Saturday, February 26, 2011

Red State/Blue State = Small Town/Big Town

By now, everyone is familiar with the Red vs. Blue division on the political spectrum.  I don't know who made this up, but it's a mainstay of political pundit-speak these days.  Like all such divisions, it's largely imaginary; the big problems in our country now aren't party arguments, they are big government versus individual rights.  America is, unfortunately, really a purple country with some areas being more red or more blue than others.  We are a relatively evenly split country with roughly equal numbers of Stupid and Evil party backers.  In truth, elections are decided by the undecided - the people who don't know who will get their votes until right before the election.  (Statisticians use the term "morons" for these voters.  If you haven't, you should take 10 minutes and watch the video "How Obama Got Elected".)  Vast amounts of money are spent trying to reach those swing voters.  True, the country will get into a snit and go one way or the other by as much as 5 or 6 % from time to time - kind of like going out and getting drunk every so often.

By late 2009, America had the collective experience of waking up to find the hot presidential dude they brought home was a total looser.  The 2010 mid-term elections were the electoral equivalent of waking to find a coyote ugly girl in bed with you and gnawing your arm off to keep from waking her and having to talk with her. This was the same experience as the 1994 reversal after electing Bill Clinton, only with a stronger revulsion. 


This map shows the 2004 (Bush/Kerry) results, with an interesting twist.  First, it shows the red/blue counties, and then it shows the voter density by the height of the "towers".  It shows, for instance,  that northern New Mexico (Taos, Albuquerque) is blue, but that the number of voters was much higher in Denver, just to the north.  When you look at this, what do you notice? The reliably liberal areas are largely the cities.  Denver, Detroit, Chicago, Portland, New York, New Jersey,  and El Lay stand out prominently.  True, there are blue areas with very low density, such as the "blue belt" from Louisiana to the Carolinas, but these are very low voter density.  Probably rural poor. 

This relief map shows vividly the most important distinction between red and blue areas.  Blue areas are almost always big population centers.  Judging by the heights of those relief towers, the highest voter density areas.  The democratic base appears to be either rural poor, or urban dwellers.  People who are not self-reliant, but who need to rely on handouts from others.   I read recently that in the Silicon Valley of California, the very poor and the very rich are socialists; only the middle class is conservative. 

A story comes to mind that illustrates the red/blue difference.  It comes from some workers I knew at the Kennedy Space Center.  In one of the surrounding small towns, a teenager was starting to become a problem.  I believe he was selling drugs, although that part isn't very important.  Some of the men in town invited him out fishing, as they had when he was younger, and he accepted.  Once out on the lake, one of the men started chumming the water until a few good sized gators came alongside the boat.  The sound of the gators snapping down on some chunks of meat they started flipping into the water became louder and rather impressive.  At that point, they mentioned they had heard "someone" in town had been dealing some drugs, and if they continued, well, those gators would be well fed and no one would ever find the remains.  It worked. 

A self-reliant group of adult men protected their towns and their families.  No need for government involvement or police.  No need for counseling or anything else.  A reliably red state area. 

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