A reader writes:

You wrote:

Now Dixie is consolidated in one party, with no serious competition within it, with all the cultural and sectarian division that entails.

This is the fourth time or so that I've seen something like this from you. I know it's the CW in Washington, but Jesus, man, do you ever read the news from down here?

I live in North Carolina, former Confederate state, home of the Woolworth's sit-ins, the Oxford lynching, and plenty of other racial strife. Our House delegation is 7-6, majority Democratic (and may swing further that way in 2008), and we have a Democratic governor, and Democratic control over both chambers of the State House. (Yes we have two Republican Senators, but Dole has become rather unpopular statewide, and Burr is generally regarding as not having done much of anything so for.) North Carolina isn't anomalous in this regard. Despite the Rovian anti-gay insanity in Virginia, the Democratic party remains healthy there. Arkansas and Louisiana retain their populist leanings which, along with growing numbers of urban voters and the still reliably Democratic black vote, keep the Democrats competitive. Hell, even in Texas, where the color blue was close to being removed from boxes of Crayolas, the Democratic party is showing real life.

Yes, there remains a blue dead zone, and it happens to correspond to what one might call the "Wallace states," or Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. And yes, the GOP has built its strength upon a southern base. But "no serious competition?" Please.

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