First, I want to thank outsidethebeltway.com for doing this work for me. Go read the commentary and the reader comments there, then come back and let’s discuss this thing.
I’m going to repost two of the maps below so that we can continue our discussion without flipping back and forth. I’ll source them.
The counties map is from USATODAY.com
The link above has a 2008 map, and links to 2000 and 2004 if you feel like losing a whole day on this stuff.
Next, I’ll include this map from Michigan Professor Mark Newman because it really counts.
Cool. Huh? Yes, that’s why Obama won. The population centers are blue. The population centers get more electoral votes. Game over.
To expand: The population centers are also those most likely to be dependent upon federal government support for those living in poverty there and it’s self-fulfilling vote arrangement that the party who gives more money away gets more votes in return. Also, those population centers are likely to have immigrants, including illegal, who either flat out vote (I know, they aren’t supposed to do so.) or influence a vote.
First, let me send a virtual high five to my home state of Oklahoma. I still can not explain to my mom why an Oklahoman Republican is really everyone else’s moderate Democrat in a way that convinces her, but I’ll try briefly for you one more time:
An Oklahoma Republican is a Reagan Democrat. The state crossed over about 1980 and never looked back. Combine that with a growing need to capitalize on the state’s oil reserves, and it’s going to be red for a some time to come as long as the GOP advocates for a self-provided U. S. energy policy.
So back to the maps. Plain state succession anyone? The row from North Dakota to Texas would divide the country and usurp a good chunk of U. S. energy production.
There’s always this east coast/west coast thing. I think this is the first time I noticed the blue that congregates around the Mississippi River. Would you guess that to be union influence from manufacturing jobs where the river was important to production?
(The rest of this post is about to go very politically uncorrect. You’ve been warned.)
Colorado and New Mexico are stoned. The West Coast from Big Sur north is gay. (I know, that was a gross generalization, but yeah. The policies in those areas really lean towards gay “rights.” For when human rights aren’t enough.) Much of what borders Mexico is dealing with immigration stuff again, but interestingly enough, Arizona and Texas stay red in the electoral map.
I think the GOP needs to build an immigration plan from the leadership of Arizona, Texas, and to some extent Florida. Those states are red (or reddish) and those states deal with the issue every single day. Let them lead the GOP policy.
I also think there’s a strong argument as to why some immigration enforcement should be a state’s rights issue. Same with all those issues regarding sex, from marriage to abortion. What’s so wrong with letting states determine their own social moral structure and allowing folks to congregate accordingly? Colorado just legalized marijuana. (I never, ever spell that word without sounding out mari-ju-ana.) You tell me Colorado college applications aren’t going to outpace past performance.
(Moving into downright crazy here, no martini involved. It’s all me this time.)
The Northeast is mostly blue. Of course, so are their toes right now, as they still don’t have power from the hurricane and it’s snowing from another Nor’easter. I half expect the Big One to hit California in the next few weeks. Every once in a while I let myself slide into the idea that what we are witnessing is biblical. And, it makes me wonder what’s in store for the Great Lakes region, which stays rather blue, too.
One place I don’t understand: Does anyone get that horizontal stripe of blue from mid-Alabama through Mississipi and Georgia, and up South Carolina and North Carolina on the counties map? More automotive? Most of those are right-to-work states, right? Help me out.
Oh, unless you happened to just write me off. Give me a little break you guys. You know this is why you keep reading.