A Road Trip Across the American South With Politics in Mind

The holiday period is when we usually take a road trip. This time we took a leisurely drive from Appalachian Virginia to Houston, stopping off each night at Knoxville, Tennessee, then Birmingham, Alabama, before spending our last night on the road in New Orleans.

It has become clear from this and previous road trips over the decades that the crucial bifurcation in US politics is between the urban (overwhelmingly Democratic) and the gated communities of the suburbs and exurbs, and of course rural America (Republican).

Given the electoral college (a long-recognized ploy devised by the founding fathers to overturn the popular vote) and rampant Republican gerrymandering in the southern states, the US is now in a seeming permanent situation of minority rule benefitting the Republicans.

Both Dubya Bush and Trump lost the popular vote but managed to become president.

In the 2018 Senate mid-terms, the Republicans lost the popular vote by a large margin– 34,948,225(Republican) vs 53,044,160(Democrat)—but the Democrats still managed to lose 2 seats in comparison to their 2016 result!

Knoxville was our first overnight stop.

Knoxville’s city politics is officially ʺnon-partisanʺ, but it is clear from reading the bios of the 9 city council members and the mayor that it is overwhelmingly Democratic, in a state where the governor, both US senators, and the US congressional representative for Knox county are Republicans.

A Knoxville city council member who works for…

Read more