A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Friday, December 7, 2012

Some Views of the Last Election

Here are a couple of maps, though I have forgotten where I saw them referenced:

The size of the circles indicates the margin of victory in that county.  Naturally, this will be to some measure proportional tot he size of the county in total votes.  Low-pop counties will have low vote totals, hence lower margins of victory.  By this is seen that the victor won by winning the cities: Boston-New York-Phila-Balt.-Wash, Cleve-Det.-Chi, LA-SF-Port-Seat., and tip of Fla.  Of course, this is also where most of the people live. 
The length (and direction) of the arrow shows the change in vote since 2008.  Red arrows mean the county became more Republican; blue means it became more Democratic.  Of course, the illusion is that of regression toward the mean.  One way to become more Republican is if 2008 was unusually high for Democrats.  Just as throwing a 12 on dice is likely the next time to be lower.  And keep in mind that a county can become more Republican while still being a majority, even an overwhelming majority voting Democrat. 
Still, the maps indicate that one should be cautious before claiming any mandates.  A 2% margin for Obama is no more convincing than a 2% margin for GW Bush was.  The past four elections have been razor-thin.  A thorough and honest recount of all states and counties, should such a thing be possible, could set any of the four in the other column.  The country is split roughly 50/50 and the split is sectional: the big cities versus everyone else. 

Some profess to see in this a split of makers vs takers, but we must be careful, since those terms could be taken as a value judgment rather than a cheap rhyme.  Someone on social security is a taker, since they will not have paid in enough to cover what they will take out.  That doesn't make them bad people: they did pay in, the most of them, often for many years.  A better term might be dependents vs. independents.  However noble or worthy one may be, one is either dependent on a government payment or not.  Example: General Motors, plaintiff bar lawyers, school teachers, firefighters, etc.  Not all of them are parasites.  Not even most of them.  It is not the parasitical or unworthy nature of dependence on government that puts us at hazard; it is the very dependency itself. 

Get off my lawn, and don't touch my social security. 


  1. This brings up a couple questions:

    - is the whole country bumpkin thing based in reality at all? Two very different writers - Chesterton & Jared Diamond - both suggest, in various ways, that those who most need to survive by their wits in a natural environment are more likely to have their wits about them - less gullible, more attentive to reality.
    - what is the basis of city people voting so strongly Democrat? It's easy (and fun!) to speculate, but is there any real data on this?

  2. There are no data on this, nor will there be. All possible funding for such studies is used to prove that the rubes in flyover country vote Republican because they see more American flags.

  3. "The country is split roughly 50/50 and the split is sectional: the big cities versus everyone else."

    I think it's more the big cities and the graveyards versus everyone else.


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