analysis."
James T. LaPlant, Professor of Political Science, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Valdosta State University
"A great deal of ink has been spilt analyzing Southern distinctiveness. We know that the South is different ideologically, racially, culturally, and more monolithic in its voting preferences than the rest of nation. The authors seek to discover if the uniqueness of the South has real policy implications. Their research confirms that despite the ongoing homogenization of the United States, the South retains a unique approach in addressing many pressing public issues. Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness is a timely and valuable contribution to the study of Southern politics and the role of region in state level policymaking."
DuBose Kapeluck, Co-Director, The Citadel Symposium on Southern Politics
"In Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness, Morris, Mayer, Kenter, and Anderson provide a sorely needed examination of whether the contemporary American South remains differentiable in the laws it passes. Through detailed analyses of several of the most salient issues in American Politics (e.g., regulation of firearms, abortion, and the Affordable Care Act) from 2012 to 2018, the southern states take actions that reflect the persistence of its more conservative political culture. This is a must-read for scholars interested in the connection between politics and policy making."
Seth C. McKee, Oklahoma State University