The Sons of the Confederacy hoisted the world’s largest Rebel flag last week at a intersection of two major interstates in Tampa. It’s a 30′ x 50′ Stars and Bars that will be lit at night and will stand on private land at the junction of Interstate 75 and Interstate 4.
Interstate 4, as all political demographers know, is the main artery in what one Florida reporter recently described as “the most important swing region in the nation’s biggest swing state.” The I-4 Corridor, as it’s called, includes 14 counties between the Tampa metro area and Daytona Beach, and is considered a pivotal area in Florida elections.
“Since at least 1980, the combined votes in those 14 counties have almost perfectly reflected the votes of the state as a whole,” wrote Tampa Tribune reporter William Marsh in May on the eve of Barack Obama‘s visit to Tampa. It’s the swing region between reliably Republican north and southwestern Florida and staunchly Democratic southeastern Florida.
Marsh also cited USF professor Susan McManus who predicted that Obama might have a tough time winning the I-4 Corridor. She noted Republicans’ edge in registration, the fact that many voters here are older and value “experience and stability,” and the presence of suburbanites who could be susceptible to allegations about Obama’s patriotism.
But judging by the 1500 square foot Rebel battle flag flying 139 feet over the I-4 Corridor’s largest media market, does Obama have another hurdle to worry about here?