The Bad Stripe as I've marked it out before (most recent here) is in many ways a boundary or transition zone between North and South, for example in social networks and religion. It turns out that it's a separate dialect zone too. The map can't be embedded well so click through to this dialect map of North American English, and you'll see that the Bad Stripe largely overlaps with the non-Texas part of the Inland South zone.
In many other systems (ecology and social networks) being at a phase transition is good, i.e. tidepools, savannas near jungles, being the only person who speaks both languages of two adjacent and relatively wealthy populations, etc. If the repeatedly observed "boundariness" of the Bad Stripe is not a coincidence or a historical accident, it could be that either the principle is reverse here, or that some aspects of the Bad Stripe are caused by the other negative conditions that previously obtained.