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Help me understand how Democrats are viable in Mississippi.

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Athelwulf Donating Member (342 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 02:42 AM
Original message
Help me understand how Democrats are viable in Mississippi.
I'm looking at the results of the election in Mississippi. McCain, Cochran, and Wicker all won by comfortable margins, which is no surprise to me. What I am surprised by is the fact that only one of Mississippi's four representatives is a Republican. Not only that, but all three Democrats won by comfortable margins. I knew Childers won a Republican seat earlier this year, but I assumed the rest of them must have been held by Republicans.

After seeing this, I looked on Wikipedia to find who controlled the state legislature. The Democrats control both chambers. In the Senate, it's just 27 to 25. The House is more surprising, 73 to 46.

I understand that very few states are perfectly red or blue from top to bottom, but I guess I need a Mississippian to describe to me the political landscape of the state. Isn't the Democratic Party almost universally viewed as an organization of godless, tax-and-spend liberals? Or is the state's old Solid South status still persistent? And if so, for what reasons?
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DeltaLitProf Donating Member (459 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 04:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. Some attempts at answers
Bennie Thompson is Congressman in the Delta, which historically has voted with the Democrats. Its population is diminishing faster, however, than the rest of the state's, because there are just not enough jobs here for young people.

Gene Taylor has office because he is adept at presenting himself as a populist. He has so far survived all attempts by the Religious Right to knock him out, because he is both pro-life and anti-gay and has used his incumbency to win pork projects in his district.

The Democrats in the Legislature mostly have contempt for the national Democratic party. The only difference many of them have with Republicans is that they are funded by trial lawyers and the education lobby. They stick up for the oil refineries and the big agri companies just like any Republican, believe me. Some also favor a more progressive tax code. The Black Caucus tends to vote a bit more consistently with the mainstream of the national Democratic party.

As it stands now, we have a governor in Haley Barbour who is doing his best to kill what little of a social safety net Mississippi has. He's already announced budget cuts to the tune of at least 12 percent. He would rather make these cuts than agree to any tax of tobacco or alcohol. Barbour is STILL a tobacco lobbyist even as he purports to represent the state. He will be on the short list of Republicans who'll be taking on Obama in 2012. He is shrewd and he is not as crazily Religious Right as the other candidates, so he could well get the nomination if the Republican party goes more toward economic conservatism and less toward social conservatism.
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Athelwulf Donating Member (342 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-12-08 03:43 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. So the state's Democratic Party is not like the national one.
And only a few of the elements in the national party exist in the state party. Right? Is this widely and openly acknowledged in Mississippi? Or is it just one of those weird, unexplainable things that no one thinks about, and you just have to live with it?
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