12 October 2016

Notable Demographic picture of this strange, transformational political era

Probably the most interesting map on Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com is the one that shows the states proportional to their population. (Scroll down to see it). Not only does it show that more populous recently "red" or "lean red" states, AZ, IA, FL, and OH are now light blue, it's interesting to note that, with the exception of Mississippi, where the large black population skews the trend, it is the more populous Trump states that are weaker for him and closer to tipping. Very low population Southern and Mountain West states are the red meat Trumpsylvania. 

This plays out within states, too. California, by county, is true blue along the coast (even San Diego and Orange Counties now vote Democratic much of the time (Romney did carry Orange Co. in 2012). But the Central Valley and remote Northeast is as red as Alabama. 

Here in Oregon, it's much the same. The Willamette Valley, which includes Salem, Portland, and Eugene, has a disproportionate share of the state's population, and is reliably not only Democratic, but Progressive Democratic. But much of the rest of the state is Trump territory. 

This divide was not always so apparent, and I'm not really sure where it will lead us. If a mostly urban, Center/Progressive majority obtains a demographic lock on the presidency, and ultimately the Congress as well, as would seem likely given this trend, will the states that no longer ever elect a Democratic senator or governor, and the regions of "blue states" that always vote counter to the majority in their states, become permanently disenchanted with the workings of our small-r republican system? 

Or, will there be some tectonic shift? The implosion of the Republican party and emergence of a split on issues that leads to a new division, one which may not be so geographically polarized? I submit no one really knows the answers to these questions, but one thing is for sure: we are living through times that will transform politics in America. 

Hopefully just in time so that our politics can start addressing the policy issues that are suffering from unsustainable neglect as a result of our current polarization and paralysis. 

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