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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Name:
Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fewer Yellow Dog Democrats

Ballot Access News has a post on a recent special state legislative election in north Alabama, which the Republican won with 60.5 percent of the vote. The Democrats had held this seat since the 2002 election.

In the last paragraph, the piece states that in four Southern states-- Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas-- the same party has had the most seats in the legislature since the 1880s. Several of us commenters noted that the Republicans briefly had a majority in the Mississippi Senate several years ago.

Trent Hill of Baton Rouge, Louisiana wrote, "Each of these states simply have a lasting hatred for the Republican party that is based on Reconstruction."

Here is my response:

In Mississippi, most of that old hatred for the Republican Party is gone. This is evidenced by the fact that the state has not voted Democratic for president since it went narrowly for Jimmy Carter in 1976.[1] The Magnolia State has gone Republican in nine of the last 10 presidential elections, and the GOP now has both U. S. senators and all of the statewide elected officials except the attorney general.

The black vote, of course, routinely goes 90-plus percent Democratic, and that’s the big reason the Democrats have nominal control of the legislature. A candidate in a district with a sizable black population knows he would be kissing off a big chunk of the vote if he ran as a Republican.

Governor Haley Barbour usually gets his way with the legislature, especially the Senate, where the Republican lieutenant governor appoints the committees.

I haven’t yet compared the figures from 2008 and 2007, but there are usually some 300,000 more voters in the presidential race than in the previous year’s governor’s election. I’m convinced that the big majority of those additional voters support the GOP presidential nominee.[2]

I am also curious as to how many 2008 Mississippi voters simply marked their ballots for president and left the rest of the races blank.

I hope that someone reading this will be able to furnish this data.

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[1] Prior to 1976, the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Mississippi was Adlai Stevenson in 1956. The state voted in 1960 for a slate of unpledged electors, who wound up voting for Senator Harry Byrd Sr. of Virginia. In 1964, the Republican Barry Goldwater carried the state with 87.1 percent, and in 1968, the independent George Wallace of Alabama won the Magnolia State with 63.5 percent.

[2] To win a statewide race in Mississippi, a Republican usually needs at least 70 percent of the white vote. Despite the Democrat Barack Obama getting 96 percent of the black vote last November, the Republican John McCain carried the state with 56 percent of the overall vote.

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