success of the "Southern strategy" was made evident at the Presidential
level in the 1984 election, pitting Ronald Reagan against Democrat Walter
Mondale. (Georgia Democrat Jimmy Carter, the Democratic nominee for 1976
and 1980, obscured this because he was competitive in the South). Democrats
had picked up votes in the South due to the re-enfranchisement of blacks
via the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This is observable in the low Republican
(hence high Democratic) turnout in areas with large black populations--the
Southern Black Belt and urban North. However, Democrats lost more white
votes than they gained black votes--not only in the South, but in white
Northern suburbs. Thomas and Mary Edsall, in Chain Reaction (W.W.
Norton, 1991), argue that Republican success in the Northern suburbs showed
that opposition to government programs that benefit blacks appealed to Northern
whites, who, identifying crime and welfare dependency with blacks, were
receptive to coded Republican messages ("welfare queens," "special
interests," "quotas") appealing to antiblack racial antipathies.