The North tolerates more ideological diversity

Last year’s mid-term elections marked the end of a decades-long transition as white Southerners abandoned the Democratic Party en masse. For a decade or so as this process gained momentum, it looked as though the South might, for the first time ever, be moving toward an open, multi-party political system.

That has not occurred. This transformation has proved to be less of an opening to competitive politics than a long flag-changing ceremony. Southern politics remains as racially-driven and monolithic as ever.

A few samples of precinct-level data from northern cities can provide a helpful contrast. Even in states behind the “Blue Wall,” solidly beyond Republicans’ reach in Presidential elections, multi-party politics remains relatively vibrant. There is no similar example of “ticket-splitting” in the South.

Chicago’s Ward 43 covers the city’s affluent Lincoln Park neighborhood along the North Shore. The ward is overwhelmingly white and Democratic. Republican Bruce Rauner’s 2014 victory in the race for Governor of Illinois demonstrates the willingness of voters in northern states to disregard party affiliation in pursuit of quality leadership. The numbers of Chicago’s 43rd Ward are just one example of this flexibility.

Solidly Democratic Ward 43 gave half their votes to the Republican candidate in the 2014 Governor’s race. Rauner took no position on culture war issues, declared himself pro-choice, and ran a campaign rigorously focused on the fiscal and ethical issues facing state government. He outpolled Republicans farther down the ballot by a stunning margin.

Illinois Republicans nominated social conservative Jim Oberweis for the 2014 Senate race. He drew only 32% in Chicago’s 43rd Ward. Rauner won his race while every other statewide Republican, including Oberweis, lost. Republicans failed to gain a single seat in the State Assembly.

The same pattern of ticket-splitting could be seen in the heavily Republican districts in Chicago’s collar counties. In my DuPage County precinct, Oberwies trailed fellow-Republican Rauner by 13 points, a gap that was pretty consistent across the suburbs.

This kind of ticket-splitting is a tradition in Northern states, where a more open political culture leads to more competitive party politics. Minnesota has given its Electoral votes to a Republican Presidential candidate only one time since the 1920’s. Across the same period more than half of its Governors have been Republicans. Similar patterns are evident in New York and Massachusetts. Since Reagan, California has had three Republican and three Democratic Governors.

Massachusetts in 2014 sent a Democrat to the US Senate in a rout while a Republican won the Governor’s race. Republicans have held the Massachusetts Governors’ office as often as not over the past few decades.

At the state and local level, personalities can be more of a factor and the narrower range of relevant issues gives a minority-party candidate less baggage. Vermont has a US Senator who left the Democratic Party to openly embrace Socialism. A Republican there came within one point of winning the 2014 Governor’s race. Needless to say, that Republican is not close to Ted Cruz on the issues. It also goes without saying that he wouldn’t have been competitive as a Republican in a Senate or Congressional race.

It is tough to find a comparison to the voting patterns in Chicago’s Lincoln Park anywhere in the South, in part because it is difficult to find any genuinely competitive races there. Looking at precincts in Houston or Charlotte or Atlanta you find partisan voting preferences that are inextricably tied to demographics all the way up and down the ballot.

In Houston’s Harris County, Romney won 50% of the vote in 2012. Ted Cruz also won 50%. McCain carried 62% of the vote there in 2008 while Republican Senate candidate John Cornyn carried 62% of the vote. Atlanta’s Fulton County gave 34% of the vote to the GOP’s 2014 Senate candidate and 34% to the GOP candidate for Governor. This pattern of rigid partisan ideological consistency is evident across the South.

Northern states that haven’t voted for a Republican Presidential nominee in a very long time and aren’t likely to do so anytime soon, still consistently elect Republicans to state and local offices. There is no comparison in the South. Very few Northern states are under one party control. All of the Southern states apart from Virginia are controlled by the GOP from top to bottom.

As the solid South has increasingly come to dictate the GOP’s national priorities the White House has slipped out of Republicans’ reach. Scott Walker can squeak out a win in a Governor’s race in Wisconsin, but he would lose the state by a wide margin as a Presidential nominee. Likewise, Chris Christie could not expect to compete in New Jersey. The same ticket-splitting that put these guys in office behind the Blue Wall would doom their Presidential ambitions.

The increasingly solid Blue Wall voting pattern of urban and Northern states in Presidential elections does not reflect a similar Democratic monopoly over state and local politics. Those states support a far more open, complex, and diverse political climate than Mississippi or Georgia. Why Southern party politics tolerates so little ideological diversity is a tough question to answer. It deserves its own post.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Election 2016, Illinois, Neo-Confederate, Political Theory
151 comments on “The North tolerates more ideological diversity
  1. […] – Is Southern politics really less competitive than elsewhere in the country? […]

  2. Owl of Bellaire says:

    A nice take-down of Bobby Jindal:

    “So let’s imagine a scenario. A devout Christian emigrates from Nigeria to a progressive American college town, where she takes up work as a pharmacist. She quickly finds herself at odds with the dominant culture around her. Co-workers mock her modest dress and her insistence on interrupting work to pray. When she calls homosexuality a sin, they denounce her as a bigot. Ultimately, her employer fires her for refusing to dispense contraception.

    “Based on his speeches at Liberty University and the Reagan Library, Jindal’s advice to this woman would be clear: Wage ‘silent war’ against the culture that oppresses you, even if you’re a minority of one. If necessary, ‘establish a separate culture within’ the dominant one so you can raise children who fear and obey God.

    “Now imagine that our devout Nigerian is a Muslim. Suddenly her resistance to the dominant culture makes her not a hero but a menace. Jindal supporters might resist the analogy. Christians, they might argue, don’t kill cartoonists or establish their own separate legal systems. But Jindal’s point in London was that the problems with Muslim immigrants go beyond issues of violence and law. The core danger, he insisted, is their refusal to assimilate into the culture of the countries to which they immigrate. And since Jindal has already declared that American (let alone European) culture is secular, any immigrant who refuses to assimilate into it is, by his definition, a threat. Our Nigerian pharmacist should never been given a visa.

    “Why point out the contradiction between Jindal’s heroic portrayal of Christian non-assimilators and his demonization of Muslim ones? Because it exposes his lofty talk about culture and identity to be an elaborate ruse. The only principle he’s really defending is anti-Muslim bigotry.”

    • 1mime says:

      Owl, saw the Atlantic article. Jindal is such an empty suit. He will flare out but he is certainly doing his part to ensure GOP image of extremism. Almost makes me feel sorry for the GOP leadership. Almost.

  3. lomamonster says:

    The societal illness on parade masquerading as political discourse is reaching an epidemic proportion which threatens the very existence of society, and there is currently no way to avert the consequences short of swift action by the Thought Police. Applications can be filled out at the Next Life Building down at Allen’s Landing…

  4. bubbabobcat says:

    Off topic, but if I post this on the global warming topic 2 post ago, no one would see this.

    “The poll found that 83 percent of Americans, including 61 percent of Republicans [!] and 86 percent of independents, say that if nothing is done to reduce emissions, global warming will be a very or somewhat serious problem in the future.”

    Maybe there is hope for reasonable Republicans resurging back in significant numbers after near extinction like the grey wolves in the west.

    Of course further down in the article it notes teabaggers still fall for the “I am an idiot [not a scientist]” line by idiot wingnut politicians.

    • Doug says:

      I’d like to see a followup question for the idiot 71% who think they personally will be hurt: “Would you, personally, donate $1000 annually to help mitigate the problems of climate change?”

      How do you think that would go? Talk is cheap.

      The US is in a century long cooling trend, there is no credible evidence of accelerated sea level rise, we’re currently setting a record for the longest period in history without a major hurricane strike, heavy rain events are not increasing, drought is near historic lows…how exactly do these people expect to personally be hurt? Oh wait, here’s one way:

      “A tree fell on my house during Hurricane Sandy, and in the future, it might be worse,” she said. “The stronger storms and the flooding will erode the coastline, and that is a big concern for me.”

      So except for the fact that Sandy had nothing to do with climate change, storms are not getting stronger, and flooding is not getting worse, this woman’s fears are totally rational.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Of course, global average temperatures are rising, Pacific islands are seeing definite evidence of sea-level rise and water-table contamination, hurricanes are getting more massive and dangerous elsewhere…

        So is your point basically that, since you’re not personally bothered, we shouldn’t care?

      • 1mime says:

        So, Doug, we’re back to the “climate change” vs “global warming” argument. Oh, my. Rather than append links to scientific data that you would disavow out of hand, maybe we could find common ground in your challenge to people who want to impact “climate change” without an elitist $1000 donation.

        As one who respects the environment without obsessing over it, I believe it is more important that each of us does the things within our reach to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we live upon. That is you, me, government and business – globally. Would that it would be as easy as writing a $1000 check – the escape hatch business employs to continue to pollute. A personal, life-time commitment is harder. Collectively, it enables humans to conserve the quality of the environment for our generation and those to come. To do what is within our control to mitigate “climate change”.

        I assume you are already doing your fair share to be environmentally responsible (outside of a $1K donation): i.e; recycling your waste, reducing water use, using less energy, disposing batteries and other toxic waste properly, supporting alternative energy development, support capping of gas flares and other known air pollutants, controlling hazardous discharge from plants and wells – the list is long. Still with me?

        Moving on to your claims that there isn’t accelerated sea level rise, there are fewer major hurricanes and heavy rain events, and less drought. When do any of these environmental conditions become problematic? This is where the rubber always meets the road in the debate. “Show me the proof”, global warming deniers shout! You didn’t include links to your sources but I’m sure you have them. Post them. Possibly you don’t live in an area that has been impacted by environmental challenges and simply believe your sources to be correct, or, that, “#&*! happens – like that tree in your bedroom, or water in your home. Mother Nature rearing her ugly head! You didn’t mention air quality. Try living in Pasadena, Texas or China for a while and get back to me on how you’re doing. Want credible evidence of accelerated sea level rise? Visit lower Louisiana. Want to see drought-ravaged areas? Visit California and West Texas. Believe the Dust Bowl was a “fluke” of nature? “I’m not a scientist”, conservatives cry. Well, I’m not either, nor are the 71% probably, but we share a common concern that our environment is suffering from things that we can and should do something about.

        My challenge to you as a member of the hypothetical 29% climate change sector is to do your part to protect our planet. And, it will be far harder than writing a $1000 check.

      • Doug says:

        “Of course, global average temperatures are rising”
        Of course, they haven’t been for nearly twenty years.

        “Pacific islands are seeing definite evidence of sea-level rise and water-table contamination”
        The sea level has been rising for thousands of years, something like 400 feet since the last ice age. The rate of rise now is no greater than it was a century ago. The islands seeing recent issues are suffering more from vertical land movement than rising sea level. Surprise! Living on a spit of land three feet above sea level can be precarious.

        “hurricanes are getting more massive and dangerous elsewhere…”
        They aren’t.

        “So is your point basically that, since you’re not personally bothered, we shouldn’t care?”
        No, my point is that people in the US who think they are personally affected by man made climate change” are fools.


        ” Want credible evidence of accelerated sea level rise? Visit lower Louisiana.”
        HAHAHAHAHA! Seriously? You lost all credibility with that statement.

      • 1mime says:

        “So is your point basically that, since you’re not personally bothered, we shouldn’t care?”
        No, my point is that people in the US who think they are personally affected by man made climate change” are fools.”

        Bullies always try to win by insult, never by reason.


        ” Want credible evidence of accelerated sea level rise? Visit lower Louisiana.”
        HAHAHAHAHA! Seriously? You lost all credibility with that statement.

        Care to elaborate?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “Of course, they haven’t been [rising] for nearly twenty years.”

        Ah, a statistical ignoramus besides a science denier. If you were as interested in knowing the truth as in feathering your own nest and/or reinforcing your own prejudices, you’d have learned by now why what you’ve said is bollocks.

        Thanks for the early notice; now I know I don’t have to waste any more time on you.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        So according to Doug, since the US Gulf Coast has not had a hurricane strike land (there have been numerous large hurricanes in the Atlantic, Pacific, AND the Gulf waters by the way) everything is hunky dory huh?

        Beside denying hard data and reality, you are quite the myopic provincialist in your fact challenged denials? Great body of work there Doug.

      • Doug says:

        “Ah, a statistical ignoramus besides a science denier.”
        If you can’t argue facts, attack the witness.

        statistical ignoramus: FWIW, I took two semesters of statistics in college, and never scored less than 100% on exams. You fail on that charge.

        science denier: Nope, I’m a chicken little denier. The satellite record clearly shows no recent warming. Those who choose ignore the satellites and believe a .02 degree “record” based on manipulated surface data are the true science deniers.

        “Care to elaborate?”
        Google “Lousiana is sinking”

        “there have been numerous large hurricanes in the Atlantic, Pacific, AND the Gulf waters…you are quite the myopic provincialist”

        Name call all you want, the fact is that there is no evidence that warming is affecting hurricanes. Here is one link:

      • bubbabobcat says:

        So Doug’s documented “proof” is a biased anti-climate change website run by someone who admits he is not even trained in the field of climate science.


      • 1mime says:

        Doug, subsidence is a huge problem in LA, but sea level rise is also happening which several of the posts filed under “Louisiana Is Sinking” affirm. At this juncture, subsidence is a very serious problem, but it is certainly exacerbated by sea level increases. The storm surge study coordinated between FEMA, COE (Corps of Army Engineers) in concert with The state of Louisiana following Katrina, brought a vast amount of data to bear on projecting future coastal problems. I don’t know if you respect the expertise of the Corps of Army Engineers, but the Corps required the engineers who were doing the actual storm surge study to incorporate specific percentiles of sea level rise in its calculations. They obviously believe, based upon their scientific and practical experience, that the sea is rising and it needed to be incorporated in the study. I know this because my brother was an engineer who was part of the team that conducted the study.

        I’m not interested in a pissing contest but there are some very smart, highly educated, deeply experienced people out there who know the sea level is rising and are concerned about the rate. It is an absolute fact that the polar ice caps are melting and this indisputably causes sea level rise. I will say this, and then I’m not going to waste any more time on this topic. I am solution-oriented. If there is anything that man is doing to contribute to rising sea levels or can do to impact the process, shouldn’t we be taking those steps? Man can’t do anything about the geologic shift of plates that are sucking land under at a furious clip; but, if we can slow the rise of the sea, we should.

        One last post that those who are interested in this subject may find interesting.

  5. texan5142 says:

    They brought their kids to the hate fest, sick.

    • 1mime says:

      Hard to watch, Tex, but the world is watching.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Un freeking believable. I’m unable to say anything coherently about this damn woman without sounding unhinged. This is so wrong on so many levels.

      • GG says:

        There’s a story over on the Chron about that dumbass woman who has a “no Muslims allowed” at her shooting range. I cracked up because she used “”Indian/Hindu religion folks” instead of “Hindus”. What a moron.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      This is America’s PEGIDA, an organization that is infested with Neo-Nazis and hate groups in Germany.

    • vikinghou says:

      Very disturbing. As for the kids, “They Have To Be Carefully Taught.”

      • GG says:

        It really irks me that people bring children to things like this or anti-abortion rallies. They are not old enough to understand what it’s about. It’s a form of brainwashing and child abuse and Westboro Baptist did this to their kids. When interviewed they just parroted what they were told with no comprehension of what they were actually doing at all.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Reminds me of the KKK dragging their kids to cross burning rallies. Sickening.

      • GG says:

        Ugh. I’ve seen pictures that were taken of lynchings in the thirties with children in attendance and the adults all grinning from ear to ear. Most of those poor guys lynched were innocent too. Just a mob with a collective mass hysteria whipped up and feeding off each other just like the bigots in that video.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        BW I saw that video on the chron. I can’t believe she wasn’t arrested for disturbing the peace for illegally commandeering the microphone.

        What the hateful wingnuts don’t get is the irony of railing against the “jihadists and Sharia Law” in a peaceful and open mainstream TEXAS STATE SUPPORTED Muslim Capitol Day activity that encourages children to “meet with lawmakers and learn about the democratic process” according to the chron when the wingnut haters are more like the “Islamic extremists” who were NOT in attendance by the way.

        And guess which resident former troll is on the chron falsely claiming that Muslims were specifically exempt from the AHA requirements for health insurance? Of course, he was debunked immediately with a snopes link.

      • 1mime says:

        BW, are you saying that you support this kind of vitriol, and at a peaceful State-organized event designed to foster understanding? Where children were involved? Surely, I am misunderstanding your sarcasm?

      • BigWilly says:

        See the comment about the goading ritual.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        And can you imagine the uproar if one of the Muslims at the podium had popped her one in the nose when she tried to steal the microphone?

        Obviously, hypocrisy is a Tea Partisan value.

      • 1mime says:

        You were flying too far under the radar for me BW.

    • GG says:

      The exact type of people that strung up young black boys in the old South. They all look and sound like white trash and ignorant bigots.

  6. briandrush says:

    In order to answer the question about why the South has a monolithic political culture (or anyway, for me to be able to choose between my own two competing theories), we would need to be able to answer a “when” question, and that may not be possible. Did this monolithic Southern political culture pre-exist the Civil War?

    If so, then it’s part of Southern culture itself, a product of the authoritarian streak that came from reliance on forced labor for so long. If not, then it’s an us-vs-them reaction to the War of Northern Aggression that’s become habitual.

    • 1mime says:

      That’s an interesting hypothesis, Brian. I think poor quality, limited access education was a significant factor as was the agrarian way of life. You didn’t have the large cities and factories of the north bringing people together; instead, large land holdings and smaller farms perpetuated the isolation of families and limited exposure to wider points of view. People were more insular in thought, worship, and work.

      There was poverty before and following the Civil War as well as anger, fear, and resentment as the South began to put itself back together. Poor whites were only one step removed from poorer, less acceptable blacks. This spawned racism which further divided the people of the South. These cultural mores have been passed down through generations. It is significant to note that people in the South didn’t move around much, if they moved at all. Change came hard, if it came at all. In some respects, the rich culture of cuisine, music and art was nourished by this hard-scrabble existence. But there was loss as well as the area lagged in other areas of development.

      I am interested to hear other points of view about the Southern experience and Brian’s hypothesis.

    • johngalt says:

      Except for a few years during reconstruction, Mississippi elected Democratic governors (with one Whig exception) from 1825 to 1992. In Georgia, the line of Democratic governors stretches from 2003 back to 1847. A few Whigs were thrown in prior to that, then there was an unbroken string of Democratic-Republican governors (a primarily Southern states rights party) from 1831-1789. Alabama was D-R or Democrat from statehood in 1819 to 1987; South Carolina from 1800-1975.

      I think it is safe to say that the monolithic political culture predates the Civil War and Reconstruction by decades, to the earliest days of the union.

      • 1mime says:

        JG, What I am most interested in is “why” the South has not changed its monolithic political culture and what will be needed to begin that process. Clearly, other areas of the nation have. Texas and Florida by virtue of oil and gas and tourism have become more diverse than the other Gulf states. Lack of quality education, isolation, agricultural focus vs industrialization, poverty, lack of mobility – (by choice or circumstance), have been significant constraints in the past, but, what about now?

      • RobA says:

        My guess is the solidarity and insulation of being part of The South.

        As a society and culture, The South has been different and distinct in a way that is incomparable to any other area of the US.

        This fosters an “us against them” attitude, and gets people to vote in a uniform manner.

      • johngalt says:

        Yeah, Rob, I think that’s largely it. The South has been the outsider from the earliest days, with the exception of Virginia, which doesn’t fit the patterns of the deep South anyway (and, later, Texas). The southern colonies were less supportive of independence as a whole. Afterwards, its agrarian economy was damaged (in thoughts if less in reality) by the efforts of the Northern states to protect their nascent industrialization through tariffs and the tariff issue was a common one throughout the first half of the 1800s. Plus, of course, an “us-vs-them” attitude is pretty easy to perpetuate when you live in constant fear of a slave rebellion.

      • 1mime says:

        JG, If anybody had legitimate reason to fear, it was the slaves, and we all know that even today, black children have to be taught by their parents how to respond to unwarranted stops. Black people today are still afraid – remember Jasper, TX? So, I hope there were abusive slave owners who were afraid.

      • johngalt says:

        Of course you’re right 1mime. But if you were the slave owner 175 years ago, these pressures would be a powerful motivation to perpetuate a political system of your own choosing, through whatever means were necessary.

      • 1mime says:

        JG, the South should never forget the horrors of 175 years ago, but this is the problem. The South is not moving on. At what point does the past become an excuse for the present rather than an opportunity for change?

  7. Owl of Bellaire says:

    Check out the celebration of “ideological diversity” by this Texas state legislator:

    “Freshman state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, is not in Austin today to celebrate Texas Muslim Capitol Day. But she left instructions for the staff in her Capitol office on how to handle visitors who are, including asking them to declare allegiance to the United States.

    “‘I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws,’ she posted on Facebook. ‘We will see how long they stay in my office.'”

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      This is the sort of low base, ignorant filth that infects the Republican Party in this state. I don’t know what is worse, her bigotry or the fact that someone with her views could be elected in this state. It says a lot about some segments of the population here.

    • rightonrush says:

      So Ms. whatshername has an Israeli flag on her desk not a Texas or American flag. I suppose her allegiance lies with Israel, not with America.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        You gotta do what you gotta do to bring about Judgement Day, donchaknow?

      • BigWilly says:

        Is this the goading ritual? Man, I don’t want to go there. If any of you have read the Book of Revelation you know we’re talking about some heavy sh*t. The planet becomes largely uninhabitable and Billions die.

        Sure the Mother Ship beams me up, but what kind of consolation is that if you have to watch the world end?

        God, help us.

    • 1mime says:

      Owl, Re: Ms. White “We will see how long they stay in my office.”

      We will see how long (Ms.White) stays in (her) office. Pitiful.

      • rightonrush says:

        Ms Molly will have a long stint in office I’m afraid Mime. She’s pandering to her mouth breathing drooling base. They eat that type of crap up and ask for seconds.

    • texan5142 says:

      It is bad, they shouted down a kid singing the national anthem.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      This is so embarrassing for Texans everywhere, it’s difficult to believe it’s real.

  8. objv says:

    Does this blog tolerate ideological diversity?

    • 1mime says:

      I think so, objv. I hope you don’t feel like you’re being attacked. That takes the fun out of posting. You posts are well written and on point. The things I enjoy most in Lifer’s blogs are the quality of his presentations and that of those who comment. (I also enjoy seeing him honestly point out the GOP conceits and errors (-: I enjoy reading your posts even when we disagree. I am pretty passionate in my views as most of us are, but I respect our differences and enjoy the intellectual and educational exchange. For the record, I thought Rubio’s quote was cute…but I wouldn’t vote for him for President (-: And, if I were Obama, I’d stick to basketball (-:

    • johngalt says:

      Of course it does. The kind of ideological diversity that can agree on basic facts and then craft logical arguments to defend a position, whatever that may be. It’s less kind to those who cut-and-paste partisan nonsense and refuse to believe the sky is blue.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      I enjoy reading rational and well argued points from people who don’t necessarily agree with me politically. Hell, I sometimes agree with their point! That is how one learns and grows. Just getting the same diet of arguments and viewpoints quickly gets stale and rots the mind.

      And, trust me, there are many points where I would probably fall on the right-hand side of the spectrum. Socially I am very libertarian (which is what generally has turned me away from the Republicans in Texas since moving here) but on many other issues (education, most fiscal issues, even immigration in some respect, I’m hardly the classic “crunchy liberal”). I was a Republican for many years, after all, and worked for John McCain’s campaign in 2000.

      Anyway, I say welcome. Come one; come all.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      I welcome ideological diversity when it focuses on facts more than on fantasies, on dispassionate explanation more than on pointed blame, and on two-way discussions rather than one-way ranting.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Ye, this blog tolerates ideological diversity. In the past couple of weeks the conversation has been driven by logic and intellect and I have learned a lot. In prior days it was sheer emotional, partisan driven rants based on nothing but fantasies.

      The new members here have added fresh ideas and different points of view. I rather not see a return of those that argue from their own reality.

  9. objv says:

    Here’s a paradox. Texas has turned increasingly red despite changing demographics.

    Some info from Wiki:

    45% of Texans are white
    37% of the population is Hispanic of any race. (45% of Texans have at least part Hispanic ancestry)
    11.8% are African American
    15% of Texans are foreign born

    Here is how the population has increased during each census:

    1960 9,579,677 24.2%
    1970 11,196,730 16.9%
    1980 14,229,191 27.1%
    1990 16,986,510 19.4%
    2000 20,851,820 22.8%
    2010 25,145,561 20.6%
    Est. 2014 26,956,958 7.2%

    Clearly, the increased population is due to more than your old, racist, white southern people giving birth. Many people from other states, like myself and my husband also made Texas their home. What’s up here? Is there something about Texas that attracts people from outside Texas that encourages them to vote Republican?

    • johngalt says:

      Wendy Davis ran an execrable campaign, and got 92% of African Americans and 55% of Hispanics to vote for her. 4.5 million people voted in the 2014 governors election, while 8 million voted in the 2012 presidential election. For whatever reason, these two ethnic groups are known for nor turning out for off year and down ballot elections. You get what you deserve, of course, but at some point the crazy train is going to tip over and the demographics will win out.

      • objv says:

        JG: you may have a point about demographics winning out. However, there are a few bright spots for Republicans in Texas. The population is becoming increasingly mixed. We have a governor with a Hispanic wife, a Hispanic senator, and a George Bush (son of Jeb) who is Hispanic. The more Hispanics assimilate and intermarry, the more chance they see Republican issues as their own.

        People generally vote in their economic interest. As long as Democrats are seen as working against Texas prosperity, Republicans have a good chance of staying in office.

      • vikinghou says:


        I disagree. In the South, the GOP has consistently been able to convince poor whites to vote against their economic interests. They do it by concentrating on social issues (abortion, gay rights and guns). Social issues trump everything else in this demographic group.

      • 1mime says:

        Objv/JG – In the late 80s, I attended an education forum in D.C. and heard a rising star in the Democratic Party speak. He was TX Mayor Henry Cisneros. His thrust of his speech dealt with demographic trends, particularly Hispanic, and how this would impact public education. His message was inspiring and prescient, looking through today’s lens. (Sadly his political future was less bright.)

        Twenty-seven years later, as JG points out, demographics is going to win out. There is more interaction between people of Democratic profile (wage earners) and Hispanics due mostly to economics and public education, . As Objv posits, there will be more intermarriages but the likely beneficiary will be the Democratic base. This will play into the political scene at all levels, and then, hopefully, ideological diversity may finally have its moment in the deep South.

      • Turtles Run says:

        “The more Hispanics assimilate and intermarry, the more chance they see Republican issues as their own.”

        Why? Will intermarrying somehow blind Hispanics to the GOP’s attempts to marginalize them.

        Speaking on behalf of my family – my stepfather is White, my brother’s wife is White, my wife is part Irish, and some of my cousins married Whites as well. Somehow we missed the memo on becoming Republican.

        Why do you believe intermarrying a White person would make someone more likely to be Republican? Surely you are not claiming the GOP is the party of Anglos are you? You seem to be proving GOPlifer’s point concerning race and the GOP.

      • 1mime says:

        Turtle – I strongly believe that intermarriage by/with Hispanics will favor the Democratic party. The GOP message is pretty clear to Hispanics and other minorities, and it’s going to be hard to stuff it back in the can when they start trying to broaden their base.

      • 1mime says:

        Another thing, Turtle and Objv, don’t you think it’s about time that the Republican Party start to see Hispanic issues as their own? Isn’t this part of the disconnect?

      • Turtles Run says:

        1mime – I do not know if intermarriage will help the Democrat Party. Most people willing to intermarry are not spouting off angry rhetoric aimed at Hispanic groups. Most Republicans also do not share the same racial animosity that their more far right compatriots hold and young Republicans even more so are less concerned with socially divisive issues like race and LGBT rights.

        The parties will trend left on social issues mainly because we have always been a center-left (IMHO) nation.

        Should the GOP see Hispanic issues as their own? Hispanic issues are the same as other groups, we all want good jobs, good schools for our kids,easy access to health care, and a fair opportunity to succeed. The GOP in its modern form seems less concerned about helping the poor than they are on exploiting issues that affect them directly. Often times trying to pit African Americans and poor Whites against immigration reform for fear of job losses among those groups. Minority groups see the intent of the GOP’s actions. That is why all minority groups have been trending towards the Democrat Party. It is a serious issue that the Republican Party acknowledges but as of yet is incapable of resolving with the clown circus pretty much running the show.

      • 1mime says:

        Turtle, My reasoning for thinking Dems will benefit from more intermarriage among Hispanics (and other minorities) is purely situational, not reactionary. There are enough challenges inherent in inter-racial/cultural marriages without the “trying to make a statement” commitment. Geographical and economic proximity along with some shared social concerns I believe will grow more Democrats from such unions. Time will tell, that’s for sure.

        When I stated that the GOP should make Hispanic issues their own I was making the point that the GOP needs to genuinely care about issues within that community – language barriers/education/jobs/immigration/etc., rather than co-opting Hispanics purely to expand the GOP base and/or bend them to their conservative ideology. Republicans have sent some very hard core messages out on immigration, work ethics and so on that inflame rather than enhance their credibility as well as their conservative message.

      • Turtles Run says:

        …..bend them to their conservative ideology.

        It is interesting that you stated that. It has been said by too many right-wingers that Hispanics will vote in a similar fashion as the GOP base because of the “conservative” nature of Hispanics. They forget that the modern brand of conservatism is anything but conservative.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      Perhaps the state attracts some that are more likely to vote Republican. I’m not sure on that. The state depends on the oil industry and, given the support the Republican Party gives to the industry, I suspect that many people who work for the oil industry vote Republican (regardless of their prior political affiliation).

      But I also think there is something else going on here in Texas. First, I think redistricting has been a big reason for the increasingly red makeup of Texas. The Republicans are open about the fact that was their primary concern with redistricting the state as they did (to be fair all parties attempt to do this). The Republican Party has also made a clear effort to suppress the votes of minorities and younger people. Finally, I think the Democratic Party in Texas is COMPLETELY dysfunctional. They lack a coherent message. They nominate people who cannot run decent campaigns and appeal to the concerns of people. They suck as a party and it shows. In that way, they resemble the Republican Party in California (another state that has completely flipped).

      • goplifer says:

        Redistricting and the oil business don’t explain why Texas and all of the other Southern states have been incapable since their founding of supporting the kind of multi-party politics that is otherwise commonplace elsewhere in the country. There is something else happening here.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        But what about all the newcomers lifer? I would agree with you that there is a deeply ingrained sense of racial solidarity in the South and it is reflected in voting patterns. But do you think that is passed to say, newcomers from Ohio, Michigan, New York or India?

    • objv says:

      JG and mime: Why is the piece from the Onion funny and my link not funny? Is humor dependent on party affiliation?

      The Onion was presenting nonsense as usual. Jindal never said his family was not up for a two month presidential run. I understand the Onion was aiming for sarcasm. The author of my link was also trying to be sarcastic and pointing out hypocrisy.

      Personally, I don’t think Obama is a bad father, I don’t hate golf and I believe presidents are due some time for relaxation – be they Bush or Obama. 🙂

      • objv says:

        Oops. wrong place. Should go below under JG’s comment.

      • johngalt says:

        Sorry, objv, but I didn’t look at your link. I’m behind a nanny-ish firewall and “” sounded a little NSFW. Maybe tonight.

        Of course, the Onion is satire, and good at it. Jindal is never, and I mean never, going to be president. He’s desperately testing the waters and is ghastly bad at it. There will be a competitive GOP nominee, but neither he nor Lindsay Graham will be it.

      • 1mime says:

        Objv, of course humor is dependent on party affiliation!! Try being a Democrat in Texas and I can guarantee you’ll find yourself laughing yourself to sleep, every night. Being blue in a red state gives you a thick skin and you better develop a sense of humor or take up watching Fox like the rest of those cowboys and cowgirls (-:

      • johngalt says:

        OK, so I read your link, objv. Not so NSFW after all, but it was not written as humor and is not particularly funny. You can tell by the clarification that this wasn’t meant to imply that Obama was a bad father (quoting Rubio), just that he was a hypocrite. Of course, having to clarify that you didn’t mean to call someone a bad parent merely emphasizes that you were probably trying to imply that person was a bad parent.

        You can like, dislike, agree or disagree with the post in your link as you wish, but it was clearly not written to be funny and if you think it was humorous, then I guess you’ve answered your question as to whether humor is partisan.

      • Cpl. Cam says:

        I think in this case the reason the onion joke “works” and the gay patriot “joke” doesn’t comes down to execution. I mean just compare the headlines. The onion’s is succinct and pithy and is a pretty wicked burn if you know a thing or two about presidential horse races. It works as satire because it highlights the underlying absurdity of a Jindal “exploratory” campaign by asking “why not pursue it to the inevitable crash.

        The gay patriot headline by contrast is a mess. Just passive aggressive bitchiness with no set up or payoff and it assumes quite a bit of the reader. I guess there is a contingent of people who believe giving up golf during times of war is the singular mark of true leadership because it’s the one thing Bush managed to do without turning into a calamity but for the non-lunatics expecting Obama to arbitrarily stop at 99 rounds of golf because 100 is a step too far is a bit of a stretch. But if you do want that as your punchline for whatever reason it should at least go near the end. Something like: “President Obama spends fathers’ day with his three favorite girls: his driver, putter and pitching wedge.” Now, ok, that was a stupid and lazy joke but it still beats “Barack Obama went golfing! On fathers day!” At least in my opinion it does…

      • johngalt says:

        “Giving up golf during times of war…”

        A times of stress, leaders particularly need ways to clear their brains and refresh themselves. Constant focus leads to regimented and uncreative thinking. Lincoln spent half on 1862 away from the White House, at a Washington area “Soldier’s home” where he spent lots of time walking the grounds and thinking. Roosevelt came up with the Lend-Lease Act while fishing in the Caribbean. If golf, or yard work on a ranch, or riding horses, helps clear someone’s mind, then that is very often a more productive use of time than sitting at his or her desk for five more hours. It’s hard to be creative under fluorescent lighting.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Good point JG. And on a related note, Jimmy Carter was criticized for “hunkering down” and over focusing on the Iran hostage crisis and not pretending it was business as usual in handling that crisis.

        Dammed if you do and damned if you don’t when Republicans make partisan attacks.

    • 1mime says:

      Not this little Texas emigre! I still have my Obama/Biden yard sign and, let me tell you, placing it in our front lawn the first time raised a few eyebrows; installing it a second time got a few looks; leaving it up for a little while AFTER Obama won the second time – now, that was reeel satisfying!

      • 1mime says:

        My oops…should have gone under JohnofGaunt’s 12:50 post above. Not sure how posts get stacked but will try to like with posting name from now on to avoid confusion.

    • objv says:

      Vikinghou, I can’t speak for poor southern, whites, but I grew up in a low income household, and I have extended family that is low income and Republican (in Ohio, Utah and Florida). These relatives are conservative, but I disagree that their motivation is primarily social issues. Although they have been on different forms of welfare, they still consider welfare slightly shameful. They would prefer a good job to a handout and they vote accordingly.

      • vikinghou says:


        I meant to say that this phenomenon seems to be peculiar to the South. I don’t think poor Southern whites are looking for a handout either. It’s just that, when they get in the voting booth, the social issues win out every time.

      • 1mime says:

        Ovjv, I emphatically disagree (see how nicely I phrased that?) with you respecting social issue political motivation. I’m not a conservative…well….I do want effective, affordable gov’t but I don’t want to get rid of the social safety net either…. Most conservatives I know appear to be motivated more by economic issues, and most Dems, social issues, except the blue collar whites as Lifer has pointed out. Not ever having been poor, I am not going to judge their reasoning. Now, my circle may be too small, or too middle class for me to appreciate the polar extremes, but for this Democrat, social issues are paramount. Get those right and I’ll work with you on the rest. Social issues are a substantial motivator for women, especially the millenials but a few of us older outliers get pretty fired up too.

        One thing on which we do agree is that older poor people had more pride about taking welfare. Too many today exploit the system and I have no respect for them. I do feel that there is justification for welfare to help people during tough times, but, it should not become a way of life. This is a complex issue and not exactly on point except as it relates to poverty which is prevalent in the South and ultimately impacts voting decisions.

        As Lifer has pointed out, there is something else happening here that isn’t easily explained.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      An interesting article on the topic, with particular attention to low minority-voter turnout:

      In part, it’s the fault of the utterly dysfunctional Democratic Party apparatus in the state:

      “I asked how they felt about the Democratic Party. Did they feel like the party understood, or was addressing, their needs? At this, there was utter derision. A woman named Shannon said, ‘When is the only time you see them in your community? When’s the only time you see them out in the streets? Election time.’ ‘When they want something from you,’ Miss P said. ‘The only time you see them is when…’ Laurie chimed in, ‘is when they want your vote.'”

      But it’s also part of a general attitude of apathy and hopelessness in government:

      “In the focus-group transcripts, I saw a strange paradox: the respondents were involved in politics, in that they had issues they cared about, which they wanted to discuss. They were all involved in their community, at least to the point of participating in a focus group. But they had no faith, at all, in the integrity of the process. They talked about voting like some people might talk about church attendance—a noble thing to do, certainly, but unlikely to do much practical good.

      “This is the problem: We’ve been talking about voting as though it’s like the weather, something that just sort of happens. But it’s not. And nowhere is that more evident than in Texas, which has one of the lowest voter-turnout rates in the nation, especially among Latinos. There are many reasons people don’t vote, and Republican leaders in Texas have enacted policies to dissuade people from voting and drawn district maps intended to dilute the power of minority voters. But the central problem is still apathy….

      “There is an unfortunate habit in a lot of political writing on this subject to treat demographic projections as deterministic. We talk about voting as though it’s an inevitable part of people’s lives, and they only have to be persuaded to vote the way we want. But there’s nothing inherent to Latinos about voting Democrat, or about voting at all. In the real world, ‘voting’ isn’t a thing that just happens. It isn’t a ‘demographic express’ you can hop on. Real people either decide to take off work, find their way to the polls, stand in line and vote, or they don’t. That’s a decision with costs and consequences—costs that fall most heavily on those in the lowest strata of society.”

      And it’s the problem of “low-information voters”, though not in the sense usually meant by snide conservative commentators:

      “A funny thing happens when the Texans Together focus group is asked how they feel about Obama’s healthcare law. When told, ‘Some people say that the next election will determine whether or not we get to keep the new healthcare law or whether it will be repealed,’ they’re indifferent. Only two people say it would motivate them to vote. ‘I’d have to know what was in it,’ one says.

      “Then the moderator explains it, albeit in a slightly leading way: ‘One third of Harris County residents lack healthcare coverage and they won’t get it. Under the new healthcare law, over 400,000 working people without coverage in Harris County would be covered in 2014, but Texas’ refusal to participate in the program would ensure that citizens and hospitals in Harris County didn’t get their fair share of these healthcare dollars.’

      “Suddenly, the response is overwhelming: 9 out of 10 people in the room are for it. ‘The way I see it,’ one woman says, ‘one out of three, that would mean three to four of us in this room wouldn’t get it and would die because we couldn’t afford the medical bill, and without coverage, you basically go broke, lose everything, be in the streets and you could die.’

      “It’s a graphic example of the information disconnect. It’s not that they are apathetic or opposed to progressive policies. They just didn’t know.”

      And there’s more good material there, despite my extensive excerpts.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, Owl. One of the most frustrating things for me in the 2014 election was the pathetic lack of credit the Democratic leadership took for what had been achieved under their tenure.
        You know the list so I won’t recap, but it was a missed opportunity. I believe that staff was overwhelmed with all the Republican requests for information and other time-consuming work to focus on their own agenda. I also believe this was part of the whole “bury them in paper and committee testimony” plan. Ugly politics.

        But, now we know and we must do better. GOP Budget cuts have made it difficult for staff and those working to inform the public about the ACA. These are people-intensive programs and their target audience of working people have very little disposable time to spend on things like this. If they don’t work; they don’t get paid, and they might lose their job(s). It’s that simple.

        So, I’m hoping SCOTUS will not de-nude ACA with the case before them, but we know for sure that there are going to be four definite votes for repeal, which means, one has to swing. Meanwhile, I am still waiting for the GOP replacement for the ACA. Supposedly, it’s coming, coming, coming…………

  10. johngalt says:

    TheOnion weighs in on Bibby Jindal’s presidential aspirations:
    “Bobby Jindal Not Sure He Willing To Put Family Through 2-Month Presidential Campaign”

    You do have to wonder what delusion some candidates suffer that make them think they are legitimate candidates. There will be a gay wedding on Mars before Lindsay Graham is elected President.,37864

    • texan5142 says:

      I see what you did there, putting gay and Lindsay Graham in the same sentence is kind of redundant.

    • objv says:

      A little humor from the Onion is always fun. I wish they’d do a piece on Obama’s parenting since he uses his daughters as an excuse to get out of some of his duties. However, there always seems to be time for the important things: fundraisers, campaigning and golf.


      Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that Republicans’ problem with President Obama “isn’t that he’s a bad person. By all accounts, he too is a good husband, and a good father — and thanks to lots of practice, a pretty good golfer.”

      • johngalt says:

        So Obama has played about one round of golf every three weeks since taking office. Seriously, what is the obsession with a president taking a break every once in a while? W. made 77 trips to his ranch. Why was that better? Do you just not like golf? Is pretending to clear brush more manly and presidential than golfing? Eisenhower played 100 rounds PER YEAR as president.

        The irrational hatred many on the right have – holding Obama to a standard to which no other president has ever been held – belies many of your motivations.

      • 1mime says:

        Let’s hope “W” continues to practice his painting as opposed to brush clearing! How wonderful for Obama that his wife and daughters love him enough to allow him to celebrate his day, Father’s Day, on the links!

        Thanks, JG for the Eisenhower golf trivia…..with all the serious things that Presidents have to do every day, isn’t it wonderful that they can find a way to relax…whether it’s brush clearing, golfing, or sailing, or….A lesson for all of us who are stuck on serious, don’t you think?

      • objv says:

        See above.

  11. 1mime says:

    JohnofGaunt, “My general rule of thumb is that when both extremes on an issue are angry, that is a sign of a good idea.” Doesn’t work with choice. Aren’t “extremes” our status quo, and, how is that helping us get anything done?

    And, Owl, I wish we had publicly funded elections and ended the monetization of running for office, but we don’t. Does anyone here know of an election system in the world that is ideal?

  12. Owl of Bellaire says:

    It’s interesting to me that the South is characterized by boasts and stories of rugged individualism, but seems in reality to be governed by relentless tribalism. Exuberant displays of state pride, lavish devotion to local sports teams (as in the quip that football is Texas’ state religion), overt attention to religious differences, high degrees of partisanship, and of course the usual woes of racial disparities, all make the South seem like a place dominated by group identity and the need to belong.

    (Now, admittedly, I myself have never lived north of Washington, DC, except for a stint in Rhode Island when I was still learning to walk and talk, and therefore don’t remember very much. So I’m basing much of this opinion on hearsay, news reports, brief visits to more northern climes, and my impression of “native” who I meet locally. So I welcome attempts to broaden my cultural horizons.)

    Real independence of thought and action seems to lie more with the North (viz. Bernie Sanders), while the South seems characterized by intense social pressure (or even physical, in the case of the Klan) to conform to the popular default.

    • johngalt says:

      If you had ever heard a debate on whether the North or South Shore of Boston was better, you’d never wonder again about whether tribal urges flow there. The answer, of course, was that both sucked. I found that city, outside the walls of academia, to be insular, provincial, and very identity-driven. They do sometimes elect Republican governors, though.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        1mime, I do indeed think that males in less developed cultures are more prone to taking insult and reacting badly — yet another way our Tea Partisans are like the Islamic extremists they loathe.

        And, yes, sexism is just another example of in-group behavior: the stereotypical “No Gurlz Alowd” sign on the young boys’ clubhouse is a sign of fear of the Other and an unwillingness to consider alternate perspectives. Republican gender politics and Saudi driving regulations are merely aspects of the same infantile phenomenon.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Whoops: this should have been one more “rung” down in the discussion. Apologies.

        (And why does iOS offer “sinus ion” for a misspelled “discussion”? That sounds like it might hurt!)

    • 1mime says:

      Owl, do you think that Southern males might be more prone to frail egos….thus explaining both their need to be “groupies”, controlling (women), and macho out the wazoo? Southern women are a much more interesting study, particularly in the black community, where they have always been the strong center. These women hold things together (and still are the ones coaches have to convince when they’re recruiting the family athlete. “When they got mama, they get their recruit!”)

      The whole American education discussion deserves a slot of its own. Later on that.

      Meanwhile, in case you think all the changes in voting patterns are genetic, read this:

  13. johnofgaunt75 says:

    I agree that certain, more wealthy areas of the North, are apt to swing between political parties. I think the same thing can be said for Fairfax County, Westchester County, the Main Line outside of Philadelphia and many other wealthy, educated, “elite” areas on the edge of major cities in the North.

    But there are certainly areas in the North where voters vote overwhelmingly toward one party and, more often than not, that party is the Democratic Party. Often these areas are poor and the Democratic Party has for over a generation been seen by many voters as one of the prime the supplier of jobs. A perfect example is the South East section of Washington DC but the same can be said for traditionally white, working class areas like South Philadelphia or South Boston. There is an implicit “deal” between the voters and the Democratic Party. If you provide your vote and continue to elect me, I may help you or your relatives/friends get a job at the DMV or various other government institutions.

    I have friends from suburban Houston who are perfectly rational, smart people but they really haven’t lived anywhere else outside of Texas. Many have asked how someone like Marion Barry could continue to be reelected in Washington DC. Well the answer is the very system above.

    • goplifer says:

      Actually, you can see a similar pattern in the blue collar white wards. The spread between Rauner (R-Gov) and Oberweis (R-Sen) varied a little less, between about 5-9 points, in the blue collar white wards, but still pretty dramatic compared to anything you’ll find in the South.

      The blue collar white voters are also much older. That actually makes the gap more remarkable. They came of age in an era of very strict Democratic bloc voting. They are also much more closely tied to the unions. The fact that you got that same gap in Richard Daley’s Bridgeport is a sign of a relatively competitive political culture.

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, here’s Salon’s take on Rauner’s progression as IL governor. They suggest that he may be morphing into his true political ideology. Cutting minimum wage by $1?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        1mime, thanks for the link.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Thanks, but you will win no points with Chris on this. He hates unions……………….

      • 1mime says:

        Sassy, Re the Salon article on Gov. Rauner’s evolution, I attached it because it offers a different point of view than Chris apparently holds. He seems to admire Rauner and we all hope to see more moderate Republicans run for and succeed in office. I do not share Chris’ enmity for unions – think they serve a valuable role if they are properly focused – much like any business. Given what we see happening in today’s economy with the extreme economic divide, unions may find greater reception and be able to play an important role in protecting workers’ rights. Surely, the stagnation of wages for the last 30 years despite significantly increased productivity has benefited management (and shareholders) more than workers. It is the balance between management and labor that is really at issue and fair compensation for the workers who help ensure corporate profitability. I do think labor should fairly compensated and this will benefit everyone in the big pictureare. if unions are responsible in their efforts (business is not always responsible as we see in the news), they may still find a place at the table and can be valuable partners.

        As much as I respect Chris’ views on any number of subjects, this is an area that is more complicated than a sweeping dismissal. I haven’t been following Lifer’s blog long enough to have a history of all his views, but even as I try to remain open to new ideas, including his, I am not going to abandon my own.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        ” Surely, the stagnation of wages for the last 30 years despite significantly increased productivity has benefited management (and shareholders) more than workers.”

        Excellent point and great insight 1mime!

        You succinctly and clearly highlighted the proof positive of the importance and need for unions in one sentence. In an “It’s a Wonderful Life” type of way by illustrating the impact in the decline of union influence.

        Yes some unions are too powerful and have lost focus on their raison d’etre. But we don’t throw out the bay with the bathwater by eliminating any and ll unions for a few bad apples. We see who that has benefited.

        I too am an unabashed union supporter…and an admitted open flaming liberal! 😉

  14. goplifer says:

    And by the way, that more diverse political culture in the North also helps explain why Republicans can expect to retain more power in the House of Representatives than their popular vote totals would suggest. It’s not just about gerrymandering.

    The red states are bloc-voting at a higher rate than the blue states. You could put Democrats in charge of building districts in the South and you’d probably only shift a handful of seats in Congress.

  15. 1mime says:

    Houston Homer – If it were true that Dems designed a system to keep people under-educated and government-dependent, how does this square with Brown vs Board of Education? Surely keeping schools desegregated would have achieved this result more easily. I don’t buy it. I do think Lifer’s “southern pluralism” post speaks to the blue collar conundrum whereby this group vote Repub, even as it is against their best interests.

    Democrats aren’t sacrosanct in their cultivation of their base for purely political purposes. I do believe the Democratic Party has greater identity with and empathy for the working class who are most likely be those who are considered “under-achieving”. The “47%”, as it were (-:

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      1mime…I’m not suggesting that is the Dems’ motivation…just highlighting that some might suggest it was.

      I think it could legitimately be discussed that the current welfare and education systems have not come close to achieving their lofty goals, and there is something to be noted about welfare turning into a way of life that gets passed down along generations.

      Now, that problem is not nearly as big as some would like to pretend, and the issue likely is not welfare itself. It is a much more complicated picture of government assistance, limited employment opportunities, and very limited educational opportunities inside the current system.

      Brown was nice, but in many parts of the country, we have essentially kept schools segregated. The segregation may be race or it may be income (and those two are so closely linked in the US that it may be a distinction without much of a difference).

      When we are having discussion of people moving where they can send their kids to “good schools”, we are highlighting a big problem. If you cannot afford to move to those good schools, your kids likely are going to be at least a bit disadvantaged. Many will overcome those educational disadvantages, but we cannot pretend it isn’t an additional hurdle that little Hunter and Olivia in Bellaire are not going to have to overcome.

      • 1mime says:

        Houston Homer – Good points, and I agree about the problems inherent with welfare. There will always be those who abuse the very system designed to help people through tough times. Sad, and a legitimate issue for all of us who are taxpayers even though I think conservatives are obsessive in their blanket criticism.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        I think our entire secondary public education system in this country needs to be overhauled in a radical way (and in a way that would probably catch me flack from both the right and the left) but that’s a different topic.

        But one has to ask, why is it that our university system in this country (including our public universities) are the envy of the world and people come from all over the globe to study here in the United States but our secondary public education system is a joke?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “I think it could legitimately be discussed that the current welfare and education systems have not come close to achieving their lofty goals….”

        Of course, that may be the point. What are their goals? It can easily be claimed (particularly by advocates of alternative education) that the goal of our current secondary school system is to warehouse young adults, keeping them out of the labor pool and teaching them to be obedient and minimally disruptive cogs in an industrial machine. Likewise, one could argue that our welfare system is generally geared to offering just enough “bread and circuses” with enough hurdles to jump through that it keeps the poor desperate but uninclined toward collective violence and revolt. Are the stated goals of our social systems necessary their actual goals? It’s not necessarily so.

        johnofgaunt75, you’d certainly have my agreement on a massive educational overhaul. Unfortunately, most practical plans would generate huge howls from both parties, as you point out. Of course, if we had more than two parties, coalition-building might allow some occasional breakthroughs in such logjams….

      • johngalt says:

        Oddly enough, the places in this country with a good secondary education system have tended to have mediocre university systems. Some of the country’s best public schools are in upstate New York but – quick – name a top-ranked public university in New York (or Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Vermont). In contrast public secondary education in much of the south has been weak, but the Universities of Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas, plus Georgia Tech and A&M, are outstanding public research universities.

        California once had both, but it’s destroying both it’s schools and universities. Maybe parts of the midwest have both.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:


        I generally agree with you but you have to admit that schools like CUNY and SUNY are pretty damn good (even if they are not as high profile as some of the larger, “flagship” universities in other states).

        I think if you are looking for the best of both worlds, Virginia is about as close as you can get. The public schools, especially in Northern VA, are excellent and the public university system is arguably one of the best in the nation (UVA, William & Mary, etc.).

      • johnofgaunt75 says:


        My general rule of thumb is that when both extremes on an issue are angry, that is a sign of a good idea.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Not sure if anyone else has noticed this. Those of you that are familiar with public schools.

        In general, when talking to parents you get the idea that the American Education System sucks. They will say the Primary and Secondary schools are not preparing students for the modern world.

        Then, in the next sentence, most people will tell you that their school district is terrific.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Similarly, all of Congress is corrupt and useless… except for one’s own Congressman.

  16. vikinghou says:

    Apologies for being off-topic, but the revelation that the Koch Brothers are going to spend $900 million on the 2016 election, and most of the donors won’t have to reveal themselves, has disturbed me deeply. How far is this going to go?

    Thank you SCOTUS for making a mockery of democracy. We should all be in despair.

    • 1mime says:

      Imagine how much good $900 million dollars could accomplish for those in need. Oops, I’m not thinking here: conservatives are “needy”.

      Here’s the next SCOTUS shoe that is about to drop – SCOTUS ruling on Affordable Care Act subsidies.

      Well, we’ve all been waiting to see the GOP alternative health care plan to the ACA. Maybe we’re finally going to see it.

    • johngalt says:

      The relative cost of political spending has been pointed out by others, notably 50, in the past. $900 million is one-fifth what Americans spend turning themselves orange at tanning salons. But this much coming from one source is a bit disturbing.

      • 1mime says:

        That, of course, is the point, JG. America is bigger than the Koch brothers. We live in a media driven market and a money-driven political system. How are small donors ever going to feel valued? How are independent candidates ever going to compete? It’s enough to go outside the political establishment, but, up against this kind of money? Think dogcatcher.

      • johngalt says:

        Matching the Koch brothers supposed spending would take $3 per American.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Great: so state-funded elections wouldn’t be ruinous, and we could eliminate the constant quest for donors that distorts elected representatives’ schedules and priorities.

        Third parties should be limited to issues ads, not candidate endorsements.

      • johngalt says:

        Great, Owl. Get working on the Constitutional Amendment and let me know how that works out in 15 years to never.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So we should just give up, and accustom ourselves to living in a permanent corporatist oligarchy?

        I’ll be among the first to acknowledge that I’m idealistic, if not actively quixotic. But Republicans are all too adept at shifting the “Overton Window” through taking extreme positions; I’m just trying to pull in the other direction, hoping change will happen, as it almost always does, incrementally in the middle.

    • 1mime says:

      You might find this cartoon about Koch and the “one man one vote”, relevent to your post.

  17. johngalt says:

    For the most part, those Republicans who win statewide elections in the North would not be recognized as such in the South. Rauner, for all his success in Illinois, would almost certainly be a Democrat in Texas. Seriously, which of his positions would be well to the right of Wendy Davis? This, of course, is the heart of the problem: Northern moderate Republicans can’t win Southern primaries (without Romney-style self-mutilation) and Southern firebrands can’t win swing states.

    • 1mime says:

      Sassy, What a scoop! 18% accuracy for Fox News? Solid journalism!

      • way2gosassy says:

        I don’t normally post from sites like Kos or Mother Jones because those sites are almost as equally biased as Fox, but, this was to good to pass up mainly because this came from young people who really did their homework. I did a little research last night on the Fox news demographics as well as other news sights with a different bent. I can’t say I was totally surprised by what I found. The average Fox viewer is 69, white and male in prime time and they have seen a significant drop in the 25 – 50 year old viewership of both sexes. MSNBC and CNN aren’t much better. i found this report by the Pew Research center to be an eye opener.

        “Gender and Ethnic Diversity in Prime-Time Cable News” from Media Matters tells another story about the target audiences of cable news organizations and ladies it isn’t us nor is it minorities.

        My take away from this is that there may be many other reasons for the extreme partisan politics we see today but the modern media outlets gave birth to it and have nurtured it carefully for the monetary gains it receives in the form of advertising dollars.

        Does this have anything to do with North/South politics? I honestly can’t say, as yet I have found nothing that proves that one way or another.

    • texan5142 says:

      That was great, here it is,

      • GG says:

        Love it…..

      • way2gosassy says:

        Thanks Tex, I haven’t quite mastered the posting of videos.

      • texan5142 says:

        way2, right click on the video and it will ask you at the top of the list “get video url”, left click that and it will bring the video direct address. Right click on the address, copy that address and paste it in the leave a reply box. You can try that on the video I posted.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Thanks Tex, I’ll give it a go!

  18. 1mime says:

    Viking, I heard Gov. Hickenlooper is an independent. Has he declared as a Dem? I like him.

  19. BigWilly says:

    WI is under one party control. This works out to being the two largest counties, Milwaukee and Dane, pitted against the rest of the state. Truthfully, Dane would probably let Milwaukee sink if the right deal came along. The county would probably let the city go, if it could. Milwaukee would let the North Side go given the option.

    The majority of WI’s black citizens live in the City of Milwaukee, and that’s all you need to know about politics in WI.

    Oh, and WI’s broke.

    Is it Brownback broke? Not yet.

    The Texas GOP? A Minoan bull jumping contest.

  20. 1mime says:

    I have lived in the South my entire life, and have been interested in politics from a very young age. The southern metamorphosis from solid Democrat to solid Republican amazes me. Our family is split, politically. What changed to make children from the same household go in such opposite directions politically? I offer a personal story to explore that question in microcosm.

    In our white, large, middle class family, it was hoped that the 3 older siblings would be able to attend and complete college as our parents had not been able to do because of the depression and WWII. Two of the three graduated from college. Technology was almost non-existent. Friends and neighborhood play occupied our after school hours mostly by foot or bicycle. We did not lock our doors except at night. There were higher expectations for the 3 younger siblings as our father’s financial situation was stronger. They aspired for professional careers with post-graduate requirements, which they attained. TV was a large part of their lives as were cars which allowed them to be more mobile. They went “off” to school as opposed to attending the local university.

    Fast forward to our adult years. The three eldest are life-long Democrats; the three youngest, Republicans. All have been successful and all are good people, and all were raised by the same parents in the same household in the same town. I am not suggesting that more education presupposes a conservative bent, but it does change the circle(s) in which one moves – educationally, professionally, and, ultimately, financially. (The opposite situation with blue collar white workers has been explored by Lifer in a prior post on pluralism, so, who knows?)

    Our community and our state fit the southern solid Democrat profile then, and now it is solid red (except for the 3 older siblings (-: ) I suspect that this story will repeat itself many times over in families throughout the South. I have not ever changed my political ideology; if anything, I am more deeply grounded in my beliefs and much better informed.

    As a tandem issue, it would be interesting to study how different southern states hold their primaries. Open, or closed? Is this a factor in encouraging diversity and ticket splitting?

    I look forward to reading your opinions and stories. You teach me a lot and I want to learn.
    I’ll work harder on brevity (-:

    • bubbabobcat says:

      1mime, what era did the 3 younger siblings come of age (i.e late teens to early 20’s)?

      I’m guessing the entire 80’s to early 90’s? That’s when I noticed the social and political divide become entrenched between left and right. The so called “Reagan Revolution” and in my mind the poisoning of politics and the start of wanton demonization of the opposition via race and class.

      • 1mime says:

        You are correct, Bubba. The thing was, we were all at a very busy time in our lives, so politics was out there but subsumed by kids, medical school, etc. We had a lot to talk about other than politics. It was years later when the acrimony began. As VikingHou noted in Lifer’s previous blog, the rise of partisan media can take a lot of credit for ginning up hate and fear. Gone are the Walter Kronkites; welcome, Bill O’reilly and Sean Hannity. Also, peoples’ lives were more fragmented….commuting to work, carpooling to school and a zillion kids’ activities (to make them more “well-rounded”); working hard…watching Fox News, watching Fox News, ….. (-:

        But you’re right, the link may well have begun with the Reagan Revolution, which I’m sure we’ll hear more about from Lifer as he works his way down his list.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I believe there’s pretty good data indicating that a generation’s voting preferences when young tend, statistically, to make them favor that political party for the rest of their lifespan.

        I know Rice alumni from the 1970s tend to be much more conservative than those from the late 1980s and early 1990s — and I believe that mirrors a general, national trend. Those 1970s-bred conservatives are the very same ones who, once they reached an age they were more likely to vote than not, helped usher in the Reagan revolution. Likewise, the adults forged in the administrations of Reagan and Bush I were some of the voters who swept Clinton into office twice, and probably Obama too.

        This is yet another demographic disaster looming for the Republicans, since young people today seem generally to favor Obama and other Democratic candidates over the Republican brand.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      1mime – although it gets mixed up with income levels, the data generally highlight that the more advanced education a person has, the more likely they are to vote for Democrats, at least in national elections but the education to political party relationship has some big curves rather than a smooth line.

      Obama easily won the vote of folks with no high school education (by 29 points).
      Obama won the vote high school grads (by 3 points) and folks with “some college” (by 1 point)
      Romney won the vote of college grads (by 4 points)
      Obama easily won the vote of people with advanced college degrees (by 13 points).

      People making less than $50k a year tend to vote Democrats (by 20 percentage points). People making $50k to $100k tend to lean GOP by a few percentage points.
      People making more than $100k tend to vote GOP (by 10 percentage points).

      Folks with advanced degrees generally make more than $50k a year (not always) but people with advanced degrees tend to lean away from socially conservative positions, which may help explain why they vote differently than their high income brethren and sistren.

      Sadly, it is moderately easy to go away to a good school, land a decent job, and live and run in social circles with folks who have the exact same perception of the world as you did when you were 18 years old.

      • 1mime says:

        Interesting data. It’s tough to understand family political dynamics. Understanding national political dynamics is even more challenging. According to your stats, all we just need are more well educated voters out there so there will be more Democrat votes (-:

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Or more people without a high school education.

        Some of our more conservative commenters would suggest that Democrats intentionally built a system to propagate an under-achieving group of people who must rely upon government handouts to live, and thus continually vote for Democrats to continue that gravy train.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        A true cynic might suggest that people with “useful” degrees that enable them to make lots of money (law, medicine, business, engineering) vote Republican, while those whose advanced studies tended more toward philosophy, art history, and basket-weaving are those over-educated-but-under-funded navel-gazers who vote for them thar socialist Democrats.

        But what do I know? I have degrees in English and Education. 🙂

  21. vikinghou says:

    My home state of Colorado has been evolving toward the Northern model. When I was a kid, Colorado was solidly Republican. During the 1970s people from other states (especially CA) began to move there in droves, and the political diversity has been steadily increasing. At present the urban areas are solidly Democratic (except Colorado Springs with its military and Christian fundamentalist populations) and the rural areas are solidly GOP (except resort enclaves like Aspen and Vail). As a result, political races at the state and federal level are very competitive. One US senator is GOP, the other is Dem. The governor is Dem.

    Following the 2014 general election, there was no change to the majority control of the Colorado House of Representatives. While the Democrats maintained their majority control of the chamber, their seats slipped from 37 to just 34. The Republican Party, on the other hand, increased their seats from 28 to 31. While the Democrats retained their majority control, their counterparts in the Colorado State Senate lost their hold on their chamber, which broke the state’s Democratic trifecta.

    It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens in 2016.

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