Why Does Mississippi Vote Republican? (Video)

Alexandra Pelosi wrote on Real Time with Bill Maher:

Why is it that the poorest states in America are red states? It seems the poorer the state, the more Republican it is. The Census Bureau’s 2011 Statistical Abstract shows the GOP finds their strongest support in places where poverty and median household income are the worst. Case in point: Mississippi ranks dead last economically, with the lowest per capita income in the country, yet according to Gallup, Mississippi is the most conservative state in the union. It ranks first in the number of people living below the poverty line: 21.9 percent of Mississippi residents live below the poverty level. Dominated by conservative politicians, Mississippi has the lowest tax burden in the nation but ranks fourth in per capita federal aid. Mississippi is also a leader of the GOP effort to gut Medicaid but ranks first in the percentage of its Medicaid program that is funded by federal matching funds.

In a state that wants to repeal “Obamacare,” Mississippi leads the nation in a number of health care problems. It has the highest rate of heart disease and the second highest rate of diabetes in the country. Mississippi’s cardiovascular disease mortality rate is the highest in the nation. Some counties in Mississippi rank among third world countries when it comes to life expectancy-they have the shortest life expectancies in the nation and many Mississippi residents suffer from a lack of health care access (some counties don’t even have hospitals). It is ironic that the states suing to prevent the implementation of the Affordable Care Act are the ones whose residents need it most. Still, Republicans poll best in places where healthcare is worst …

Read More: Real Time with Bill Maher

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  • http://mattpacey.com Matthew Arnold Pacey

    *sigh.*
     

  • rtb61

    “STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES” what more needs to be said.

    • samthor

      It’s possible. With poor education there’s a better opportunity to manipulate people. Manipulation keeps them down in spite of their best interest. 

      • Eric_D_Read

        Actually, there is quite a bit of evidence that propaganda is MORE effective with educated people.
        Read #3 in the link: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Nancy_Snow/10ThingsNeedKnowPropaganda.html

  • Nunzio X

    Watch IDIOCRACY and understand that folks like those shown in the video reproduce at rates far higher than, say, someone who buys groceries at Whole Foods and reads the New York Times.

    And their offspring are not likely to grow up to be people who buy groceries at Whole Foods or read the NYT, nor are they likely to abandon their (unbelievably blind) “faith” or suddenly realize that, hey: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich ARE NOT “like us.”

    When you value “family” above everything else, and your family is a bunch of ignorant fucking rednecks, you kind of deserve the cosmic ass-whipping you’ve been getting.

  • Deep South

    Answer: Social issues.

    • Deep South

      If the Democratic Party backed off on their extreme pro-choice and anti-gun dogma, it would obliterate the Republican Party. Take a look at Democratic and liberal politicians that have maintained office in typically conservative areas: they’re often pro-life, and almost always pro-gun. Having these economic and fiscal rightists as political representatives is mostly a side effect of voting for cultural, moral, and social conservatives.

      . . . just my $0.02 from growing up in the Deep South and Appalachia.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        I might could possibly buy your stance on firearms.  But the rest of that needs a deep re-think on your part.

        I’m not a gun owner myself, but I have plenty of friends that are.  I know lots of regular hunters who take gun safety seriously and they run both ends of the partisan divide.

        I don’t take the self-defense argument seriously, though.  In this day and age, given current weapons and surveillance technologies, lone individuals have zero practical chance to effectively function as checks on coercive state power like police and armed forces.  And lamentably, as history proves time and time again, even the most skilled, thoroughly trained professional marksmen have a pretty poor record of deterring crime.  It’s an undeniable statistical fact that gun owners and their families are far more likely to die or sustain serious injury by accident at their own hands than those of a dangerous criminal.

        On the other hand you’re even more likely to die by mishap in the backyard pool, or through collision with a drunk driver.  People need to stop being afraid of their shadows and just get on the with messy business of living.  No way in hell you’re gonna ban swimming pools or alcohol.  Been-there-done-that.  Don’t work.

        But that “extreme pro-choice” canard is a stupid red herring.  Frankly, it’s every bit as “Nanny State” as the anti-gun thing Red Staters keep sh*tting themselves about.  The painful decision as to whether or not an individual is capable of responsibly discharging her/his duties as a parent, even as a temporary, pre-adoptive caretaker, is no G*ddamn business of the state or some hypocrytical closeted homosexual minister of the Southern Baptist convention.

        I really have to say that it completely mystifies me how anyone could view the notion of “extreme pro-choice” as anything but an oxymoron.  That’s like saying “doctrinaire anti-authoritarian”.

        I understand there are deep and important cultural differences among the states.  But in a true federal democracy, wouldn’t that be reflected in the un-coerced choices of individuals rather than draconian state mandates?  Red state oligarchs apparently feel the need to take that choice out of the individual’s hands.

        • UselessJunk

          > On the other hand you’re even more likely to die by mishap in the backyard pool

          Ah, statistics.  The best argument ever for rationalizing fascism. 

          “Well, only 10% of people use their freedom responsibly, so it’s best taken away.”

          > People need to stop being afraid of their shadows and just get on the with messy business of living.

          Like you are afraid of people owning guns?

          > It’s an undeniable statistical fact that gun owners and their families
          are far more likely to die or sustain serious injury by accident at
          their own hands than those of a dangerous criminal.

          Then I guess you have nothing to worry about either if other people own guns.

          So sick of statistical bureaucratic authoritarians.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Sorry, but could you try boiling that down into a cogent argument?

            Nothing I wrote could reasonably be construed as implying that I fear gun owners.

            Or was your laughable incoherent screed just a knee-jerk reaction without you actually reading what I’d written?

          • VaudeVillain

             Liam, it’s a known fact that the only reason for a person to not own guns is that they live in paralyzing fear of them. Clearly you hate liberty and freedom, because you are a communist who doesn’t own any guns.

            Go out and drop several thousand dollars on building a personal armory with which to defend your backyard bunker/panic room (you DO have one of those at least, right?) then dedicate a few hundred hours to practicing how to defend yourself from the roving gangs of criminals/black people/Mexicans/gays, and then you’ll be ready to give advice on how NOT to do ridiculous things based on irrational fears. It’s the American Way.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Listen, I don’t own guns because that’s not my schtick.  I have friends who love that stuff, and that’s fine.  I know them and trust their judgment.  I fully appreciate the fact of diffr’nt strokes for diffr’nt folks.

            That’s their constitutional right.But it’s also my constitutional right NOT to own a gun myself.  I don’t want any draconian government mandates telling me that I MUST spend my money on Thousands of $$$’s of weaponry, ammunition and training.

          • VaudeVillain

            I was being a wee bit sarcastic.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Gotchya now.  Sorry.

            You know it really can be difficult to detect sacrasm sometimes on the interwebs, given the variable quality of some of the other responses.

          • Lmnop_nis

            You’re a Communist. A Communist hippie. A Communist hippie who needs a haircut.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            But you’re cool with the beard?

          • Eric_D_Read

            “Sometimes we have to save people from themselves” is the mating call of the 21st century fascist.

        • Deep South

          I was using extreme as in the strongest support, not as in extremist or deviant. I think it only sounds like an oxymoron since we use the PC term “pro-choice” when we’re really talking about abortion rights.
          At any rate, I was just answering the question based on my experience (which is certainly more than New Yorker Maher and San Franciscan Pelosi), not my political views.

        • Olivagus

          You must be one of those dudes that live in a gated community. Watch the news asshole!

      • Gary Z

         Really?  Because the only law concerning guns Obama has passed actually loosened restrictions, yet somehow he is still and evil liberal that wants to take our guns away.

        • Deep South

          True, but very few of us know that. They do know he’s a Democrat, and the Democratic Party officially and strongly supports gun control.

          They also know he’s half black. We all know electing Obama didn’t end racism and, as horrible as it is, race still is a factor with too many Southerners. For examples, check the subtext of what Republican candidates say while they’re down there.

  • Eric_D_Read

    This a big part of the reason.
    “The corporate oligarchs and neocon goons who control the Republican Party obviously have financial and political interests which are not aligned with those of the white working classes. But they also do not demonize or condescend to peckerwoods who drive pickups and go fishing. It isn’t that Republican ideas are great for the lunchpailetariat or anyone else, but their lack of seething hostility makes them preferable to Democrats.”

    “On the rare occasion when Democrats attempt to communicate with their white Neanderthal brethren, it is broadcast on a carrier wave of pure condescension. The left has a sort of collective Tourette syndrome involving frequent mention of sexism, racism, and gay rights. These subjects are meaningless to hourly laborers who lack the leisure time to nurse nihilistic resentments against Western Civilization.”

    “Lefties should only be confused about the white proles who still vote for them. The left’s “Why don’t you loooove me anymore?” routine with the white working class reminds me of a friend’s crazy-ex-girlfriend story. She cheated on him, lit his car on fire, and gave him the clap. She used to get drunk and scream into his answering machine at 4AM. Then she wondered why he never called back.”

    http://takimag.com/article/why_democrats_lost_the_redneck_vote_scott_locklin/print#ixzz1ov7zeeSb

    • UselessJunk

      Dead on.  Your explanations are so obvious yet we won’t hear them propagated in the mainstream.  Might bring people together – wouldn’t want that.

      • Eric_D_Read

        Thanks. They’re actually Scott Locklin’s words. The full article is a great read. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobbie-Jean-Pentecost/100000391760333 Bobbie Jean Pentecost

          In other words, you’re too stupid to think for yourself so you parrot someone else. Genius. 

          • Eric_D_Read

            I quoted someone else whose views I thought were relevant and shared a link. That sort of thing happens once in a while when people decide to share and interconnect information with each other online.

            That’s why it’s called the Web or the Net, Sugar Tits. Didn’t you get the IM?

          • godozo

            Sometimes other folks come up with better ways of expressing stuff than you may do. So you quote them.

            Anything wrong with that?

  • Electrostatt

    What’s the Matter with Kansas ?, a great book by historian Thomas Frank clearly outlines how neocon conservative Cristo-fascists will march in lock step with republicans regardless if they vote against their self interest, which they have for the past 40 years.
     
    Kansas, once a bastion of liberal progressive populism has turned 180° like the rest of the bible belt into a cadre of simpleton non rational blowholes for corrupt deviant politicians that participated in an orgy of profligate spending ransacking the national treasury during the Bush era.
     
    Reagan’s Voodoo trickle down economics surely worked, but in reverse. All bona fide econometric models have broadly proven that his monetary policies never achieved the elicited projections, where in fact it became a platform for the systematic destruction of the middle class by delivering Stagflation and an explosion in the national debt;   One intended consequence was making for profit corporations
    the beneficiaries of an unregulated market that the Supreme court now has enshrined as a capable voting entity.  Part two, is now set in place with the takeover of one of the legislative chambers and an involution is afoot to a darker Tea Party mythical Shangri La.
     
    They want small government except when it relates to religion, guns, abortion and gays. Anyone that is willing to vote for a conservative-republican surely has Fix News/Farce News aka Fox News plugged up their sphincter. They are masters at manipulating their ignorant base with fear and hatred into a debased merriment of hope.
     
    As an independent white southerner, do I yearn for the Clinton years, he thought us what a true fiscal conservative is all about and which President Obama is trying to replicate under a hostile political medium.  Clinton, a pragmatist that put his social agenda secondary to the Keynesian economic priorities befitting of a great nation, unleashed economic forces creating unprecedented wealth in unison with a socially sustainable market for all classes to benefit from, and subsequently destroyed by Republicans… but I guess it always takes a Democrat to fix the aftermath of a Republican.
     
    Lets’ see if the Rovian-Norquist abstraction or the deviceful sycophant puppet-master entertainers like Rush, Beck or the likes of Hannity will direct their myopic devotees to surely reinstate a cesspool of corruption and a unregulated authoritarian-nationalist theocracy.
    Like my friend Tony cites, Kristallnacht revisited through a second coming of indentured servitude that these false prophets and demi-gods now controlling the reigns of power will instill on the citizenry in their misery of minimum wage surrender.
     
    Their “Pledge with America” manifesto is a regurgitation of Gingrich’s doctrine, Contract with America, which in my opinion is code for the following 14 points of Republican Fascism:
     
    1- Powerful and continuing nationalism
    2- Disdain for the recognition of human rights
    3- identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
    4- Supremacy of the military
    5- Rampant sexism
    6- controlled mass media
    7- Obsession with national security
    8- Religion and government are intertwined
    9- Corporate power is protected
    10- Labor power is suppressed
    11- Disdain for intellectuals and the arts
    12- Obsession with crime and punishment
    13- rampant cronyism and corruption
    14- Fraudulent elections
     
    Perhaps it’s an ominous sign for them to have taken control of the House of Representatives, they’ve had two years to show their failed obstructionist “magic” again that will help re-elect President Obama a bright and compassionate 1/2 white man from Kansas ! 
    My opinion as a conscious self-employed Independent.

  • Electrostatt

    What’s the Matter with Kansas ?, a great book by historian Thomas Frank clearly outlines how neocon conservative Cristo-fascists will march in lock step with republicans regardless if they vote against their self interest, which they have for the past 40 years.  Kansas, once a bastion of liberal progressive populism has turned 180° like the rest of the bible belt into a cadre of simpleton non rational blowholes for corrupt deviant politicians that participated in an orgy of profligate spending ransacking the national treasury during the Bush era.  Reagan’s Voodoo trickle down economics surely worked, but in reverse. All bona fide econometric models have broadly proven that his monetary policies never achieved the elicited projections, where in fact it became a platform for the systematic destruction of the middle class by delivering Stagflation and an explosion in the national debt;   One intended consequence was making for profit corporationsthe beneficiaries of an unregulated market that the Supreme court now has enshrined as a capable voting entity.  Part two, is now set in place with the takeover of one of the legislative chambers and an involution is afoot to a darker Tea Party mythical Shangri La. They want small government except when it relates to religion, guns, abortion and gays. Anyone that is willing to vote for a conservative-republican surely has Fix News/Farce News aka Fox News plugged up their sphincter. They are masters at manipulating their ignorant base with fear and hatred into a debased merriment of hope. As an independent white southerner, do I yearn for the Clinton years, he thought us what a true fiscal conservative is all about and which President Obama is trying to replicate under a hostile political medium.  Clinton, a pragmatist that put his social agenda secondary to the Keynesian economic priorities befitting of a great nation, unleashed economic forces creating unprecedented wealth in unison with a socially sustainable market for all classes to benefit from, and subsequently destroyed by Republicans… but I guess it always takes a Democrat to fix the aftermath of a Republican. Lets’ see if the Rovian-Norquist abstraction or the deviceful sycophant puppet-master entertainers like Rush, Beck or the likes of Hannity will direct their myopic devotees to surely reinstate a cesspool of corruption and a unregulated authoritarian-nationalist theocracy.Like my friend Tony cites, Kristallnacht revisited through a second coming of indentured servitude that these false prophets and demi-gods now controlling the reigns of power will instill on the citizenry in their misery of minimum wage surrender. Their “Pledge with America” manifesto is a regurgitation of Gingrich’s doctrine, Contract with America, which in my opinion is code for the following 14 points of Republican Fascism: 1- Powerful and continuing nationalism2- Disdain for the recognition of human rights3- identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause4- Supremacy of the military5- Rampant sexism6- controlled mass media7- Obsession with national security8- Religion and government are intertwined9- Corporate power is protected10- Labor power is suppressed11- Disdain for intellectuals and the arts12- Obsession with crime and punishment13- rampant cronyism and corruption14- Fraudulent elections Perhaps it’s an ominous sign for them to have taken control of the House of Representatives, they’ve had two years to show their failed obstructionist “magic” again that will help re-elect President Obama a bright and compassionate 1/2 white man from Kansas !  My opinion as a conscious self-employed Independent.

  • Apathesis

    Elitism.  It really divides this country.  Thank you, Eric_D_Read for posting that article.  My father is a liberal, and the way he condescends to people he thinks are beneath him is infuriating.  Blue collar workers are regarded as wastes of life by him.

  • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

    I’m a Mississippian, and I’ve thought about this a great bit over the years. Most of it can be chalked up to grinding poverty, which in turn leads to poor education and minimal infrastructure and social services. People are ill-educated, broke and sick. They depend on their local church leaders as a source for authority and community, and in the Deep South these churches are overwhelmingly Southern Baptist – a deeply conservative sect of evangelical Christianity. These factors keep things moving very slowly down here – if at all. Exacerbating the resistance to progress and social change is what many southerners perceive as constant ridicule and condescension from mainstream media and popular culture. Sometimes, this is well-deserved. A lot of times, even. But when you have people telling you that you’re innately inferior or stupid – like it’s in your blood somehow simply based on where you live – and treating you like a laughingstock on the national stage, then you’re not likely to embrace what the same people are selling, ideologically speaking – even if it’s going to be good for you in the long-run. A lot of Southerners feel like they’re being condescended to by the press and the culture at large, and I think that it makes them even more determined to rebel. Republicans play to this crap, especially with the “traditional values” “reg’lar folk” images that they peddle. 

    People like Bill Maher just don’t help the problem, and they know it. I assure you that this is about as representative a selection of Mississippi as it would be if Sean Hannity’s crew went to San Francisco for a taping. In a way, I don’t blame people for yukking it up at the poor and uneducated and then dismissing their problems as being something endemic to their being. There’s nothing like having someone else to look down on, and if you can dehumanize them in the process then the more the better.

    I’m in no way defending the damnable record that the state has on civil rights or the self-defeating way that its people vote. I’m only attempting to say that dismissing the complicated problems that lie behind both is a simplification that can be potentially dangerous for all parties. 

    • Liam_McGonagle

      What do you make of the notion of some social historians that it’s largely a legacy of 18th century subcultures?  Like the so-called Scots-Irish borderers?

      http://dystopiadiaries.blogspot.com/2011/06/weaktard-obnoxious-word-that-explains.html

      Fischer’s thesis being that the political culture of the region was heavily influenced by the incompetent, corrupt and otherwise largely absent governance experienced by these people’s distant ancestors.

      The idea has some appeal to me, because it certainly explains some of the behavior I’ve seen in my own family, that has north of Ireland roots.

      Under certain circumstances and conditions, that sort of insistant reliance on one’s own judgment seems like it could be a positive virtue–but only if it’s accompanied by an appropriate, disciplined approach to examining issues.

      • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

        I’m familiar with the idea, and I think that on an intuitive level it makes sense. I have a friend who is British who visits Mississippi often and says that the insular culture reminds him of some of the Irish villages he’s visited. Beyond that, I really can’t say. I know that most of the white folks here (especially the poor and middle class) are Scot-Irish in origin, and the Southern culture *seems* to share some points in common with Celtic culture, especially the strong ties to land, family and a sometimes-suicidal sense of “honor” that can spill over into fights and feuds. I’ve not read “Albion’s Seed”, but I’ve stumbled across the title a few times. It’s of interest to me. Although my own last name is apparently English (I have no idea for sure, my family was poor and didn’t keep records), my mother’s maiden name is full-on Irish.

        I’m not sure if you’ve read Jim Goad’s ‘Redneck Manifesto’, but there’s a lot in that book that I agree with. Not all, but a lot.

        • Liam_McGonagle

          No I haven’t, but will.

          Any optimism to be found in it?

          I find the persistent ironies of some American subcultures so frustrating that I sometimes give in to the urge for cheap shots, even though I know better and have a version of this same thing going on in my own family.

          Just seems like such a tragic waste, because, in a very specialized context, it really is a big chunk of what made America great.

          • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

            Optimism? Yes, I think so. Goad’s thesis is that the moneyed elite play the poor off against each other as part of a divide and conquer strategy. Better to keep poor blacks and poor whites fighting than it is to face a potentially united front. 

            Cheap shots? We all make them. They’re easy answers to difficult and uncomfortable problems. I’m as guilty as anyone. That being said, some cheap shots are considered more politically acceptable than others on the national stage, and I think that’s telling. 

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Maybe this will be answered for me when I get a hold of Goad’s book, but I have a question:  “How did a people like this, every aspect of whose society is fiercly disdainful of elitism (e.g., tendency to congregational, lay vs. professional church hierarchies) become so thoroughly co-opted by the plutocrats?”

            When I started researching Civil War history, I was really struck by the strenght of resistance that back-country counties put up to Secession votes.  I mean, it totally seemed consistent with their economic interest (e.g., typical profile being very small holder or tenant, non-slave owning).

            Is it largely a reaction to Reconstruction?  I’m not an expert on this, but I could totally see how inevitably un-even implementation could lead to gross injustices and successful counter-propaganda by the old plantation elite.

          • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

            Very good questions. Unfortunately, they’re above my pay-grade. I’m no historian, by any means!

          • Calypso_1

            Red Neck Manifesto is a great book – quite a scathing and humorous rant on class divisions. 
            As to the roots of southern republicanism/ the Borders / Ulster Plantation and all that:  I would look at the history of the yeoman class in the south, this was quite distinct from poor whites and from the planter class.  It was most often from these you found southern unionists – over 100,000 of which fought in union armies.  Many fought to stay in the union, some succeeded from the Confederacy.  Many of Sherman’s Raiders were cavalry that he picked up from these men in Tennessee and Alabama.  Some became the ‘scalawags’ after the war. 

    • Kyrre Culver

      Matt, thank you for this analysis of Real Time – you have completely captured how I feel about Bill Maher and explained why. I’ve tried to watch his show several times but somehow I always end up feeling a bit sick afterwards – something is just not right about that show. I agree, he is not helping the problem and I wonder if he is even helping the “liberal/progressive” cause he purports to promote or actually just perpetuating some of the very attitudes that egalitarian minded people, liberal or conservative, stand against. I do not find his show to be a net gain to society.

      I hope your comments have been brought to the attention of people at HBO. By the way, I grew up in Montana (another Bill target), I obviously am not living there now since, according to Bill, my home state doesn’t even have internet access.

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