The Southern Project
No region of America has experienced as much social and political change over the past two generations as the American South. In less than half a century, it evolved from a Democratic stronghold into a region dominated by conservative policymakers. Not surprisingly, such a change profoundly impacted the lives of Southern citizens. It also altered the American legislative dynamic.
However, the South remains in flux. Driven by changes in demographics, it has over the past few election cycles shown increasingly Progressive tendencies. Accordingly, Project New America – which was formed five years ago as Project New West by Western leaders, thinkers, and strategists as a tool to interpret and exploit the values and attitudes driving two decades of dramatic growth in the West – has now turned its resources and expertise to the South.
In an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the opportunities inherent in the South’s changing fabric, Project New America officially launched The Southern Project at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in September, 2012. The Southern Project extended our successful and dynamic research approach, first developed in the Intermountain West, into the South.
The Southern Project has now officially partnered with the Southern Progress Action Fund and Loranne Ausley, Director of the Southern Project, has joined SPAF as Vice Chair. SPAF’s mission is to focus on all competitive state-based and local races and aid candidates by campaign planning, fundraising and field organizing strategy. They will utilize PNA’s existing body of research and knowledge while PNA subscribers will gain access to even more new research in this rapidly changing region. This partnership will build on existing knowledge and networks of collaboration from both organizations.
Project New America’s subscription model provides a ready-made dissemination mechanism for its research and strategy tools. Many progressive actors in the South already receive PNA research through their national annual subscriptions. Since 2008, PNA has conducted research in the South and across the country, including specific recent projects in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Texas. PNA is also developing a robust training program to ensure that its research and data can be easily translated into action. Specific deliverables include a series of trainings and the development of a comprehensive tool-kit of strategies and actionable language that will be made available to PNA subscribers and other Progressive stakeholders in the Southern region.