Andrew Sullivan has a great post about what he calls the:
“Nixonian achievement [that] has turned the GOP into the party of the South – a minority country within a country. With no ability to communicate within the Democratic party to bring the South and the rest of the country together, we have stalemate. Recall that the map of the 2008 presidential election was almost identical to the map of the states in the Civil War, with now Northern-infiltrated Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida the only exceptions.”
I’m going to write a post on this subject myself when I have time, but read Sullivan’s post and also the articles he links to; they’re very interesting.