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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from TIME

TIME5 min read
Can Anyone Save USA Gymnastics At This Point? New CEO Li Li Leung Is Determined To Try
THERE ARE THANKLESS JOBS, AND THEN THERE is Li Li Leung’s job. As the new president and CEO of USA Gymnastics (USAG), Leung oversees an organization that is struggling to justify its existence. After major sponsors walked away following USAG’s involv
TIME2 min read
Why Is YouTube Changing Its Policies On Extremism Now?
WHEN YOUTUBE ANNOUNCED ON JUNE 5 that it was updating its policies to ban white supremacist and neo-Nazi videos, along with those that deny the truth of historical events like the Holocaust, it was a change months in the making—even though it came am
TIME2 min read
A Heroine Lifts Up An Ancient Hero’s Tale
THE PORPOISE OPENS WITH ACTION. THE NEW NOVEL FROM Mark Haddon, whose 2003 hit The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was the basis for a Tony-winning play, begins with Maja, pregnant wife of the superwealthy Philippe, going down in a smal