Tar Heel Politics 2000

By Paul Luebke

288 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 1 map, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4756-5
    Published: November 1998
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-8932-9
    Published: November 2000
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7170-1
    Published: November 2000

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Offering an insightful analysis of North Carolina political trends and personalities, Paul Luebke moves beyond the usual labels of Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal. In Tar Heel Politics 2000, he argues that North Carolina's real political battle is between two factions of the state's political and economic elite: modernizers and traditionalists. Modernizers draw their strength from the bankers, developers, news media, and other urban interests that support growth, he says. Traditionalists, in contrast, are rooted in small-town North Carolina and fundamentalist Protestantism, tied to agriculture and low-wage industries and threatened by growth and social change. Both modernizers and traditionalists are linked with politicians who represent their interests.

An updated and revised version of Luebke's Tar Heel Politics: Myths and Realities (1990), Tar Heel Politics 2000 highlights the resurgence of the southern Republican Party for the first time in a century and discusses a number of significant changes that have occurred over the last decade. These include the institutionalization of a viable two-party system in the General Assembly, the further shift of native-born whites throughout the South into the Republican voting column, and ideological conflict in North Carolina that parallels to some extent the post-1994 battles between the Republican Congress and the Clinton White House. In addition, the book provides a detailed analysis of the political appeal of Senator Jesse Helms and draws on Luebke's insights as a member of the North Carolina State House since 1991.

About the Author

Paul Luebke (1946-2016) was both a sociologist and a state legislator. He was associate professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and he represented Durham in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 1991 to 2016.
For more information about Paul Luebke, visit the Author Page.


"The best contemporary southern state political analysis in print."--Journal of Southern History

"A useful analysis of our state’s political trends and personalities."--Our State

"Paul Luebke's Tar Heel Politics 2000 is the best book ever written about modern North Carolina politics. Whether Democrat, Republican, or independent, anyone interested in understanding competitive, two-party politics in the South should read this subtle and fascinating book."--Merle Black, Emory University

"Paul Luebke understands North Carolina politics like no one else. I can't say whether he understands them better than anyone else (it's possible), but I know that being both an academic who studies politics and a legislator who practices them gives him a unique perspective. This extraordinarily valuable account should be read by anyone who cares about the recent course and likely future of our state."--John Shelton Reed, coauthor of 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the South

"Paul Luebke has combined his experience as a politician and perspective as a scholar to produce a remarkable book. His provocative critique will change the way you think about North Carolina politics."--Ed Williams, Editorial Page Editor, Charlotte Observer