Monday, March 19, 2012

Rick Santorum for the Urban Archipelago

Posted by on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Rick Santorum this week:

“Think about it, look at the map of the United States. Blue being the Democrats, red being the Republicans—it’s almost all red. Except around the big cities."

The editors of the Stranger back in 2004:

The majority of the blue states—Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware—are, geographically speaking, not blue states. They are blue cities.

Look at our famously blue West Coast. But for the cities—Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego—the West Coast would be a deep, dark red. The same is true for other nominally blue states. Illinois is almost entirely red—Chicago turns the state blue. Michigan is almost entirely red—Detroit, Lansing, Kalamazoo turn it blue. And on and on. What tips these states into the blue column? Their urban areas do, their big, populous counties.

It's time for the Democrats to face reality: They are the party of urban America. If the cities elected our president, if urban voters determined the outcome, John F. Kerry would have won by a landslide. Urban voters are the Democratic base.

 

Comments (32) RSS

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1
Last I checked it is one person one vote, not one acre one vote.
Posted by wl on March 19, 2012 at 10:10 AM · Report this
2
Hectares don't vote.

What you see on a map is a depiction of land mass and political boundaries.
If you, instead, placed the people on without the land mass and colored the people red/blue/whatever then you'd see a LOT of blue people in large concentrations and a smattering of red people spread across a wide area.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 19, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
3
Waaaaaay too broad-stroked. In New England, here in MA for instance, I promise you those of us in rural towns vote way more liberally than many city dwellers, particularly those of low or middle income. It's certainly not as set in stone as the quote makes it sound.
Posted by NateMan on March 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM · Report this
rejemy 4
We don't have one person, one vote. We have an electoral collage, so people in Kansas, Wyoming, Oklahoma have more votes than people in New York, San Francisco, Chicago.
Posted by rejemy on March 19, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Report this
5
Santorum has his finger on a demographic reality that most republicans ignore. They like to talk about rural Americans as being "real Americans" as opposed to those faux Americans who live in cities. But 80% of the population now lives in or near a major urban area. The Republicans rule over much larger land mass, but much smaller populations, and since they're determined to offend hispanics, native americans, blacks, gays and women in their quest for power, they're making their piece of the voter pie smaller and smaller every election cycle.
Posted by Clayton on March 19, 2012 at 10:29 AM · Report this
6
As you go out from the urban cities, to the suburbs, then out to the rural areas and small towns, there is a "long tail" of redness there.

If you take the 2004 county-based "purple map" and line it up with a map of population density by county, you see that the urban counties are think and blue... and they are all universally surrounded by semi-dense pink suburbs, followed by gobs and gobs of sparse deep red.

This long tail is why the county is somewhat balanced politically. For every square mile of uber-dense deep blue, there are a hundred square miles of unter-dense deep red.
Posted by K on March 19, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Report this
COMTE 7
@4:

"Electoral Collage" - is that like, where you cut out pictures of politicians from magazines & newspapers and paste them onto a sheet of cardboard?
Posted by COMTE on March 19, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
8
True, but if we add color saturation to our map as a measure of population density, we'd actually see a bunch of deep blue splotches around the cities and a very faint pink haze over most of the rest.
Posted by Proteus on March 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Puty 9
That was a great feature and the best magazine cover in alt-weekly history.
Posted by Puty on March 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM · Report this
SPG 10
There's a certain degree of self selection going on here as well. The people who don't like people, or can't get along with people, or who fear people, tend to live in places with fewer people around them. Those people are predisposed to a conservative viewpoint and are easy bait for the GOP line of fear and division.
Likewise, so many of the people born in the sparsely populated parts of this country and want to experience more tend to move to where there are more people. These people who are more open to new experience tend to be liberal in beliefs and settle for our almost liberal party, the Democrats.
Posted by SPG on March 19, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
11
Someone needs to remind Santorum that we vote per capita, not per square footage.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on March 19, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
Karlheinz Arschbomber 12
The point here is that most of King County, geographically, is also pink/red. Once you are a few paces into SUV/Neutron-Bomb Suburbia (perfect houses/lawns, no sign of ambulatory life) you are into the land of I-got-mine-you-lot-get-fucked.

The exurbias of Maple Valley, North Bend, et al. are full of racist xenophobic crazies.
Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arschbombe on March 19, 2012 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Banna 13
As always, we should be using cartograms to accurately reflect population.
Posted by Banna http://www.ucp.org on March 19, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
14
Bomb the big cities?
Posted by Patricia Kayden on March 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
15

“The INSTANTANEOUS global coverage of radio-TV make the city form meaningless, functionless.”

“Any highway eatery with its TV set, newspaper and magazine is as cosmopolitan as NEW York or Paris.”


--Marshall McLuhan

http://marshallandme.com/tv-has-made-cit…

Add in web browsing, and any Starbucks, in any strip mall, is as culturally relevant as 18th century coastal cities.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on March 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
16
I'm sorry, this is news?
Posted by Torchy Blane on March 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
17

#10

The previous elections were split along one and only one metric: population density.

Above a certain density, they vote Democrat.

Below it, Republican.

Many answers can be given, but mine is that above a certain density, one becomes dependent on public "infrastructure" -- if you don't have a backyard, you want a park. If you don't have a car, you want a subway. Hence you want taxes and government to supply you with the things your apartment cannot.

And the opposite -- if your home is large and you can entertain in it, you don't need a cafe. If you have a car, you don't need a bus. And so on.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on March 19, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Doctor Memory 18
*pats Bailo on the head*

You keep dreamin', kid.

(Hint: that TV, that newspaper, that magazine? Where are they made, and why? That internet connection? That coffeeshop? Where are their owners headquartered, and why?)
Posted by Doctor Memory http://blahg.blank.org on March 19, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this
19
That's a bullshit, simplistic reading of the country. Look at a population cartogram of the 2008 results:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/elec…

A lot less red in that one. Cities are where the people are.
Posted by mayberrymachiavelli on March 19, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
20
@7, now I want to make one of those. Or perhaps that's my Halloween costume for next year!
Posted by 14thblackbird on March 19, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
emor 21
Bailo, cities are relevant because that's where the people live, not because there are more televisions. Or something.

Also, implying that dense cities is where all the welfare dependents is an interesting and common opinion, but it's factually incorrect. It has been pointed out many times that dense cities provide most of our society's tax revenue. The noble ritual counties that you seem to believe are daringly independent and self sustaining are actually net-importers of taxpayer money. In some rural counties almost 50% of all income is in the form of government benefits. Benefits that are paid for largely by the economic activity in the cities. Cities that you deem unnecessary and in decline. Sorry, but your opinion is fucking stupid.

Posted by emor on March 19, 2012 at 11:53 AM · Report this
venomlash 22
I remember a few months ago, some downstate politicians were calling for Chicago to become its own state separate from the rest of Illinois because they were tired of the city determining policy for the whole state. That's life in a representative democracy, folks; the few don't get to determine policy for the many. Well unless the few control the vast majority of the wealth.
Posted by venomlash on March 19, 2012 at 12:40 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 23
@17: roads are subsidized infrastructure more costly than public transportation.
Posted by Max Solomon on March 19, 2012 at 12:45 PM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 24
Guess what? There are blue pockets all over the South and Midwest, too -- Atlanta, Kansas City, Austin, Dallas. Houston even has a duly elected LESBIAN mayor.We're not just on the coasts. It's just that on the coasts, we're more likely to stretch into suburban and rural areas.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH http://biggayfrathouse.typepad.com/blog/ on March 19, 2012 at 12:49 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 25
RE: Left Coast states only being liberal in their cities- true only to a point. Anywhere in CA, OR and WA is a good deal more tolerant (regardless of voting record) than states further east of them.
Also, I'd take rural eastern WA to metropolitan Jacksonville, FL or Atlanta, GA any day of the week. When was the last time you saw a "Don't kill them babies!" billboard anywhere in WA? They're everywhere in greater Jacksonville. It's a foreign country in Dixie, regardless of the population density.
Posted by OutInBumF on March 19, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
26
@24 YES. For example, Des Moines and Omaha are reliably blue too, while Iowa is swing territory and Nebraska is reliably red. The suburbs and exurbs nationwide tend to be the battleground, purplish areas that are more apt to change colors from election cycle to election cycle.

And for those whiners who think this urban/rural thing is too broad and simplistic: of course there are exceptions. Demographers look at trends, not individuals. When describing the voting behavior of a couple hundred million eligible voters, anyone with half of a brain should expect a half-page summary to be in broad strokes.
Posted by Functional Atheist on March 19, 2012 at 2:04 PM · Report this
27
#10 - But I don't like people, and I fear some people. And I'm still pretty gosh-darn liberal! Explain that!
Posted by catsnbanjos on March 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM · Report this
Geni 28
The reddest county in the reddest state in the country (it's in Idaho, or was in the last couple of elections) still votes more than 25% Democratic.
Posted by Geni on March 19, 2012 at 3:37 PM · Report this
Geni 29
(Of course, that's probably a grand total of 12 people, but still...)
Posted by Geni on March 19, 2012 at 3:38 PM · Report this
30
@7 har har har

thank you
I completely read over/ missed that.

the idea of the electoral "collage" cracked me up. I'm glad I wasn't sipping a beer near my laptop when I read that!

thanks
Posted by marking on March 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM · Report this
who cares what I call myself 31
This just proves that Santorum reads the Stranger.
Posted by who cares what I call myself on March 20, 2012 at 6:56 AM · Report this
32
Ah, a new front in the battle for vote suppression: photo IDs for big-city residents only. Because, you know, out here in the wide-open real Merka, we all know each other, and we're all Merkans.
Posted by tamiasmin on March 20, 2012 at 3:21 PM · Report this

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