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So we live in a polarized country.  Romney won mostly in those states that were in the Confederacy or were part of territories where slavery was allowed.  The exceptions are Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado that went for Obama and Indiana that went to Romney.

The geographical polarization proves that the distant echoes of slavery still resonate in the minds of many Southern whites.  Working class whites in the South voted for Romney by more than a 40% difference and in Mississippi they may have gone to Romney by more than 90%.  You've seen the maps and the polls.  If some of you question any of this I'll be glad to point you to the sources.  I am writing this diary while I wait at Miami International for a flight down to the real deep south that leaves in 4 hours.

The polarization is by gender, single women specially supported Obama, by age (younger people supported Obama, old fogies in my generation went for Romney).  Let's not even talk about polarization by ethnicity, African Americans (100% for Obama?), Latinos (71%?), Asians (73%).

The map that scared me but then gave me hope is this one;

2012 election map by county nyt

This map highlights the urban vs. rural polarization.  Paul Ryan did talk about it after the votes were counted when he said that the higher numbers of urban voters were what surprised them.

Hell, this map shows America as mostly red and it shows my California as half red.  But it also shows a string of blue dots in the cities of the South.

So there you have the two Americas.  Rural and urban.

There can be no secession of rural and urban geographies, both areas are so economically intertwined that it is not possible to operate separately.

Why are they so different and what can we do to bring rural America to get on with the times?

I have a similar map for the 2008 vote and it looks just as polarized between rural and urban.

I have spent most of my life in urban areas but I have spent at least 5 years living in or visiting rural areas in the US and elsewhere.

Certainly the deluge of wingnut radio that is constant in most rural areas (even in California) is a reason for the difference in attitudes.

But I think there is more to it.

Urban areas have the reputation of being "impersonal", while rural areas are the opposite.  In rural areas people exchange greetings even if they don't know each other.  In rural areas people seem to have time to make new acquaintances.  In cities it's rush rush rush all the time.

But... cities people get to meet people of all sorts, origins, ethnic groups, nationalities, socio economic status, education, etc.  

My favorite part of Los Angeles is Venice Beach.  I love the diversity there;

Venice Beach

When you grow up in an urban area you get exposed to all sorts of people.  When you grow up in a rural area you don't.

Yes, perhaps many chose to live away from urban centers to stay away from people that are not like them.  I think these people did not grow up in cities.  Perhaps they moved there for a while but they came with prejudices that they acquired growing up in rural areas.

I  have lived in Los Angeles and I have seen all sorts of people work together to accomplish  great things.  (LAPD is a different story and the subject of a diary one of these days).

I have hope that the future will see rural America come about and become more like the rest of America which by population numbers lives increasingly in cities.  

Part of my hope is because younger Americans are connecting across geographies via social media.  Social media is changing the way people interact.  Heck, people of all ages are interacting via social media globally let alone in America.  Social media is exposing younger citizens of rural areas to the lives of their peers in urban areas.  I cannot believe that this information flow will not change them.

The other thing that gives me hope is Obama's re-election.  This will  cause many in rural areas to question their attitudes and in time they will start changing through this introspection.

Perhaps, now that it's clear that this polarization between rural and urban is a reality, we can also start reaching out to these rural Americans in good faith.

Those blue dots in the South can perhaps be made to grow.

Anyway.  I had to get this off my chest.  I feel so much better now that Obama has another 4 years that I am starting to look at things with a positive outlook.

I'll hang around for a while.

Originally posted to Shockwave on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:22 PM PST.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Most of those big red areas have very few (33+ / 0-)

    people. The Mohave and Death Valley may be as big as the LA basin, but there aren't many voters.

    The future of America is in the urban areas. That is where the educated, productive people live.

    •  I agree, but the rural/urban division will go away (13+ / 0-)

      If we could somehow bridge the social experience gap through social media perhaps, the cultural divide should go away.  A more harmonious America will emerge.

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

      by Shockwave on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:01:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What? You're kidding I hope. (18+ / 0-)

      Just because urban is mostly dems and rural is mostly repubs does NOT mean that the educated, productive people only live in urban areas.  You sound like the GOP in reverse.

      I happen to be from a rural area, am quite educated, thank you very much, and am and always have been extremely productive.  Many of the people I associate with are also educated and productive.

      I also voted for Obama as did all of the people closest to me.  Thanks for writing us off.

      •  and yet it is the rural areas that go RED. (8+ / 0-)

        I agree with the poster as far as my experience proves that we all get used to our environment. Well, most of us. Some, like you, transcend it.  

        My family has been rural since Jamestown, and it has had both good and bad, open-minded and close-minded, admirable and regrettable folks ever since. One side of the family are Cosmic Possums (look it up) and Progressive Democrats. We have college and military on our resumes, and generally like NYC and Paris. The other side, listen to Rush, vote Red, and look forward to the annual bus trip to Las Vegas. I'm sober when I hunt. My cousins sank their duck boat.

        But going to college doesn't open your mind, you have to want to do it. Cooking with folks with a different heritage DOES open your mind, but ordering take-out cashew chicken isn't quite the same thing.

        Is it ?

        •  Where you live also has to do with CHANGE. (5+ / 0-)

          Urban areas exemplify change. Of course, some of us resist some of it, but there is an inevitability to urban renewal and refreshment. Like having to move around a lot (my career required several transfers from area to area), urbanity requires realistic adaptation.

          Sure, rural areas change, too, but it looks to me like the pace of change is slower, considerably slower, if not less inevitable. And my good friends in suburban areas who haven't moved out of the first home they lived in as a couple tend - tend - to live in intellectually gated communities.

          As marketers have known for decades, where you live has a great deal to do with who you are and what your preferences are in everything from consumer goods to politics.

          I'm just sayin'.

          FORWARD to 2014: Win back the House. Build up the Senate.

          by TRPChicago on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:47:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure if anyone wrote you off so much (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mayfly, Killer of Sacred Cows

        as took a look at the map/data . . .

        Them's the results, like it or not.

      •  just wanna say glad you spoke up book /eom (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mayfly, Lonely Texan, NotGeorgeWill
      •  Agreed (4+ / 0-)

        Correlation is not causation.    How easily that is forgotten.

        I thought the put-down of rural people as uneducated and especially as unproductive was offensive and untrue.  Productive by what standard?

        I've spent a fair amount of time living and knowing folks in urban, suburban, and rural areas.  I think the primary causal factor is the relative homogeneity or heterogeneity of each area, and the proclivity of some people to choose to be reclusive within selected contained communities.   Though there can be population diversity in rural areas, that sure doesn't mean there is racial community diversity....or especially, religious community diversity.  A lot of people only mingle with others who attend the same church.  

        Others far more learned than me have written about the effects self-imposed community boundaries.  I haven't read all the comments to this diary yet, but I'll be surprised if someone has already cited sources on the topic.

    •  Certain rural populations are becoming better (5+ / 0-)

      educated, too. In a twisted way, high unemployment may even contribute positively to this. I have seen this happen. So as not to be too offensive, I'll just say that it's a state near my own. The kids there have so few job opportunities, more of them are going to college, state colleges not Harvard, but still obtaining higher education because they have nothing else to do. In college, they have at least some exposure to different people and ideas.

      In my own largely rural and largely red state, more kids from the agricultural areas are going to college because they must in order to compete with (or work for) the large agri-businesses. Their success depends on being able to manage complex banking and investment strategies, hedging with futures contracts, etc.

      I think it's fair to be optimistic about this as well so long as we keep good programs in place to help more kids with the cost side of the going to school.

      Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

      by RJDixon74135 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:10:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Educated, productive people live in rural areas as (3+ / 0-)

      well. Don't kid yourself. It's the diversity that is missing.

      •  And the kids. (8+ / 0-)

        One of the largest factors in this election has been the under 40 vote that went sharply for Obama compared to the over 40.
        And in many rural areas, the kids leave as soon as they get to college age, most of them won't return until they are in their 50s.
        So what's left are the older, more conservative generations while the younger, more progressive generations have moved into more urban and suburban areas.
        Hence the voting pattern.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:52:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And there are university towns in those (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        rural areas that have plenty of foreign students.  Want an example?  Ohio University in Athens, OH.

        •  And how does that area vote? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cynndara, RosyFinch

          Probably more progressively. Those areas are outliers in the rural vote.

          We've lived in rural America - military bases are often in those locations. They are more conservative for many reasons, not just because they are older and whiter populations. I think the biggest differences we have found is that folks living in rural areas are much less likely to travel, much less likely to know people that come from backgrounds different than their own, and much more likely to believe in American Exceptionalism. If a University happens to be located nearby, those experiences change mainly because folks meet people from different backgrounds. It helps open minds.

          I wish we had a program to help more high school kids travel and see different part of the United States. I think it could make a huge difference to rural communities as well as urban ones.

          •  Inbreeding (8+ / 0-)

            as we joke in Virginia.  But not genetic.  Cultural.  When I talk to people near my mountain home in SW, they have seldom if ever met somebody who doesn't live within the near hundred miles.  They all socialize with the same people, go to the same school, shop at the same four stores which are the only ones they can get to without driving for two hours or more.  They reinforce each others' beliefs and attitudes and never hear new ideas.  My very existence is a shock to them . . . nice grey-haired LITTLE old lady explaining that she has no idea how to peel potatoes because her family never ate them.  Or pointing out how their minister's interpretation of Scripture relies on mistranslations that have been corrected by later scholarship.  They almost never get new information.  Naturally, the old information has been "confirmed" by so many repetitions that they are wary of anything that contradicts it.

            But they can be worked with.  They're not stupid, just stuck in an information vacuum that militates against change.  Remember that farming is about the riskiest long-term occupation on earth.  Farmers are dependent on Weather, and Weather is chaotic.  So they don't like to take chances.  And any change is a risk.  So combine an information vacuum with the extensive risk posed by any change to proven adaptations, and they're going to be very, very cautious about new ideas.  It makes complete sense given their situations.

            City-dwellers often need to get off their high horses and realize that human attitudes are adaptations to environment.  The environment for a self-employed farmer several hundred miles away from urban population, transport, communications, and job centers is quite different from that of the 24/7 "connected" young urbanite.  Cultural inbreeding can be relieved, but some of the fundamentals are not going to change without massive social upheavals.

            •  Given that the weather is likely to be (0+ / 0-)

              even more chaotic than it used to be ... maybe farmers will be more amenable to information about global warming than they have been. Or will they just be too scared and helpless in the face of a force like 'weather' to be willing to accept the science?

              Can it be presented in a way that gives these folks a sense of agency? In the face of drought and the Dust Bowl, FDR's administration came up with things that could be done (planting trees as wind breaks, replanting grasses, etc.) that helped alleviate the loss of top soil. If we could come up with something they could do to help the situation (or have we?) maybe farmers (and other rural people) would be less in denial about GW.

              And that could create an opening for other science and factual information to pierce the Fox/Limbaugh fog.

              Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

              by ohiolibrarian on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:43:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe we should have more exchange (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NotGeorgeWill, marina

            students -- but within the US.  Spend a year of high school living in a different part of the country.  Help young people get to know people from a different background.  It could help.

            So could broadband.

            So could breaking the right wing monopoly on talk radio.

            --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

            by Fiona West on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 03:31:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  A better map (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fiona West

      Showing voter trends between 2004-2008.

      Everything blue are trending Democrat.

      If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

      by RUNDOWN on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:30:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is a beauty of a map. Very encouraging. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        However, it shows shifts toward the Democrats (even in areas still majority red) from 2004 to 2008.  The 2008 election was at the depths of the Great Recession, when there was an urgent need for change, new solutions, etc.  And the Democrats had Obama, a charismatic speaker who inspired many people.

        So the question is:  Does this map portray a longterm trend, or a unique election?

        I'd love to see this done again, so we could compare 2004 to 2008 and also 2012.

        --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

        by Fiona West on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:44:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Educated, productive people? (3+ / 0-)

      That's a pretty broad swipe against our rural brothers and sisters.  As long as we think in those terms, why on Earth would rural folk want to have anything to do with those in the city?

    •  There's a map for that! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NotGeorgeWill, KateCrashes, tle

      population-adjusted electoral map

      Adjusted for population of each county.

      •  That's a great map (0+ / 0-)

        It's immediately comprehensible that depth of color relates to population density. (Well, to me it is. Hope I'm not completely misreading it).

        I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

        by tle on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:31:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I find your broad statement... (0+ / 0-)
      The future of America is in the urban areas. That is where the educated, productive people live.
      .... offensive!  In fact, that quote seems quite unproductive and uneducated.

      Jobs are difficult to find in these areas, so many of the young people move to the cities.  More and better jobs could keep younger people in rural areas, and that would change the demographic.

      Broadband access is ridiculously expensive and the service is slow.  Changing that could make a difference!

      Look at the arrowhead of Minnesota on your map, and you'll see a bright blue rural area.  This same rural area of Minnesota also booted tea-bagger Chip Cravaack out of the U.S. House after only one term.

      Broad, offensive statements don't help anyone.  There are many educated, productive people living in rural areas!  

      Stand Up! Keep Fighting! Paul Wellstone

      by RuralLiberal on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:17:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I stirred up some controversy with this comment. (0+ / 0-)

        I was trying to point out that the high tech industry, which is what is keeping the US competitive globally, is located in the blue areas of the map. The computer, internet, biotech, and other industries are mostly located on the coasts or in universtiy towns.

        I grew up in rural Arizona and now live in West Virginia. I saw that my acquaintences who were smart and ambitious left Arizona (at least the rural part). There is a saying here that the main export of WV is educated young people. There are some who stay or move back, but there isn't a critical mass. I certainly am not as productive here as I was at UCSD or Caltech.

  •  I have been struck by this too . . . (9+ / 0-)

    over the past few election cycles looking at the Virginia statewide map.  This is especially true if you look at the map of the west of the state.  Anywhere the population density is 1,000 people or more per square mile, there's a very good chance that the locality went Blue.  These aren't even major cities -- we're talking about small cities with a population of 40,000 or less, even a small town near the West Virginia border -- Covington, VA -- a population center with fewer than 6,000 people -- went blue.  If you just look down I-81, which runs parallel the West Virginia border about 30-40 miles east of the border -- there are these cities Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Roanoke, which all went for Obama in a sea of red.  In some cases the vote of the population center partially counterbalanced the vote of the surrounding area.  Harrisonburg is a college town, but most of the towns are largely majority white.  Some of the towns further south are old union towns, with ties to organized labor.  

    I find it interesting, with respect to organized labor, that there really was a split between unions connected to manufacturing and the older mine worker unions.  Tradiitionally -- even as recently as a couple election cycles -- these coal towns went blue, but in those towns there has been a red-ward shift -- especially this last election cycle.  Not so, with smaller union towns connected to manufacturing.

    When I think of "urban" I tend to think: areas with a few buildings that are at least 10 stories or more, heavy congestion, multi-racial.  But in many cases, these are just small towns that are perhaps a little more racially diverse than the surrounding community, but not close to majority minority (e.g. in most cases over 80 percent white in Virginia).  So there is something about people living in close proximity that tends to shape perceptions and attitudes.  It's not even really "urban" in the conventional sense.  Many of these are small cities or relatively small towns.  But the voting patterns are similar to much larger, more densely populated areas.

    Definitely a good subject for a graduate thesis.

    •  It's about diversity. (12+ / 0-)

      Urban doesn't just mean buildings that are big. The real definition of urban - and of what makes someone an urbanite - includes significant diversity (racial, ethnic, national origin, social class), close proximity, a population of at least 2500 people where there are at least 1000 people per square mile, and several other factors. There are a lot of people who think they're rural, too, but they actually live in exurbs (places with lots of space around them but all the comforts of suburban life). A rural area has less than 2500 people, less than 1000 per square mile, and most importantly, minimal diversity.

      The diversity seems to be key. You can have 10,000 people living in an area, but if they're all white people, that's going to be a much more "rural" minded place. You could have just 2500 living there, and if it's a really diverse area, you're going to see people with urban mindsets.

      Urban in the cultural sense means less friendly, less willing to help strangers, more blasé, more liberal, more educated, and more tolerant. Rural, in the cultural sense, may mean more friendly and willing to help, but not as welcoming to the stranger, more conservative, less educated, and far less tolerant.

      There are positives to rural living, but the fact is, there's no such thing as the family farm - the traditional image of "rural" - any more. Fewer than 1 in 60 people in this nation live anywhere that could be considered a "family farm" anymore. 80% plus of the US is urban - they either live either in the city center, in a suburb, or in an exurb. This is inexorable and unavoidable.

      I wrote a diary about this a little under a week ago that was somewhat badly received, because there were people responding who did not want to believe that their "rural" area was automatically bigoted and prejudiced and all those things we associate with rural areas. Conversely, some urbanites insisted that they knew plenty of bigoted and prejudiced urban people. I'm not denying either of those things. But I'll bet that the bigoted and prejudiced urban people lived in what are called "little villages," which are very, very low-diversity areas within the city limits, and I'll bet that the "rural" areas were actually diverse exurbs with an urban mindset.

      "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." - Hubert Humphrey

      by Killer of Sacred Cows on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:54:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have always thought about rural as primarily (12+ / 0-)

        being closer to the natural rhythms which is nowhere near the definition being used in this diary. It has been a problem for me because I love being places where the natural earth features are more evident, but I don't always enjoy the folks who live there.

        Yeah, it's sort of a pointless comment I guess. But you enlarged my understanding of the word.

        Poverty = politics.

        by Renee on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:33:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good point (5+ / 0-)

          Depending on where you live, many rural people take great pride in living with the agricultural calendar. I suspect that one of the reasons a lot of rural people are resentful of urbanites is that the cities are growing do fast and take up so many resources that the environment and working conditions families have been used to for generations have been upended in a world of factory farms, pollution, exotic plant diseases, and aberrant weather patterns. They look to the suburbs that spread over formerly green fields like mushrooms after rain and feel resentful.
          Country people are conservative with a small c, and think their world has been turned upside down. What more fertile place to plant the big C conservatism, racism, and resentment of professional rabble rousers like Limbaugh. It's a pity that city folks blame them for listening. They don't understand that cities have been dirty and teeming with people and also interesting, exciting, and diverse since ancient Rome. They haven't changed that much.  The countryside, on the other hand, has done so profoundly.

          "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

          by northsylvania on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:57:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The ironic thing, I suppose, is that rural (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            dwellers have a way worse environmental footprint compared to their urban counterparts.

            But whatever, their whole lifestyle is built on deliberate or at least blissful ignorance about the realities of life.

            •  Oh for pete's sake. If you are going to be (6+ / 0-)

              that ignorant, why don't you join the right?  

              I am amazed at the arrogance and ignorance of many of these posts.  Clearly many of the people posting on this thread haven't been in "rural" areas as defined by that map.  The idea that rural=farms is ridiculous.  Most people in those areas aren't farmers.  Their lives aren't "built on deliberate or blissful ignorance of the realities of life."  SOME of them have their political views built on the far right media bubble but that is a far cry from what you are saying.

              A big factor in people living in rural areas is that they are BORN there and their FAMILIES live there and most of them stay there for that reason.   There are university towns, zillions of small businesses, schools and so much more than you simply ignore with your vision of the farmer couple with their pitchforks.  Give me a break.

              I was born and raised in one of those red areas and live in one now.  I also lived in Pittsburgh, PA, Cincinnati, OH and Arlington, VA for much of my life - deep in those cities, not in the burbs.  

              •  It's not so much ignorance, but science . . . (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fuzzyguy, Killer of Sacred Cows
                City lights may burn bright, but overall the greenhouse gas emissions of large cities are far below those of rural areas, a new report finds.
                from City dwellers 'harm climate less'
                •  I didn't challenge the environmental footprint (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  statement but the following one.  I think that is pretty clear from what I wrote.

                  •  Well, you went on and on about farms (0+ / 0-)

                    I didn't say a single word about farms so I had no freakin' idea what you were talking about then.

                    Because what I just re-posted was spot on consistent and corroborating of my initial post.

                    •  Sorry the farm stuff confused you. It actually (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      referred to other posts in this thread from people who clearly have no experience with rural areas.  The part that was specifically responding to your statement was this and what followed it:

                      Their lives aren't "built on deliberate or blissful ignorance of the realities of life."  SOME of them have their political views built on the far right media bubble but that is a far cry from what you are saying.

                      •  Rural people, as a whole, do tend to be (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Killer of Sacred Cows

                        blissful unaware of the most important thing in their lives - namely that they are considerably more dependent on government than city dwellers.  Yet they maintain the myth of "rugged individualism" which - IMHO - is the main reason they vote GOP.

                        •  I suspect the most important thing in . . . (0+ / 0-)

                          life is probably family and friends.

                          There are some services that cost more to build on a per person basis in rural areas -- e.g. energy generation, communication, perhaps even some transportation infrastructure, but the rugged individualism bit is not entirely a myth.  If some cataclysm hit, I have no doubt that many people with some experience living in more rural areas would be more self-sufficient than people who live in communities with a high degree of specialization.

                          Also, the bit about "carbon foot prints" is absurd.  Obviously some people in rural areas might consume more energy per person, but much of this is in service of producing goods that are consumed in more densely populated areas.  The carbon foot print bit may take transportation into consideration, but it doesn't factor in all of the factors involved in the production of things like agricultural products.

                •  Yes . .. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  For one thing, the countryside has always supported the cities.  Now not only does it practice widescale industrial-style farming, utilizing all the tools of modern technology to wring every last ounce of profit out of each acre of soil, but it is also the location for the cities' refuse, the mining and extraction industries, and the power plants which make those city lights gleam.  All of these productive activities, which must support the large populations of the cities, emit both carbon and other pollutants, none of which are created IN the cities, but all of which are necessary so that the cities might live.

                  A Thanksgiving dinner is neither the fault nor the fun of the turkey and the pig you eat.

                  •  On a per capita basis, some of those things (0+ / 0-)

                    are pretty much a wash.  

                    For example, a rural and urban person pretty much eats a similar amount of food, so their agricultural footprint will be the same in that regard.

                    But when there is a divergence, it is usually in the disfavor of the rural person.  For example, an urbanite can walk over to a neighborhood restaurant, a rural person has get in her pick up truck and drive 17 miles.   An urban person requires 18 feet of copper wire to get his home connected to the grid, a rural person requires 100x as much, and so forth.

                    Of course, if you had read the study I posted, you'd already know all this . . .. .

      •  There is something to this . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but, once again, we are talking about small cities that are, in many cases, overwhelmingly white (e.g. over 80 percent).  Part of this may reflect diversity in other ways, perhaps education and income play into this as well.

        Family farms may not be the norm anymore, but there are still several of these in Virginia.  

        e.g. Google "Family Farm" -- one of these Polyface Farm caters to a bunch of higher end restaurants in the Valley as well as in Northern Virginia.  I suspect with Charlottesville, NoVA, Richmond, there is also a built in market for product from family farms.  

      •  You don't have to live in a diverse community to (8+ / 0-)

        have a diverse mindset.  TRAVEL, whether business or leisure, can go a long way to getting there.

      •  Diversity is a big key (2+ / 0-)

        Looking at my state of Florida, there are only two blue areas in the northern part of the state.  One is in the Gainesville area, home of the University of Florida, and the second is in the narrowest part of the panhandle, known as the Big Bend.  This is the location of the state capital, Tallahassee and the home of Florida State University and Florida A & M University.  Institutions of higher learning tend to attrack a more diverse community surrounding them.

        "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

        by gulfgal98 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:40:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Comparing the 2008 elections with 2012 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NotGeorgeWill, radarlady

      and looking west of the Blue Ridge at Virginia and West Virginia the trend is the opposite.

      In 2008 7 counties in West Virginia were blue. In 2012 all 55 counties went red. The only county even close was Jefferson which has become an exurb of DC in recent decades.

      In Virginia Montgomery County plus the valley towns and Covington and Blacksburg were blue in 2008.

      This year all of the counties west of the Blue Ridge were red including Montgomery in a close race. The valley towns blue in 2008 remained "blue".

      Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

      by truong son traveler on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:25:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Think part of this is connected to . . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radarlady, cynndara

        the issue of coal.  Romney made a play for SWVA, the owners of mines made an issue of coal.  

        Perhaps in 2008, Obama did better with union labor across the board.  In 2012 my sense is that there's a division between workers in mining and manufacturing.  The difference between Montgomery County turning blue in this election versus the last one is about 3,000 votes out of close to 40,000.  Much of this reflects the fact that SWVA went more strongly for Romney than it did for McCain -- by fairly significant margins.

        e.g. counties surrounding Montgomery were more red by about 6-8 points, Montgomery reflects the trend, although not to the same degree.

        •  Practically ALL of it is the issue of coal. (8+ / 0-)

          There isn't a square inch of WV that isn't affected by the coal business.  The coal companies wanted Romney and they spent a lot of money on it.  If you don't live in WV, you didn't see it, but it was pervasive.  They convinced most of the population that Obama is waging a war on coal and killing their jobs.  

          •  Handy to ignore all that fracking (0+ / 0-)

            and cheap natural gas ... which of course was the real reason that coal is not competitive. No sense for the Republicans to not get the political benefit of lying to whole bunches of people ... who swallowed it whole.

            It probably doesn't help that 'coal miner' is one of those multi-generational occupational identities. Much scarier to lose your identity than even to lose your job.

            Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

            by ohiolibrarian on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:05:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's an economic issue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Rural areas have always been the focus of commodities extraction, traditionally the lowest paying jobs. Those jobs are becoming mechanized or outsourced, and they're drying up. If you live in a town of 5,000, there are multiple employment options. If you live two hours away, there's probably one employer.

      "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

      by CFAmick on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:25:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Those blue dots in the south arent (mostly) cities (20+ / 0-)

    "But it also shows a string of blue dots in the cities of the South."

    That actually isn't true - while a few of those southern blue dots represent counties with cities like Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Raleigh, New Orleans, Memphis, etc, many more of them are actually quite rural black majority counties.

    In rural Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Virginia there are quite a few quite rural and small town counties with African-American majorities. These places - like Selma, the Mississippi Delta - are where many of the most difficult struggles for civil rights and voting rights were fought. They are the populations left from the days of plantation economies - when slaves and sharecroppers in the "Black Belt" harvested cotton, tobacco, and other cash crops and vastly outnumbered the white ownership class.

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

    by terjeanderson on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:33:07 PM PST

  •  My rural 95%+ white town voted 69% Obama (12+ / 0-)

    I understand what you are saying, but like any generalization, it has notable exceptions.

    I live in Vermont - by Census definition the whitest and most rural state in the country. Our largest city is under 40,000 people.

    Vermont gave President Obama his 3rd highest % in the country (after the District of Columbia and Hawaii).

    My town is barely 1,000 people - there is a small village centre of a couple of hundred people, but most everyone else lives on 10+ acre properties on dirt roads.   The Census says we are 97% white. We voted 69% for President Obama.

    There are rural counties and towns in every area of the country - from the Mississippi Delta to the Rocky Mountains, from northern New England to Northern California - where a majority voted for President Obama's re-election, places that are progressive and open to new ideas. Look at your own map... there are countless spots of blue that are outside of urban areas.

    The reasons that areas vote for one party or another are complex - there is nothing inherently right wing about being rural.

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

    by terjeanderson on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:05:19 PM PST

    •  at the same time, it's Vermont--- (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies, gulfgal98, cynndara

      Vermont just isn't a normal place... which is what most people love about it.  It is, as they say, the exception that proves the rule.   Most of rural America is very different socially and politically from Vermont--- would that it weren't so!

      Certainly, Vermont's existence proves that it's possible for rural areas to be liberal, but the big question is: Why is Vermont an outlier in that respect?  

      Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

      by nominalize on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:24:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If we all were like Vermont, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson, Caelian, NotGeorgeWill

      in terms of voting and thinking, what a wonderful country this would be.  Vermont is a special and unique state.  Guard it wisely because you are blessed.

      "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

      by gulfgal98 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:44:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have noticed in many rural communities (4+ / 0-)

    that the churches are the center of social activity. Plays, Easter, Christmas, 4th of July parades, youth groups, christian camps, Saturday night movies and pot lucks. It is the only place to go and have fun (fellowship as they say). Churches are the center of the universe for many small towns and communities. The schools and sports teams reinforce the collective values of competition and community togetherness.

    What else is there to do?

    Most people who go to church, vote what their Pastor preaches at the pulpit.

    After all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.

    by Brahman Colorado on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:20:19 PM PST

    •  Here's what else they do. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brahman Colorado, NotGeorgeWill

      They go to the bar.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:52:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Speaking from rural Appalachia, (6+ / 0-)

        what bar?

        There is no bar. There's usually a local eatery the local church rhetoric treats like it's a bar because they have a license to sell beer with the food, but apart from that you've got to go to a city to find one.

        Either that or find a middle of nowhere bar catering to truck traffic on regional routes, probably half an hour or more from your house and good luck finding a taxi willing to go out that far to pick you up if you get a bit past being legal to drive yourself home.

        And that's in wet or moist areas. Dry, your only options to have alcohol at all are 1) be eligible to join the American Legion because they often have an exemption for their facilities only and you have to drink it there or 2) package store or gas station just over the line into legality.

        Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

        by Cassandra Waites on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:37:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I sincerely doubt that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Although I grew up unchurched, I have had many friends who attended regularly.  Much conversation around Sunday dinner tables revolves around how the Preacher is an idiot, the Preacher is full of s*t, the Preacher doesn't know what he's talking about, comparisons of the current Preacher to the last two, and plans underway by this or that faction to unseat the Preacher and get another one.

      The latter only applies to smaller Protestant churches where the congregation controls the money, of course.  In the Catholic and Orthodox churches, there will be the same complaints, and comparisons not only to past priests, but to other priests in the same parish since large organizations in urban and suburban areas can afford multiple staff.  One thing I can say with certainty, however, is that nobody cast his/her vote just because the Preacher said so except perhaps a few people personally besotted by the individual.

    •  It's the background image on my Facebook page (0+ / 0-)

      Put it up 2 days ago, the day it came out.

      I, too, will stick around for a while.  I've been very quiet, but I've been ill and felt overwhelmingly negative about it all, which wouldn't be any good for anyone.  But with no chance of doing harm with the election over very likely I will write much more.

  •  we need to travel more (7+ / 0-)

    and we need to make travel more affordable. This means we need to mandate at least 3 weeks of vacation for any full time worker and we need a national rail system in place to compete with the air lines.

    The more you travel (even just across the US) the more you encounter different types of people. More over I think an investment in rail could reinvigerate a lot of rural areas.

    •  I don't get the Super Duper Bullet blaster in CA (0+ / 0-)

      We're supposed to spend umpteen billions for a new bullet line but I don't get it, 100 mph would be scary fine to get to LA.

      Y'all should see this ultimate disgrace of a rail line that starts in Silicon Valley and goes up to San Francisco.  Jaysus Christ, ancient diesels on poorly maintained tracks.  We'll have the bullet of the century but still have that incredible regression right there in the one of the most technically advanced areas of the globe.

      Just build real trains and take care of them.  We don't need a bazillion dollars going to some corporation to get around well.

      •  I'd like to see about 200mph (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        overall as that would make it very competive with air line travel for long distances and greatly expand what 'urban' means. Done right people could live 30-40 miles out of the city and still have a respectable commute depending on other factors

        But yeah you're right frankly let's aim for a 100mph system and then improve it when people realize how awesome that is

    •  You could also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      remove the $200 departure tax on any flight leaving the country.  When shopping for flights to Europe last spring I discovered that fully 70% of the price was taxes and government fees, and the US was NOT the least among them.  Many websites that promote low-cost fares do so by not bothering to mention the taxes.

      A $200 tax to leave the country added to a $200 actual cost of the flight to London is a significant barrier to travel for the true middle and lower-middle classes as opposed to the Upper Middle Class.  It assures that the working classes continue to believe all the garbage that Fox News tells them about how America is the greatest country on earth and the entirety of the outside world is clamoring to live here.  Spending just one evening in a London or Dublin pub would cure THAT.

  •  Party for rural while males? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    With the Republican party looking for a way out of its demographic trap, will there be a party in 2016 or 2020 that tries very hard to appeal to rural white males? I think of West Virginia which has changed quickly from blue to red over the past decades. Its slavery history was complex but less ingrained than Virginia, although it did allow slavery after its founding. Will they be gettable by the Democrats on economic grounds and would they feel welcome at all? Or are they better written off? How big a tent works?

    •  West Virginia was a free state (9+ / 0-)

      The entire reason that West Virginia was founded was because the northwestern part of Virginia didn't wish to secede, and thus formed it's own state, and once West Virginia was made a state, (in 1863) it was always a free state.

      In fact, one of the reasons that the people of West Virginia wanted to separate from Virginia were cultural differences between the Virginia gentleman land-owners/slave owners and the West Virginia frontiersmen and mountaineers. Very few folks in the area that became West Virginia had slaves, in large part because the terrain was not conducive to the establishment of large plantations, so there was no perceived economic need for them. Also, large numbers of the settlers in that area were too damned poor to afford slaves.

      That is one of the reasons that the state motto is "Mountaneers are always free." Because it was always considered a free state.

      Sorry. I was born and grew up there, and I do get a bit weary of people not knowing what they're talking about when they talk about West Virginia. Hell, at least you knew it was a state! A lot of people don't.

      •  I get weary of the confederate flags flying in WV (0+ / 0-)

        They're on porches and cars there, mile after mile along the highways, rather than flying over the capitol, but it does carry the message that the state's founders are long gone.

        "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

        by KateCrashes on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:01:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, they torque my gizzard, too. (0+ / 0-)

          There are some idiots who fly confederate flags here in southern Ohio as well, and I just get the urge to get myself a flamethrower and do a drive by on those flags. Ohio was always a free state, too.

          Just makes me want to scream.

  •  I live in rural south Texas (10+ / 0-)

    The area is made up of small towns.  We are about 50 miles west of Houston which may explain what I see which is a lot less racial prejudice and more interracial dating, acceptance of GLBT (well maybe not so much the "T" part yet).  The kids out here see nothing wrong with mixing races which really upsets the elders, but the kids don't seem to care too much.  They all know each other and they all seem to get along really well.  The gay issues are still a little touchy, but the kids I see seem to accept each other as they are.  Not as judgemental as their parents and grandparents.  I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

    I work the polls as well and while we had a huge turnout from the older white voters we had a respectable showing of the youngers which I don't normally see.  I think things are changing for the better at least in my little corner of the world.  

    I hope so.

  •  Get them jobs! (9+ / 0-)

    What can we do to bring rural America to get on with the times, the diarist wonders? We can get them jobs.

    I think there is a HUGE component of rural white males who are bitter and demoralized because they don't have what they view as a "real" job.

    If we could enact a jobs bill and bring jobs that pay a living wage, jobs that allow you feel like you really built something at the end of the day, I think rural men would vote blue in droves.

    In central Illinois, where I am from originally, each little town had a factory or two that kept the town going. Now all those factories are gone, and the towns have dried up.

    Drive through one of those small towns and think about where the hell all the people in that town are supposed to work. At the convenience store? At the bar? At the church?

    No, they are forced to drive 30-60 minutes to the nearest "city" to get a job. And probably not a "real" job, but a series of crappo jobs they've patched together to put food on their table.

    Of course they resent urban areas!

    It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs - once you don't have to worry about keeping a roof over your head and feeding your children, you can relax and be more open to new ideas.

  •  get them jobs! (0+ / 0-)

    What can we do to bring rural America to get on with the times, the diarist wonders? We can get them jobs.

    I think there is a HUGE component of rural white males who are bitter and demoralized because they don't have what they view as a "real" job.

    If we could enact a jobs bill and bring jobs that pay a living wage, jobs that allow you feel like you really built something at the end of the day, I think rural men would vote blue in droves.

    In central Illinois, where I am from originally, each little town had a factory or two that kept the town going. Now all those factories are gone, and the towns have dried up.

    Drive through one of those small towns and think about where the hell all the people in that town are supposed to work. At the convenience store? At the bar? At the church?

    No, they are forced to drive 30-60 minutes to the nearest "city" to get a job. And probably not a "real" job, but a series of crappo jobs they've patched together to put food on their table.

    Of course they resent urban areas!

    It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs - once you don't have to worry about keeping a roof over your head and feeding your children, you can relax and be more open to new ideas.

  •  Jesus fucking christ! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terjeanderson, NotGeorgeWill

    words fail me. This post is extremely offensive.

    Maybe the reason rural people vote Republican is because of assholic assumptions about who they are made by brain dead urbanites, maybe, just maybe. I don't have the time or the inclination to go through the stereotypes one by one.

    Can't believe this anti rural POS post got rescued.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:16:24 AM PST

  •  A very good point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill cities people get to meet people of all sorts, origins, ethnic groups, nationalities, socio economic status, education, etc.
    Very good point, that.  I find that the more exposure people have to those who are not like them, the more "tolerant" (for lack of a better word) they become.
  •  Great map, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

    The parallel trend to urbanization is our population getting younger. It's younger people who fuel the migration to cities from rural areas, the rise of social media, and the liberalization of the electorate.

    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 Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:00:04 AM PST

  •  Acres don't vote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cynndara, Apost8

    ...people do.

    A lot of those large red areas are lots of acres and few people.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:21:06 AM PST

  •  If you really think (6+ / 0-)

    the majority or republican voters are in rural areas, I have a multimodal interborough  transportation nexus connecting Kings and New York Counties for which I'm seeking a primary investor.

    The rural/small town vote in America is no more than 10%.  Even if 100% of rural votes went Republican, how does 10% of the vote get them to 47%?  Then consider, there are vast stretches of rural America that are largely non-white:  the Mississippi Delta, the Rio Grande valley, the reservation lands.   then contrary to the convenient mythology, there are large swaths of rural America that are rural, overwhelmingly white, and some of the most progressive voting districts in America, in northern Minnesota, in western Massachusetts, and talk to us about the only place in the US that knowingly sends a socialist to Congress, it is the picture-book edition of white, rural America.

    But middle and upper-middle-class suburban and exurban white people simply are unwilling to accept that it's their neighbors that provide the OVERWHELMING bulk of the Republican ote.  And after the number of times I've had to make this argument here, I guess that will never ever ever ever change, because too much ego is way too involved.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:41:24 AM PST

  •  There are social psychology explanations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cynndara, Shockwave

    There are social psychology reasonings for why people in rural areas are different than in urban areas and it has nothing to do with whether people in one place are more wholesome or better than others. You touched on the trend of tolerance being tied to diversity and the need to get along in urban areas. That's definitely a factor.

    People in rural areas tend to be more open and welcoming than urban critters for a very simple reason. They can. If you tried to greet every person you saw on the street in LA, you not only would appear to be crazy, you'd become exhausted and if they all responded, you'd be overwhelmed. Urban people are more closed as a matter of preserving their sanity. Of course, urban areas could indeed attract people who don't want to say hi to their neighbors on the street and rural areas may be a magnet for people who want to know the names of every single person on his country road, but there are very practical reasons to explain the generic tendencies of urban vs rural people.

    •  Yes, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Actually, in terms of migration, urban areas attract people who want the excitement of "being in the center of things" and rural areas attract a lot of migration from people like me who go batshit crazy from being around too many people.  However most people simply stay where birth and circumstances put them, and it's a lot easier to stay in a city if you need a job to survive, than in the countryside where there are very few jobs.

  •  Here's an article about rural-urban divide (5+ / 0-)

    And its effects on our politics: Richard Kline: Thoughts on the 2012 Vote

    (Warning, from Naked Capitalism, which tends to think DailyKos are rightwing sellouts!)

    The only thing I'll say about the topic is that while the rural / white / Christianist / racist vote provides the #s for the GOP, the money guys that really pull the strings, the 1% and above, with the possible exception of the Waltons, they don't live out in the boonies. They also probably have a lot of pull on our side.

    Reining in the power of the 1% is the ultimate goal.

  •  Now cross that with population density, and (4+ / 0-)

    get an even nicer map.

    Here are actual numbers of votes for each party overlaid with population maps by Chris Howard.

  •  Dateline Seattle, 2004 (0+ / 0-)

    The reality-based community is reeling from Bush's re-election and the seeming hold that rubes had over the country.

    And from that sour pit of despair and anger sprang The Urban Archipelago, from the editors of The Stranger, Seattle's best alternative weekly newspaper.

    Just read it.  It looks forward to where we are now.

    And just look where we are now!

    I can't seem to make the link function work, so here is the URL:

  •  Can't rec or tip this diary. (5+ / 0-)

    Too many generalizations.

    See the extreme NE part of MN? Not only rural but also wilderness.

    No association with other types of people? Our farm was 1 mile back on a dirt road. Go to the highway, cross it, and another mile back on that dirt road was a large Native American family. My grandparents used go ricing with them in the old days.

    They were our 2nd closest neighbors. (Actually 1st closest by the road. Our closest neighbors were 1 mile away thru the woods and about 3 miles away using the back roads.)

    And my other grandfather lived 7 miles away, also on a backwoods farm. He met my grandmother at Hamline U in their younger days.

    They were all FDR supporters.
    Also supporters of Gov Olson of the Farmer-Labor Party, before it became the DFL. A DFLer just beat a Teabagger for US Rep in that part of MN.

    Generalizations do not lead to greater understanding. For that we have to go deeper into maps and other data.

    I think you have the start of a good diary here. There is much to be said for the urban melting pot, esp where labor hx is concerned.

    But plz don't write off the rural areas just yet.

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Nov: Voting Rights Martyrs

    by JayRaye on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:06:21 AM PST

  •  National Popular Vote. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Can be done by "interstate compact"--much easier than Constitutional amendment:

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire United States. The bill preserves the Electoral College, while ensuring that every vote in every state will matter in every presidential election. The National Popular Vote law has been enacted by states possessing 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate it.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:43:56 AM PST

  •  Google "Electoral Vote cartograms" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, NotGeorgeWill

    which are a way of presenting information by different criteria than just a geographic map. It will be helpful!  I'll post some links later but am in a time bind this minute. GObama!
    Since many of the comments refer to the Virginias and region, check out a couple books by Joe Bageant - "Deer Hunting With Jesus" and
    "Rainbow Pie."
    Joe grew up in Winchester, VA and worked as an editor on the West Coast among other locales. Sadly, he passed away a couple years ago; we lost a terrific voice for progressive causes and a keen observer
    of the political-cultural landscape.

    •  I'm a fan of Joe Bageant's (0+ / 0-)

      I was exposed to him in the oddest way. I wrote a diary on the border people and got lots of responses. Two of the best things i learned as a result were contained in a referral to another earlier diary

      It was an incredible diary and I referenced it a bit earlier tonight in a comment that is further down this page now.  At that time, someone else told me about Joe and I spent a lot of time reading about his writings, beginning before he died.

      The above-mentioned diary by  "Geenius at wrok" had 753 comments and 955 recommends, which I think must have been a record at the time. Here is an excerpt and a separate link to a fascinating voting map, showing counties in US which voted even more GOP in 2008 than in 2004.

      "Knowing all this, we can begin to analyze what's going on in politics right now. Let's begin with an interesting artifact from the 2008 presidential election:

      I find this map endlessly fascinating. Nominally, this is a plot of counties that voted "more Republican" in 2008 than in 2004. But what's striking about it to me is that it tracks, almost exactly, the settlement patterns of Borderers in America. In other words, non-Borderers were drawn  into the Democratic Party by Barack Obama and/or repelled by John McCain; Borderers responded in the opposite way. In an earlier diary, I characterized this electoral phenomenon as a wide-scale rejection of the "president as warlord" concept. But today I want to explore a different set of implications of this voting pattern, because now we have some new data points: the behavior of the "teabaggers" and 9/12 Movement, the rise of Glenn Beck and this weekend's Values Voters' Summit.

      My hypothesis is this: Despite retaining some Cavalier-esque aristocratic attitudes toward wealth and privilege (and extramarital sex), the Republican Party -- at least, its base of "movement conservatives" -- has essentially become one and the same with Borderer culture. Its platform is Borderer in nature, its values are Borderer, its means of self-expression are Borderer. Yet the media continue to treat the party and the movement as if they represented approximately half the nation.

      Who Are the Borderers?

      For 700 years, the kings of Scotland and England violently disputed the borderlands between the two countries, while warlords on both sides of the border fought among themselves, the strife ceasing only briefly under the 17th-century reign of James VI. This resulted in the creation of a tenancy system designed to maintain reserves of fighting men for local nobles. The lack of established authority created a power vacuum that was exploited by criminals, including whole outlaw clans that prospered by banditry and rustling livestock. The perennial violence made the region wretchedly poor. It also intensified the importance of blood relationships; loyalty to family and clan were valued more highly than loyalty to the crown. With little or no trust in established authority, borderers resolved disputes through retaliation and payment of blood money."

      "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

      by ontario on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:08:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here we go again............ (5+ / 0-)

    I get so damn tired of people who keep trying to pigeon-hole, compartmentalize and stereo-typing people, especially when they divide out Democrats.

    As a Southerner, for instance, they f*&$k@%g attitude of the rest of the Democratic America towards us is condescending and or we are just ignored.  This is why we have this red and blue shit.  If a state does not pull 45% of the vote they are not supported.  It's all about the beltway and California- until they want us to give money to one of their candidates, and I always gladly give, but where are they when we need help?

    I think we need to have our own southern Dem strategy because the rest of the nation does not have our backs.  Their strategy will never gain more states.  Any damn fool knows if you want to kill a beast, you go for the heart.  The heart is TX, LA, MS and AL- especially TX, which pulled 41% of the vote and with just a little support from DCCC, DSCC and others could have easily pulled in 45 to 47%- and I'm talking about white votes.

    I have turned Reps into Dems just by telling the truth and be totally honest.  The srategy needs to be changed.

    This "Trickle Down" thing has turned out to be somebody pissing on my leg and tellin' me it's rainin'.

    by swtexas on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:58:18 AM PST

  •  LOL. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RosyFinch, Shockwave, NotGeorgeWill

    Hon, I don't want to be patronizing, but from your words I feel confident that you are rather, um, young.

    First, people raised in cities might consider their environment "normal", but people raised outside of them don't, and never adjust -- not in an entire lifetime.  The noise, the stench, the crowds of ill-mannered people, are simply appalling.  And mind you, I wasn't raised in the country, just the fairly inner suburbs.  Like many of my generation, I made a beeline for as far out as I could get and remain employed, working at a small town hospital in rural Ohio.  The people I treated there, from the deep country, were afraid to drive into Cincinnati because of the dangerous levels of traffic.  I later drove there myself in order to work -- but thankfully, I did it at 3 a.m.

    Racial and ethnic diversity?  Yes, I love them.  Until they insist on turning their stereo speakers up so loud that I can't shut out what they call "music" (which sounds to me like someone shouting angrily in my face, NOT conducive to good mood) even by wearing earplugs.  Don't get me wrong.  I ran AWAY from a small town in Oregon because among other things I was getting the creeps from the lack of browner faces -- I had lived in Richmond Virginia for fifteen years, and not having black neighbors was just WEIRD.  But not having a decent Chinese restaurant, let alone an Indian or Vietnamese one, within an hours' drive was unliveable (grin).

    Social media?  Hardly.  Facebook gives you the opportunity to post intimate details of your private life for advertisers, and incidentally for people you already know.  Unlike an old-fashioned topical e-mail list or usenet, where you held long conversations with strangers until they became friends.  Social media is all about me, me, me.  I tell people what I am doing; I don't talk to them.  With a mailing list, I corresponded regularly with a hundred people all over the world.  REAL conversations, not fifty-word soundbites.  Social media is rather lame by comparison.

    Politically, the urban-rural divide is not as benign as you believe.  Look at the long swath of red linking the Dakotas, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.  There's your New Confederacy, and note that it effectively divides the East from the West with several hundred miles of harsh and unfriendly territory inhabited by savages and crossed only at wide intervals by government-supported highways.  It's a strategic territorial advantage that outweighs the minimal local populations.

    But look, I'm not arguing that I wouldn't LIKE urban areas to export some of the good things in life out to the countryside.  I've finally found a Vietnamese restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia, for instance -- that's only two hours away from my cabin in the woods.  I would ADORE importing an Hindu neighbor or ten onto my mountain in the heart of rednecked evangelism.  There are probably six properties up for sale currently at low prices, ya'll COME!  Heall, I'm not picky -- it's mountain land, only good for goats and ginseng, and I'm lonely.  Somebody from Peru or Columbia or Albania might have the farming expertise to settle in and make good.  A good deal of what the back-country suffers from is inbreeding -- not just genetic, but cultural and educational.  In that sense, anything that opens minds and offers new ideas could work miracles.

    But it takes more than user-centered social media to do that.  Yes, ideas carried by major TV programs help to liberalize the rural young, but remember that the most closed-minded communities reject TV, and many rural communities still have limited access (for instance, I can't even get SATELLITE reception on my mountain).  Ditto for internet.  Yes, urbanophiles, consider the situation of people for whom telecommunications options are limited to a single overpriced provider with a local monopoly, aging copper wires, and no incentive to upgrade.  And that's in VIRGINIA, a wealthy Eastern state relatively close to massive government centers.  Actually, that's about an hour's drive from Blacksburg, one of the original hubs of the internet.

    So if you want to change those Red rural areas to Blue, you've got one option: you've got to go there yourselves, like I did.  In person.  Move out, move on!  Teach by being and doing.  Demonstrate to the people who only learn from other people the only way they will learn: by being there.  Anyway, there's a crying need for more permaculture and sustainable communities, and you have to have land to do that.  You're not going to afford that in crowded downtown areas.  You will never achieve basic food independence from corporate agriculture so long as you cede the mass of usable cropland to Monsanto.  So come on out!  

  •  That map certainly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "proves that the distant echoes of slavery still resonate in the minds of" your generations "old fogies."

    Yes, a vote for Romney is a vote for slavery. I think we have a real problem in this country with old people yearning to bring back the practice.

    Sickening, old people, just sickening.

  •  Overlay a Federal Tax "taker" vs "maker" map (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My guess is that any county federal tax map would show that the more red, the more they are a federal tax dollar drain on the American public.

  •  Rural Vermont is the bluest state in the nation. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, GreenMother

    It doesn't take a countryside dotted with diversity to lead Vermonters to vote blue. It takes character.

    What kind of ship does not float?.......... Bipartisanship. ~ Mr. SeeMore

    by 4Freedom on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:37:22 PM PST

  •  Oh my! Just got reconnected and the diary got busy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am glad the discussion has been going on.

    You guys are great!

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

    by Shockwave on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 03:41:12 PM PST

  •  Map of US counties voting more GOP in '08 than '04 (0+ / 0-)

    A classic dailykos thread had a map showing all the US counties which voted even more strongly GOP in 2008 (McCain) than in 2004 (Bush).

    It showed a heavy concentration in the heartland. The  diary is a fascinating read on the Scots-Irish in the USA, which is relevant to my genealogical research. Not the nicest folks, given the history they brought with them from Ireland, to which they had been banished from the Scottish borders. Think Hatfields and McCoys. This is the backbone of the GOP in that area (scroll down a bit from the top of the diary to find the map.

    I'd love to see that map redone for this election.

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

    by ontario on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:36:22 PM PST

  •  Looking at your map re SC and NC, it's hard to (0+ / 0-)

    fathom Obama lost both, looking at the blue all around the big population centres in both states. Only one explanation.

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

    by ontario on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:44:55 PM PST

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