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Appalachia is a region of the United States that has long been distinct from the standard definition of the North and South with which it overlaps, both culturally and politically.  Central Appalachia has long been a bastion of the Democratic Party, but has moved rapidly towards Republicans in recent elections.  Southern Appalachia has a mix of areas that have been Republican for many decades and some that have become Republican strongholds more recently.

In this diary, I take a look at how the political landscape would be different if the Appalachian regions of several states in the eastern US were to form one large state comprising Central and Southern Appalachia.  This part will focus on the statewide political effects state by state, including how various elections would have played out, while the next part will take a look at how redistricting could play out in each state given the resulting statewide changes using Dave's Redistricting App.  I have included several maps and graphs to keep this long diary organized.

The point of departure from actual events is election day 2010.  All races and all candidates are the same, regardless of whether the candidate still lives in the state just for simplicity, however the results from counties that form Appalachia have been removed to see what would happen to those states without them.  All congressional races and state legislative races went the same way simply to make this diary more feasible.  For legislative districts that cross the new state lines, I assigned the district to the state the majority of the district’s constituents are in.  I used the remaining legislative partisan breakdown to determine the partisan control of the new states’ legislatures, although for Appalachia itself there are vast disparities in district population sizes.

The Appalachian Regional Commission, which is a state-federal development agency, defines Appalachia as over 400 counties spanning from northern Mississippi to western New York.  I used this definition as the basis for this diary, but made some slight changes such as the omission of New York and the inclusion of the Shenandoah Valley, among others.

Central Appalachia is comprised of parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia.  Southern Appalachia covers parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.  Central Appalachia still has a strong local presence by the Democratic party thanks, especially those regions which have coal mining and high rates of unionization.  Southern Appalachia on the other hand was a longtime bastion of the Democratic Party outside of Tennessee and North Carolina as part of the old Solid South.  Since the 1960s this area has trended away along with the rest of the South, but began to move sharply towards Republicans after the 1994 midterm elections.  Today this area is staunchly Republican and will have zero Democratic congressional representatives after the 2012 elections.

Most amazingly, Bill Clinton won the ARC counties in 1996 by a mere 393 votes out of 8,186,841 cast.  That results in a margin of just 0.0048% which is even smaller than Florida in 2000.  If the ARC counties had been their own state in 1996, Clinton would have also won Georgia, bringing his total up to 403 electoral votes.

Regional Overview
Click for larger map

This map shows the counties I included in Appalachia, as well as the changes to the surrounding states.  Differing from the Appalachian Regional Commission, I excluded northeastern Ohio, Gwinnett County, Georgia, Forsyth County, North Carolina, and a few other smaller counties.  I included all of West Virginia to avoid dealing with orphaned counties and also added more of Virginia that I felt should be included.  Three counties were split: Iredell in NC, and Franklin and Dauphin in PA.  Only Iredell and Dauphin have any significant population in both states.


This table displays the basic VAP demographic data for all 12 states, their 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential percentages, as well as their CPVI and how it has changed from the actual state.  All this data will be presented in more detail by state later on.  The bottom row shows the data for all of the states combined.

As can be immediately seen, every single one of the 11 states that shed some territory to the new state of Appalachia becomes more Democratic as a result and some would have even flipped to Democrats in one of the presidential elections.


This table shows the changes to state legislatures; the left side shows the partisan breakdown of the seats removed from each state to form Appalachia, while the right side shows the new partisan composition as a result.  Most of the Appalachian regions in these states have large Republican majorities, especially in southern Appalachia.  As with the statewide elections, some legislative chambers held by Republicans in reality would now have only narrow majorities or even be held by Democrats.

The States



First up is Appalachia itself.  With nearly 23 million people, this would be the 3rd largest state after Texas.  It is the whitest of the 12 states, being the only one other than Kentucky not to have a VRA district.  With a PVI of R+11.4 it is also the most conservative of the 12 just from the 2004/2008 presidential elections.  However, the region has been moving steadily away from Democrats as can be seen from the Clinton and Gore performances, and after 2012 the state would probably have a PVI of around R+13.

Its largest metropolitan area and the heart of Democratic strength in the state is Pittsburgh.  Other sizeable cities include Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Birmingham.  Compared to the rest of the United States however, a much higher portion of the population is rural, as well as poorer than average.

Even with the addition of Democratic supermajorities from its Pennsylvania and West Virginia portions, Appalachia has a large Republican majority in its legislature.  For this part of the exercise I’m assuming that redistricting would equalize the district sizes and possibly reduce the total number of seats since at 640 total legislators they would outnumber members of Congress.  In keeping with the same candidates and races from 2010, I’ll just posit that Joe Manchin narrowly holds on due to his strong appeal to Central Appalachia and John Raese’s many failings as a candidate.  As a result, he would face a very tough race in 2012, and Republicans pick up the governor’s office in the 2011 special election, giving them the trifecta.

By electoral performance, the last Democratic presidential candidate to win this state would have unsurprisingly been Jimmy Carter in 1976.  Bill Clinton comes closest in 1996, losing by just 1.74% to Bob Dole.  Since then however, the Democratic vote share has been in decline.  Both John Kerry and Barack Obama failed to crack 40% of the vote, and it is unlikely Obama would surpass 40% in 2012.  While this state could be seen as a second Texas in terms of being a large-state Republican stronghold, it is largely composed of electoral votes Republicans have to win anyway, and as we will see next it makes the surrounding states more favorable to Democrats in ways that Texas does not.



Starting in the south, Mississippi loses some of its northeastern counties in the fringes of Appalachia.  Unfortunately for Democrats, this isn’t really helpful since these areas were friendly to conservative Democrats and actually had a Democratic majority in their state senate delegation even after the 2011 elections.  However, the state house is now only narrowly divided, with Republicans holding a 50-48 majority, though with Republicans controlling legislative redistricting here as they actually do, Democrats probably wouldn’t be flipping the chamber anytime soon.

Mississippi is rather boring in this exercise since no statewide races are changed at all, and the partisan balance of the state still heavily favors Republicans.



Alabama is the only state other than West Virginia to see more than 50% of its population absorbed by the state of Appalachia.  It sheds most of its territory north of the black belt region, which was surprising to me since I wouldn’t normally think of Birmingham as being Appalachian.  The state experiences roughly an 8% increase in the black share of the population, which should only grow over time.

The state shifts substantially towards Democrats; Obama sees an improvement of 5% here from his actual 2008 performance.  Still, Alabama is strongly Republican and even Bill Clinton still lost the state by 4% in 1996.  The state would remain competitive to Blue Dog Democrats though.  Dems are only 2 state house and state senate seats short of a majority.  With only 15 state senators and 41 state house members, Alabama would have the smallest bicameral legislature in the country and it would be unsurprising to see it expanded during redistricting.

In terms of statewide elections, Republicans still hold all of the statewide offices.  Jim Folsom narrowly lost the Lieutenant Governor’s race in 2010 to Kay Ivey by slightly over 4,000 votes, or only 0.8%.  As the black share of the population rises Democrats should start being more competitive here, especially in the event of good Democratic years such as 2006 or 2008.



Georgia is where the fun for Democrats would begin in earnest by yielding them a bonanza of electoral goodies.  Right off the bat, Barack Obama actually won the state and its then 12 electoral votes by a non-trivial 4.66% margin.  Obama does almost 5% better with the removal of the blood red Appalachian counties north of Atlanta, and the state would potentially vote more Democratic than the nation in 2012 due to rapidly changing Demographics.  B ill Clinton also would have won the state against Dole in 1996, meaning that Democrats carried the state in the 3 of the last 5 presidential elections.

But wait, there’s more!  In terms of local statewide races Democrats also performed much better.  Jim Martin would have defeated incumbent Saxby Chambliss with 51.08% to 45.79%, clearing the 50% runoff threshold.  In terms of this diary’s scenario involving the 2010 elections, Democrats also come out ahead.  Roy Barnes would have won a plurality of 48.89% to Nathan Deal’s 47.19%, and would have a better than 50% chance of winning the runoff a month afterwards due to Deal’s unpopularity.  Attorney General candidate Ken Hodges won a plurality of 48.63% to Sam Olens’ 48.10%, and the races for Lt. Governor and Insurance Commissioner would have gone to a runoff as well.  It is quite possible that Democrats would have won all 3 down-ballot runoffs with Roy Barnes’ coattails.

In the state legislature, Republicans’ majorities are whittled down substantially.  They hold a much narrower 25-20 senate majority, meaning Dems need only 3 seats to flip the chamber.  The house has a slightly wider Republican majority, but with now Governor Barnes’ veto of legislative redistricting, Democrats would have a good chance to win both chambers under court-drawn maps.

Georgia is now majority minority by total population and shifting demographics, which was one of the reasons I didn’t remove Gwinnett County, will continue to make Georgia more Democratic.  In 2012 it would be a tossup at the presidential level and Dems would have a good shot at defeating Saxby Chambliss in 2014.  Georgia is one of several states where Democrats now get to run under court-drawn or compromise maps instead of Republican-drawn ones.

South Carolina


South Carolina sheds its most Republican friendly parts in the northwestern part of the state.  It also becomes a couple points less white.  As a result it moves 3% towards Democrats and Obama only lost to McCain by 2.78% in 2008.  That’s the closest margin since Bill Clinton came within 1.3% of Bob Dole in 1996.  For other federal elections, Jim DeMint would have only won by 3.5% in 2004 and would face a very tough time if he were seeking reelection in 2016.

The local level is where Democrats would see their biggest gains.  Instead of Republicans having control of the trifecta, Nikki Haley actually lost the gubernatorial election to Vincent Sheheen by just 941 votes, or 0.1%.  Compounding this, their large legislative majorities are reduced to just a 48-45 majority in the house and a 17-17 tie in the state senate.  However, Lt. Governor Ken Ard still won by 4.6% so Republicans keep the chamber with his tiebreaking vote.

With court-drawn maps thanks to Governor’ Sheheen’s veto, Dems would have a much better shot at actually taking over one or both legislative chambers in 2012, especially if the Obama campaign decided to heavily contest the state due to the closeness of the 2008 election.  The state should continue moving towards Democrats, but at a slower pace than Georgia.



Tennessee experiences the largest shift towards Democrats, which is unsurprising since eastern Tennessee has been a Republican bastion since the Civil War.  Obama sees his vote share rise over 6% to give him a much narrower 3.13% loss in 2008.  John Kerry also sees just a 5.3% loss.  Perhaps most unsurprisingly, Al Gore carried the state in 2000 with 51.42% of the vote, however with only 7 electoral votes it wouldn’t have been enough to counter the loss of 8 to 10 electoral votes from Pennsylvania.

The state is also substantially less white and has demographics more typical of a southern state.  Perhaps as a result of this decline in the white population, Harold Ford would have handily beaten Bob Corker in 2006 with 52.56% to 46.25%.  Corker might even be vulnerable in 2012 to a challenge by a Blue Dog like Jim Cooper.

What I was surprised to find though, is that without Appalachian eastern Tennessee, Republicans lose their very large legislative majorities in both chambers.  Democrats have a 1 seat majority in the state senate and a tie exists in the now incidentally even numbered house.  A power sharing situation would probably emerge, although perhaps a Republican would vote to organize with the Democrats as had happened prior to 2010, but that’s unlikely.  Republicans still hold the governorship though, but Dems are still better off under court-drawn legislative maps than the actual Republican gerrymandered ones.  It would be interesting to see whether Dems can hold their ground in the legislature and whether or not the state would continue its rightward trend.

North Carolina


Unlike Tennessee, North Carolina’s share of Appalachia isn’t nearly as conservative, so it only sees about a 2% shift to the right.  Still, Obama now beat McCain by nearly 4 points in 2008 and is probably a slight favorite over Mitt Romney in 2012.  Bill Clinton would have narrowly lost the state in 1996, but now won the state in 1992 by a little under 1%.  Instead of her narrow 3% win in 2008, Bev Perdue would have won with 51.52% to Pat McCrory’s 45.72%.  Democrats would also have a much better chance at holding the governorship in 2012 as well.

Unfortunately, Democrats don’t flip either legislative chamber and since the governor can’t veto redistricting Republicans still get to gerrymander the shit out of the state.  They do however lose their supermajority in the state senate and only hold a narrow 51-47 majority in the state house, meaning that there probably wouldn’t have been a gay marriage ban on the 2012 ballot, as well as measures such as voter ID laws.

The good news for Democrats is that the state will continue to trend leftward thanks to migration from other parts of the country and the growing minority population.  It is even conceivable that Obama receives a higher percentage in North Carolina than nationwide in 2012.



Kentucky experiences only a slight shift towards Democrats given that much of the eastern coal counties which are a strong base of support for local Democrats is removed.  Still, the state shifts nearly 2.5% towards Obama, but little else is changed from a statewide perspective.  Mitch McConnell still beat Bruce Lunsford in 2008, though by a slightly narrower 4.74%.  However, both McConnell and Rand Paul would be very vulnerable in 2014 and 2016 even after just a few points of movement to Democrats.

The state legislature also doesn’t see a whole lot of change: Democrats still hold the state house while Republicans hold the state senate.  Dems do see their percentage in both chambers decline though, and this is the only the second state so far where Democrats had the majority of legislative seats in the Appalachian region in either chamber.

Without rightward trending Appalachia, Democrats might start seeing a trend towards them in Kentucky as they continue to improve in places such as Louisville.



Virginia is yet another state that sees substantial improvement for Democrats that goes hand in hand with a substantial decline in the white population.  Without rightward trending western Virginia, the state will only get more Democratic over the next decade.  Obama’s vote share increased by almost 3% to give him a double digit margin over McCain, and even Kerry kept the state somewhat close.  Clinton almost won the state in 1996, coming within 0.85%.  Jim Webb would have beaten George Allen by a wider margin in 2006, and Tim Kaine would now be a strong favorite over Allen in 2012, as would Obama over Romney.  Virginia is also the first state so far to change from an R+ to D+ PVI.

Without conservative western Virginia, Democrats would have retained their state senate majority in the 2011 elections and now have a much more stable 18-13 majority.  Republicans also lose their supermajority in the state house, although they still have over 60%.  As a result, the congressional map for Virginia would be court-drawn instead of Republican gerrymandered.  After the 2012 elections the state will probably have a PVI of about D+3 and it will be very difficult for Republicans to stay competitive statewide if they insist on running very conservative candidates like George Allen or Ken Cuccinelli.



Maryland sheds the smallest population of any state and as a result doesn’t even lose a congressional district.  Since I wanted to keep all of West Virginia in the state of Appalachia, the Maryland panhandle would have been jutting into it so it made sense to include it anyway even though those counties have experienced growth from DC exurbs.  Maryland is now only 53.25% white and will probably become majority-minority at some point during the decade.

Even though only about 250,000 people were removed, Maryland still moves 1% to the left to become almost D+10.  Republicans would have practically no chance at winning elections statewide and it would have to take a serious scandal for them to pull off the upset.  On the legislative level, Democrats see their majorities increased to over 3/4ths of the state senate and over 70% in the state house, which probably allows them to pass gay marriage legalization as governor O’Malley has been trying to do.



Although it loses most of its land territory, Pennsylvania actually keeps the majority of its population due to Philadelphia and its growing suburbs.  Again, this is a state where Democrats benefit massively although some of those benefits won’t be realized immediately.

For starters, Obama obliterated McCain by nearly 20% in 2008, and Kerry, Gore, and Clinton all won quite comfortably.  Most excitingly, Joe Sestak, whose 2010 loss was probably the most upsetting for me, wins against Pat Toomey with 52.37% to 47.63%.  More amazingly, Dan Onorato beat Tom Corbett by a razor thin margin of 202 votes out of 2,158,590 cast, or just 0.0009%, and thus denying Republicans control over redistricting.

An unfortunate consequence is that Republicans now absolutely dominate in the state legislature.  I hadn’t realized how much Democrats dominate western Pennsylvania on the local level, but over 2/3rds of the state house seats in the Appalachian region were held by Democrats.  This turns the Republicans’ small majority in that chamber into a supermajority exceeding 75%.  However, their state senate majority is much narrower, at only 15-11 and they would need 3 defections to override now Governor Onorato’s vetoes.  Republicans’ majorities would be in great danger under court-maps through the course of the decade.

Due to a divided state government, all of the 2012 maps would be court-drawn and benefit Democrats greatly; although with the recent action by the state Supreme Court Pennsylvania might have court-drawn legislative maps anyway.  Aside from redistricting, the large 4% shift in the state’s PVI, nearly 5% shift towards Obama, and the continuing Democratic trend of the Philadelphia suburbs will make winning future statewide elections in Pennsylvania a daunting task for Republicans.



Ohio was really the only state where I could have added a significant amount of territory that actually made sense to go with Appalachia; however the Youngstown area seemed like a better fit remaining in the state than going to Appalachia.  I might have even kept Erie Pennsylvania out if it wouldn’t have necessitated finding it a new home.

Anyway, Ohio sees relatively slight shifts towards Democrats, though none of the 2010 elections or 4 prior presidential elections was changed.  The state now has a barely D+ PVI thanks to John Kerry’s 2004 performance, however he still lost by 1%.  Obama now beat McCain by a margin a bit closer to his national average, nearly 6%.  Interestingly, the Appalachian portion of Ohio has been increasingly more Republican than the rest of the state with each subsequent presidential election.

Ted Strickland loses by almost the same margin in 2010, which is unsurprising seeing as the Appalachian region was his base.  Richard Cordry’s loss gets narrower though, however Mike DeWine still prevails by 11,000 votes for a 0.34% margin.

In the state legislature Republicans have all but one of the seats in the Appalachian region, so Democrats see their deficit narrow somewhat.  Republicans still maintain their 2/3rds majority in the state senate though, so Democrats would need to win 7 seats in the house to flip that chamber.  As with North Carolina, Republicans still get to go crazy gerrymandering the state, but at least the area that was trending Republican the fastest is removed.

Democrats undeniably are the beneficiaries of Appalachia becoming its own state.  They gain 1 Senate seat, 3 governorships, 2 legislative chambers and producing ties in 2 others.  Though this is offset by the loss of the governorship and legislature of West Virginia, Democrats now get court drawn redistricting in 4 additional states.  Democrats also become much safer in Pennsylvania and Virginia, while North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia all become considerably more competitive.

Part two of this diary will look at congressional redistricting and the 2012 Congressional elections in the 11 states plus Appalachia itself.

Additionally, thanks is owed to twohundertseventy for help with data and excel, and SaoMagnifico who gave me the idea in the first place.

So what do you all think?  Some questions to consider are:
Would conservadems like Joe Manchin be able to win Appalachia?
Would Roy Barnes have won the runoff in Georgia in 2010?
Would Democrats win one or both legislative chambers in TN, SC, or GA under court-maps?
How many Democratic vote-sinks would Republicans try to draw in Appalachia?

Originally posted to sawolf on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:23 AM PST.

Also republished by Appalachian Journal, Kos Georgia, and Community Spotlight.


Would Roy Barnes have won the runoff in 2010?

66%22 votes
33%11 votes

| 33 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wonder what C. Vann Woodward would make of the (6+ / 0-)

    fact that Georgia would one day vote for a black man for President--as long as someone removed some of the parts most likely to have sympathized with the Union.

    Great diary.

    26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

    by Xenocrypt on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:41:07 AM PST

    •  Thanks haha, that is rather ironic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Although it's even more stark with Tennessee, seeing as the eastern part has been staunchly Republican since the civil war, but it's removal would have allowed a black man (Ford) to be elected to the senate.

      •  I think the "Unionist sympathy" scenario (1+ / 0-)

        is the most likely way this state could have been formed--basically, more regions decide to go West Virginia, and they band together.

        It's a fun alternate history.  What happens in the Populist era?  With Jim Crow?  With the New Deal?  With LBJ?  Who are the Senators from the great state of Appalachia?  I guess I should say "Senator", since obviously, for much of its history, one of the Senators would have been Robert Carlyle Byrd.

        26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

        by Xenocrypt on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:47:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My answers to your questions: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fiona West

          1. Manchin would narrowly lose in 2012. Those deep-red counties in Eastern Tennessee, and Northern Georgia would be too much for Manchin to over-come. Manchin may switch parties...
          2. Yes, Roy Barnes would have won the runoff.
          3. Democrats would win at least one chamber in each state with a court-drawn map.
          4. At least 4 (D) vote-sinks would be drawn. Pittsburgh-Eire, Scranton, Birmingham, and Knoxville-Chattanooga. Some local Dems could still win, but they also may be gerrymandered out.

          Farm boy who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -7.88, -4.26, One in ONE MILLION that recalled Scott Walker!!!!

          by WisJohn on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 10:40:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My gut feeling is that Dems (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fiona West

            would have tried to delay that special until 2012 for fear of Manchin losing.  But, in keeping with the same races and candidates I just assumed Manchin vs. Raese, and that Raese was such a terrible candidate that he'd lose very narrowly.  I would imagine Manchin would lose in 2012 though.

            The whole point of keeping candidates and races the same was to avoid that sort of unknowable counter-factual though.

            •  You're probably right on that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fiona West

              Manchin ran IMHO the best Senate campaign of the 2010 cycle, especially for Appalachian voters. Yes, East Tennessee might be a real problem for him due to its ancestral Republican politics, but he might make that up in SWPA.

              Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

              by fearlessfred14 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 12:21:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  This is tremendous. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, sawolf, Fiona West

    Congrats, and thank you.

    23, Solid Liberal Democrat (-4.75, -4.51), DKE Gay Caucus Majority Leader, IN-02; Swingnut. Gregg for Governor! Donnelly for Senate! Mullen for Congress!

    by HoosierD42 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 11:13:01 AM PST

  •  Ohio (0+ / 0-)

    Why did you leave all of those eastern Ohio counties in Ohio when they were considered Appalachia? Tremendous diary, nonetheless.

    18. R. IL-10. Justin Amash-ite.

    by IllinoyedR on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 11:52:44 AM PST

    •  Appalachia's boundaries are rather fuzzy (0+ / 0-)

      So I respect him for choosing the one official set of boundaries Appalachia has, namely the area of the Appalachian Regional Commission. For political reasons, many counties in the Deep South were included due to their shared problem of white rural poverty, even though they aren't all that culturally Appalachian, and these are included. Meanwhile, geographically and sometimes even culturally Appalachian areas in the Northeast and Ohio weren't included, again for economic and political reasons.

      Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

      by fearlessfred14 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 12:25:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ohio (0+ / 0-)

        Some of the official counties listed by the Regional Commission were left out of Appalachia (namely the ones that include Youngstown and the farthest northeast county in Ohio). I figured that all of those counties would be included in the "Appalachia" state but maybe he used some other criteria. Great diary nevertheless.

        18. R. IL-10. Justin Amash-ite.

        by IllinoyedR on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 12:27:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Never mind (0+ / 0-)

        He explained it.

        Ohio was really the only state where I could have added a significant amount of territory that actually made sense to go with Appalachia; however the Youngstown area seemed like a better fit remaining in the state than going to Appalachia.  I might have even kept Erie Pennsylvania out if it wouldn’t have necessitated finding it a new home.

        18. R. IL-10. Justin Amash-ite.

        by IllinoyedR on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 12:28:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah this was the area I felt it was ill-defined (0+ / 0-)

          It also made it harder to draw the congressional maps the more state lines I had to cross, and if I had included northeastern Ohio there would have been more districts crossing over between Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  Dave's app had a tendency to crash when I tried to load more than one state at a time, or if I kept opening and closing states.

          For what it's worth though, Obama would have still gotten around 52% if I had included all of what the ARC defined as Appalachian Ohio.

  •  Split It (0+ / 0-)

    I think a better way to go about this is to split this new state into six of seven new states.

    22, Nice Calm Burkean Post-Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Childhood), TX-21 (School), TX-10 (Home); SSP: wmayes

    by wwmiv on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 12:39:40 PM PST

    •  But that doesn't benefit Democrats ;) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pat208, sapelcovits

      The senate in particular is much more friendly to Dems if the states looked like this.  PA and VA become guaranteed holds while NC and GA are much easier to pick up, and then even KY SC and TN become more competitive with Blue Dogs.

      For all that, Republicans get to replace a fairly conservative Democrat and a moderate Democrat who will probably retire or lose in 2014 anyway.

  •  Re: sawolf's questions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    1) Yes. Appalachia is rather conservative culturally, but even East Tennessee has a lot of populists and moderates. Manchin and his ilk should do fine here, though so should East Tennessee Republicans (note that Tennessee's governor and both its senators are from Appalachia, so they'd run).

    2) More likely than not, Barnes would have won.

    3) Yes for Tennessee (at least one), but I'm not so sure about SC and GA.

    4) Probably four. One in SWPA around Pittsburgh, one in West Virginia, one in Ohio, and one in Kentucky. Anything less would risk a dummymander IMHO. Knoxville and Chattanooga can be made Safe R without too much bother.

    Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

    by fearlessfred14 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 12:41:21 PM PST

    •  Regarding Manchin (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think he absolutely would have crushed Raese in the Pennsylvania, Ohio, and kentucky portions, and probably the western most Virginian section as well.  That in all likelihood would have put him over the top since there are just enough conservadems in MS, AL, and TN where he would be a perfect fit, as well as Obama voters in places like Ashville, Greenville, and Spartanburg even though their surrounding areas are red.

      Now a 2012 matchup between say, Corker and Manchin would be quite interesting to see.

      I also think Corker could be vulnerable in the new Tennessee given how much more Democratic it becomes.

      •  Corker wouldn't run in TN (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and I don't even know if Alexander would. Both of them are very much creatures of the East Tennessee cultural and political scene, and would really be out of place in your new Tennessee. Alexander could probably get away with carpetbagging due to his popularity, but Corker had a tough enough primary as it was in 2006, and would likely lose the primary in 2012.

        Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

        by fearlessfred14 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 02:05:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This type of diary (0+ / 0-)

    I've been thinking about making one for the historical proposed state of Deseret. Can I inbox you to ask you how if you have any advice?

    18. R. IL-10. Justin Amash-ite.

    by IllinoyedR on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 01:22:16 PM PST

    •  I can just tell you right here (0+ / 0-)

      It involved first deciding what boundaries to use, and then using for states without partisan data or for non-pres races.  If you know your way around excel that should be pretty easy to do, though somewhat time consuming for a large number of counties.

      After drawing the maps I just cut and pasted together with gimp.

  •  But why omit New York? (0+ / 0-)

    Is there any particular reason to remove that part of Appalachia?

    Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

    by Caj on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 02:16:36 PM PST

    •  Two, one cultural and one practical (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Culturally it just seemed to have much less to do with the southern part of Appalachia, or even much of central Appalachia, than do the different parts of central and southern App with each other.

      Practically, I didn't really want to draw New York with 26 congressional districts, since I already had to draw 120 congressional districts as it was, and crossing state lines was annoying to do with DRA.  Also, it's only around 900k people and they went about 51% for Obama so Republicans would clearly crack the area, especially Ithaca.

      •  I'm not sure where you get this idea. (0+ / 0-)
        Culturally it just seemed to have much less to do with the southern part of Appalachia, or even much of central Appalachia, than do the different parts of central and southern App with each other.

        I'm not sure how you decided that the Southern Tier doesn't "seem" like the rest of Appalachia, but it is a lot more like the rest of Appalachia than it is like the rest of NY state.

        Geographically, culturally, and economically (definitely economically,) those counties in NY are just like the PA counties directly adjacent to them.  Just because we're in the same state as NYC doesn't mean we all walk around eating artisanal cupcakes out of upcycled PBR cans.

        Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

        by Caj on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:27:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It really just came down to practical (0+ / 0-)

          considerations of not really wanting to map out NY for only 900k extra people on the edge of the region.  Also, the part of the Appalachian chain stretching from NY and further northeast doesn't have the history of being a former bastion of conservative/labor Dems trending sharply away that the other two regions do.

          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Also, the part of the Appalachian chain stretching from NY and further northeast doesn't have the history of being a former bastion of conservative/labor Dems trending sharply away that the other two regions do.

            You're right, it doesn't.  Those places are not like the Appalachian region (although the Catskills are similarly hilly and impoverished.)  

            But I'm not talking about those places, I'm talking about the NY counties that are in Appalachia, according to the boundaries drawn by the federal government.  I'm not being rhetorical here:  I would really like to know why those counties don't seem to be "culturally" part of Appalachia.  How are they at all different?

            Personally, I don't see how anyone can drive down 17W from Binghamton to Elmira and not know they're in Appalachia.

            Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

            by Caj on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 03:55:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One of the best dairies I've read in a while!

    Progressive Dixiecrat. 19, LSU student, NC resident

    by MilesC on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 02:37:04 PM PST

  •  This is a fun diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WisJohn, sapelcovits

    Why the little finger protuding into South Central Tennessee?

    •  Good question, the ARC includes it though (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Lawrence and Lewis counties were only about 54,000 people though so I figured why not.  They also removed 1 additional Republican state house seat, so it turned that chamber into a tie.

      •  Interesting that they do (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sawolf, Englishlefty

        though it's probably for economic reasons. Both are rather impoverished rural counties in Middle Tennessee, but they really have little to do with Appalachia culturally.

        Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

        by fearlessfred14 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 06:27:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What happened to WV? (0+ / 0-)

    Every other state gets a write up, but we are ignored. And we are the only state entirely in the selection.

    It is bad enough living in fly-over country, but I guess that we are in the fly-over part of fly-over country. Sigh.

  •  What would happen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, Fiona West

    If you split the new state of Appalachia into two, with the northern parts being North Appalachia and the southern areas in Tennessee, NC, SC, Georgia, AL and Miss becoming  South Appalachia ?

    •  Interesting question (5+ / 0-)

      What you get is that the central region becomes much like West Virginia.  Dems lose it on the presidential level, but it's pretty strongly Democratic locally.  Southern Appalachia becomes blood red though, completely impossible to win.

      In Central App the numbers are:
      Obama/McCain: 44.63% - 53.64%
      Kerry/Bush: 42.38% - 56.83%
      Gore/Bush: 44.77% - 51.86%
      Clinton/Dole: 46.60% - 41.70%

      In Southern App the numbers are:
      Obama/McCain: 34.67% - 63.96%
      Kerry/Bush: 34.31% - 64.95%
      Gore/Bush: 38.21% - 59.92%
      Clinton/Dole: 40.86% - 51.33%

      As could be expected, Clinton was the last Dem to win the central region, but he got absolutely crushed in the southern one, which would have been Dole's 5th best state.

      That makes the central region about R+7 and the southern one about R+16.

      Also, Dems hold 152/260 lower house seats and 44/83 upper house seats in central app, so it's quite plausible they would be able to hold onto the trifecta there.  That would really be the best of both worlds since it nets a ton of extra house seats while packing a bunch of Republicans into one R+16 vote sink in southern Appalachia.

    •  This is what I want to know, too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fiona West

      Also, just a useless bit of info from me: when I look at this map, I find that I live pretty much smack-dab in the middle of Appalachia.

      I feel simultaneously proud and ashamed.

  •  Interesting analysis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiona West

    I wonder what other parts of the country would yield interesting results if states were defined by demographics (like Appalachia) vs historical boundaries.

    My current home state, California, is an interesting example. It has a very strong east-west divide at this time, with coastal regions that were traditionally Republican trending Democratic, while the interior is more solidly Republican.

    I also think there are places in the usually Republican Great Plains and upper Rockies that would look different with demographically drawn states.

    •  North South (0+ / 0-)

      I think you can make a stronger argument along cultural and economical lines to divide CA by north and south. Politically though, you are right east/west makes more sense.

      21, Male, LA-02, LA-06 (former), TX-08 (home), SSP: sschmi4

      by Stephen Schmitz on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 10:53:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  stunning diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiona West

    I absolutely loved this diary, an incredibly enjoyable read.

    I'd love to do this for north Louisiana, Arkansas and parts of MS, AL, GA and TN

    21, Male, LA-02, LA-06 (former), TX-08 (home), SSP: sschmi4

    by Stephen Schmitz on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 10:55:43 PM PST

  •  This is awesome and a huge inspiration. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bumiputera, Englishlefty, WisJohn, sawolf

    I want to look at how the states would look like with an equal population requirement. Although for practical purposes I'll let HI and AK be (they'll balance each other out politically anyway) and just divide the population of the lower 48 into 48 equal states.

    I just drew the first five ones. Although three of them are entirely within existing states.

    •  I'm trying something like this (0+ / 0-)

      except apportioning for the Senate - 100 seats. But very roughly, on a county level.

      27, Male, MA-08 (hometown MI-06)

      by bumiputera on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 04:05:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm going +-25,000. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sawolf, WisJohn

        That gives me some leeway, but not enough to leave counties unsplit in areas where counties are huge (I'm looking at you, Northeast!)

        So far I've worked out the following states (I need good names, these are more descriptions):

        In the South:
        Greater Miami
        Western Florida
        Dixie Florida
        Greater Alabama

        At this point I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do with Louisiana. I've included everything east of Acadiana in the Delta state (most of MS, that part of LA, Memphis, part of eastern Arkansas), but I'm not sure what to do with the rest. I guess I'll have to attach it to Eastern Texas with Houston, which isn't the worst fit in the world.

        In the Northeast I have:

        New England
        Greater Boston
        New York City (Queens, Bronx, Long Island)
        Greater Manhattan (Manhattan, Paterson, Jersey City, Newark, Brooklyn, Elizabeth)
        New York Metropolitan area (Waterbury to Stamford, NYS from Westchester to Poughkeepsie, NJ wrapping around the Manhattan including Morris County to the West and Perth Amboy down to the South).

        •  Name ideas: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In order the way you wrote them:
          1. Dade
          2. Tampaland
          3. Gadsdenia
          4. stick with Alabama
          5. Deltaland or Gulfton
          6. stick with New England
          7. Bostonia
          8. Long Island
          9. Appleton or Big Appleton
          10. Upland?? (I don't really know.)

          Good Luck! Looking forward to the diary!

          Farm boy who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -7.88, -4.26, One in ONE MILLION that recalled Scott Walker!!!!

          by WisJohn on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 01:27:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm doing that too (0+ / 0-)

        and I've got it mostly done. I'm just struggling with loading Texas, which gets about 8 senators IIRC. And yes, I'm trying to keep counties together where they're not too large and where they actually mean something. In New England I like to turn county lines off to remind me that the real secondary-level division in New England is the township.

        Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

        by fearlessfred14 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 10:13:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  State sovereignty is such an impediment (0+ / 0-)

    It's amazing that the People haven't risen at long last to create the State of America, instead of the Poorly United States of America that we've been struggling to maintain for more than two centuries. Then, we wouldn't have to deal with the mountain of confusion, ambiguity, unfairness, and enormous expense of having 51 distinct sovereign entities instead of just one.

    •  States have their place IMHO (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Mainly due to the disadvantages of a legislature with ultra-large districts. I like my gal in Washington, but she's got to represent about 700,000 constituents, which really isolates her from ordinary citizens. With only 50,000 constituents, my Assemblyman can be far more responsive to the people he represents.

        Furthermore, much as I disapprove of my current state government, there are some issues that Wisconsinites need to handle for themselves. For one, I wouldn't want the federal government to set the punishment for murder here, because they'd probably insist on capital punishment in some cases (Wisconsin abolished the death penalty in 1853). Yes, it's a bother, but I feel a lot better about having some powers kept here in Madison rather than a thousand miles away.

      Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

      by fearlessfred14 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 10:31:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The size of electoral districts (0+ / 0-)

        or really, of any administrative district, has nothing to do with having states. Don't you think that countries without sovereign sub-states divvy themselves up into convenient sizes for various administrative or electoral purposes? Of course they do.

        In fact, getting rid of states with invariant boundaries would help, not hinder, administrative districting. For example, if there were some reason to do so, Appalachia could exist as some regional district based on its geography and culture.

        In a representative democracy as large as the US, there is a tremendous need for finding ways to connect voters to legislators more fairly, directly, and justly. For example, if a couple of dozen regional districts were apportioned, then each one could in turn have a couple of hundred or so local districts. There could be action taken either completely within the several thousand local districts (based on the leaders of communities within the local district); within the 25 or so mid-level regional districts (in that case, in bodies containing 200 or so representatives of its local districts); or at the national level (in that case, in bodies containing representatives from each of the regions). This would all be apportioned based on population density, geography, and other considerations, but it would be done at the national level. The result would be much better representativeness in Washington as well as in the district assemblies. But with our existing unequal and sovereign states, that kind of thing can only be dreamt of.

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