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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A purplier America

Let’s get one thing straight: while I was happy to see the Democrats squeeze out a close one last week, I’m certainly not one to declare that America has turned blue overnight.

Yes, taking both House and Senate in one fell swoop is a tremendous accomplishment, particularly for a party locked out of power for the better half of a decade. But to get a clear understanding of where America lines up on the political spectrum, we need to take a sober look at how this country voted.

First off, let me remind you all that the executive and judicial branches are still squarely in the red column, the former for at least another two years and the latter likely for another generation. So while my overzealous liberal brethren jubilantly declare that Democrats have taken over the government, what we’re really looking at a majority of one-third (though perhaps the most important one-third).

And when I say majority, I’m talking about the slimmest kind. Sure, the House went down easy, but the Senate was decided by a couple thousand voters in Montana and Virginia, and even those only tipped blue when factoring in Republican scandals of generous proportions. If it weren’t for Hurricane Katrina and Jack Abramoff and Bob Woodward and Mark Foley and all four military magazines calling for Rumsfeld’s ouster 24 hours before election day, we’d be looking at a Democratic House and a Republican Senate—which translates to a tie at best. Losing Virginia Senator Allen said it best: the Democrats “had the prevailing winds,” even if those winds were borne in Republican skies.

So much to the dismay of progressives and conservatives nationwide, ours is a nation of purple. And what we’ll come to realize over the next two years is that this is not a government of George Bushes and Nancy Pelosis, but of Joe Liebermans and Jim Webbs—centrist Democrats with Republican credentials.

America isn’t head over heels in love with the Democratic Party, but we’ll give them two years to do better with their third of the pie than Republicans have. And if they truly are the better party, two years is all they’ll need to prove it.


Anonymous tet said...

Hey, can you guys do me a favor?

I know you like your neo-maps, but could redo your blue/red map in the standard projection?

I've got an interesting observation that I may write a column on, but I can't confirm it without looking closely at the breakdown.

Thanks a lot.


Blogger Gordon the Gnome said...

Hey Tet,

If you click on the "ours is a nation of purple" link in this post, you'll go to a site that has several blue-red maps... one broken down by state for the senate, one broken down by district. Would either of those work for you?

Interested to see what you've got cookin'!

Anonymous tet said...

Just saw that, gordon. Had I clicked on all your links earlier, I would not have had to ask. Duh.

I'm letting this simmer. A teaser, though, "Why is it important to the electoral process that there are more people playing World of Warcraft than there are Jews or Moslems in America?"


Anonymous tet said...

OK, what I need are side-by-side population adjusted cartograms of the House before and after the 2006 election. The trend is either more subtile than I thought, or I have a bigger imagination.

If you have them handy, you can send them to me at



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