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Interview with Trey Hood III, September 15, 2017

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:44 - Introduction to politics and V.O. Key

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Partial Transcript: Go ahead and tell us a little about your upbringing and your introduction to politics and your scholarly approach to politics.

Segment Synopsis: Hoods tells of how he initially became interested in studying politics, and how he pursed that aspiration. Hood then explains the works of V.O. Key, a political scientist whose research pioneered the study of Southern politics.

Keywords: Southern Politics: In State and Nation; Democratic South; Irwin Morris; Southern politics; Texas A&M; University of Georgia; Waco, Texas; economic development; party politics; political science; pre-Civil Rights era; racial issues; state-by-state analysis; two-party development

00:09:00 - Development of Southern politics

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Partial Transcript: So we have V.O. Key in 1949.

Segment Synopsis: Hood comments on some of the other major names in Southern politics, particularly that of his colleague, Charles Bullock. Hood then states why Southern politics can be heavily boiled down to questions over race.

Keywords: The New Politics of the Old South; The Transformation of Southern Politics; African-American voters; Democratic Party; Great Society; Jack Bass; Republican Party; Voting Rights Act of 1965; Walter de Vries; William Havard; enfranchisement; racial issues; two-party development; voter registration

00:16:30 - Politics in the pre-Civil Rights Deep South

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Partial Transcript: Zooming in to Georgia specifically, how would you describe Georgia politics, the Georgia electorate, in the context of the Deep South, of the larger South?

Segment Synopsis: Hood discusses the role of factions within the Democratic Party in Southern politics prior to the two-party formation. Hood emphasizes the uniqueness of the county unit system, which he compares to the Electoral College, in that it gives more power to smaller, more rural areas than the metropolises in Georgia.

Keywords: Baker v. Carr; Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; Democratic primary; Eugene Talmadge; Georgia; Louisiana; Mississippi; South Carolina; Talmadge faction; V.O. Key; disenfranchisement; middle class; party factions; poll taxes

00:22:45 - Urban-rural divide / Party realignment

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Partial Transcript: So we've talked about malapportionment in the county unit system.

Segment Synopsis: Hood gives his views on the urban-rural divide in Georgia between voters in metro Atlanta versus rural areas. He also summarizes how conservative voters shifted to the Republican Party, and how the Democratic Party further adopted liberal political views as a response.

Keywords: 2002 gubernatorial election; Atlanta area; Democratic coalition; North Georgia; Sam Nunn; Sonny Perdue; South Georgia; Zell Miller; biracial coalitions; incumbency; liberalism; white voters

00:28:40 - The Republican Party in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: So it takes until 2002 for Sonny Perdue to get elected, a former Democrat, a party-switcher.

Segment Synopsis: Hood briefly talks about the turnover in power from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in Georgia in the early 2000s. Hood also credits Georgia remaining a Democratic stronghold long after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to Bo Callaway's loss in 1966 and the Watergate scandal both damaging the Republican brand in Georgia.

Keywords: 1964 election; 1966 gubernatorial race; 2002 election; Ben Blackburn; Fletcher Thompson; Georgia House of Representatives; Georgia Senate; Lester Maddox; governorship; party realignment; party switching; redistricting

00:33:26 - Modern-day party factions

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Partial Transcript: You talked about factions within the Democratic Party.

Segment Synopsis: Hood analyzes the split in the Republican Party between "business-oriented conservatives" and social conservatives. He then does the same for the Democratic Party, noticing a split that is almost entirely along racial lines.

Keywords: African-American voters; Chamber of Commerce; Christian right; Democratic primary elections; Latino-Americans; demographic shifts; economic conservatism; polarization; racial realignment; religion; social conservatism; white progressives

00:39:02 - 2016 Presidential election and 2017 6th District special election

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Partial Transcript: The trend has been that white Georgians, especially white males, have been sorting themselves into the Republican Party in larger and larger numbers.

Segment Synopsis: Hood explains his beliefs on why Donald Trump was wildly successful in Georgia in 2016, despite Hillary Clinton winning two of Georgia's most important counties. He then elaborates on what made the Georgia 6th district race between Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel in 2017 so distinctive.

Keywords: 6th District special election; Cobb County, Georgia; Donald Trump; Gwinnett County, Georgia; Hillary Clinton; Jon Ossoff; Karen Handel; Tom Price; low turnout

00:44:55 - Tea Party / Voter ID

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Partial Transcript: If this were 2010 or 2011, there is no way I could not ask about the Tea Party.

Segment Synopsis: Hood details what happened to the Tea Party Movement after its peak in 2011 and where those voters went. Hood then describes the different party positions in regard to voter ID law, with Republicans largely in favor and Democrats largely against.

Keywords: House Freedom Caucus; constitutional offices; demographic changes; ideological conservatives; minority vote; policy disagreements; redistricting; state legislature; statewide offices; voter fraud; voter suppression; voter turnout

00:53:13 - 2018 election predictions

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Partial Transcript: The next thing I want to talk about is 2018, looking ahead.

Segment Synopsis: Hood compares the candidates for governor in both parties in the lead-up to the gubernatorial primaries in 2018. Hood then ponders the possible role Trump's presidency may have on the race, concluding that not much would change except possibly higher turnout among rural voters.

Keywords: African-Americans; Brian Kemp; Casey Cagle; Clay Tippins; David Perdue; Donald Trump; Hunter Hill; Mike Williams; Rust Belt; Stacey Abrams; Stacey Evans; racial issues; white progressives

00:59:20 - Survey research

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Partial Transcript: So, back to you as we're wrapping up, what are your current projects?

Segment Synopsis: Hood discusses the methodology and goals of the newly-built survey research center at the University of Georgia. He then talks about his upcoming book on Southern politics which he co-authored with Seth McKee.

Keywords: The Rational Southerner; Latino-Americans; School of Public and International Affairs; election turnout; election-tracking polls; immigration reform; phone interviews; polling; public opinion; technological change