When I made the electoral map animation for my last post, I thought it was fun to watch the dramatic flashes from one color to the next as each state sent electors for one party or another. I still do. There are winners and losers; it’s the game perspective on politics. I know it wasn’t the truth of the matter though.
People talk about whole states “going” Democratic or Republican. It’s talk. It makes sense in regard to winner-take-all state Electoral College delegations. But, again it’s not really true. The shifts aren’t that dramatic.
Sseeing that I’ve got all morning to spend on these things, I decided to illustrate the popular votes in each state as a mixture of red and blue. Using the RGB color system, I made each state’s color by mixing percentages of red and blue equal to each party’s totals of the popular vote. As a point of reference, North Carolina and Missouri on the 2008 map are 50/50 red/blue.
I’d like to note that although third party candidates carried significant percentages of the popular vote in 1996 and 2000, I didn’t account for them in my maps. I decided not to because when I mixed in another color for those votes (green, as in RGB, lucky for Ralph), it was never enough to noticeably alter the color. It also helped me avoid an unwelcome addition to my math work load. However, as it goes with color, if those percentages had been added to either red or blue, the change would have been noticeable.
America does seem to have cooled down a little in 2008. We were more blue.
Interpret that statement in any way you like, please…
The maps are still very purple though, aren’t they?
So, for all the talk about shifts in attitude, our political pendulum really doesn’t appear to swing very far. And, if you agree with me that compared to President Bush, President-Elect Obama is less of an ideologue and in relative measure is more inclined to seek the center, then our philosophical pendulum may swing even less than our electoral one.
Most importantly, I hope that the overall purpleness and the smallness of the changes clearly exposes all the rhetoric about liberal elitist states and pro-America America as the ridiculous, divisive garbage that it is. It’s offensive. Because, the people who disagree with us about theories of governance are our neighbors. They’re not strange, far away people on a mad bent to take and ruin our stuff. They’re the people we see every time we leave our homes.