Explanations and Actions

Yesterday, I cited election results showing how the United States is still divided by the Civil War and the western frontier: 

. . . Of the twenty-four states that stayed in the Union in the 1860s (the northern, border and Far West states), Biden won nineteen and lost five.

Of the twenty-six states that left the Union or weren’t fully part of the country in 1861 [i.e. the Wild West], Biden won seven and lost nineteen.

Paul Krugman thinks these divisions aren’t that important anymore:

For a long time, the geographic battle lines in US politics were pretty much the battle lines of the Civil War. That’s no longer true. Trump won Ohio by more than he won Texas; Biden appears to have won Georgia. 

What we’re seeing is that the divide in US politics now is more about education and metropolitan growth than traditional regional orientation. Thx to Atlanta, GA now more educated than most of the “blue wall”.

But why did Dems take GA and still have a shot at its Senate seats, while losing NC? Two words: Stacey Abrams. Organization matters! Also why low-education NV is blue: it’s the unions.

A writer for The Atlantic agrees:

The economist Jed Kolko calculated that, as of midday yesterday, large urban areas remained staunchly pro-Democrat as inner suburbs moved hard to the left. In the Northern Virginia suburb of Fairfax, just across the river from Washington, D.C., Biden won 70 percent of the votes in a county that George W. Bush carried in 2000. Meanwhile, Kolko found, Txxxx held on to a 40-point lead in rural America and carried low-density suburbs, such as Ocean, New Jersey, outside New York City. From coast to coast, inner suburbs are voting more like cities—that is, for Democrats—and outer suburbs are voting more like rural areas, for Republicans.

Driving both the polarization of place and the depolarization of race is the diploma divide. Non-college-educated Latino and Black Americans are voting a little bit more like non-college-educated white Americans, and these groups are disproportionately concentrated in sparser suburbs and small towns that reliably vote Republican. Meanwhile, low-income, college-educated 20-somethings, many of whom live in urban areas, are voting more like rich, college-educated people who tend to live in the inner suburbs that are moving left.

Demographics were never destiny. Density and diplomas form the most important divide in American politics. At least for now.

As always, there is no single explanation for a complex event. The 67% of us who voted this time all had our reasons. So did the 33% who didn’t.

History professor Akim Reinhardt offers his own take:

More than 70,000,000 people just voted for [him]. Again.

After four years of observing, on a near daily basis, his presidential grotesquerie. The racism, the sexism, the vindictiveness, the endless vitriol, the knee-jerk authoritarianism and ceaseless attacks on and erosion of American constitutional mechanisms and democratic norms.

The number plagues us like a cancerous tumor unfazed by chemotherapy or radiation, and too large for a scalpel to carve away without disfiguring the corpus: 70,000,000.

The selfish, the nasty, and the naive: seventy million of them without enough savvy to notice his dictatorial yearnings, without enough empathy to recognize his racism and sexism. Or, if they perceive any of it, without enough decency to care.

Okay, well, they had their reasons.

If you’d like to support the two Democrats still running for the Senate in Georgia, you can contribute to their campaigns and Stacey Abrams’s voter mobilization effort. It’s definitely not a sure thing, but two more Democrats joining the Senate would make a very big difference. Vice President Kamala Harris’s job would be much more important (she could break tie votes) and odious Sen. Turtle Face’s new designation would be “Senate MINORITY Leader”.

Donate now to elect Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff and help Democrats take back the Senate!

You might also consider telling Emily Murphy, the Republican political appointee who runs the General Services Administration in Washington, to begin the presidential transition process. The votes have been counted, so it’s time for her to obey the law by transferring funds to the Biden campaign (and begin her boss’s return to private life). Her email address is emily.murphy@gsa.gov.