Friday, April 19, 2013

On Maps and Politics

I've posted this map as it has been emerging to show you just how popular Andy Cuomo's gun control SAFE Act is in New York state.  Well, all the votes are in and the map can now be presented as a complete picture.  It turns out the SAFE Act is popular pretty much only among the 11 million residents of the eight counties that comprise the New York City metropolitan area (and down here it probably garners alot of support not on the merits, but because it was Cuomo's bill and the machine must support Cuomo at all costs).  Among the roughly 8 million residents upstate, not so much.  Only the seat of government, Albany, and the crunchy socialist hive of Ithaca (Tompkins Co.) have chosen not to rebuke Cuomo. 

The gun control debate is however a microcosm of a divide that extends to many issues in New York, principally economic issues.  Arguably, upstate has suffered from bad economic policy foisted on them by the undue influence of the city in the state legislature.  The result has been hollowed out industrial cities, decaying rural communities, and a loss of population.  The political tension is enormous, but the status quo is not as tenuous as this map would seem to say.  Those living in "green" territory on this map are at a 3 million voter disadvantage and as their economy gets less and less vibrant, what is left is dominated by public sector unions who ally with New York City Democrats to preserve the status quo.

Notice the map looks alot like this one, no?  That's the November election break-out by county.

What does this tell you?  It tells you the cities have to be in disarray for political power to swing to the rural areas.  While the cities thrive, urbanites run the country.  The Reagan Revolution swept the country after the 1970s decimated urban cores economically and socially.  The ensuing economic revival put Bill Clinton in the White House.  We've been bouncing around in indeterminate fashion since, but the cities have hung in there while suburban, ex-urban, and rural areas have been hit hard by the sub-prime crisis and the weak Obama/Pelosi/Reid recovery, giving us a full eight years of Obama.  What's next?  Who knows, but you can assemble a list of names such as Detroit, Stockton, Harrisburg (PA), Central Falls (RI) of cities that have collapsed and a much longer list of cities that teeter on the brink, and you might be able to tease out a fighting chance for a shift in the balance of power.  Maybe.  History is never inevitable, people make choices (see Thatcher, Margaret).

Anyway, that is our cartological political analysis of the day.  Have a nice weekend America.  Watch out for that sweet, nice, scholarship-winning Chechan terrorist next door!


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