In 2010, the Alabama legislature went Republican for the first time in 136 years. In 2011, Republicans won the Mississippi statehouse and Louisiana’s legislature—for both, a first since Reconstruction. That leaves Arkansas as the Holdout State.
But Arkansas is wobbling. If its legislature falls to Republicans this year—the odds are 50-50 or better—all 11 states of the old Confederacy will be in GOP hands. And the political current that is transforming the South from a Democratic bastion into the bedrock of Republican strength nationally will be nearly complete.
In Arkansas, the ever-so-slow Republican trend accelerated in 2010. Republicans not only increased their state legislative seats by 50 percent, they also won two open U.S. House seats previously held by Democrats. This November, the one Democratic seat left (of the state’s four) is all but certain to be captured by Republican Tom Cotton, an Iraq war veteran.
And in 2014, Democratic senator Mark Pryor is sure to face a stiff Republican challenge. Thus, it was no coincidence that Pryor was the lone Senate Democrat to vote with Republicans in July to extend all the Bush tax cuts. He also voted twice with Democrats to limit the tax cuts to individuals earning less than $200,000 annually.