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Rhetoretician -- Fiction etc.

Electoral Map October 10

Electoral Map October 10

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Another week, another map.


Changes: There's more blue now than before. McCain made gains in Minnesota, but Obama made them in Colorado, Montana (?), New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia (?!).

The states that are now deep blue or medium blue (states where Obama leads by 5% or more) now total 286 electoral votes, more than enough to win. Add in those where he's leading only slightly and you get 353 electoral votes. Fivethirtyeight.com now thinks that there's about a 1-in-3 chance of a landslide (375+ electoral votes) for Obama.

One thing I've been noticing througout is the intensity of most of the color map. Thirty-seven states and D.C. (73% of the total), representing 379 electoral votes (70% of the total) are either deep blue or bright red -- that is, one candidate or the other leads by at least 9%. And while most of color change has been in Obama's favor, many of the states that are already bright red are getting more lopsided for McCain, and the states that are already deep blue are getting more lopsided for Obama. We are a deeply divided country.
  • This divide is scary. I consider myself fairly tolerant but I am embarrassed to say I get so aggravated when female friends talk about supporting Palin. I can't believe I have thoughts of "why is this person my friend" over something like this.
    • Hey, Helen. My impression is that many people thought that Hillary's loss in the primaries was mostly about gender, and that consequently this election is about gender. Now, of course "gender," in this context, is a tricky concept -- but it isn't difficult to see where they're coming from.

      But "supporing Palin" is as strange a concept as "supporting Biden." Neither of them is running for president. I grant you that Dick Cheney seems to be running a lot of things in Washington, but my impression is that that's not what a Veep usually does. Why aren't they supporting McCain or Obama?
  • Divided? *shakes* You better fix that map.
  • I take issue with the idea that we're a divided nation in the sense that there are states that are totally red and states that are totally blue. If you look at the county-by-county results from 2004, even, the country takes on a much more distinctly purple hue. Urban centers, regardless of state, tend to be blue, and rural areas, again regardless of state, tend to be red. It's much more an issue of urban vs. rural than it is anything else.

    Purple America: http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2004/

    Note that there are large globs of purple in both blue and red states like Texas, California, and New York - the red is rural and the blue urban; each of the counties in Texas that has a major metropolitan area has the county in which it is located turn at least purple if not blue (go Austin!).

    In other news, thanks to the rising Hispanic population, Texas may be blue in a few more presidential election cycles - there are already polls this year that show as little as a 9% lead for McCain over Obama.
    • Well Texas has always had a split personality. The west half is very liberal and (still) wild west. The eastern half is conservative and old south. Austin has always been the liberal heart of west Texas. In the past, it has had Democratic governors.

      One reason the West has always been red, is that many people there are libertarians. The Republican party has been successful there by stressing less federal government. The west usually ignores the social restrictions pushed by Republicans. By tradition the west has always been very liberal and open. They were the first states to allow women equal rights with men....and not just voting. Even during the days of Goldwater (a very liberal conservative...really a libertarian) the West has alwys had the Maverick view. The dividing line was Texas. The west will never go Democratic. They still resisit the strong Federal Government form. The heart and soul of being Democrat.
      • Ah, now this is becoming an interesting discussion.

        I think, Rachel, that your take on the Democratic and Republican parties is a late 20th-century, early 21st-century perspective.

        If we trace the Republican party back to its beginnings, and then further to its roots in the Whig party and the Federalist party, we see a remarkable variation in core political values; the same is true of the Democratic party, if we trace its roots back to Andrew Jackson and earlier to Jefferson.

        On the topic you address at the moment -- strong federal government -- has been the province of the Democrats, rather than the Republicans, since the New Deal, and possibly since Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive era, but at the time of the Civil War it was exactly the opposite. Then it was the Republicans who championed federal power, and Democrats who resisted it. Alexander Hamilton, the founder of the Federalist party and consequently the great-granddaddy of our modern Republican party, was the first great exponent of strong centralized federal power.

        Similarly, if you look at such issues as civil rights or women's rights, the Republican party of 1860 looks much more like the Democratic party of 1990 than like the Republican party of 1990.

        When I try to find a common thread for the two major parties throughout their history, there is only one that I can point to with any confidence: Money in general, and banks in particular. From the day Hamilton started the Treasury Department, through the battles over the Second Bank of the United States, through the Civil War, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, the New Deal and right to Henry Paulson's proposal last week, the Federalists/Whigs/Republicans have believed in the value and importance of a strong, flexible banking system. The Jeffersonian Republicans / Jacksonian Democrats, by contrast, have always been skeptical of the power of banks, fearing the way in which others will be beholden to bankers.

        The "Libertarianism" you associate with the Republican Party was much more a strain of the Democrats at one time. Take a look at the map of the presidential election of 1896, McKinley vs. Bryan: It is almost a perfect opposite of the elections of 2000 and 2004. Bryan, the Democrat, carried the Wild West and the old Confederacy, garnering 176 votes from 22 states. McKinley, the Republican, won what we would call the "Left Coast," New England, what is now the "Rust Belt" and the upper midwest, tallying 271 electoral votes from 23 states.

        So while it's a fair bet that the West will favor individual liberty and states' rights over centralized government control for a long time, it doesn't follow that they will continue to vote Republican. That depends on what the Republican and Democratic parties stand for in 50 years or so.
        • LOL..you're right of course. Political parties evolve over and over and become something else. Lately Republicans refer to their party as Lincoln's party. They seem to have latched on to his name. Lincoln believed to the end of a strong federal government, that took precedence over states. The Republican party of his day was very different. One reason for this is the change of the south. It became very Republican. The population has shifted and the name Lincoln, once so despised, has been rehabilitated. He has finally been recognized as a very great president. This was from an area of the country that would not even recognize his birthday as a holdiday. No wonder the Republicans drop his name whenever they can.

          It's been about 80 years or so since the "new" platform/political faith of the two parties had been defined. States rights vs strong Federal Government. Tit for tat. Perhaps in another 60-100 years it will change again. One thing wont change. It will still be a two party system. Bet ya...
    • Hi Val!

      I made a longer reply to Rachel's comment (see above).

      It's a nice argument, but I think it proves too much. If it were simply a matter of urban vs. rural, then the large metropolitan areas of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio would be bright blue, like Chicago or San Fransisco, rather than the purple we see there. If you look at Massachusetts, the biggest swaths of bright blue are in the western part of the state, its most rural. And while upstate New York is certainly more conservative than The City, its still bluer than nearly all of Texas, including some of Texas's larger towns.

      Austin is not the biggest city in Texas, but it is the bluest. But we know why. I do think (I'm going to get into such trouble for saying this) that there is a correlation one can make pretty consistently. The presence of large universities, especially multiple universities, correlates with a blue-leaning, rather than a red-leaning, population. Austin, Madison, Ann Arbor, those western MA counties I was talking about (the "five college" region, it's called), the Golden Triangle in NC, etc., are all very blue. If I take the next step and try to account for the correlation, somebody (on one side or the other) is going to start sending me hate mail. So I'll stop there.

      Gosh, I love it when people on my flist start making strong, interesting arguments!
      • (no subject) -
        • That political disputes end in violence can't be surprising to someone who's studied what you've studied. The surprising thing is how often they haven't ended in violence in the U.S. While of course there are numerous political disputes that have ended (or started, or started and ended both) bloodily, but there are also some pretty venomous disputes that have ended simply by an orderly change in government.

          On issues that actually come to a vote, we generally have a way of compromising our way out of crises -- except when we don't. But I think, on the whole, our batting average is better than most.

          Race is, ultimately, at the core of the American psyche. It's almost impossible, given the two biggest facts of colonial history, for it to be otherwise. It makes me think of the "Punic curse."

          Ann Coulter, a graduate of my law school and the most intellectually dishonest person I have ever had the misfortune to hear, likes to say, "It was the Republicans who freed the slaves, but now, of course, the liberals want to claim they did it." If Coulter were just mixing things up, I suppose I could keep my temper and try to make the counter-argument. But she knows full well what she's doing, and I completely lose my cool.

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