Sunday, May 20, 2007

Most Conservative and Liberal Places in TN

A question has been posed by a sort of new resident to Tennessee, via KnoxViews, about what is the most Conservative place in Tennessee and what is the most Liberal.

Like one commenter mentioned on the KV site said, the 'corridor along I-81' is mighty dang Conservative, something I can testify about having lived along that corridor since about 1977. Having lived in Carter, Washington and Johnson counties, worked in Sullivan, Cocke, Greene and Hawkins and Hamblen and Jefferson -- indeed these are deeply Conservative places.

However, back in 2000, I had the chance to work in southeastern TN, in places like Bradley, Monroe, Meigs, McMinn, Loudon and McMinn counties. I kept seeing signs on main and back roads for the Army of God, and talked to many residents who were scary in their Rightness.

Is there a single answer for either question - most Conservative and most Liberal?

My snarky first response to 'what's the most Conservative place in Tennessee?' is this: it's the part that lies between Memphis and Bristol.

Snarky response to Most Liberal? The answer is my house and the houses of my friends.

However, even a label like Liberal doesn't really describe my home or those of my friends. To me, we have always had several things in common - we tend to be open-minded, tolerant and fearful of ideologies which demand lock-step agreement.

Since I was raised mostly in Middle TN and traveled some in parts West, I have noticed the state's temperament to be less Conservative as I moved in the Middle and West directions. Still, even that has changed over the last 10 or 15 years.

My ultimate response to the question of most Conservative has to be the entire 1st District. They have solidly backed hardcore Conservative GOPers for Congress since 1881, and only once since 1859 has the Representative not been a Republican.

It boggles my mind too, since the entire area has remained a low income, drop-out ridden, good-old-boy haven for over 100 years and there exists very little thought in the public to move past this point. I've been reluctant to admit it, but the residents seem to like it the way it is. So be it. It's their decision to accept the status quo.

Am I a Liberal or a Conservative? Well, like the old saying goes, it depends on who I'm standing next to.


  1. I always thought that Middle TN was less Conservative than E TN. But on my rare visits back (I only go every 1.5 to 2 years) Middle TN seems more and more conservative.

    And this with me getting more conservative myself over the years. (Though I reckon I'm still pretty lefty for Tennessee!)

  2. I think the most religious fanatics live in east TN. I don't dare admit that I'm not a Baptist, lest I be stoned by the religious 'right'.
    When we moved here, it was like stepping back in time, w/ all the tent revivals. Nearly every lawn in town bears a placard w/ the 10 Commandments on it.
    Yeah, I'd call Monroe county way conservative. (except for my little liberal hilltop)