Strange and Wonderful Things Are Afoot

That is the First Congressional District of Mississippi

So what, you might ask? What do those 22 counties have to do with me?

Interesting questions.

As you probably know, MS-01 held a special election last night to replace former Rep. Roger Wicker, who became a US Senator following Trent Lott’s resignation (so he could spend more time with his hairpieces). 

Wicker was a Republican, in a district that went62-37 Bush in 2004. Wicker himself won reelection in 2006, despite the huge wave of Democratic wins in the House, by 66-34. The Republican douchebag who ran for his vacant seat is a guy by the name of Greg Davis. Democrat Travis Childers opposed him. 

AndChilders won. By54-46% of the vote

Uh, Wow. Mississippi now hasthree (of four) US Representatives who are Democrats.

And the Republicans didn’t roll over, either. They were trying out their strategies for the fall–tying Childers to Obama (I don’t think the two have ever met, Obama didn’t endorse Childers’ campaign, and, uh, this wouldn’t be an appeal to racists, would it?), mentioning Jeremiah Wright, as if he had fuck-all to do with anything, and even bringing in Dick “Dick” Cheney to stump for Davis.

Didn’t work. Didn’t work at all. 

106,590 people voted in this election–and it will only fill the seat until the end of the year. Now, theCensus Bureau tells me that, as of 2006, 734,271 people lived in the counties in that Congressional district. Overall, 26.1% of the population of Mississippi is over 18, and thus nominally eligible to vote (this of course excludes people in jails, prisons, or convicted felons who have served their terms, as they are excluded from voting in that state). I’m gonna assume, and I think it’s reasonable to do so, that the over-18 percentage for MS-01 is about the same as the rest of the state. Thus, we have 542,626 people over 18 in that district. And about twenty percent turned out for a special election runoff. That’s pretty good, especially considering that, nationwide, only about two-thirds of eligible voters are registered. In Mississippi, the fraction of eligible voters who are registered is even smaller, but we’ll be conservative here and assume that 67% of those old enough to vote in this district are registered. That gives 363,560 voters. And the turnout of registered voters under these assumptions would be 29%. And that’s a pretty damn amazing turnout for a runoff in a special election that only matters until the end of this year.

This, my fellow First Drafticans, is bad, bad, BAD news for the Republicans come November. Which means that it’s great news for the non-evil segment of the population.

The Republicans are FUCKED. They’re gettin’ fourteen-and-a-half with no lube.

This is northeastern Mississippi we’re talking about here. I looked at the county-by-county demographics (yes, I’m that much of a dork), did some calculating, and this district is, overall, 70.85% white. In the entire district, only one county is majority black–Clay county, where 56.8% of the people are African-American. If the GOP can’t win in rural Mississippi, among a 71% white population, even when making explicitly racist appeals, they are so fucked they’re not gonna know which end is up this November.

They got nothin’. Check out this bit, from the CNN article linked somewhere above:

While Childers attacked Davis for supporting trade deals the
Democrat blamed for costing Mississippi jobs and for raising taxes as
fees as mayor, the National Republican Congressional Committee
sponsored a television ad tying Childers to Obama and the Democrats’
2004 presidential nominee, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

In the ad, Childers is shown next to Kerry and Obama while the Illinois
senator’s ranking from the National Journal as the most liberal senator
is noted.

In an ad paid for by Davis, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is shown and a
narrator chastises Childers for not publicly denouncing the pastor’s
controversial remarks. That ad also claimed Obama had endorsed Childers.

See? Nothin’. Fuck ’em. Childers is talking about shit that matters to people–jobs. How to eat. I’m not terribly happy with his anti-tax rhetoric (he’s not going to be a darling of us lefties, that’s for sure, but that’s a battle for another day), but he’s at least talking about actual policies that impact people’s lives. The Republicans, on the other hand, employed this “strategy:”


And that’s what they’ve got for November. If it ain’t working in Mississippi, people, it ain’t gonna play anywhere else.

I was born in Mississippi. I lived in Lowndes County, part of MS-01, for a couple of years when I was in high school. My mother’s mother grew up in Clay county, picking cotton during the Depression when she should have been in school. So this isn’t just an exercise in number-crunching for me. I really am amazed that the GOP is losing its grip on the rural, white South. 

And it just makes my fucking day. If you see me later, smiling, singing to myself, and walking down the sunny side of the street, you’ll know why.

9 thoughts on “Strange and Wonderful Things Are Afoot

  1. That’s awesome!!! Thanks for all the work! And: Everybody DRINK! There were a few utterings of “Rural” in the post!!! 🙂

  2. Just curious, what were the demographics of those
    that voted? I recognize that there is only one
    majority black county but that is a fairly meaninless
    number. Of the 106k that voted, what were the
    racial splits?

  3. Why does so much of the US disenfranchise people who have been in prison and have served their sentences out? Aren’t they supposed to be square with the house again? (Considering how many people you folks incarcerate, this seems to me to be a great way to rot your social contract from the inside out, since people with no stake in society — can’t vote, lots of restricted rights, etc. — aren’t too concerned about what happens to it.)
    For what it’s worth, in Canada you are allowed to vote when you arein jail.

  4. Why does so much of the US disenfranchise people who have been in prison and have served their sentences out?
    A: Because they are black. Duh.
    And yes, he can.

  5. The whole disenfranchisement of convicts, even after time served, was a way to suppress black voters during and after Reconstruction.
    The process is far older, of course, but its use was expanded following the Civil War as a way to keep black people (and certain categories of poor whites) from exercising their rights to vote.
    Since you couldn’t just bar people from voting based solely on skin color, the authorities started making arrests for vagrancy and other rarely-enforced laws. The Southern states, in particular, altered disenfranchisement laws so that they would have the greatest impact on black voters. And if you think this shit is just a relic of the past, I refer you to the state of Florida in the year 2000.
    So, even though the idea of felon disenfranchisement is far older than America, we combined that notion with our own racist bullshit to form something uniquely American. And this is the shit they don’t teach you in history classes at school.

  6. Good post. I think the ReThugs, the more frightened they become, will continue to dig deeper holes for themselves on every issue. It makes me happy.

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