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I too was struck by Tennessee voting for Bush. When we spoke about the election at work this afternoon, I said that as little as I thought about Bush, at least the home state supported him.

Tennessee is an overwhelmingly Republican state. It has a Republican Governor, two Republican Senators, six Republican Representatives and only one Democratic one.

Tennessee, like most of the South, moved out of the "Democratic" column and into the "Republican" one during the 70's and 80's, because of the Democratic support of minority civil rights legislation and other issues which became important to "conservatives" and which were outside the purview of the traditional old-line Democratic bloc. The emergence of Wallace, then Nixon, and finally Reagan destroyed the old line Democratic coalition in the south, as a quick glance at the pretty blue and red maps all over TV surely proves.

Al Gore unquestionably was helped into office by his father's name, the Senior having been widely respected throughout the state and the nation, having gained his stature when the Democrats were in power decades before. Junior hasn't actually run in a Tennessee state election since the 1980's, and things have changed even more since then.

I guess all of that is to say that I found it mildly, but not wildly surprising that he did not carry Tennessee. His running mate didn't exactly help him there either. Jews in Tennessee are almost as rare as creme pastries at a kosher deli.
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