ATLANTA — For decades, Southerners put a firm imprint on national politics from both sides of the aisle, holding the White House for 25 of the past 50 years and producing a legion of Capitol Hill giants during the 20th century.
But that kind of obvious power has waned as Democrats and Republicans in the region navigate the consequences of tidal shifts in demographics, migration, and party identity.
This is the second consecutive presidential election without a candidate from the Deep South on either major party ticket.
That has happened in back-to-back elections only once, 1968 and 1972, since Franklin Roosevelt, a New Yorker, won four consecutive elections with overwhelming support across what was then Democrats’ solid South.
Besides the national dearth, the South’s congressional power players are either aging icons — black Democrats John Lewis of Georgia and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina — or hail from the region’s periphery — Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House GOP leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.
This is all new for a proud region that produced Presidents George W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, Bill Clinton of Arkansas, and Jimmy Carter of Georgia.
Newt Gingrich of Georgia drove the 1994 Republican resurrection in the House, and Tom DeLay of Texas extended it. Trent Lott of Mississippi led Republicans in the Senate. Lott’s fellow Mississippian, Haley Barbour, helped fuel a GOP rise as national party chairman.
Elected officials, party leaders, and campaign strategists on both sides cite the old rule that politics is cyclical and say the table is set for their return.
For Democrats, the dry spell, as much as anything, is rooted in successive generations of white voters abandoning the party in federal elections and shifting the balance of power in state houses. There are simply fewer Democrats to identify as prospective national players.
For Republicans, a more complex dynamic is at play. Gingrich and Lott were well-positioned to become national players when Republicans gained majorities. But now that wave of Southern GOP leadership is mostly off the stage.
The party does have a deep Southern bench, with governors like Nikki Haley, 40, of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal, 41, of Louisiana. - ASSOCIATED PRESS
Spy agencies say they monitored US phone calls
WASHINGTON — US intelligence agencies have mistakenly monitored the phone calls and e-mails of citizens without warrants and will not reveal how many times it has happened, an intelligence official said Tuesday.
The incidents were not intentional and occurred as the agencies conducted surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists, Robert Litt, general counsel for National Intelligence Director James Clapper, told reporters.
‘‘The incidents that have occurred have been unintentional, accidental and not reflective of any intent to evade the statute,’’ Litt said.
The Obama administration, seeking to renew a law providing authority to conduct electronic surveillance, is facing resistance from some lawmakers over concern that the communications of Americans have been monitored. The 2008 law updated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to provide a legal framework for warrantless wiretapping the government began after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The law expires in December, and the House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill that would reauthorize it until the end of 2017. - BLOOMBERG NEWS
Mitt Romney addresses National Guard
RENO — Facing criticism for failing to mention US troops or the Afghan war effort in his speech at the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney spoke before National Guard members here Tuesday and expressed his gratitude for the armed
‘‘The attack on our homeland and citizens on Sept. 11, 2001, reminds us that the mission of the Guard is ever more critical, and ever more deserving of our support and honor,’’ Romney told the troops. - ASSOCIATED PRESS