3 Quarks Daily has this essay (via Cosma Shalizi) on what the Turks mean by a "deep state" within their country, and how the concept applies to other countries, especially the US. Generally I personally agree with it, but in the case of the US I believe there's a bit more to say. The US is a Federal Republic; it really truly is, if you don't believe it just ask Al Gore! And it follows that the deep government is not just ensconced in Washington DC, but is deep, deep in the individual states. Nod-and-wink methods have been deployed in elections for the past decade to deny the franchise to poor people, people of color, people of the wrong backgrounds or non suburban lifestyles. The result has been that although Governorships sometimes go to Democrats, Legislatures remain in the hands of socially right wing Republicans. Look at Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 200; not just at the high profile stuff - chads and crummy voting machines, but at the quiet, slow, deliberate erosion of voting rights at the voting places themselves. Long lines brought about by stalling tactics. Attempts to disfranchise people who move frequently but don't always update their voting records (be sure that if some suburbanite had the problem it would be taken care of promptly with no fuss, but with a poor person the GOP poll watchers know how to drag things out. You want any more examples, how about the redefinition of Texas districts? Or the Wisconsin legislature putting gay marriage and abortion initiatives on the ballot for this fall to energize a right wing constituency that has very little use for the GOP in Washington. The point I'm making is not just that the GOP is playing politics in the states, but that it has been quietly, deeply organizing for years to put warm bodies just where they're needed to swing an election or block a popular movement. This is the main reason the dems seem always to be caught off guard. They're like the IDF attacking the long-prepared bunkers of the Hizballah.