Do you remember the "purple maps" from the 2004 elections? They showed that -- contrary to the "red state" vs. "blue state" hype -- in reality, our country was deeply divided. In most of the country, states weren't solidly Democratic or Republican, but a rich blend of both.

There's now a "purple map" (see below) of the 2006 mid-term elections, and unsurprisingly, it reveals again that most regions of the country weren't a romp for either side -- and very few places, if any, can be honestly written off as purely "red" or "blue."

Note in particular the battleground of the South. There are the strong "red" or Republican patches running through such areas as northern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia; the Georgia and north Florida coast; and southeast Kentucky.

But even more striking are the deep shades of blue, such as most of Arkansas and Tennessee; a belt slashing through the piedmont of Georgia, South Carolin and North Carolina (the South's fastest-growing area); and Appalachian counties in the Virginias.

The concentrations of red in the South are on par with the swaths of scarlet one sees in the Midwest/Plains (Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma) and the upper West.

It's amazing to see so many blogs in the Democratic Party camp writing off the South in an attempt to position themselves as "realistic," when the reality of fierce party competition in the South couldn't be more clear.