Southern States

The Fifty States And Educational Levels

A new 2018 survey of education in the 50 states reveals the following:

The top ten states are found in New England and the Middle Atlantic states primarily–with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire in New England; Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia in the Middle Atlantic area, with Virginia greatly influenced by the educational level of its Northern Virginia suburbs outside of Washington, DC; and also the states of Minnesota in the Midwest, Colorado in the Rocky Mountain West, and Washington State on the Pacific Coast. All of these top ten states were Democratic states in 2016.

States, including California, Florida and Texas rank lower on educational attainment because of large numbers of immigrants with lower accomplishments due to language barriers, but are rated higher in quality of education ranking. New York, Illinois, Delaware, Oregon and Hawaii are among the states which are ranked in the second ten best states, all Democratic states in 2016.

Meanwhile, the ten lowest states in educational levels are all Southern States, except for Nevada, Oklahoma and New Mexico—Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee, not at all surprising. All of these ten were Republican states in 2016, except for Nevada and New Mexico.

Notice that the higher educated states are “Blue”, while the lower educated states are “Red”, and this is the basic split within the nation–the educated vs the poorly educated.

Trump Voter Fraud Commission An Attack On Voting Rights, Clear And Simple!

The Trump Voter Fraud Commission, set up and headed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is infamous for promoting voter suppression tactics, has become a total failure, as 44 states refuse to comply with all of the information that the commission is asking the states to provide.

Trump wants this commission, because he cannot accept that he lost the popular vote by 2.85 million to Hillary Clinton, and claims that millions of illegal immigrants voted, with absolutely no such evidence of this crazy theory.

What Trump is trying to do is a clear attack on voting rights, and an attempt to cut millions off the voter rolls, so that Trump can have less opposition for a reelection campaign in 2020.

The fact that all but a few states refuse to cooperate is a good sign, as we now have a situation in which the stares are the progressive forces, against a right wing reactionary federal government headed by Trump cronies.

This is the precise opposite of the 1960s, when we had southern states, including Mississippi and Alabama most notably, but others as well, that worked to undermine civil and voting rights, and were forced into compliance by the federal government.

There are those conservatives who believe in states rights when it is convenient, but now want that to be ignored when it comes to states and cities protecting the environment; and also law abiding immigrants, even if they may have overstayed their time as a visitor, or entered illegally, but have led law abiding lives for decades in this nation, and should not face deportation, as the Trump Administration is pursuing, to the outrage of millions of Americans!

The South’s Continuing Impact On Impeding Democracy With Voter Restriction Laws

The South lost the Civil War, but they continue to dominate American politics.

It used to be that the South was Democratic, and that they promoted slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and lynching.

Then, we had a Southern President, Lyndon B. Johnson, who accomplished the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with the Southern wing of Democrats in Congress bitterly opposing it, and many of them, plus much of their population, abandoning the party and going to the Republicans.

Under Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, they found a home, and worked to undermine voting rights and civil rights, often with the support of those Presidents.

The state governors and legislatures became Republican controlled, and worked to limit civil rights and voting rights, and the Republican majority Supreme Court in 2013 cut back on enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.

As a result, Southern states and many midwestern and mountain states under Republican governors and legislatures started to pass new restrictive laws designed to undermine voting of minorities, particularly African Americans and Hispanics-Latinos.

This led to law suits and now decisions by federal circuit courts in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, and earlier, Texas, to declare such restrictive laws unconstitutional, a major victory which could affect the Presidential Election of 2016.

There will likely be an appeal to the Supreme Court, a clear cut reason to make sure that the Democrats win the White House and the US Senate, as the outcome for this election is uncertain, and the future of the Court and voting rights in the future hangs in the balance.

It seems likely that the present Court might split 4-4 without Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February, and that would uphold the lower court decisions declaring such laws to be unconstitutional, but no certainly of that.

The South is crucial in our nation’s politics as they hold 22 seats in the US Senate, 31 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives (138 out 435), and 162 electoral votes in the Presidential race. And this does not include the Border states such as Kentucky, West Virginia, Missouri, and Oklahoma, which tend to the same politics of exclusion toward minorities and voting rights.

Old Urban-Rural Battle Among States Now Battles Between Cities And Rural Areas Within The States!

The story of much of American history is the struggle and battles between the growing urbanization in America, and the desire of small town, rural America to keep “traditional values”.

So the South, heavily rural historically, has always held back against reform and change, and switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in the half century since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

But now, in 2016, we are seeing a revolt, an uprising of growing urban areas and university towns in the South against “traditional values”!

So we see urban areas in many Southern states promoting becoming “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants; supporting gay and transgender rights; calling for minimum wage laws to be reinforced and to promote raises; and working to undermine the Confederate flag as an appropriate symbol in 21st century America!

These growing urban areas include such locations as Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Atlanta, Athens and Savannah, Georgia; Gainesville and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Oxford, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; New Orleans, Louisiana; Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas; Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee; San Antonio, Dallas and Houston, Texas; and Louisville, Kentucky. The Democratic Party is growing in these areas, and African Americans and Latinos are a good percentage of that growth, and university towns are also part of the massive changes that are occurring toward progressive change.

But the rural dominated Republican legislatures are passing state pre-emption laws that deny these localities the ability to set up their own regulations and laws. Ironically, it means these Republican states are fighting to take away local controls, while fighting on the national level against centralized authority of the federal government!

Donald Trump Is The New “Southern” Demagogue: Combination Of Huey P. Long, Strom Thurmond, George C. Wallace!

Anyone watching Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign will notice, if they are using their brain matter, that his greatest appeal is among Southerners who want the “glorious past” returned to them, a time of racial discrimination and prejudice against any minority group which is not white Christian!  Thousands flock to see Trump in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and other Southern states.

The Trump supporters are poorly educated, including many high school dropouts and barely graduates of high school; lower income whites living in rural areas of the South, Appalachia, and the Midwest non urban areas bordering on the South; heavily racist and nativist and blaming minorities for their own shortcomings and inability to earn a decent living; and those who admire narcissism, bullyism, and braggadocio, due to their own mentally unstable and insecure personalities.

The Trump supporter base want a strong man, who promotes obedience to authority and to those, whether religious or political demagogues, who have an appeal that simplifies all of the problems that most people without education and knowledge find appealing.  They want women to go back to the “good old days” when they focused on the bedroom and the kitchen, rather than compete with men.

The Trump supporters also support action to put African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims under control, working against their basic human rights and civil liberties, so they want a return to the days when white male Christians (fundamentalist and evangelical) were in charge, not having to deal with the rise of Catholics and Jews who started to become influential in the time of the New Deal of FDR and since.

So Trump supporters want a return to pre 1930s government intervention, so would support erasing much of the New Deal, Great Society, and Obama reforms,, even though they would be far worse off without Social Security, Medicare, and a multitude of programs that help the white poor and working class!

They want a new “Southern” demagogue, a combination of Huey P. Long, Strom Thurmond, and George C. Wallace, even if its leader is a multi billionaire New Yorker, who only vacations in Florida, and really has no respect or regard for the typical Trump supporter, who he looks upon privately with disdain!

Nativism, Racism Of Donald Trump Greatest Since Pat Buchanan Ran For President, And Hate Mongers Back Trump As A Result

The nativism and racism of Donald Trump is the greatest we have seen in American politics on the national level since Pat Buchanan ran for President in 1992, 1996,  and 2000.

Trump has gone out of his way to insult Mexican Americans in particular, and Hispanics-Latinos in general, and has gained 20-30 percent support in the various polls.

Now he has gone further and insulted Asian Americans, mimicking the way they speak English.  He has gained a lot of support from Southern states in polls for these controversial statements and nativist attacks.

In so doing, he  has insured that the Republican Party cannot win much of a percentage of either Hispanics-Latinos or the Asian American vote, and without it, they cannot win the Presidency.  And yet, his opponents seem powerless to fight against him at this point, and even Jeb Bush has ended up in trouble by using the term “anchor babies”, and then saying that he means Asian Americans, not people from Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America.

With his clear cut nativism and racism, along with his misogyny, Trump has gained the notice of hate monger groups, which include David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and candidate for Governor and Senator in Louisiana 25 years ago, causing a major problem then for President George H. W. Bush, who denounced his choice by the Louisiana GOP to be their nominee for those high positions.

But also, neo Nazi, white supremacist, and Confederate groups are rushing to support Trump, and his reaction has been quite tepid, to say the least.

With these elements, there is also, and worrisome, a large element of anti Semitism, a reality in the past for Buchanan and Duke that is well known, and has been again stated by Duke explicitly in his recent unasked for endorsement of Trump.

50 Years Of The Voting Rights Act, And Reluctance To Enforce It By Supreme Court And Many States Now A Sad Reality!

On August 6, it will be 50 years since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, overcoming a near century of the denial of the right to vote to African Americans, despite the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870.

The Southern states denied African Americans the right to vote through all kinds of methods for three quarters of a century, but finally it was a Southern President and many Congressional Republicans joining with Democrats that caused that denial of democracy to be overcome, finally.

And Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, all Republicans, continued to endorse, promote, hail, and extend the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

But then the Supreme Court majority under Chief Justice John Roberts weakened enforcement in a Supreme Court decision in 2013 (Shelby County, Alabama V. Holder), effectively giving license to states run by Republican governors and legislatures to pass new restrictions on voting, that would not only hurt African Americans, but also Hispanics, poor whites, the elderly, college students—all being required to make onerous efforts to meet the new restrictions on voting rights, when there was no earlier evidence of voting fraud.

This sad reality has pained John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, who was involved in the movement for voting rights in Alabama (the Selma-Montgomery March), and was seriously beaten, along with others who were killed, fighting peacefully for the basic right to vote.

So while we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this path breaking legislation, we have to hope that the Supreme Court will revisit what it has done by a 5-4 vote in the next term, with the hope that they will reconsider what they have done, based on the discrimination now being practiced in many states across the nation.

150 Years Since Final Confederate Surrender Of Robert E. Lee To Ulysses S. Grant At Appomattox Court House In Virginia, Ending Civil War!

Today, April 9, marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy, with General Robert E. Lee, the leading Confederate general, surrendering to Union General and future President Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

This tragic war ended a four year conflict, just three days before its fourth anniversary, having killed an estimated 620,000 men, with the Union military losing about 360,000 and the Confederate military losing about 260,000 men.

The Civil War ended slavery forever, and upheld nationalism over states rights, and was an inspiration to many people in England and France, which saw it as a movement toward the evolution of democracy.

But sadly, the end of the war did not change the minds of many white Southerners, and over the generations, the Democrats of the South continued to promote Jim Crow segregation; brutal lynchings of African Americans and others, including Jews and Catholics; and fought toot and nail against civil liberties and civil rights, while parading the Confederate flag, which even today flies in South Carolina and some other Southern states.

And when civil rights laws were forced on the South fifty years ago under Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democrats lost their tight control of the South, and the Republicans, the party that had freed the slaves under Abraham Lincoln and promoted civil rights under Dwight D. Eisenhower, abandoned their principles and decency and became the new party of Southern resistance to justice and civil rights. Today, all of the Southern governors, with the exception of Virginia, and the Senate, with the exception of the two members from Virginia and one from Florida, are Republicans, working to undermine voting rights and promote racism and nativism at full speed, a total disgrace.

So while we celebrate the end of the Southern rebellion a century and a half ago, in many ways, the rebellion still lives on, poisoning the political atmosphere in many states, and in the national government, and particularly so with the very clear disrespect of Southern office holders for the African American President of the United States, who has been vilified in a manner unlike anyone since Abraham Lincoln!

Same Sex Marriage Now Legal In Nearly Three Fourths Of Nation’s Population, With Florida Becoming The 36th State To Allow It!

The rapid move toward same sex or gay marriage is nearly complete, as Florida became the 36th state to establish it, beginning on January 6.

Many states have resisted it, but federal courts have mandated it, and soon, the Supreme Court will need to deal with the concept, and the likelihood of declaring it to be a national right seems very close, likely in the next six months.

The main holdouts are mostly Southern and Great Plains States, but also Michigan and Ohio.

When one looks back just 12 years ago, when the Supreme Court ruled that gay couples have a right to privacy and to avoid prosecution, in the Lawrence V. Texas case of 2003, the rapidity of change is absolutely amazing!

Public opinion has rapidly come around, with more than 70 percent supporting gay marriage. This is particularly true among young people, any one under the age of 40 in particular.

Highly religious people still oppose it, and many senior citizens are unhappy about it as a group, but with the passing years, and eventual disappearance of the senior citizens of today, eventually, one will look back and wonder why the great opposition for so long to a basic human right being extended to gay and lesbian couples, just as interracial marriage was not made legal nationally until Loving V. Virginia in 1967.

Even today, there are those who are appalled by interracial marriage and relationships, but the answer is, with that and gay marriage, that it is none of anyone’s business who someone chooses to love and to marry. One has the right to disagree, but also realize that personal feelings do not make what is legal!

Christmas Day: 15 States Refuse To Promote ObamaCare Or Expand Medicaid To Their Poorest Citizens!

Today is Christmas, and one would think it is a day when caring about others less fortunate than ourselves would be at the top of the agenda.

But not true in 15 of the states, heavily Southern and Great Plains–the rabidly Republican areas with a political establishment that does not care about the plight of the poor one iota, and have refused to promote ObamaCare or a Medicaid expansion!

These states should be embarrassed at the lack of concern over health care, which should be a human right, as much as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as one cannot be very happy if one is unable to afford health care and, therefore, is certain to die earlier rather than later!

The list of states that make up this infamous list include: Maine and Wisconsin, who have two horrific Tea Party Governors, Paul LePage and Scott Walker; Missouri, with a Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon, who has not distinguished himself with his handling of the Ferguson controversy over the death of an unarmed black teenager; the Great Plains states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, with some of the worst Governors in the nation; and the Southern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

Think about it: Besides Paul LePage and Scott Walker, other Governors who are seen by progressives in a negative light, include Sam Brownback, Mary Fallin, Nikki Haley, Rick Scott, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry (soon to be succeeded by Greg Abbott)!

Only Missouri has a Democratic Governor, and yet not a good one, in Jay Nixon. Otherwise, these states, overall, have a record of being among the worst states in so many economic statistics, with the exception of Wisconsin, often a progressive state, but now under the control of a despicable Governor who wants to be President, but is, hopefully, going to fail in that mission!