Wednesday, October 11, 2006


The South Ain't Risin'...

Chris Bowers at MyDD has an intersting post. While the main point is on the liberal, uh, I mean, "progressive" leap created by a Democratic House, his history lesson on geography and politics holds interest for more than just the partisan reader:

One thing few people ever both to point out about the 1994 Republican takeover of the House of Representatives is that "the South" never lost control. Democrats still have a majority of non-southern seats in the House of Representatives, just as we had before the 1994 election. Although it happened to little fanfare, Democrats re-took their non-southern majority in the elections of 1998, and have never lost it since (although it was tied from January of 2003 until February of 2004). However, when the south switched to majority Republican control in 1994, Republicans took over Congress. Whatever transfer of power took place between the two parties in 1994, the majority of the south has remained in unbroken control of the House of Representatives since 1955, the year after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision by the Supreme Court.

If Democrats win control of the House of Representatives in this election, there is basically no way that they will control a majority of southern seats. While Democrats need fifteen seats to win a majority in the house, they actually need seventeen seats to win a majority of congressional districts in the south. The Cook Political Report only lists 11 southern seats among the top 59 Democratic targets, meaning that in order to win back majority of the south this year, Democrats will need to pick up something like 75 or 100 seats. That just isn't going to happen. Thus, if Democrats win control of the house, it would mark the first time in the post-civil rights era that a party has built a majority coalition in the House without a majority of the south.

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