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   Breaking the southern mould

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11/8/2006 10:55 am

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Entered 11/8/2006, Updated 11/8/2006

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The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives elected in 2006 will be a historic turning point. For the first time since the early 1950s the majority party in the House will be the minority party in the south. The 2006 revolution may be the Democrats' answer to the 1994 election, which completed the south's Republican realignment. Many of the surviving Republicans in the north-east are defending very narrow majorities and their incumbents may decide to call it a day now that the party is in the minority - opening up more seats for the Democrats in 2008 just as happened in reverse in the south in 1994-96. As in Presidential elections, two solid blocs of Democrat blue in the north-east and Republican red in the south will face each other. The contested areas will be elsewhere, in the Mountain west, the south-west and the upper mid-west. 2006 may therefore be the beginning of the end of the American political world's obeisance to the south, which after all is only one region among several in the country. It is now, in general, loyal to any Republican no matter how extreme or unsatisfactory (even in borderland Virginia, George Allen is in recount territory for the Senate seat). I have never understood why "Massachusetts liberal" seems to be an acceptable term of abuse while "Texas conservative" (which to me summons up an image of cronyism, arrogance and being bought by big business interests) is not. If the new House (and the still-to-be decided Senate) owe the south no favours, that really will be a radical change in the way politics is done.


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