By now, most people have probably seen Robert Vanderbei’s map that tempers the overused red and blue electoral college view with county level detail where the proportion of the 2004 presidential vote is represented by a range of colors; some purple hue — halfway between blue and red — for a 50/50 split between Democrat and Republican.
The newsies espouse the fallacy of equating what they call a “deeply divided” country with the “red and blue states.” While the electorate certainly is polarized, the division is represented by neither the electorally colored map nor the proportionally colored county map. A close election with regional and population density tendencies is not proof of a bimodal electorate. The same maps could occur without a “deep division.” Rather it is the strength of the polarization which is important to our sense of division; the degree to which an issue (and ultimately a set of polarizing issues) such as abortion separates voters, void of a middle ground.
posted @ 03:03 PM EST