Drawlin’ for Votes

The line outside a Trump rally in Nashville in the spring. Trump’s 2016 victory continued the GOP’s dominance of Southern politics

THERE IS NO ACCENT QUITE LIKE THE SOUTHERN accent, and there is no Southern accent quite like the Southern politician’s. Spend any time in the South—especially in the rapidly growing suburban and exurban South—and you’ll hear the drawl. The men sound just a tiny bit folksier, as if your doctor would be just as comfortable plowing a field as he would be reading an X-ray. The women just sound nice, so that the same words you hear in daily life across the U.S. somehow come off kinder and gentler.

But there is nothing—absolutely nothing—subtle about the Southern politician’s accent. No sir. To hear the Southern politician talk is to hear the backwoods come to the big city. Their past profession doesn’t matter. Neither does their upbringing. There’s something about runnin’ for office in the

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