Monday, March 17, 2008

Blue city, red country

"In red states, urbanites tended to vote blue, whereas in blue states, ruralites tended to vote red."

I know he goes on a bit, and he's trying to hard to make it interesting when it already is, but Daniel Herman writing at History News Network has a good reminder that it's not red states and blue states, it's cities and the countryside -- and they've switched colors in the last 120 years. There's something going on here that is neither right nor left.


Paul Botts said...

So today's bitter culture war is basically one more side effect of our collective affluence, a sort of intellectual luxury our grandparents couldn't afford? Heh. I'm not sure how much I'm buying it but the thesis is interesting to think about.

Harold said...

Hmmm, I didn't read it that way. Just that today's bitter culture war mirrors our grandparents' and great-grandparents' geographically if not ideologically: in those days the rural folks were rabble-rousing Democrats and populists. I can't say that I've integrated this into my overall world-view (if any), but the geographic evidence is hard to blink away.

Paul Botts said...

I was simply paraphrasing this section of the essay:
"With help from the government, farmers in much of the country, especially big farmers, have done well since the 1930s, despite occasional recessions. Farmers and the communities they support have thus enjoyed the luxury to focus on moral rather than economic issues....Urbanites...have also enjoyed prosperity, which has similarly tilted their interests away from economic issues and toward moral issues like birth control, civil rights, gay rights, gun control, and peace. Prosperity, far from fostering solidarity, has helped create a politics of morality with urbanites on the left and ruralites on the right...."