John C. Davis to Discuss His New Book, 'From Blue to Red: The Rise of the GOP in Arkansas'

John C. Davis to Discuss His New Book, 'From Blue to Red: The Rise of the GOP in Arkansas'
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John C. Davis, the author of From Blue to Red: The Rise of the GOP in Arkansas, will give a book talk at the Fayetteville Public Library at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 15. The event is part of the library's U of A Press Author Spotlight Series.

From Blue to Red offers a fascinating look at how Arkansas went from being one of the country's most solidly Democratic states to one of its most ardently Republican in just a few years. On the morning of Election Day 2010, Democrats occupied three of the four Arkansas seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, both U.S. Senate seats, all state constitutional offices and decisive majorities in both chambers of the Arkansas General Assembly. By the time votes were counted that evening, it was clear that the balance of power had shifted. Within five years, Arkansas Republicans would hold all six U.S. congressional positions and every state constitutional seat and claim growing supermajorities in both state chambers. Since then, Republicans have enjoyed robust electoral success in Arkansas — formerly the last remaining state of the "Solid South" held by Democrats.

Beginning in 2020, Davis — in partnership with the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History — began conducting interviews with political office holders, journalists, party officials and academics who observed this historic shift in Arkansas politics. From Blue to Red features many of these interviews and supports Davis' rigorous yet accessible study of this partisan shift, tracking changes in voter preference at the top of the ticket in the 1960s, generational replacement in Arkansas' political power structure in the 1990s and the emergence of a more nationalized and polarized electorate in the 2000s, among other developments. 

Pearl K. Ford Dowe, coauthor of Remaking the Democratic Party: Lyndon B. Johnson as a Native-Son Presidential Candidate, wrote "From Blue to Red: The Rise of the GOP in Arkansas provides a new view on the shifting partisan behavior within the South by looking at the uniqueness of the state of Arkansas. John C. Davis uses interviews, historical overview and voting data to explore the trends that began in the 1970s but did not culminate until years after the Reagan administration. This is a story worth exploring."

Davis is the executive director of the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History and associate teaching professor of political science at the U of A. An eighth-generation Arkansan, Davis lives with his family in Fayetteville.

The presentation will last approximately one hour and be followed by an audience Q&A and a book signing. Pearl's Books will be on hand to sell books. The event is free and open to the public.

Fayetteville Public Library is located at 401 W. Mountain St.


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