The “cracker vote” refers to native Floridian white voters, whose families have typically lived in the state for generations.
The term “cracker” originated in the American South, particularly in Florida, where it was historically used to refer to poor white settlers, often of Anglo-Saxon or Celtic descent, who lived in rural areas.
Origin of “Cracker Vote”
Over time, the term has taken on various meanings and interpretations, sometimes used pejoratively or derogatorily, but it is important to approach it with sensitivity and contextual understanding.
These voters are often associated with conservative or right-leaning ideologies, including a strong support for issues such as gun rights, immigration, and cultural preservation.
Former President Bill Clinton told CNN in late 2008 that he would travel to Florida on behalf of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign:
If we’re trying to win in Florida, it may be that — you know, they think that because of who I am and where my political base has traditionally been, they may want me to go sort of hustle up what Lawton Chiles used to call the “cracker vote” there.
Though the term “cracker” often has racial overtones, the Weekly Standard notes that Chiles used the word in a non-pejorative manner, including at least once during a 1996 campaign event with Clinton:
I know this fella from Arkansas. And I can tell you he knows how to speak cracker.
Historically, this group was a significant part of the Democratic Party’s base in the South.
However, like much of the South, this demographic has shifted significantly towards the Republican Party in recent decades.
Use of “Cracker Vote” in a sentence
- In the lead-up to the Florida gubernatorial election, both candidates made concerted efforts to appeal to the cracker vote, focusing on issues like economic development and states’ rights.
- The shift of the cracker vote from traditionally Democratic to predominantly Republican has significantly reshaped the political landscape in the Southern United States.
- While the cracker vote has been a reliable base for conservative candidates in recent years, it’s important to remember that this demographic, like any other, encompasses a diverse range of views and priorities.