THE BLOG
10/31/2013 02:32 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Mason-Dixon "Red State" Child Poverty Line

Eleven of the thirteen states with the highest percentages of children living below the poverty line in the United States are from below the Mason-Dixon line. Ten of these Southern states, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Arkansas, and Tennessee were part of the old Confederacy. The other, Kentucky, was a pro-slavery border state that remained within the union.

Ten of these eleven states have Republican Party controlled state governments and heavily Republican representation in Washington DC. Arkansas, the only one of the group where Democrats control the state legislature still has a Republican governor, a senator from each party, and a 3 to 1 Republican majority in its House delegation.

Combined the eleven states send 18 Republicans and four Democrats to the United States Senate; they have 9 Republican and two Democratic Party governors; and the Republicans Party has a 90 to 36 advantage in the House delegation.

These ninety Southern Congressional Representatives make up almost forty percent of the Republican Party's Congressional majority. But worse, this voting block makes up three-quarters of the Tea Party group that the Republican Party has allowed to paralyze the House of Representatives, cripple the national government by obstructing budget resolutions, efforts to raise the debt ceiling, and implementation of the Affordable Health Care law.

Not only are the governments and White voters in these states anti-poor, anti-government, anti-tax, and anti-child, they are specifically anti-poor Black child. Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and North Carolina are among the states with the highest percentage of Black population, while Texas and Florida have large underserved and under represented Latino populations. One hundred and fifty-years after the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution ended slavery in the United States, we are looking at the remnants of slavery, segregation, and racism in the South and its continuing pernicious influence over the national government.

In 1877, the United States government removed troops from the South and abandoned formerly enslaved African Americans to control by Ku Klux Klan influenced Southern white state governments run by former Confederates. This led to 100 years of Jim Crow segregation.

Fifty years ago, at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Martin Luther King told a crowd of hundreds of thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC,

"[O]ne hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land."

Political alliances have shifted since then and White supremacists in the South have moved from the Democratic to the Republican Party, but legacy of slavery and Jim Crow continues.

It is time for moderate Republicans like Congressman Peter King of New York, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey to realize that their party has been hijacked and they need to jump ship. As long as the Southern White anti-government, anti-tax, anti-child, anti-poor, and anti-Black faction controls the party, no one of good conscience should run as, vote for, or identify with the Republican Party.

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