Why Does Mississippi Vote Republican?

This post will attempt to explain why Mississippi is a Republican stronghold today.

But before doing that, let’s describe another state – call it State X. Looking at State X is very useful for analyzing why Mississippi votes Republican. I invite you to guess what state it is.

Here is a description of State X. Demographically, State X is very rural and very white. There are no major cities in the state; one has to cross state lines and drive more than a hundred miles to find the nearest metropolitan area. Racially, the state is homogeneously white; indeed, it is the second whitest state in the entire nation.

State X has almost always been a one-party stronghold, and that party has generally been the Republican Party. The Republican Party has almost always taken this state’s electoral votes; indeed, it voted for a Republican president for more than a century. State X has only elected one Democratic senator in its entire history.

I am talking, of course, about Vermont.

Despite its history of supporting Republicans, Vermont is currently a one-party Democratic stronghold. In 2008 it gave President Barack Obama 67.5% of the vote. It currently sends Socialist Bernie Sanders to the Senate (in addition to Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, the only Democrat the Green Mountain state has ever sent to the Senate).

What does this have to do with Mississippi voting Republican?

Well, Vermont and Mississippi almost never vote the same way for president:

Link to Table of Mississippi and Vermont Voting Patterns

Indeed, there are only seven elections out of 48 total (since Mississippi became a state) that the two have supported the same candidate for president: 1820, 1840, 1872, 1972, 1980, 1984, and most recently 1988.

Oftentimes during presidential landslides, Mississippi or Vermont are the only states which refuse to go along with the rest of the country. In 1936 President Franklin D. Roosevelt won an enormous landslide, taking the highest percentage in the electoral vote since the beginning of the two-party system. The only states to go against him? Maine – and Vermont.

In 1964, on the other hand, President Lyndon B. Johnson likewise won a stunning landslide, taking the highest percentage in the popular vote since the beginning of the two-party system. This time, however, it was Mississippi that went against the president.

In 2012, barring an epic meltdown on either the Democratic or Republican nominee, Mississippi will vote Republican and Vermont will vote Democratic. This trend is likely to continue in as far as the eye can see into the future.

It seems that there is just something that drives Mississippi and Vermont different ways. Vermont is a symbol of the Yankee North; Mississippi of the Deep South. Since the founding of America, the two have been culturally and socially at odds. Sometimes this division occurs in trivial ways, such as nasty stereotypes or different voting patterns. Sometimes the division takes on much more significance, most famously in the Civil War.

So to answer the question in the post’s title, Mississippi votes Republican because Vermont votes Democratic. Or, to put it another way, Vermont votes Democratic because Mississippi votes Republican. And as long as presidential elections continue to happen, Mississippi will probably be voting the opposite way of Vermont.

--Inoljt, mypolitikal.com 


Weekly Pulse: Single-Payer Bills Pass Vermont Senate, House

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

The Vermont state Senate passed legislation to create a single-payer health insurance system, Paul Waldman reports for TAPPED. Since the state House has already passed a similar bill, all that’s left to do is reconcile the two pieces of legislation before the governor signs it into law.

Waldman stresses that there are still many details to work out, including how the system will be funded. Vermont might end up with a system like France’s where everyone has basic public insurance, which most people supplement with additional private coverage. The most important thing, Waldman argues, is that Vermont is moving to sever the link between employment and health insurance.

Roe showdown

Anti-choicers are gunning for a Roe v. Wade showdown in the Supreme Court before Obama can appoint any more justices. At the behest of an unnamed conservative group, Republican state Rep. John LaBruzzo of Louisiana has introduced a bill that would ban all abortions, even to save the woman’s life. The original bill upped the anti-choice ante by criminalizing not only doctors who perform abortions, but also women who procure them. LaBruzzo has since promised to scale the bill back to just criminalizing doctors. This is all blatantly unconstitutional, of course,. but as Kate Sheppard explains in Mother Jones, that’s precisely the point:

The Constitution, of course, is exactly what LaBruzzo is targeting. He admits his proposal is intended as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional right to privacy included the right to abortions in some circumstances. LaBruzzo says he’d like his bill to become law and “immediately go to court,” and he told a local paper that an unnamed conservative religious group asked him to propose the law for exactly that purpose.

Drug pushers in your living room

Martha Rosenberg poses a provocative question at AlterNet: Does anyone remember a time before “Ask Your Doctor” ads overran the airwaves, Internet, buses, billboards, and seemingly every other medium? Direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising has become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget that it was illegal until the late ’90s. In the days before DTC, drug advertising was limited to medical journals, prescription pads, golf towels, and pill-shaped stress balls distributed in doctors’ offices–which makes sense. The whole point of making a drug prescription-only is to put the decision-making power in the hands of doctors. Now, drug companies advertise to consumers for the same reason that food companies advertise to children. It’s called “pester power.”

DTC drug ads encourage consumers to self-diagnose based on vague and sometimes nearly universal symptoms like poor sleep, daytime drowsiness, anxiety, and depression. Once consumers are convinced they’re suffering from industry-hyped constructs like “erectile dysfunction” and “premenstrual dysphoric disorder,” they’re going to badger their doctors for prescriptions.

That’s not to say that these terms don’t encompass legitimate health problems, but rather that DTC markets products in such vague terms that a lot of healthy people are sure to be clamoring for drugs they don’t need. Typically, neither the patient nor the doctor is paying the full cost of the drug, so patients are more likely to ask and doctors have little incentive to say no.

Greenwashing air fresheners

A reader seeks the counsel of Grist’s earthy advice columnist Umbra on the issue of air fresheners. Some of these odor-concealing aerosols are touting themselves as green for adopting all-natural propellants. Does that make them healthier, or greener? Only marginally, says Umbra. Air fresheners still contain formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, and other questionable chemicals.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.



Leaving MyDD

I have accepted a campaign-style job that may or may not last beyond the midterms. This position, as is the norm for such things, does not permit blogging. I hope/plan to return to MyDD when I can but whether that’s as soon as November or not until I go back to grad school, I do not know.

Thanks to Jerome for allowing me this wonderful opportunity, first under the name “Transplanted Texan” as a Biden volunteer in 2007, then as a weekend blogger in 2008, and finally as a routine front-pager for the past 12 months. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to engage in the political process this way, and to interact with the motivated Netroots and MyDD community.

I’ve spent the last four days driving across the continent, from Coeur d’Alene, ID to Washington, DC with stops in Montana, Minnesota, and Ohio. This really is a remarkable country we live in. The land formations, natural resources, and people – we are truly blessed. Let’s appreciate what we’ve been given, and let’s not screw it up. Not this November or ever.

I’ll miss MyDD. If you’ll miss me, or just want to express your appreciation for my posts on Glenn Beck, Katrina recovery, or clean energy, please say so with a donation to our ActBlue candidates. No, I’m not so arrogant as to think anyone cares that much about my posts – I just want to be sure to get in one last plug for competitive progressives like Alan Grayson, Matt Dunne, Jack Conway, and Bill White! (Matt, btw, just got his second newspaper endorsement in a competitive primary for an open governorship, and aired his first TV ad this week.)

Anyways, God bless, good luck, and I look forward to returning down the line.

Momentum in Open Race for VT-Gov

By now you know I've pushing progressive candidate Matt Dunne for the open Vermont governorship. Vermont hasn't had a progressive Governor since Howard Dean, and Matt's got the right background to win this tough election and the right ideas to govern.

His campaign has had some major momentum this week. First, with the first newspaper endorsement of the cycle, the Addison County Independent has embraced Matt Dunne:

Matt Dunne, however, is the candidate at the crossroads of this new generation. He gets it, understands its power and the opportunities waiting to be tapped, can articulate what is both practical and promising, and can set the state on a path to seize that new energy.

While we have no doubt that others could lead the state well, we think Dunne’s unique background as a community developer for Google, his leadership under President Clinton with Ameri-Corps, his family connection to Vermont’s dairy farming will provide a new kind of leadership style that will forge alliances — not for political purposes (a benefit of not being part of the current political leadership) — but for the betterment of the state. Finally, of all the candidates, his vision and intuition perfectly match the times....

We not only think he can do the job, he’s the candidate to help the state seize the day for the next decade and for our sons’ and daughters’ futures. Vote Matt Dunne for governor in the upcoming Democratic primary.

The endorsement follows the campaign's announcement that they met the fundraising goals they'd set for a drive that ended Tuesday night. This means they'll be on television with their first ad soon.

The primary is just a couple weeks away, and absentee ballots are already out. With a low turnout expected, GOTV and final fundraising will make the difference. Please help Matt out at ActBlue.

Matt also used this week to unveil a detailed economic plan for Vermont.

Climate Hero McKibben on the Midterms

Bill McKibben knows a thing or two about overwhelming opposition.

McKibben is a scholar-in-residence at Vermont's Middlebury College (my first choice until they wait listed me!) and the author of the first book about climate change for a general audience, 1989's The End of Nature. In 2006, McKibben organized the largest protest against climate change in American history, and was apalled to learn that it was the largest in American history. All it was was him getting on the phone to call some friends, then getting together to walk across the state. THAT was the largest in history? So he launched 350.org, which has organized thousands of rallies in hundreds of countries in just two years, including 5,200 actions on just one organized day in 2009.

One electoral race McKibben has gotten involved with this cycle is VT-Gov. McKibben has endorsed Google executive and former state senator Matt Dunne, and climate isn't even the central tenant of Matt's campaign (that would be jobs). Matt is currently in the middle of a massive fundraising drive, and needs just $34,855 more by Tuesday night to air his first TV ads. We need those ads - Vermont hasn't had a progressive Governor since Howard Dean.

McKibben is an international figure now, but cares enough about Matt's campaign - even though he'd never Matt before - to attend small house parties in the traditional New England style. Here's a video he recorded at such a party urging folks to support Matt so he can raise "enough money to be able to compete with the reeeeally rich guys... That doesn't require tons of money; it does require everybody doing their part."

Please watch, then donate at MyDD's ActBlue page. No, I'm not employed by the Dunne campaign - in fact, I'm unemployed, and yet I'm still donating to Matt. I believe in his message just that much. Below the fold, McKibben's original endorsement, a much higher-quality video.

There's more...


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