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Amen. Great post.

Ms. Feverish

You've put into words something that struck me as well when I saw the election night maps. The media in this country is posting these overly-simplistic representations of the political nature of our country, and asking these simplistic, leading questions in the exit polls, rather than asking questions and representing information in a way that shows its complexity. They're emphasizing the divisions because conflict makes good news. Too bad it doesn't make for a good country.

Yeoman Lawyer

The analysis is no doubt over simplistic. However, as a life long Democrat in one of those red states, there really has been a bell weather shift in attitudes towards the Democratic Party over the last 30 years. Where I am we were a minority, but a large one, and we often controlled the governorship and a large percentage of the legislature. Now, people are embarrassed to admit they are Democrats, and successful Democrats here often will declare that they are actually moderate Republicans, but run as Democrats so the difference can be noted.

Indeed, in our two heavily Democratic counties prominent legislators publically switched to the GOP in the last couple of sessions.

I think we are really more devided than is realized in the Northeast and Pacfic Coasts. I've posted on it at my blog here:


Frankly, Midwestern and Western Democrats now cringe every time the national party does anything. We're convinced that the National Party is dominated in the Northeast and Pacific Coast, and is wholly unaware that we're being eliminated elsewhere. We can't get the national party to listen to us, so most of us just abandon the party.

This will no doubt be upsetting to some who read it. But in part that is because, in the Northeast and Pacific Coast, which basically control the party, there's a strong desire to believe there's really no problem, and that those who vote GOP in the rest of the country are idiots. There's more registered Democrats in the country than Republicans, however, and its no accident that huge numbers of Democrats are crossing over year after year to vote for Republicans.

A couple of final examples. Not picked up by the national media at all was the fact that Tom Daschle was basically apologizing for his role in the Senate in his race in South Dakota. South Dokotans felt he'd abandoned them, and voted him out. He was nearly conceding that in his race, but arguing he had no choice.

In one Western state a Democratic governor, asked publically to support Kerry, stated he "didn't like either of these guys" and refused to. That's an amazing position for a national Democratic figure to take, but it shows how disenchanted non Coast Democrats are.

Finally, in one Senate race in the West the Democrat went to great lenghts to state how he didn't disagree with the national party. I'm not sure if he won, but it was close. Still, the fact that he needed to do that in order to be competitive says something.


Take a look at this map -- it confirms your belief that we really are a purple country.

Yeoman Lawyer

The last one is very interesting indeed, and does given another perspective.

Yeoman Lawyer

Or does it just show the heavy effect of the cities in the "blue" states, or how many Democrats are crossing over?

Abandon America

I think this election shows that the age of dialogue is truly at an end. It's been a one-sided argument for years. The left is just waking up to this reality. The Democrats, not matter where they are, have been playing by an outdated set of rules. It's time to change tactics.

[By the way, as purple is the color of royalty, it should fit our empire quite well...]

You're wrong. I live on a BLUE state. the red blemish caused by the handful of morons (Republicans) who live here doesn't taint the rest of my wonderful state as "purple." The candidates are different, there is nothing to admire about Bush, most of the people who voted in the red states are morons, religous people tend to be dumber than the rest of us, and Bush will destroy this country. Are you French? If so, I wouldn't be shocked, you seem to be quite willing to appease the "evil doers." People these days are too willing to offer an olive branch.

Please name one thing to admire about Bush. I double-dog dare you.


Here is a county-by-county breakdown showing how purple we are. (No clue why there's so little data from Maine.)

SF Librarian

The Wall Street Journal's November 2 edition displayed a great map that illustrates your point nicely. I spent the better part of my day yesterday listening to San Franciscans trash Mid-Westerners and Southerners as idiots and bigots. In a way, I find this reaction to the election even more discouraging than the election results. One thing is clear -- if the Democrats are going to win in 2008, they better find a way to connect with voters in these regions. If people like 10:31 a.m. believe that it is possible to win a presidential election without "those people in the red states," they are quite mistaken. Deriding their religious and moral beliefs is certainly no way to begin to forge a connection with these voters.


One thing I admire about Bush:

I've never heard him call someone who doesn't share his beliefs "dumb" or a "moron."

Where's that put you now anonymous poster? Or should I say poser.

Really you've got a couple of choices: funnel all that anger into something positive like getting out and educating all the "dumb morons" out there or pack your bags and hit the road. I hear Denmark is beautiful this time of year.

Oh, sorry. There's a third choice: anonymously post your grade-school rants on blogs. That will surely make a difference.

P.S. I'm a Libertarian and voted for Michael Badnarik. Still just another "dumb moron," I guess.

Ms. Feverish

While I don't nec. agree with the anonymous posters sentiments, I can say that I don't think that Bush is the "sharpest tool in the shed" and that has nothing to do with my disagreeing with him. I fundemantally disagree with most Republicans, but I certain do them the honor of thinking them smart people with whom I happen to disagree.

I think that Democratic despair with Bush centers around what is perceived as his incompentence and lack of native, raw intelligence, at least as expressed publicily. Which I think is what makes it hard for some Democrats to understand why people would vote for him--not because he's Republican, but because he doesn't seem to have the skills necessary to lead this country well.


Alternative map option:




Please remember that Bush (along with Cheney and others in the administration) painted people who disagreed with his views as unpatriotic, un-American, helping the terrorists, etc. Don't you agree that this is far more heinous, destructive, and dangerous than simply calling someone "moron"?


Thanks for this post. As usual in your blog you raise some interesting points from a different and worthwhile perspective.

I have thought a lot about what you have said (and the comments that followed)and still have issues with some of the things you said. I agree that the world is a far more complex and diverse place than the media make out. I would also support reaching out and trying to understand those that diagreed with my preferences.

You asked
"ow many people did you know who were voting on one overwhelming issue, or were voting against something they feared, rather than for something they loved?"

If the data is correct then there WAS a significant number of evangelical Christians who did turn out and vote for Bush on a "moral values" basis. They were appalled at the potential equal treatment of those of their neighbours that had a different sexual preference.

How do we Northeast and Pacific Coast liberals start to forge a connection with these people.

As Salon has said much better than I:

"Reach out? How, exactly? Forget that these folks blindly ignored all objective reality -- and their own best economic and national-security interests -- and voted for Bush.

Look what they did at the Senate level. In Kentucky, they refused to use even basic sanity as a litmus test, and reelected a guy with apparent late-stage dementia; in Oklahoma, they tapped a fellow who wants to execute doctors who perform abortions, who was sued for sterilizing a woman against her will, who pled guilty to Medicaid fraud, and who largely opposes federal subsidies, even for his own state; in Louisiana, they embraced a man who has made back-door deals with David Duke and who was revealed to have had a long-running affair with a prostitute; in South Carolina, they went with a guy who thinks all gay teachers should be fired; and in Alaska, they reelected a woman who was appointed by her father to the job after a spectacularly undistinguished career as an obscure state senator. And compared with the rest of the GOP Class of '04, she's the freaking prom queen. These are the stellar elected officials that the "heartland" has foisted on the rest of us.
"Reach out" to these voters? Yeah. Then boil your hand till it's sterilized.

So what are their issues, anyway? They're "cultural and moral values," we keep hearing.

Well, they voted in a president who ran up the largest deficits in history, saddling our children and grandchildren with mountains of debt to pay for a tax cut that largely skewed to the wealthiest Americans; underfunded his own education initiative by $9 billion; threw more than a million more families into poverty; lost more jobs than any president since Hoover; saw 5 million Americans lose their healthcare on his watch; demoted the office of counterterrorism and ignored months' worth of dire warnings about an attack in the months running up to 9/11, and after 9/11, fought the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, fought the formation of the 9/11 Commission, and diverted hundreds of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of troops away from the war on terror to fight a war of choice in Iraq, where we've lost more than 1,000 young Americans. Those soldiers who are lucky enough to make it home face cuts in their benefits and combat pay, as well as veterans' hospital closures.

Oh, and on a personal note, Bush and Vice President Cheney have been convicted of drunken driving three times between them, and both evaded the draft while hawkishly supporting the Vietnam War; huge questions still remain about Bush's National Guard tenure, while Cheney's story -- five deferments -- is a bit neater and more straightforward. But they do oppose gay marriage, affirmative action and a woman's right to choose. Ah -- now we're getting somewhere on what these "cultural and moral issues" are out in the "heartland." Bush and Cheney hate and fear the same people they do.

And how, exactly, are the Democrats supposed to counter this? Out-pander Karl Rove? Out-lie Dick Cheney? Out-fearmonger George Bush? Even if the Democrats were inclined to do all three -- and after this election, I'm betting they'd be willing to give it their best shot -- what are the odds, really, that they, or anybody, could succeed?"

I still have hope that the great American gifts to the world - liberty, equality and freedom - remain the beacons of hope and aspiration. I however despair that an administration that has already claimed a "mandate", that has the opportunity to appoint maybe three Supreme Court justices and has control of the legislative branch as well will imperil those great rights here where it all began.

Sorry for the long comment. I enjoy reading your stuff.


W.R.T. anonymous at 10:31 AM: Please don't feed the trolls.

This is an interesting and necessary discussion. I'm reading with interest.

Yeoman Lawyer

As a Midwestern Democrat, I can assure doubters those who assume that those from the red states voting Republican are morons are grossly in error. Indeed, the repeated assurances form the handful of Blue areas that the Republicans are morons has been enormously helpful in the rest of the country to reducing the Democrats to a nullity.

Those people are not dumb, they just genuinely disagree with the Democrats on a lot of points. And truth be known, they have well reasoned arguments on many of them. The fact that Democrats in the rank and file, nearly everywhere, argue that their opponents are Morons gives enormous creedance to the counter view that Democrats are elitest snobs with minds too closed to listen. That assertion is hopefully also wrong, but when the rank and file shrilly calls its opponents morons, the opposite point is pretty much proven.

The moment a person calls a serious opponent a moron, he's lost the argument. An insult is not an argument, it's a concession that your opponent has out argued you.

Yeoman Lawyer

MS asks how the Democrats can reach across to the GOP. They probably can't, but they can bridge the gap with the abandoned Midwestern and Western party. This will require it to concede that issues and viewpoints important in those regions do not fit with those in the Northeast and Pacific Coasts. That Party is more conservative, and libertarian, than the party that has been controlling presidential nominations. It is not, however, the GOP. Winning the Presidency will require concessions to a party which is more centerist, as those people define it, than the party has been. It will be in keeping with its traditional views, but not in keeping with all those who may be in it in opposition to the GOP.

Truth be known, more people are registered Democrats that Republicans, and more are in tune with general Democratic concepts of fairness, aiding the disadvantage, etc. But when people feel compelled to take stands on moral issues that could potentially be left to individual candidates, it will not aid the Party.


Without a doubt -I agree with you. As I thought about it more tonight, the more I realized I did a piss poor job of trying to make the point that whenever you point the finger at someone, there are 3 more pointing right back at you. Name-calling across the board is lame.

Plus, all this anger. Say what you will about Bush, whether you think he's a [_____] or a [_____]. But he's OUR [_____] or [_____]. If he goes down, we're going to be frantically scrambling for life vests, too. It's does no one any good to actually hope things get worse. Let's keep the dialogue going and hope that if enough people speak loudly and constructively and respectfully that the right decisions will be made. You have to hope at least.

And you have to admit, for as passionate as people have felt and expressed their opinions on this subject, we didn't spill a drop of blood this Tuesday. Millions in the world know what is going on over here, and I think it blows the minds of a lot of them to see democracy in action, and to see it work.

To democracy!


Sorry that last one was mine. Still not quite adjusted to daylight savings.

Richard Ames

What a really excellent post Scheherazade.


first, that purple map was really awesome. whoever made that thing should get a nobel peace prize.

s, i agree with what you say in the sense that i think that it is irresponsible to rush to judgement at either extreme. you're right -- we are not a country that is about to burst into a full-blown civil war.

however, i would also say that we're not one big happy family either. i would guess that, for every hesitant bush/kerry voter, there were two or three enthusiatic voters -- either for love of candidate or hate of opponent. the disagreements that drove this election weren't really policy-based; they were much more fundamental. is pre-emptive war ok? are homosexual relationships entitled to equal protection under the law? what's the right distribution of wealth? these are not generally ideas that lend themselves to purple solutions (and, fwiw, these weren't purple candidates).

i agree with you that it's too early to get out the pitchforks and torches. but i also think that the divisions (not necessarily geographical) that are indicated by this election are more serious and deeply-felt than one might expect, either.

(still, a really great post.)

Al Nye

New map of the country:


Al Nye

This post is indeed too simplistic. This election was not about ideas or values. It was about lives. Elections are always about lives.

I'm an immigrant. Nonwhite and Muslim. Those who chose Bush chose a man and a party that very clearly has a special hatred against people like me, when I had done nothing to deserve it. I had counted there would be enough smart, principled and decent people in this country who understood that minorities like myself need protection. And Bush had already proven that he was not the man to provide it.

No. In this election, there really was only one choice the smart and principled could have made. I am deeply grateful to those who made that choice. They may have made it for a dozen other reasons, but I feel they made it for people like me.

I now fear the consequences of the fact that there were just not enough.

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