Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More on Democrats' vulnerability in the rural South

The New York Times has run several stories in the past few days about southern Democrats' struggles in U.S. Congressional and Senate races this fall. Here's one focusing on Senator Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas, and here's one focusing more on race, which I blogged about a few days ago. The most recent headline is "Democrats Grip on the South Continues to Slip," and in it journalist Jeff Zeleny's analysis attends briefly to the rural-urban axis. He writes:
The Southern white Democrat, long on the endangered list, is at risk of being pushed one step closer to extinction.

From Virginia to Florida and South Carolina to Texas, nearly two dozen Democratic seats are susceptible to a potential Republican surge in Congressional races on Election Day, leaving the party facing a situation where its only safe presence in the South is in urban and predominantly black districts.

Zeleny briefly profiles a number of Congressional races in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, and he notes the campaign rhetoric Democrats are using to separate themselves from President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. One Democrat candidate, Roy Herron, who is seeking the open seat in Tennessee's Sixth District, "said he was trying to persuade people that he is still 'a Tennessee Democrat, a conservative.'" Zeleny's report indicates that Herron plays the rural card in how he presents himself as a "truck-driving, shotgun shooting, Bible reading, gospel preaching, crime-fighting, family-loving country boy.”

Other posts, from 2008, about politics in the rural South include this, this, and this.

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