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Voting Patterns
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Inagauration day is always the same week as my birthday and my politics being what they are it's never a present.(I still can't believe how the nomination was stolen from Eugene McCarthy didn't make it) Politics is a subject I avoid writing about. My views on the general state of the country and the world are probably best expressed by incoherent rage. Nevertheless, today, I find myself drawn to ponder an aspect of presidential elections I can't quite understand -- the monopoly that Republican have on the south. It reminds me of when I was in the fifth grade.

Our teacher let us hold class elections every month. The president's duties consisted entirely of sitting at the front of the room to preside over the weekly class meeting. It was the honor that was important. Our teacher, who was as good as a constitution, required three nominees. I suppose that was to make sure there wasn't a solitary loser whose feelings would be hurt too badly. It was no fun if you finished any place other than first. You didn't get to sit at the front of the room if you finished second.

We used to make campaign buttons with our names and pictures of rocketships and clever slogans like -- Experience Counts -- and hand them out on the playground. I can't remember what promises we made. (Free liquorice whips...what liquorice whips?)

I do remember we knew all about voting patterns. The class was pretty much evenly divided between boys and girls, depending on who might be out with with measles on election day. (The unpredictable "spotted voters") After a few months, taking recess polls with classmates, we noticed a trend. Both sexes favored their own, but girls could be coaxed into voting for boys while boys would rather be caught dead than admit to voting for a girl although one might do so furtively if he had a serious crush on a candidate.

This being the case, while an election in which one boy left two girls to split the feminine vote, always resulted in a win for the boy, even with two male candidates in the field, one of the boys could still draw enough votes from the ladies to win, provided his male rival did poorly enough among his natural constituency. As I recall, the fifth grade class had only two women as president, and every boy in the class had a crush on president Barbara.

Which leads me to the question, how come in today's USA, southern voters en mass act like the little boys in my fifth grade class?

Why is it northerners will, demonstrably, help elect a southerner president but southerners, as a voting group, won't consider voting for a northerner, practically disqualifying from the highest office anyone born north of the Mason Dixon line? I certainly have no answer and if all the president had to do was sit in the front of the room I wouldn't care.

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