Saturday, August 28, 2004

Was at Sea Isle City, NJ, for the second year in a row. Fun stuff. Anyway, there's a new book out, The Great Divide: Retro vs. Metro America, that reinforces the ridiculous myth that we are, as a nation, divided up into 'red' and 'blue' states; in the Great Divide, the argument is augmented, with its premise, in addition to the 'red' and 'blue' paradigm, that our society is split into 'Metro' and 'Retro'. From the website's description of the book, the Great Divide argues that America "is two nations: Retro America - conservative and rooted in the past; and Metro America - progressive and focused on the future."

Such bullshit: the idea that a whole state is emblematic of one 'half' of society or behind a party - as is suggested by Massachusetts being classically labeled a 'blue state' or Texas being classically labeled a 'red state' - does not stand to reality. Case-in-point: the 2000 Presidential election.

Take Massachusetts, for instance; in 2000, the majority of the people of the state voted for Gore. However, the votes for Bush in the state of Massachusetts amounted to a pretty sizeable margin of the vote (
32.5%, or 878,502 votes). This is not much smaller than the number of votes cast for Gore (1,616,487; the number of votes cast for Bush in Massachusetts comprised over 54% of the votes cast for Gore). Blue state? No; in addition, Massachusetts has a Republican governor, as do all of the supposed 'blue states' of New England. (So does California, another so-called 'blue state'.)

Take Texas; in 2000, the people of the state voted for Bush. But, like Massachusetts, it was hardly a landslide: whereas Bush won a little over 59% of the vote, Gore won nearly 38% (2,433,746 votes; the number of votes cast for Gore in Texas comprised about 64% of the votes for Bush). Red state? No. In conclusion, I do not see any evidence that there is any backing to the idea of red states and blue states. It's just not true.

P.S.: Although the book is exclusively for sale on Amazon, you can read the entire thing for free. (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9) So you can decide yourself whether you believe this nonsense.

(Source: Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, Election Results; 2000 Presidential Election Figures: Massachusetts, Texas)

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