Political Geography

I’ve always liked maps. As a teenager I navigated a racing sailboat between a dangerous shoal and a hidden reef, forty miles offshore, hitting a narrow gap on a dark, windy night using only bearings taken on a single lighthouse and rapid-fire plotting on a government chart. (This was before the days of cheap GPS, you young whippersnappers.) Anyway, like I said, I like maps.

And there have certainly been a bunch of them floating around in the wake of the election. Here are some of the more memorable ones I’ve seen lately.

From Yahoo! comes this one, which I watched fill in on Tuesday night:

All that red is certainly impressive. But even more impressive is this one, from USA Today, breaking us down into red and blue counties:

Now, while those maps tell a compelling story of the electoral landscape, the fact is that there are red Americans in blue states (and counties) and blue Americans in red states (and counties). Accordingly, BoingBoing gave us this version, showing us in our truer shades of purple:

And we can do the same thing on the county level, courtesy of Robert J. Vanderbei of Princeton:

He also gives us this one, where he’s added some relief based on population density:

Meanwhile, the folks at esri.com have scaled up the Z-axis, and done away with that wishy-washy purple, to produce this version. It’s certainly impressive-looking, though admittedly, given that the winner-take-all thing doesn’t operate on the county level, the solid blue of the urban skycrapers is a bit misleading.

(Update: Actually, I’m pretty sure now that the blue/red columns in the image below are showing vote differentials for the winners. So they’re not misleading at all. See this scanned version from some magazine or other, which breaks the red and blue parts of this graph out into separate maps: where.jpg.

So, basically, city-folk voted for Kerry, suburban and rural folk voted for Bush. And overall, there were 3% more voters in the hinterlands than in the metropolis.)

All those interesting data have inspired some more-fanciful geographies, too. Mena of Six Apart (the people who brought you lies.com’s former weblog software), posted this interesting item under the title Canada 2.0:

And then there’s this one that has been making the rounds. It’s actually the map that inspired this post, since I figured people were never going to stop emailing it to me until I posted it:

Which brings me to this historical offering, one that this election has put a great many of us in mind of:

If I can turn away from all these maps for a moment, there was also an interesting chart floating around, based on an item that originally ran in The Economist after the 2000 election. It claims to show a striking correlation between average IQ and which way a state voted (but note that the underlying IQ numbers are almost certainly bogus — sauce for the gander, I guess, given the way the Bush team used outright lies as their weapon of choice in destroying Kerry). Anyway, see IQ and politics to indulge your extra-snarky side.

But I know you all come here for the articles, not the pictures. So let’s conclude with a pair of fun articles. First, from red-stater Mike Thompson at Human Events Online: Declaration of expulsion.

The truth is, America is not just broken–it is becoming irreparable. If you believe that recent years of uncivil behavior are burdensome, imagine the likelihood of a future in which all bizarre acts are the norm, and a government-booted foot stands permanently on your face.

That is why the unthinkable must become thinkable. If the so-called “Red States” (those that voted for George W. Bush) cannot be respected or at least tolerated by the “Blue States” (those that voted for Al Gore and John Kerry), then the most disparate of them must live apart–not by secession of the former (a majority), but by expulsion of the latter. Here is how to do it.

By all means, read the whole thing. It’s rich. And then read this suitable rejoinder from blue-stater Adam Felber of Fanatical Apathy: Concession speech.

More than 40% of you Bush voters still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. I’m impressed by that, truly I am. Your sons and daughters who might die in this war know it’s not true, the people in the urban centers where al Qaeda wants to attack know it’s not true, but those of you who are at practically no risk believe this easy lie because you can. As part of my concession speech, let me say that I really envy that luxury. I concede that.

Healing? We, the people at risk from terrorists, the people who subsidize you, the people who speak in glowing and respectful terms about the heartland of America while that heartland insults and excoriates us… we wanted some healing. We spoke loud and clear. And you refused to give it to us, largely because of your high moral values. You knew better: America doesn’t need its allies, doesn’t need to share the burden, doesn’t need to unite the world, doesn’t need to provide for its future. Hell no. Not when it’s got a human shield of pointy-headed, atheistic, unconfrontational breadwinners who are willing to pay the bills and play nice in the vain hope of winning a vote that we can never have. Because we’re “morally inferior,” I suppose, we are supposed to respect your values while you insult ours. And the big joke here is that for 20 years, we’ve done just that.

Sigh. We’ve got a long ways to go. And this election was, at least in some respects, a giant step backward. But maybe it was a step that needed to be taken, if only so people like me would have their eyes well and truly opened about what’s going on out there in Heartlandia.

17 Responses to “Political Geography”

  1. A Says:

    I’m thinking they’d be pretty pissed off if they booted us out and suddenly didn’t have money to pay their hog farm subsidies.

  2. brayden Says:

    Good point A. I know a lot of farmers in Idaho who would lose their sleek black pickups if their subsidy checks didn’t roll in every month. Meanwhile farmers in South America are living in poverty….

  3. Craig Says:

    As long as people on either side of the political equation insist on categorizing each other in easy generalizations and crude stereotypes, while assured of their own smug superiority, the differences will remain stark.

  4. a_stupid_box Says:

    I’d like to point out that Kerry won Wisconsin. My local campaigning worked, though I was unable to vote myself.

  5. Me Says:

    I like maps too.

    Red ones.

    Since when did the right-wing Republicans get Red and the ultra left-wing Democrats get blue? Seems to me that should be reversed. Oh well.

    I also like hisorical perspectives. Just remember that in the 1860s the northern states were Republican strongholds, the southern states were Democrat strongholds, the Republicans nominated Lincoln, Lincoln caved in to Republican abolishonist pressures to free the slaves, (now if we could only free the unborn!) while the Dems were busy proposing making peace with the rebels, and nominated GEORGE MACLELLAN!!!

    Why the Democrats get all this support from minorities is something I may never understand. It’s not like they didn’t have their Klan connections….

  6. John Callender Says:

    According to Kevin Drum (in Red states and blue states… explained!), the way it works is that the TV networks alternate the color (red or blue) used for the incumbent every 4 years. It’s just random chance that has led to that being red=Republican for a while now.

  7. Me Says:

    very cool. thank you!

  8. Me Says:

    and another thing….

    Which would you prefer: Jesusland or Allahland?

    Because you wouldn’t be allowed to say things like that against Allahland. You’d be in a mass grave by now.

  9. Fred Says:

    To Me:

    “Allahland”, if your talking about Iraq, Saddam was a secular ruler/tyrant (muslims, christians, and yes even jews live in Iraq). He was not running an Islamic theocracy.

  10. Me Says:

    No, I’m talking about Allahland, which is a grouping of all those radical muslim countries, especially “palistine,” Jordan, Aphganistan, and, yes, IRAQ, the same way you have made a grouping of the red states into Jesusland. if you’re going to use doped-up fantasy nightmares like that to make political points, you have to take the absurdity to it’s logical conclusion, which is that you athiests are much better off in Jesusland than Allahland.

    Jesusland…. maybe I might steal that from you and use it myself. “Welcome to Jesusland!” Has a nice ring to it.

    excuse my spelling…. its ugly today

  11. Me Says:

    oh, and I’d bet schools are doing alot better in red aresas than blue areas. just a hunch. is there a map that compares election results to school performance? I’d bet it’s lower in Kerryland, which was mainly the East and Left Coasts.

  12. Fred Says:

    Actually your wrong about that too, Me.

    Here are the state rankings based on performance tests. If you notice, there are more blue states in the top ten, and the lower ten is composed of almost the entire retarded (red)south.

    The average ranking for blue states is 22.47, and 28.54 for red states.

    http://www.alec.org/meSWFiles/pdf/Education_Report_Card.pdf

    Oh, and where are the mass graves in Palestine, and Jordan?
    My point was that you screw up in equating radical muslims to mass graves. I guess you do this based purely on geography.

    And yes, I would rather live in “Jesusland” (in fact I have my whole life) than in the religious Middle East, becuase frankly I’m not too fond of deserts. But Islam has had a history of religious tolerance. Thats why after years of muslim rule in those parts there are still christians and jews.

    So anyway, I’ve never heard of these radical muslims calling for the death of athiests. I think they’re mostly opposed to US and Israeli policy. Sure there might be some fringe groups that want a Muslim pure world, but is that any different from the Falwells and other Christian fundamentalists who envision a pure “JESUS WORLD”.

    No.

    I suggest you read Imperial Hubris to understand what Al Qeada and other Muslim extremists are all about. Tariq Ali’s “Clash of Fundamentalisms” explains a lot about the background of the Middle East and its Islamic history.

    Or maybe you don’t read books.

    And since you want to bash athiests, answer this. Why is it easier for athiests from different parts of the world to be more accepting of each other than it is for religious twits to accept other/different ones? Hell, (no pun intended) you religious types have confrontations with different christians for christs sake, literally i.e. baptists, catholics, mormans….

    Face it, athiests and more liberal/ progressive religous groups are the key towards better cooperation and understanding among people in the world.

  13. Patriot Says:

    [I, "Me", have donned the alias "Patriot"]

    “But Islam has had a history of religious tolerance. Thats why after years of muslim rule in those parts there are still christians and jews.”
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
    Go try telling that to a suicide/homocide bomber just before he presses his button! Go try telling that to the hundreds of thousands that have been beheaded by Islam over it’s history! Islam has a history of EVIL. Go try telling that to an Israeli!
    I wouldn’t give credit to the islamo-facists for the continued existance of christians and jews. I’d give it to the Israeli and US militaries.

    “So anyway, I’ve never heard of these radical muslims calling for the death of athiests.”
    That’s funny, I have.
    Also there were athiests in the World Trade Center.
    They don’t care what religion we are if we’re not radical islamo-facists like they are. They don’t care if we’re red or yellow, black or white. They’re at war.

    “I think they’re mostly opposed to US and Israeli policy.”
    I think they’re mostly opposed to the continued existance of the US and Israel.
    I seem to remember somebody praying for Allah to “destory America for she is ruled by heathen Jews….”

    “Sure there might be some fringe groups that want a Muslim pure world, but is that any different from the Falwells and other Christian fundamentalists who envision a pure “JESUS WORLD”.”
    Yes. Christians want to peacefully convert non-believers. There’s a verse somewhere that says that God has no pleasure in the deaths of the wicked. I could look it up if you like. Muslims are commanded in their scriptures to KILL THE INFIDELS.

    “Or maybe you don’t read books.”
    Yes I do. Let me suggest “the Light and the Glory.”

    “And since you want to bash athiests, answer this. Why is it easier for athiests from different parts of the world to be more accepting of each other than it is for religious twits to accept other/different ones? Hell, (no pun intended) you religious types have confrontations with different christians for christs sake, literally i.e. baptists, catholics, mormans….”
    Because athiests have a common enemy – anyone who believes in God.

    “Face it, athiests and more liberal/ progressive religous groups are the key towards better cooperation and understanding among people in the world.”
    Maybe I don’t want “better cooperation and understanding among people in the world.” Maybe I want freedom for the oppressed peoples of the world. Maybe I am suspicious of the motives of our dear comrades overseas. Maybe I want all men to have, among others, the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hapiness. Maybe I want a Free World, and for the US: “One Nation Under God, with liberty and justice for all….”

  14. Fred Says:

    Maybe I don’t want “better cooperation and understanding among people in the world.”

    This is why you are a jackass. Because you would rather kill than find the reasons for problems so you don’t keep on making the same mistakes, resulting in more deaths.

    And if your such a “patriot”,and really support these policies, THEN GO SUPPORT THEM. I here they really need more soldiers in Iraq. Well suit up soldier otherwise shut the fuck up.

    And yes, you only really repeated what I said, there is a radical part of Islam that is violent. But most muslims aren’t like that.
    (Its like a civil war within Islam.)
    And I know most Christians aren’t either, do I need to remind you that Jesus was a pacifist….. DUMBASS

    And there are some christians that want to spread chritianity and change through VIOLENCE. Look at some of Falwells comments saying, ” we should attack, bomb, and kill in the name of the Lord”

    I don’t know why I even write to a dumbass like you. you’re the same type of guy that would have supported Vietnam for years because you think you can change a whole society with military force, and blind to the fact its about resources.

    The only cure for the problems in the Middle East is a change of policy on behalf of the US and Israel, AND the Muslims willingness to want change for themselves and not accepting violence as a means to an end (something we could learn to).

    I know the prospects look bleak right now, no thanks to Bush or Al Qeada, but remember, the Soviet Union collapsed without a bullet shot and India won its independence without a war. This is because the people in those regions started change themselves.

  15. Patriot Says:

    listen to yourself – I wont repeat much of it, but where’s your liberal tolerance now, when being tolerant is tough? It suddenly dissappears when confronted with an “intolerant” Christian, doesn’t it?

    This has led me to believe that tolerence is a myth. Liberals don’t want tolerance, they only want tolerance for OTHER PEOPLE THEY CONSIDER TOLERANT, or in other words, AGREE WITH THEM.

    Jesus wasn’t a peace protester.
    God supported the armies of Israel when they went out to kill their enimies with miracles. In fact, he stopped sending the miracles and let them get beat whenever they weren’t killing every last enemy and all their animals.
    I think Bush might be needlessly risking our soldiers lives with this door-to-door fighting in order to appease the liberal media instead of BOMBING THE HELL OUT OF THEM FIRST like both sides did in World War II.

    “remember, the Soviet Union collapsed without a bullet shot”
    Three words for you to consider:
    Ronald.
    Reagan.
    Republican.

    or alternately: peace thru strength.

    I, personally, am unable to join the military for medical reasons. I think I would otherwise, I could really use the colledge money.

    When a Christian, any Christian, commits an illegal immoral act of violence, you’ll notice condemnation from many many others, including myself. I condemn, for instance, people who bomb abortion clinics and murder their attendants, though I am very Pro-Life. I don’t hear much from the “arab world” over many of their attrocities.

    And you can’t conspiracy-theorize that the attrocities were made up by the President, or his administration: THEY’RE SENDING US THE VIDEOS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

    There is no such god as Allah and Mohammed wasn’t his prophet!

  16. Grant Says:

    I like your maps. The last ones with more detail are very informative and paint a truer picture of voters and thier intentions. Would it be possible to find a map that has 3-D population geography (but more defined than those shown) and proportions raised for voter groups?

    As for the religous fight started I think that it is obviously a rural-urban fight and with the knowledge cities are growing (quickly) and people are leaving rural areas (a little slower) it will become obvious cities will become the dominant political force in the country. Luckily for rural areas these groups do not care as much about politics as much as themselves (based on percentages of voters) and rural areas currently hold a disproportionate sway in politics. I do believe this trend will not change too soon because of better organization of these areas and, unfortunately, even stronger apathy among city dwellers.

    Yet, in time, cities will rule the political landscape.

  17. Patriot Says:

    I find this “disproportionate sway” to be even more evidence of the wisdom of our country’s founders, who tried to ensure that a relitavely small geographical area could not control the whole country. I do not see the rest of the country up and moving to New York and LA however slowly. I do see crumbling cities full of ignorant ner-do-well criminals who are not being rounded up like they would be in a small town – and thus we have inner city crime. These people all vote for Democrats. I see that it is the big cities where schools are failing because stupid parents tend to do drugs and raise stupid kids who do stupid things and stupid teachers don’t try to stop them. These stupid people all vote for Democrats. And I think the future trend is indeed in this degenerate direction, as more and more of the rural areas’ people stay where they are as the area around them becomes more and more urbanized as has been the trend during the past hundred years.

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