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T_i_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 03:23 AM
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Democrats in hostile territory
Can the Democrats make gains in the heavily Republican South? A look at two Senate races, in Tennessee and Virginia

To win the Senate in November, the Democrats need to gain six seats. Tennessee is, by some measures, the sixth-most-vulnerable Republican-held one. It is open because Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, is retiring. If anyone can turn the Volunteer State blue, it is Mr Ford. His Republican foe, Bob Corker, is rich but unexciting. The national trend is towards the Democrats. But still the race is a toss-up.

Mr Ford has both youth and experience on his side. Though only 36, he has been in politics for 32 years, since he first starred in a campaign commercial for his father, Harold Ford senior, calling for lower cookie prices. He inherited his father's seat in the House of Representatives as soon as he was old enough to stand for election, and has been tipped as a future star ever since. In 2000, he was a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention. The next year, People magazine named him one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. But to win in Tennessee, he will have to convince a lot of voters he is not a liberal.


Americans' mobility makes politics unpredictable. Virginia, for example, is always assumed to be solidly conservative, but an influx of liberal high-tech and government workers is making it less so. Throw in a series of gaffes by the incumbent Republican senator, George Allen, and the race suddenly looks competitive. Mr Allen is an affable, tobacco-chewing ex-governor. Virginia has a one-term limit for governors, so for six years he has been biding his time in the Senate, plotting a presidential bid. Re-election this year was supposed to be a formality. But suddenly Mr Allen has found himself fending off charges of racism. First, he referred to a young Indian-American as macaca. He says he made the word up, but it turns out to be a racial slur in North Africa.

For the Democrats to capture the Senate, they will almost certainly have to win either or both of Tennessee and Virginia. Whether they do will have global consequences. But whether they can depends largely on local issues such as traffic congestion, and whether voters think Mr Allen is a bigot.
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 03:57 AM
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1. George Allen seems to be "affable" to some people, but...
...real obnoxious to others.
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democrank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-30-06 04:21 AM
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2. If we were truly a principled nation
Mr. Allen would be the one in "hostile territory." Some folks may have accepted Allen`s explanation of his "macaca" comment, but something he couldn`t explain away is the more telling part of his diatribe...."Welcome to America." What exactly led Allen to assume the Virginia-born, "young Indian-American" wasn`t always here?
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