Storming the State House: The Campaign That Liberated Alabama from 136 Years of Democrat Rule
by Mike Hubbard
New South Books
Summary: The Democratic Party controlled both houses of Alabama’s legislature from 1874 until 2010. State Representative Mike Hubbard tells how the Republican Party ended the Democrats’ reign in this biased – but entertaining – account.
Review: The Democratic Party once ruled over the “Solid South.” In fact, up through the 1950s, there was no Republican Party in much of the region. That began to change with the advent of the Civil Rights movement; first, the South changes its voting for the “top of the ticket” (i.e., for President and Governor). Then those changes filtered down to the rest of the ticket.
Alabama was typical of the South in this regard. The state went for Republican Barry Goldwater for President in 1964 and the GOP steadily gained strength in the decades that followed. However, the Democrats retained a tight grip on Alabama’s legislature.
Representative Mike Hubbard wanted to toss out the Democrats in 2010. His plan was to a) recruit electable candidates, b) raise a ton of money and c) hire people to crunch the numbers to find the most-vulnerable Democrats. The Democrats assisted in their own demise by getting themselves into all sorts of ethical jams.
Storming the State House is an entertaining read for political junkies. Readers find out just how “retail politics” work. Hubbard is an unabashed partisan and paints the Democrats as the “bad guys” at every turn. Though the book is entertaining, it can depress the reader by detailing a) just how much money is needed to win (even at the state level) and b) Hubbard’s narrow-minded views. (For instance, Hubbard is proud that – during his time in office – Alabama banned “marital aids” (i.e., sex toys); sorry Mike, what people do in their bedrooms should be of no concern in the legislature).
While Storming the State House reflects our divisive times, it is an entertaining look at how campaigns are won and lost.