Wednesday, 10 November 2004
I won't deny it; I'm not trying to hide it.
I know I was beaten to putting this up, but it is so striking that I feel I have to share it with the one or two readers we don't have in common.... (click on the image for a closer look)
The picture on the left is a state by state breakdown of the results in the 2004 US presidential election. Blue is Kerry and Red is Bush. The picture on the right is a map from just before the US Civil War showing in green the free states with no slavery, in red the slave states, and in brown the states open to slavery. Notice any similarities? (and if you look even closer, one of the exceptions is Ohio!)
On a related subject, and also as (sort of) touched on elsewhere, I was reading in The Observer at the weekend about the population centre of the US (as you do). Basically, each decade, the Census Bureau calculates the mean center of population. The center is determined as the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all 281,421,906 residents were of identical weight. With me so far?
In 1790, it was near Chestertown, Maryland
In 1880, it was in Covington County, Kentucky
In 2000, it was in Phelps County, Missouri
In the 2004 election, Phelps County is a tiny spot of blue in an ocean of red, having voted 63% for Kerry. Those familiar with US Geography will notice that this central point is shifting westwards (and slightly to the south) across the US... probably at a rate of a few miles each year. This Census was in 2000, and by now it's likely that the spot is somewhere in the deep, deep red of Kansas.
The point the Observer was making is that the weight of the population in the USA is shifting away from democrat areas and into republican heartlands. Already the US has a republican president, a republican congress and a republican senate. By 2008 the mass of the population is perhaps even less likely to vote democrat than it appears to be now.
Of course, this is a pretty fatuous argument, as it takes no account of the electoral colleges (as described here). Mind you, given that the electoral college was set up to account for population distribution across the USA, perhaps the current administration will look to change it to reflect the modern population centres, and thus shift a few more votes into Republican heartlands. I wouldn't put it past them)
The election is now over, but I reckon I'm not prepared to stop talking about it yet.
Nice mess in Iraq, by the way George.
Footnote: read this America, and be really scared. What you say on the internet can apparently get you a visit from the Secret Service and an FBI record. Kiss your constitutional rights goodbye.
By the way,a note for a whole pile of you US bloggers out there, that doesn't work the other way around... you don't get brownie points for kissing his arse either, so please stop.
Seek some consolation here.