Consider: Republicans in Alabama and Mississippi reside in a universe where virtually all white voters vote Republican. And no, this isn’t just an Obama thing—Obama only got 11 percent of the white vote in Mississsippi in 2008, but that was barely worse than the 14 percent John Kerry got four years earlier. Increasingly, being a Democrat in the Deep South—a Democrat when it comes to national politics—means being African-American. This means that political polarization in the Deep South is of a different sort than it is elsewhere. It is very much aligned with the region’s deep racial divides, but it is also arguably less ideological than it is elsewhere. For Rick Santorum, being a Republican and conservative in Pennsylvania and northern Virginia where he now lives means standing up for what he believes in amid the liberal, secular hordes who are pressing around him. For Mitt Romney, being a Republican in Massachusetts has been a less combative stance, but still one that sets him apart from many of the people he moved about with. Whereas in Mississippi, being Republican these days basically just means being … a white Mississippian. To the extent that daily life still remains racially segregated (not just in the Deep South, of course) that means that most Deep South Republicans are interacting with other Republicans.