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Net vote change since '88 election
Net vote change since '88 election

The first reaction many people may have when looking at a standard red/blue map of county-level election results is often "Holy crap, look at all that red!" While that huge red bulls-eye in the nation's middle is easily explained away—trees and tumbleweeds don't vote; only people do—when it's presented without disclaimers, it can help reinforce the perception that this is a "center-right nation." One of the best ways around that is with a cartogram (a map that distorts boundaries to account for another variable, like population) ... but how do we express that in a way that still looks like the United States, and not a piece of purple roadkill?

Princeton's Robert Vanderbei put together a fantastic 3-d map in 2012, which I'd recommend that you take some time to explore, that visualizes the country with blue skyscrapers towering over pink plains, reflecting the heavy concentration of votes in urban areas. However, I wanted to try going in a different direction, with a flat map, but one where the color varies by intensity according to the change in the number of votes over the years.

Counties where there has been a lot of growth in the last few decades show up as either bright red or bright blue, depending on whether those additional votes tended to be Democratic or Republican. Counties that have a small population, and where there has been little or no growth, stay grey. (In a very few cases, counties where there has been a lot of growth, but where the gains in Democratic and Republican votes balance each other out, also stay grey.) This way, that terrifying red swath of counties across the nation's middle where few people actually live fades from view, while you get a clearer sense of where the Democrats and Republicans are actually running up the score: along the coasts and in the Midwest's cities for the Dems; in Texas, the Mountain West, and all along the spine of the Appalachians and Ozarks for the GOP.

In a way, this map is a sequel to the maps from the piece I wrote last week on when the nation's counties hit their population peak. There were some striking similarities between the map showing when each county peaked, and the map showing the trend in county-level presidential results between 1988 and 2012. The counties where the population peaked long ago, and where the greatest movement toward the Republican Party, were both located all across the Great Plains and Appalachia.

As I pointed out last week, though, even though that describes a majority of the nation's counties, those counties only contain a small minority of the nation's population. The counties where the most of the people are, and where most of the nation's growth occurs, are where we really need to focus ... and they, too, are moving in different directions. More and more Democratic votes are showing up in the cities, especially on the coasts, while more and more Republican votes are showing up in exurban counties, especially in the interior south, and that's what this map tries to show.

An interactive version of the map, which you can zoom in on and pan around, is over the fold; so too is more explanation of how it works and what it means.

As you mouse around the interactive map, you'll see a mysterious-looking number attached to each county, positive for blue counties and negative for red counties. That's the net change in the number of Democratic and Republican votes over the period from 1988 to 2012. In other words, it finds the disparity between the number of Democratic votes in each county in 1988 and 2012, the disparity between the number of Republican votes in each county in those same years ... and then finds the difference between those two figures. If the increase in Democratic votes outstripped the increase in GOP votes, you have a positive number.

Here's an illustration. Consider King County, Texas, which you'll find in the parched lands halfway between Lubbock and Wichita Falls. If you wanted to advance a "Dems in disarray" narrative, here's where you would start. On a map of 2012 presidential results, this would be one of the most blazing-red counties anywhere: Barack Obama got a whopping 3 percent of the vote here, while Mitt Romney got 96 percent. Even on a map of electoral trends, this would still be one of the reddest counties: Michael Dukakis still got trounced here, but got a respectable 37 percent of the vote. That's a Partisan Voting Index shift from R+10 to R+48 in the space of 24 years!

At the end of the day, though ... so what? If you crack open the underlying data, Obama got 5 votes here, while Dukakis got 64, for a difference of -59. Meanwhile, Romney got 139 votes here, while Bush the Elder got 111, for a gain of 28. That's a net Republican gain of 87 votes (even though there were 30 fewer votes cast in 2012 than in 1988). King County occupies more than twice the square mileage of New York City, so, to the eye, it's a perceptible pixel on the nation's map ... even though it contains slightly more than one one-millionth of the nation's votes.

Contrast that with a different King County, the one in Washington. Obama got 668,004 votes here in 2012, while Dukakis got 349,663: a gain of 318,341. Romney, on the other hand, got 275,700 votes here, while Bush got 290,574; despite there being over 300k more votes here in 2012, Romney managed to get fewer votes than Bush did, 14,784 fewer to be exact! The net change is 333,215, enough to almost single-handedly move Washington—which used to be a swing state in the 70s and 80s—into the realm of safely blue states, despite (as you'll notice in the map above) Republican gains in much of the rest of the state.

Bearing in mind how that works, here are the top 25 counties for the largest Democratic net gain. You'll notice that, for the most part, this list mostly overlaps with the largest counties by population, period; Maricopa Co., Arizona (Phoenix), Harris Co., Texas (Houston), and California's Inland Empire (San Bernardino and Riverside Cos.) are the only multi-million-person counties that don't make the list. While they all had net Democratic gains, it wasn't as lopsided; for instance, Maricopa Co. was the single largest gainer in total votes (at 699,441, even more than Los Angeles Co.), but 371,366 of those were Democratic and 307,548 were Republican, for a net of "only" 63,788. (If you're wondering why the Dem and GOP votes don't add up precisely to the number of total votes, that's because it also incorporates 3rd-party and write-in votes.)

County Descrip. Total change Dem change GOP change Net change
Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles + 536,396 + 844,551 - 354,383 + 1,198,934
Cook, IL Chicago - 14,546 + 358,564 - 383,040 + 741,604
King, WA Seattle + 323,064 + 318,341 - 14,874 + 333,215
Kings, NY Brooklyn + 181,515 + 235,018 - 55,272 + 290,290
San Diego, CA San Diego + 323,087 + 293,693 + 13,583 + 280,110
Broward, FL Ft. Lauderdale + 316,749 + 290,038 + 23,785 + 266,553
Prince George's, MD DC area + 164,863 + 214,122 - 50,811 + 264,933
Miami-Dade, FL Miami + 388,914 + 324,470 + 62,044 + 262,426
Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia + 15,733 + 139,240 - 122,586 + 261,826
Santa Clara, CA San Jose + 101,563 + 173,008 - 79,599 + 252,607
Orange, CA LA area + 257,357 + 243,427 - 3,898 + 247,325
Queens, NY Queens + 48,344 + 145,341 - 98,478 + 243,909
Wayne, MI Detroit + 69,980 + 145,624 - 78,182 + 223,806
Alameda, CA Oakland + 116,645 + 159,401 - 54,633 + 214,034
Dallas, TX Dallas + 115,579 + 159,401 - 54,633 + 213,654
Franklin, OH Columbus + 193,626 + 198,751 - 10,728 + 209,029
Montgomery, MD DC area + 135,096 + 158,213 - 30,838 + 189,051
Fairfax, VA DC area + 200,922 + 189,562 + 6,132 + 183,430
De Kalb, GA Atlanta area + 122,015 + 145,703 - 25,787 + 171,490
Bronx, NY Bronx + 72,813 + 120,924 - 46,078 + 167,002
Oakland, MI Detroit area + 191,083 + 174,257 + 13,155 + 161,102
Orange, FL Orlando + 294,533 + 219,642 + 71,352 + 148,290
Cuyahoga, OH Cleveland + 43,164 + 93,831 - 51,788 + 145,619
Contra Costa, CA SF area + 106,715 + 121,413 - 22,135 + 143,548
New York, NY Manhattan + 90,676 + 114,484 - 26,808 + 141,292

One thing you'll notice as you look over the list is that these are almost entirely in blue states (with the exception of Dallas Co., TX, and DeKalb Co., GA, though those are the two big states that observers expect to move into swing state territory in, say, the 2020s, thanks to demographic change). But that wasn't always the case: Illinois, California, even Maryland used to be swing states in the 70s and 80s, and Dukakis managed to narrowly lose all three of them. The huge Democratic gains in the counties above is exactly what pushed those states into safely blue territory. And Florida may be an even more extreme case. While it's a swing state now, it was one of the Duke's worst states in 1988; he fared worse there than in Alabama or Nebraska! Gradual gains in the Miami and Orlando metro areas are what put the Sunshine State into play.

Most of these counties have grown significantly over the decades; however, a few have stayed almost level in terms of the number of votes and still changed dramatically. Cook Co. (Chicago) and Philadelphia Co. may be the most dramatic examples, where there were as many or more lost Republican votes as gained Democratic votes. It's impossible to parse out from this data how much of that is actual changed minds, and how much is the replacement of Republicans who died or white-flighted to somewhere else, with Democrats who moved from elsewhere or aged into the electorate ... but in some cases, the change in composition is just as much from Republican subtraction as it is from Democratic addition.

Now let's look at the counties with the largest net gains by Republicans. The first thing you'll notice is that while the Democratic net gains mostly came in the counties that contain the nation's largest cities, the Republican net gains come, for the most part, from peripheral counties, growing areas that are one (or more) county lines away from the center of a metropolitan area.

County Descrip. Total change Dem change GOP change Net change
Utah, UT Provo + 89,486 - 1,252 + 88,816 - 90,068
Montgomery, TX Houston area + 113,967 + 14,526 + 97,609 - 83,083
Westmoreland, PA Pittsburgh area + 30,282 - 12,988 + 42,460 - 55,448
Waukesha, WI Milwaukee area + 94,963 + 21,181 + 72,331 - 51,150
Collin, TX Dallas area + 211,591 + 78,481 + 129,112 - 50,631
Cherokee, GA Atlanta area + 79,132 + 15,463 + 61,921 - 46,458
Forsyth, GA Atlanta area + 71,387 + 12,224 + 57,961 - 45,737
Denton, TX Dallas area + 158,571 + 54,774 + 100,135 - 45,361
Davis, UT SLC area + 52,685 + 5,021 + 46,392 - 41,371
St. Tammany, LA NoLa area + 58,079 + 10,090 + 46,389 - 36,299
Galveston, TX Houston area + 36,036 + 878 + 34,146 - 33,268
Douglas, CO Denver area + 143,431 + 54,060 + 87,169 - 33,109
St. Johns, FL St. Augustine + 87,620 + 27,161 + 59,285 - 32,124
Livingston, LA Baton Rouge area + 28,319 - 2,208 + 29,734 - 31,942
Washington, PA Pittsburgh area + 18,416 - 7,182 + 24,579 - 31,761
Williamson, TN Nashville area + 67,402 + 17,278 + 49,003 - 31,725
Shelby, AL Birmingham area + 58,428 + 12,913 + 44,384 - 31,471
Baldwin, AL Mobile area + 49,893 + 9,153 + 40,083 - 30,930
Beaver, PA Pittsburgh area + 4,324 - 13,272 + 16,580 - 29,852
Calcasieu, LA Lake Charles + 17,626 - 5,573 + 22,201 - 27,774
Williamson, TX Austin area + 116,041 + 42, 286 + 69,684 - 27,398
Allegheny, PA Pittsburgh + 37,676 + 3,873 + 30,902 - 27,029
Santa Rosa, FL Pensacola area + 52,690 + 12,514 + 39,213 - 26,699
Washington, UT St. George + 37,447 + 5,283 + 31,392 - 26,109
Clay, FL Jacksonville area + 62,964 + 17,986 + 44,080 - 26,094

You can call these areas the "exurbs," though there really isn't a hard-and-fast line between the exurbs and the suburbs; the exurbs look pretty much the same as the suburbs, just further out with bigger lots, though they might contain some older, once-standalone towns that got engulfed by suburban growth. Nobody has really adequately defined the difference, not even David Brooks, erstwhile chronicler of the virtues of the exurbs, though he claims they "have broken free of the gravitational pull of the cities and now exist in their own world far beyond." That's not really true, though; would all those houses in, say, Forsyth Co., Georgia, be there if they weren't within driving distance of Atlanta? Even if its residents aren't all commuting all the way in to Atlanta, they're still commuting to suburban office parks that are part of the same economic ecosystem.

There are a few exceptions to the largely exurban character of these counties, though. Some are big towns/small cities that stand on their own, some of which are tourist or retirement destinations that seem to particularly attract Republicans (St. George, in southern Utah, or Santa Rosa Co., adjacent to Pensacola in Florida's Panhandle). Lake Charles, Louisiana, hasn't seen much growth, but, like most of the rest of the Cajun-flavored parts of that state, has simply swung hard from the Democrats to the Republicans, over culture-war and energy-sector issues. And Provo, Utah, sort of falls in that standalone category, too; while Utah Co. is next door to Salt Lake Co. and has its fair share of commuters, it has its own (fervently conservative) identity, thanks to Brigham Young University.

The other exception is Allegheny County, the location of Pittsburgh, and the only county with more than a million residents that finds its way onto the pro-Republican list. It's initially hard to imagine, since Pittsburgh itself is a city with a strong labor tradition and remains pretty blue. However, Pittsburgh makes up only about a quarter of the county's population; there's also a lot of suburbs, and also once-vibrant mill towns along the rivers that have largely emptied out.

In addition, it's a much whiter and older population than most other urban counties; with organized labor playing less and less of a role here, and with elderly ex-unionists—the same people who made this one of the bluest areas anywhere in the country in the 80s—either dying or retiring elsewhere, it's only natural that it would move toward swingier territory. That's even more noticeable in the counties surrounding Pittsburgh (like Westmoreland and Washington), which used to be dotted with coal mines and steel mills but now essentially function as exurbs. For instance, Beaver Co., west of Pittsburgh, gave 46 percent to Obama (R+5) but 66 pecent to Dukakis (D+20)! If western Pennsylvania were its own state, it'd be on much the same trajectory as once-blue West Virginia ... but instead, Pennsylvania's presidential vote has stayed pretty stable over the decades, thanks to an equally-rapid blue trend in Philadelphia and its suburbs.

One other thing you've probably noticed, looking at the two charts, is that the net gains in the Democratic-trending counties are much, much larger than the ones in the GOP-trending counties. In fact, you have to sort through 61 Democratic counties before you find a net gain that's smaller than Utah County's 90k pro-GOP gain. So, why then, you might be asking, haven't the Democrats completely wiped out the GOP at a national level? Well, that's because those gains are so heavily concentrated in so few counties. There are far, far fewer counties that have a net gain for the Democrats (under 1,000) than ones with a net gain for the Republicans (more than 2,000 of them). It's the same tendency I discussed last week: almost all of those empty counties in the middle of the country have trended against the Democrats.

But, as I said earlier ... so what? Those thousands of red-trending counties don't have as many people in them. Among the 900-odd counties with a net trend for the Dems, the average net gain was over 20,000 votes. Among those more than 2,000 counties that went the other way, the average net gain for the GOP was only a little more than 3,000 votes. You can see that difference when you perform the same analysis from above on the nation as a whole. Obama got almost 66 million votes in 2012, a gain of around 24 million votes over Dukakis's 42 million. Meanwhile, Romney got about 61 million votes, an increase of only 12 million over G.H.W. Bush's 49 million: it's a Democratic net gain of 12 million, if you add it all up.

Unfortunately, though, as much as this huge growth in Democratic fortunes in the nation's urban areas makes it easier to win the presidency, the corresponding decline in the rural areas makes it harder to win the House (without which, of course, you don't accomplish much). Democratic votes were distributed more efficiently throughout the country before the dynamics of the Big Sort really accelerated during the 1990s; Dukakis was competitive in places as far-flung as Missouri, Louisiana, the Dakotas, even Oklahoma, and those coattails extended downballot. Even without considering the pernicious effects of gerrymandering, the clustering of more and more Democrats in fewer and fewer places creates a lopsided map of fewer dark-blue districts and more light-red districts. It's a classic case of two steps forward, one step back.

If you want to see the entire dataset, it's available through Google Drive.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:59 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So, we need more urban sprawl in a few states (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, ssgbryan

    to tip the balance blue?

  •  Missouri (22+ / 0-)

    In 2008, Obama lost Missouri by less than 5000 votes.  In 2012, although Obama lost Missouri by a lot more than that, the Republicans won only ONE statewide office.  

    Gerrymandering has really hurt in Missouri.

    For statewide races, Missouri is still a swing state.  Clinton, I believe, will run better here than Obama.

    [Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

    by MoDem on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:15:21 PM PST

    •  Look at who aided and abetted the gerrymander (11+ / 0-)

      Two Democratic members of congress -- Lacy Clay and Manny Cleaver are highly suspected of it because their minions in the legislature voted with the Republicans.  An unfortunate artifact of the Voting Rights Act Amendments of the 1980s if ever there was one (this was the Strom Thurmond poison pill that turned African Americans against whites on redistricting).  One of the defectors, Jamilah Nasheed, justified her vote by saying "I'm black before I'm a Democrat."

      The vote in Missouri locked in a 6-2 GOP Congressional majority and veto-proof margins in both house of the Legislature in what is basically still a 50-50 state.  The sad fact is that a good many African American politicians in Missouri regard holding the seat as the main ambition and any broader goal of influencing the assembly as a whole is secondary.  And I think that's what Thurmond was kind of counting on in 1982 when he hatched his plan to weaken suburban Democrats.

      •  It's this kind of stuff.. (0+ / 0-)

        that angers me when it comes to some current leaders in the African American community. Many prize having a few black legislators over having several more black-friendly, but likely white, legislators.

        It's just yet another example of racial polarization in this country. And it's also another example of how the Democratic Party isn't really a party, but just a collection of loose special interests held together by the desire to not be completely overrun by the Republicans. Meanwhile, the Republicans have maintained a wholly unified caucus since Reagan - at least, until the Tea Party came along and shattered it.

        Seriously, I'll never get tired of praising those lunatics in the Tea Party. They're the only thing that could've united the Democratic Party into one amalgam. And the sad thing is, they actually think we're afraid of them...

        TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D)

        by Le Champignon on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:00:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Clinton... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevenaxelrod, MoDem

      will likely run in a lot of places better than Obama. Not necessarily because she will be a better candidate, but because she will likely pick up both the Democratic base that Obama won AND a large portion of Republican women that would like to see a woman president.

      I'm pretty sure whoever the GOP nominee is will try to woo that female vote back by picking a female VP, but I don't think it will have that big of an effect, especially if Clinton is running for President.

      •  This post (0+ / 0-)

        is much more about the House than the Presidency. I don't think anyone here is seriously worried about the Presidency, given the potential GOP candidates.

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:36:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  McCain won Missouri by 4,000 votes (0+ / 0-)

      But Nader won 17,000 votes in Missouri. Even in 2008, that asshole was fucking us over.

      Map (Colors reversed)

  •  People in urban settings have to work together (21+ / 0-)

    The Democratic party is the party of those who get along with more people and can accomplish bigger things pulling together.  All the Tea Party/GOP has left is gerrymandering.  Once Texas, thanks to Latinos and women, goes blue it's over for them.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:21:25 PM PST

  •  where can you get the raw data? (0+ / 0-)

    can anyone provide a link to the data involved here?

    Bold at inappropriate times. Mediocre at best.

    by steep rain on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:31:24 PM PST

  •  Overlay With Map Of Declining Life Expectancies (6+ / 0-)

    And you don't need a degree in statistics to understand what "correlation" means!

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:32:37 PM PST

  •  Go Prince George's County, MD (0+ / 0-)
  •  That's good to know and study. (5+ / 0-)

    But the way the U.S. Constitution is written, with 2 senators for every state, and no clear statement about voting rights, the many little red counties have huge power.

    A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy dare live.--Bertrand Russell

    by Timaeus on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:41:59 PM PST

  •  Doubt (0+ / 0-)

    I really doubt this map. My home county is Crawford County, Ohio (2 above Franklin). The last 3 times it voted for the Democrat for president was Lyndon Johnson 1960 landslide and FDR in '32 and '36. It only went for strickland by 2-3% despite him winning statewide with 60%. Plus it's dark grey blue despite being in population decline for the last 4 censuses.

  •  It all fits more than one pattern. (14+ / 0-)

    The first one is very well-known and well-discussed: city dwellers are more progressive politically than suburbanites. This is attested in numerous reputable sources, polls, etc.. The other pattern it generally seems to fit--and perhaps this could be tightly argued somewhere--is that people who feel more deprived, generally, vote Republican.

    My contention is that suburbanites feel more deprived than city dwellers. I've lived both places, in the suburbs, and in the inner city. In the suburbs, you have to drive everywhere, and you are critically deprived of human contact. Whether you're aware of it or not, it takes a toll on emotional well-being. It isn't just the kids-vs.-no-kids thing, believe me; the isolated, depressed suburban housewife is practically a cliché. Around these expensive parts, the couple scrambling to pay their oppressive mortgage in the 'burbs, and leaving the kids entirely to their own devices, is cliché. No family life.

    So, what gives? Enter political ideologies that promise a return to "better days," when people had a real family life and folks knew their neighbors, and life was good. And no crime. And no negroes. And no illegals. And no deviant single women, and no sexual deviants to entice the kids into depraved lifestyles.  

    Again, to recap: suburbia -> existential discontent -> political conservatism.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:54:59 PM PST

    •  I see the opposite cause & effect (7+ / 0-)

      There's a lot of self-selection going on here.  People who move to exurbia tend to fit the current Republican profile.

      What is the attraction of the exurbs?  Real estate is cheaper than in the inner suburbs, or in the nicer parts of the city.  So if you are a working-class family with three or four kids and want that big home with a yard, you have to drive a ways to get there. Many of the people who go there are white families who are als uneasy around non-whites, and want all-white schools for their kids. They also don't want to be around diverse populations.  Exurbs offer that kind of artificial environment, segregation of a sort.

      Car dependency is not seen as a problem.  Cars mean "freedom", and exurbs are where they are more likely to drive big SUVs or pickups.  It's a way of life.  People meet like-minded people in church, or knew them from before.  Since there's little walking, one doesn't see a lot of neighbors.

      •  It's probably both-- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mdriftmeyer, GleninCA

        the direction of causality  probably runs both ways: suburbia -> Republicans, also, for reasons you mention, Republicans -> suburbia.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:47:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Founder effect is at work.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, Zinman

      ...for white people moving back into the cities, or conservatives moving into the exurbs.  People generally move where they see more people like themselves; in places like Portland, the liberal hipsters and yuppies force black people into outer Northeast, Asian people into outer SE, the Beaverton/Portland borderlands, and Hispanic people into Washington County.

      And much of NE Portland, not to mention Brooklyn, is in the thrall of bicycle slavery - rents and mortgages are too high to let people have both a residence and cars.

      People follow trends, although it's not exclusively conservatives moving into suburbs and exurbs; tech-centric suburbs get a more liberal mix, as Jeebus won't make your semiconductors or apps work.

      You can't spell "Dianne Feinstein" without "NSA".

      by varro on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:11:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  some of the main hubs of Asian American (0+ / 0-)

        communities in Oregon are in Washington County and outer east Portland. Likewise the Hispanic population of Portland proper is growing; there aren't historic Hispanic populations in Portland being forced by gentrification to move into Washington County. Washington County's own economic activities have drawn a lot of them there, just like how entire communities have spring up around Intel and Nike and such out there. What you're saying is true about the traditional African American community: it is being broken up by gentrification, but most of the Asian and Hispanic populations of the suburbs are coming from other places, not being dislocated from Portland.

        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

        by James Allen on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:31:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hyperbolic Fantasy (0+ / 0-)

        You wreak of a white person bitching about the `good ol' days of Portland back in the 1950s.

  •  You note: (11+ / 0-)
    It's impossible to parse out from this data how much of that is actual changed minds, and how much is the replacement of Republicans who died or white-flighted to somewhere else, with Democrats who moved from elsewhere or aged into the electorate ...
    I'm pretty sure this trend directly correlates to how much experience voters have with public services as vital to the existence of civilization.

    In the past, you've looked at demographic migrations. As time goes on, experience tells us (ie. China and big ag in the US) that survival and social and profession ambition lead to a migration to more urban atmospheres -- where public services are vital to every square inch and are highly regarded by the populace -- which is both a liberal and socialist stance.

    Certainly there are exceptions, but it is apparent even in college towns, the role that public services -- and political appreciation for these services -- play in political outcomes.

    While increased urbanization IS the future (due to energy and societal efficiency, alone) -- the grotesque imbalance at the Federal level,  in the Senate, leads to outcomes dictated by lost libertarian farts in the wind and paranoid conservative fever dreamers who harm the nation, internationally, and do severe harm our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, individually.

    This representational depravity cannot be sustained in the 21st century.

    ::

    Oh, and thanks for another fantastic article.


    “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” ― Eric Schmidt

    by Pluto on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:06:43 PM PST

  •  Something else about you city Dems (6+ / 0-)

    Downtown areas are the places with greatest wealth disparity.

    I just went to a central committee meeting of the Democratic Party for my county, one of the bright red marks on your map. A lot of very die hard Dems, lots of Hispanic and union, and we all get along with the fire breathing secessionist cowboy Republicans we live amongst. Have to. Neighbors. Most legislation in our state passes by wide bipartisan margins. If it's not gays or guns they forget differences and pass legislation. If only our national legislature could do as well.

    We are running a candidate for Congress too. Not a ton of chances but one never knows.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:08:14 PM PST

  •  What does it mean if there is no +/-? When (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    I found my county in GA-number only shows.

    :(

    The stunner is Forsyth County-where one snowy day many years ago, I joined Hosea & others in a march protesting racial discrimination writ large.  KKK would walk the highway much like the Shriners do when on a donation drive.

    First time I saw the KKK in full dressage was shortly after I moved to GA-taking my kiddos & out of state visitors to Lake Lanier-they were walking the highway.  Was surreal & scary & made naïve me very angry (mouthed off at them).  I say naïve because I kept yelling that this was the 80's never realizing that they'd still be around-openly-in the 90's.........

    So if Forsyth County can have those numbers, perhaps there is hope for GA.  Now to figure out what is up with my own county...

    •  no counties on the map have + signs (0+ / 0-)

      the ones without signs are positive.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:43:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do you mean (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, LordMike

      the number that displays in the interactive graphic when you mouse over your county? There aren't + signs in front of the positive numbers, though there are - signs in front of the negative numbers. (For instance, even though there was a positive net gain for Democratic votes in Fulton Co. of 89,379, there's no + in front of that.)

      If I'd felt like writing endless paragraphs, I would have thrown in a little more information about Forsyth Co. and its racial history, because it's sort of an extreme cause of white flight in the exurbs. In part it's become a target for almost entirely white in-migration because that wave of white growth has moved in a northerly direction from Atlanta (and as Cobb and Gwinnett Cos. have become more diverse, white flight continues to go north from there), but also because it was so successfully bleached before it got engulfed by suburban growth, because of its history of Klan activity (both in the 1910s and the 80s).

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:45:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wauke$ha (3+ / 0-)

    Well, know we can see in numbers what is changing Wisconsin.

    Not surprised to see Oakland County outside Detroit making the list.  The county's population barely changed during the last decade (though, it's back to its normal, bustling self post recession according to both the Census Bureau and local statistics agency), but the ethnic/racial composition changed quite a bit with a significant net drop in both the percentage and raw number of white population, with international immigration boosting the Asian population and the huge exodus from Detroit at the end of the decade resulting in a major increase in its black  population.  The black migration as slowed since 2010, but immigration has picked back up, meaning the Asian (Mostly Indian, Chinese and Japanese, if I remember correctly) population will continue to grow.

  •  "But, as I said earlier ... so what?" (7+ / 0-)

    What this means is that Democrats are failing to contest at the ground level in local races, they build no "farm team" for higher offices, school boards and county boards get taken over by reactionaries, and rural progressives become more and more isolated and overwhelmed.  It means that the Republicans have an absolutely open field, get to wreak havoc with our land and water, are able to play rural people off urban people, and get to be over-represented especially in the Senate.

    I live in one of the exceptions:  relatively progressive rural Southwestern Wisconsin (and adjacent MN, IA, and N IL).  Thank you, driftless landscape, the local food movement, and a stubborn small town ethic.  We are not Waukesha out here.  

  •  You might want to... (0+ / 0-)

    ... look up the definition of the word "erstwhile", David.

    •  ...David knows what erstwhile means... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike

      ...I'd like to know what point you're trying to make. I'd also say David Brooks is an erstwhile chronicler of the virtues of the exurbs.

      Exurbs is a quaint term for where white folks went to after they bailed on the cities when forced busing took place.

      Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences. -7.38; -3.44

      by paradise50 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:23:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, all I meant (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike, James Allen, Dvalkure

        was that, a while ago (2004-ish), he used to talk about the exurbs all the time, as if he'd decoded the final enigma in American political analysis. Then, after 2008, after Dem turnout cranked up and the '04 election looked more like an aberration (and also after the bloom came off the exurban rose, after all the adjustable-rate ARMs used to purchase those exurban McMansions imploded and all those long exurban commutes became unmanageable thanks to higher fuel prices), he suddenly stopped talking about the exurbs and didn't look back.

        Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

        by David Jarman on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:44:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Brooks isn't the only one (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LordMike, James Allen, David Jarman

          who went on about that.  One statistic repeated ad nauseum after the 2004 election was that 97 of the 100 then fastest-growing counties voted for Bush, which included a large number of exurban counties.  Commentators treated that almost as the GOP's silver bullet for winning elections then and after.  

          Of course, many such areas are not as fast growing and/or as Republican as then, making that one of many seeming political truths that look at best dated, and often ridiculous, a decade or less later (remember the "moral values voters" and "security moms" hype?)

          38, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

          by Mike in MD on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:04:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, they went first to the inner ring suburbs... (0+ / 0-)

        That was considered paradise, but then those pesky urban folk started moving in there, too, so they just "had" to escape to the mcmansions and gated communities don't ya know!

        GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

        by LordMike on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:27:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Statewide proportional representation (4+ / 0-)

    It seems, from the data, that the Democratic Party (as well as democracy) would be better served by some sort of proportional representation system with multi member districts than by single member first past the post elections.

    The larger the number of seats to be allocated, the more precise a proportional allocation can be. I would suggest that whole states would be best (both at the Congressional and state legislative levels).

    Gerrymandering boundaries would be a thing of the past and political groups concentrated in urban areas and those spread out more thinly would get due representation. This would of course be the basis of conservative counter attacks. Conservatives (and existing elected officials of both parties) would probably prefer an electoral system that gives them an unfair advantage in a particular area, rather than one which is fair across a whole state.

    There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

    by Gary J on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:40:38 PM PST

  •  1988? (0+ / 0-)

    Great work. My question is why are you using as your baseline 1988? There are good reasons (open seat election, etc.), but you could choose from a variety of elections to choose from..

    •  That's another (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Square Knot, PassionateJus, abgin, tk421

      thing I would've written a paragraph about if I'd had endless amounts of time and pixels, but, basically, it's a reasonably close election that came shortly before the map that we're used to today really started to form (i.e. from back when the Dems didn't have a lock on urban counties and when they were still competitive in a lot of rural places, which really started to change during the Clinton years). 2000 or 2004 would be interesting too, but not as profound a change.

      And I didn't use 1992 or 1996 (or 1980 or 1968) because the large 3rd-party votes those years really skewed things. 1984, 1972, and 1964 are out because they were such blow outs because one of the candidates was so flawed. 1976 would be kind of interesting, but it's kind of skewed too because Carter overperformed so much in the Deep South (and also, to a lesser extent, Ford really overperformed in places like the Upper Midwest and the Northwest that, at that point, were still sympathetic to moderate Republicanism).

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:08:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which of the candidates in 1972 was so flawed? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevenaxelrod

        Was it Richard Nixon or George McGovern? In my book, Nixon was the one with flaws, Mcgovern the one with admirable principles.

        As a young Vietnam war veteran, I walked the streets and knocked on doors for George McGovern. Nixon was the political criminal and the war criminal; McGovern was the WWII war hero and principled opponent of the domino theory created war on peoples' liberation in Vietnam. Leave out 1972 if you will, but don't even try to claim that George McGovern was a flawed candidate. He remains a shining beacon of reason and conscience during a dark period in American history.

        Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 400ppm. That is "Climate Cluster Chaos". (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

        by Zinman on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:17:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for your service. Really. (2+ / 0-)

          But how was George McGovern not a flawed candidate when he lost 49 states?

          Now, I probably would have voted for George McGovern had I been alive and old enough to vote. My grandparents did. But how does a candidate that is not flawed manage to lose 49 states?

          Were his ideas flawed? No. I can agree with you there. Was he a flawed candidate? From an electoral perspective, yes.

          Gay farm boy, 21, who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -5.12, -1.74, "No tears. Remember the laughter, stories and good times we shared."- My dad (1959-2013).

          by WisJohn on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:23:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  McGovern lost because he told the truth (0+ / 0-)

            Sometimes that is like spitting into the wind. Perhaps he could have garnered more votes by lying about the Vietnam War, or by supporting income inequality by not proposing a plan to correct it.

            My criteria when he ran for President was whether he told the truth and whether he proposed workable policies for stopping the madness. He did both. The fault was not his for not being elected President, the fault lies with the American electorate for not understanding what he was saying. Perhaps further, he lost because the corporate forces in America at time supported the War because it profited them, but at the expense of the general public, and the lives lost in the War on both sides.

            Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 400ppm. That is "Climate Cluster Chaos". (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

            by Zinman on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:25:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Republican districts drag on economy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caoimhin Laochdha

    A person in a city or inner suburb, on average, produces more per capita GDP and tax revenue and consumes less energy and pollutes less than the average person in the exburbs and beyond. Unfortunately, the data isn't easily available. If it were, the whole Republican economic rationalization of their lifestyle could be shown to be a fraud in an easy to understand graphic.

  •  Illustrates that Republicans need (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen

    to be freaking out about Florida above all else.

    Democrats may have a problem in Pennsylvania (or may not, if the eastern suburbs decide to go solidly blue).

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:45:38 PM PST

  •  I loved that little note (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    at the bottom of that rancid David Brooks column:  "Paul Krugman is on vacation until January."  That said all you need to know about the ideas a pseudo-sage like Brooks puts out.  

    I'm an exurban, in part.  I've lived in exurban enclaves like Copperas Cove, Texas, and Barstow, California.  If that pluperfect ass thinks what people in those places are all about can be summed up in Rick Warren, he's more full of shit than just about anybody in the punditocracy.  

    Of course we have some that are inspired by Warren's insipid self-congratulatory Chrsitianism, but plenty more who are unimpressed.  And those that are are by no means firmly committed to voting Republican.  

    The exurbia - urbania divide is not simply explained by values.  It is as much an enigma as why such a poor-ass place like Mississippi votes so overwhelmingly against their economic interests.  What it is is that manipulators like Karl Rove and the Koches have discovered a way to trick some people into voting against themselves that is by no means guaranteed to keep working forever, Rick Warren and his ilk aside.  

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Kangaroo on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:55:00 PM PST

    •  many of the poorest people in Mississippi do not (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, latts

      African Americans make up a disproportionate share of the poorer part of the state and vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Most of the rest of the state doesn't want to vote for the same candidate they do.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:05:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Depends what you define as "their interest" (0+ / 0-)

      They define it rather differently, even if their definition of what is in "their interest" is rather racist.

      GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

      by LordMike on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:06:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I could have specified (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike

        "economic interest" I suppose, but I chose to say "interest" because IMO while racism and racist policies may be someone's want or desire and when achieved give them some short-term exuberance, is it really good for them?  Kind of like how you don't give a 3-year-old an entire bag of candy to eat in one sitting except the 3 y/o is more reasonable about such limitations than your average right-winger is.  

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

        by Kangaroo on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:18:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Urban Archipelago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PassionateJus

    This was written by the folks at The Stranger back in '04 after Kerry's loss, but it seems appropriate here as well:

    The Urban Archipelago: It's the Cities, Stupid

  •  Also explains why GOPs can't pass an agenda (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GleninCA

    While they can gerrymander a narrow majority, the solid DEM districts that remain make it very difficult to grow the majority in order to pass legislation.  That's why Boehner will keep needing DEM support to pass essential legislation.

  •  Does the word "Rubes" mean anything to you? nt (0+ / 0-)

    I ride the wild horse .

    by BelgianBastard on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:14:09 PM PST

  •  Well if trees did vote (0+ / 0-)

    we'd be dominating already.  XD  But seriously, great work!  

  •  The United States IS a "center-right country" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChadmanFL
    The first reaction many people may have when looking at a standard red/blue map of county-level election results . . . . reinforce[s] the perception that this is a "center-right nation."

    The U.S. is not a "Republican" country, which these maps can misleadingly suggest.  However, the U.S. is one of the most, if not the world's most, illiberal western democracy.  

    The U.S. is a "Center-Right" country.  This is continually reinforced by the center-right policies of Democrats in Congress and a President who deliberately eschewed taking liberal positions as a candidate and has governed from a center-right position as our President.

    Only in the U.S. - particularly our media - are Democrats immediately labeled "liberal" and Republicans, who are bat-shit crazy right wing radicals, generously labeled "conservative."  

    The few liberals left in Congress are completely marginalized and the conservative wing of the Democratic caucuses in both houses of Congress call the shots.  

    In almost every western democracy (think EU) Barack Obama and his staunchest policy supporters in Congress would correctly be referred to as "conservative."  Republicans (Louis Gohmert, Eric Cantor, Ted Cruz & 200 other members of the Senate/House) would be considered unelectable by the leading Conservative parties in most, or all, of Europe.  

    It is tellingly sad that wing-nut bigots, xenophobes, sexist & belligerently and dangerously unstable militaristic Republicans are the new "Conservative," while the Democratic enablers of class warfare and bucket carriers of the banking/insurance/fossil fuel energy lobbies are the new "Liberals."                                                              

    In France, Germany, Great Britain etc., a Democrat such as David Prior (D-Walmart) would never be put forward as a candidate by the conservatives.  Conservative party leaders & operatives would see a far-right Democrat, such as Prior, as far too risky to run to be the face of the conservative parties.  His policy positions are so far to the right, and far too out-of-touch with the electorate, to be taken seriously as a "Conservative" candidate.

    sláinte,
    cl
    -- Religion is like sodomy: both can be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

    by Caoimhin Laochdha on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:33:44 PM PST

    •  I think center right here in America is taken (3+ / 0-)

      to mean Business Friendly.

      I not sure why, though, we'd (working people) want to try so hard to be friends with a group that wants workers generally brought down to the lowest level rather than brought up to a higher level.

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:50:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You nailed it, Caoimhin: "ILLiberal Democracy!" (0+ / 0-)

      The entire movement of both parties to the Right over the past 50+ years has been astounding!   Eisenhower--by today's standards--would be a flaming "Commie Pinko."  Even "Saint Ronnie" would be ostracized by most Republicans today as being a "raging" liberal if they actually dissected his policies now.  

      As a sixty-year-old lifelong Democrat, I am saddened to see just how easily the Koch Brothers pull the strings of both parties today. They just do it more blatantly on the Republican side.  President Obama could indeed kill the Keystone XL Pipeline--but won't.   He KNOWS it will exacerbate the Climate Change that he professes to care "so" much about.  Why won't he stop it? Because he dances to the exact same strings of Wall Street and the Koch Brothers that the Repugs do.

      If this is a "Democracy," it certainly is a very "ILLiberal" one--as you well said.

  •  The new, blue I-4 corridor of central FL (0+ / 0-)

    This really does highlight how fast the I-4 corridor has gone from swingy/leans R to Dem leaning.  This is most notable in the increasingly diverse Orange and Osceola counties.  When I was a kid in the 80's-early 90's I can recall Orlando and the surrounding areas being much older, whiter and more blue collar.  These days it's largely younger, more diverse, white collar and higher educated.  

    As the map of Florida shows the only places the GOP has grown in strength is the Panhandle and a few mostly sparsely populated rural counties.  Central, south Florida and a few other population hubs like Alachua and Leon have brown bluer.

    Intelligence agencies keep things secret because they often violate the rule of law or of good behavior. -Julian Assange-

    by ChadmanFL on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:51:06 AM PST

    •  In presidential elections ... (0+ / 0-)

      the nation goes where the I-4 corridor goes, it seems. The math is simple: I-4 swings Fl to the Dems, and it is impossible for the other side to win without FL.
      BTW, I think Volusia and Duval will turn blue in '16.
      IOW, the ice age is coming to the GOP!

  •  Dixie & Mormon factors (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Jarman

    RE: It's impossible to parse out from this data how much of that is actual changed minds, and how much is the replacement of Republicans who died or white-flighted to somewhere else, with Democrats who moved from elsewhere or aged into the electorate ...

    It wouldn't be hard with a bit more data, esp. changes in racial/ ethnic population by county. I'd start by looking at that because we can see that the great majority of R-gain counties are in the former Confederacy, exurbs of Houston Dallas Atlanta Birmingham Mobile & Jacksonville, while the inner core of the first four, at least, have moved strongly blue. White flight unquestionably explains much of this, and as mentioned , self-sorting to "safe" (white) retirement destinations can account for some more.
    The main non-Dixie components here are SW PA and Utah; the latter  can be explained by the increasing campaign focus on cultural over economic issues when permissive D stands on gays, abortion etc. are at odds with Mormon doctrine.
    Pittsburgh & the Rust Belt may, as noted, be population shift and union attrition -- but much of the D losses occurred in the Clinton era when it became clear that free-trader Bill would do zip to protect our steel, however much he"felt our pain." Tracking the timing on D losses may indicate changed minds in PA rather than demographic change.
    That covers it, except Waukesha (white flight) & 1 in CO (?)  

  •  Data bias? (0+ / 0-)

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but one of the few commonalities I can see between 1988 and 2012 elections are the weak candidates from Massachusetts.  1988 skews low Democrat, 2012 skews low Republican, so these difference numbers are likely to inflate extensively to benefit of Democrats.  

    A more likely comparison would be the 1992 and 2012 elections, with each having a President trying for a second term in the face of some disillusionment opposed by a candidate new to national level politics, a former governor of a smallish state.  

  •  Not Quite Sure Why St. Louis County, MN..... (0+ / 0-)

    ......would be bright red.  I must have missed what the timeline of this color scheme represents in the writeup but at least from 2008 to 2012 the PVI of SLC, MN didn't change.

    •  That was one county (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark27

      I was particularly surprised to see red, but this is over a 1988-2012 timeframe. It's probably the same problem as SW PA: one-time hard-hat union stronghold that now has an elderly, almost entirely white population, and fewer union members.

      Here are the underlying numbers: in 1988 there were 70,344 Dem votes and 31,799 GOP votes (68% Dukakis); in 2012 there were 73,378 Dem votes and 39,131 GOP votes (63% Obama). That's a Dem change of +3,034 and a GOP change of +7,332, for a net change of -4,298. The PVI actually did change quite a bit in that period, too, even though it's still very blue overall: from D+23 in '88 to D+13 in '12.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:51:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Got It...Didn't Realize When I Typed This..... (0+ / 0-)

        ....that it went back to 1988, which was indeed an election where the embattled steelworkers union got their members out in droves.  With automation in the Minnesota mines and the old-timers dying off with few replacements, the Minnesota Iron Range will get incrementally less blue over time, although not nearly as fast as SW PA.  And in St. Louis County, Minnesota, it will always have the dark blue stronghold of Duluth to offset losses in the steelworker part of the county.

  •  A map showing rates of teen pregnancy? (0+ / 0-)

    In loyalty to their kind, they cannot tolerate our minds. In loyalty to our kind, We cannot tolerate their obstruction.

    by mojave mike on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:48:59 AM PST

  •  A great map, except that ... (0+ / 0-)

    the box with a county number completely covers that county! Should be moved somewhere else!

  •  Just more reasons (0+ / 0-)

    why the Electoral College has to go and be replaced with a notional popular vote for president.

  •  It took you this long to figure that out? (0+ / 0-)

    It seemed pretty obvious to me back in 2004 and 2008.

  •  Proud to be from (and contributing to) the one (0+ / 0-)

    bright blue speck in Idaho - Ada County, where Boise is situated. The other blue spots - Blaine County, home of Sun Valley (medium blue), and Latah County, home of University of Idaho (pale blue). The rest? Red and rural.

    Draw your own conclusions.

  •  Tactics for progressives in conservative rural US (0+ / 0-)

    Higher population densities favor progressive politics, less populated areas favor conservative politics. There is no way to change this dynamic. As long as the Democratic Party continues to stand up for progressive values, that is a tough sell out here in right-leaning rural America.

    That being said, there are certainly things we can do to expand our reach (or at least minimize the damage) in the countryside. This is something I’ve been working on for the last couple years: trying to figure out how to do this.

    For starters, equal human rights and other social issues will never resonate in the countryside, just like Civil Rights didn’t decades ago. While it’s still OK not to completely capitulate on them, politicos out here in rural America should not focus on them.

    You have to speak the language of the folks where you are at, and out here it’s all bread and butter issues that we can win with. Particularly populist economics. A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. People get that. Also remember to FRAME things appropriately. It's not "right to work", it's "right to work for less", instead of "welfare", it's public assistance to hard working families with kids, etc.

    we also have to fight in every county of every state, even in places where we know we’re going to lose. It’s actually OK to run socially liberal candidates in doomed districts, as it tends to shift things a bit bluer every year, making it easier for social moderates to win. Out organizing, out thinking, out fighting, and out working our opponents is also key. Utilize technology to have better online outreach, designing better door knocking/yard sign maps, assembling stronger letter to the editor teams, etc.

    Where we can’t win, shift things more purple. Where it is competitive, run socially moderate candidates, since we can only have a chance at a decent US House if we win in every single district R+2 or better. In the blue districts, push progressive change and reform harder. There is no excuse to have a centrist or conservative Democrat representing any liberal districts anywhere in the nation.

    Bold Progressive. Deal with it.

    by novenator on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:03:23 PM PST

  •  I love being an anomaly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical

    I'm progressive, liberal, vote mostly Democratic, and in spite of being not very well off financially, live in one of the redder and wealthier districts in a state that has traditionally favored Democrats. So I like to think my zip code information is valuable on all those liberal progressive petitions! My dad, a life long Republican is disgusted with the GOP and what it has become and can see that they are ruining the country. So, as long as the Republicans continue to push Tea Party idiots as candidates, intelligent and compassionate people like my dad will be voting Democrat!

  •  More pieces (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl

     Good analysis, but how do fewer people spread out over more counties make it harder to win the house? House seats are apportioned based on population, so we are dealing with the same number of seats for the same number of voters. Perhaps the urban bluebloods are more concentrated, which would suggest these races are less competitive than the rural rednecks, but it appears the opposite is true. Something is not adding up, and more analysis is needed. I am sure you are up to the task.
      On another note, I am familiar with several of these "exurbs", and the sheep that tend to flock to these areas appear to be of the 'white fight' variety. I am sure this accounts for much of the variation.

    •  white flight exurbs (0+ / 0-)

      good point and an important clarification in all this, I'm sure.

      Also exurbs are generally communities that invest less in all sorts of public goods, like public transport and schools.

      Thanks for joining the conversation, you've given me a lot to think about.

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 02:29:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  so it's less the (0+ / 0-)

    rural/urban divide we need to worry about and more the urban/exurban one?

    I suspect the dynamics are slightly different for each of those divides.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 02:26:46 AM PST

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