And in both of Mr. Bush's presidential campaigns, his supporters, especially his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, have gone out of their way to prevent or discourage blacks from voting. In a particularly vile episode last year, Florida state troopers conducted a criminal investigation that zeroed in on black voter turnout efforts in Orlando. A number of people were indicted, including the mayor, Buddy Dyer, a Democrat who was then suspended from office.
In April, with the election safely out of the way, the indictments were dropped and Mr. Dyer was reinstated as mayor.
At its heart, the Southern strategy remains the same, a cynical and remarkably successful divide-and-conquer strategy that nurtures the bigotry of whites and is utterly contemptuous of blacks.
My guess is that Mr. Mehlman's apology was less about starting a stampede of blacks into the G.O.P. than about softening the party's image in the eyes of moderate white voters. If the apology was serious, it would mean the Southern strategy was kaput. And we know that's not true.
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