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// One state two state red state blue state. / - casual synchronicity
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aaangyl
aaangyl
YES WE CAN HAS!
Thu, Aug. 28th, 2008 05:32 pm
// One state two state red state blue state. /

This is an interesting post about state/party leanings over recent history. I'm hoping some of y'all out there know a LOT about historic trends and can speak about what's going on there and what trends we actually are and are not seeing.

I noticed something interesting when we we headed up to Decatur through Red portions of the state the other week. Traditionally I'm used to seeing Republican campaigns run with the "Red" concept and make their sign backgrounds red, and the Dems will make their signs blue (usually with white text and the non-background color as hilighting. However, this time the GOP seems to have taken back both red and blue, and their signs would be both colors, with lots of American flags. (We drove by some sort of demonstration where the GOP was on one side of the major intersection in town with a HUGE LONG LINE of flags fluttering loudly in the breeze, and the Dems off to the other side utterly sans flags. I wanted to go back and take pictures but it was hot and a nap wound up being more important.) The Dems, on the other hand, seem to have co-opted the color green in to make up for things. White text on dark green backgrounds, black text on light green backgrounds, over and over again the green signs would carry the little (D) in the corner. When did this happen? Is it a tactic used in mostly-GOP areas, or something unique to Washington? Has war and oil become such an issue that the Dems given up on being considered part of America and now they're aligning with the environment (that's what the color green seems most associated with verbally right now, "green tech, green businbess, green initiatives")? Report in from your part of the country and tell me if you see this too!

EDIT: While I'm linking to OPP (Other People's Politics), this one contains some discussion and links relating to compulsory voting and Australia as an example. I for some reason had thought we had all discussed this to death after the last election, but it seems there's some value in bringing it up again now.

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stemware
Rob
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)

I remember seeing a lot of blue Republican signs when I was growing up so it really surprised me starting in 2000 when we started hearing about "red states" and "blue states."


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stemware
Rob
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)

Yep, sure enough. As far as the color schemes alone go, back in the 1980s for one Reagan election red was Republican and for the other Red was Democrat.


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stemware
Rob
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)

Anyway, since most of your readers can't comment on my journal, Wikipedia has been nice enough to put together all of the election maps since the beginning of time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_maps

Specifically what I was referring to was the fact that a lot of states that we currently consider decided strongly in favor of one party flip-flopped a lot between presidential elections prior to Clinton. Look at the trend on places like New York, California, and Texas for instance. One election Red, the next Blue, even though we now consider them to be pretty predictable.

Apparently political scientists call this political polarization and they notice it more now than they did a couple of decades ago.


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aaangyl
aaangyl
YES WE CAN HAS!
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 01:47 am (UTC)

I wonder (and this is SO not one of my strong fields) if what we're seeing with that is a trend or just that certain states liked/hated specific people, since we're really looking at just two sets of white house over that whole timespan. I mean, I recall the attitude that Clinton/Gore were VERY GOOD to hollywood and I KNOW their policies were good for Silicon Valley. Bush is an oil man with very strong oil ties who hates the press and hollywood and doesn't understand the internet. So are we observing an actual shifting, or just states that are voting for what they think is good for them? Does that question make sense?

I also wonder if back before I was born there were more actual differences between parties and candidates. Right now there's really not that much difference, it seems like things are very petty and the issues that could be huge differences are kinda shoved under the rug. It seems like once there were stances on global expansion and slavery and suffrage and people campaigned with their economic plans, now they won't even head-on address things like gay marriage and fossil fuel dependency and they campaign on vague concepts like "hope". But it's hard for me to have perspective on things I wasn't alive for.


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stemware
Rob
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)

I tend to believe that back before you were born politicians were aligned more based on fiscal issues, theories of how to regulate, and foreign policy than they are now. It seems that the political parties now stand more for their prime moral values than actual politics. Aside from civil rights issues which changed generation to generation, these three key issues (fiscal, regulation, and foreign policy) have pretty much been static for the past 100 years whereas moral issues, again aside from civil rights issues, have only come to the forefront since Roe versus Wade.


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aaangyl
aaangyl
YES WE CAN HAS!
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 03:07 am (UTC)

I remember hearing that conservatives were once Democrats and are now Republicans - do you happen to know when that shift happened?


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stemware
Rob
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)

Depends on how you define conservative. Morally conservative, or traditional conservative - i.e. fiscally conservative?


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aaangyl
aaangyl
YES WE CAN HAS!
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 07:04 am (UTC)

I am not sure how to answer this, nor am I sure of how it plays with the current parties. Neither party is what I understand as "fiscally conservative", which IIRC related to paying off national debt and reducing the size of government. When we the last time there was a major party that was fiscally conservative? Reagan pushed that agenda but he actually ran up the debt, increased payroll taxes and taxes on the poor, and raised gov't wages and size quite a bit. That seems to be the grounds of small 3rd parties now.

Similarly, I don't think either party is or has been in my lifetime morally liberal, unless you want to take it down to the level of abortion and separation of church and state.

Yet I still hear the terms thrown around. What do they mean now?

Wikipedia tells me in the mid-1800s the Republicans emerged as an actually fiscally conservative group. By the 1900s and 1920s things seemed to be getting kinda blurry tho. I'm still not sure what the conservative party flip is referring to, but I'm sure I've heard it more than once.


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stemware
Rob
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)

And from what I can tell (really going out on a limb here), even up through Reagan Hollywood was more strongly Republican.

Bush doesn't understand the Internet, but there certainly are enough people working for the administration that do, much more so than Clinton surprisingly. Clinton's lack of policy towards the Internet other than just "fund it and it will happen" got a lot of the agencies in deep hot water. Bush is at the other extreme regarding how he wants to control it though.


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aaangyl
aaangyl
YES WE CAN HAS!
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)

Actually, they might still be - CA has the Governator now, after all, and he's much more the darling of the Hollywood area than the geek valley. Maybe they just REALLY don't like Bush.


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vanadium_77
Liberté j'écris ton nom!
Fri, Aug. 29th, 2008 08:39 am (UTC)

Is it a tactic used in mostly-GOP areas, or something unique to Washington?

Not at all. Here in Evanston and the greater Chicago metropolitan area, there are several Democrats opting for green as a primary color on bumper stickers and other political collateral. My theory--and this seems to have some anecdotal basis, at least here--is that it has some anti-Nader effect in terms of attracting voters that would otherwise vote Green locally.

Then again, we're talking about Chicago, where voting anything other than Democrat--and more precisely the Democrat the machine wants you to vote for--is likely to get you a property tax hike based on an inflated assessed value (if you own your home) and a couple of party goons at your door. If you don't believe that, well, I know a nice Democratic couple living two doors from an alderman related to the Governor that could certainly prove it for having voted for the wrong Democrat. It's rather unfortunate, really.


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