The Southern Strategy is traditionally understood as a Goldwater and Nixon-era effort by the Republican Party to win over disaffected white voters in the Democratic stronghold of the American South. To realign these voters with the GOP, the party abandoned its past support for civil rights and used racially coded language to capitalize on southern white racial angst. However, that decision was but one in a series of decisions the GOP made not just on race, but on feminism and religion as well, in what Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields call the "Long Southern Strategy."
In the wake of Second-Wave Feminism, the GOP dropped the Equal Rights Amendment from its platform and promoted traditional gender roles in an effort to appeal to anti-feminist white southerners. And when the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention became increasingly fundamentalist and politically active, the GOP tied its fate to the Christian Right.
Republicans embodied southern white culture by emphasizing an "us vs. them" outlook, preaching absolutes, accusing the media of bias, prioritizing identity over the economy, encouraging defensiveness, and championing a politics of retribution. In doing so, the GOP nationalized southern white identity, rebranded itself to the country at large, and fundamentally altered the vision and tone of American politics.