Plankton's Influence on the South

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When plankton is not busy trying to get the recipe to Crabby Patties, it's yielding a subtle but noticeable influence on Southern politics. In a fascinating story on NPR, Robert Krulwich explains how an ancient sea shore played a role in our most recent election:

These same counties went mostly blue in 2004 and 2000. Why? Well, the best answer, says marine biologist Craig McClain, may be an old one, going back before the Civil War, before 1776, before Columbus, back more than 100 million years to the days when the Deep South was under water. Those counties, as he writes here, went for Obama because trillions and trillions and trillions of teeny sun-loving creatures died there. He's talking about plankton. That's why the Republicans can't carry those counties. Blame plankton.

It involves the creation of the fertile soil that produced King Cotton and the demographic swath it left across the region, and it's pretty cool. The downside: If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's that if the TNDP ever wants to win again, they should submerge the state in an inland sea rich with microbial life.

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