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Thread: The Big Urban Swing to the Left

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    Senior Member AJBIGJ's Avatar
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    The Big Urban Swing to the Left

    One thing came to mind while discussing the state of California and its political leanings. A very important point was made by Measureman there, when he noted that the massive lefty portion, like just about anywhere, tends be centered around the most populated areas.

    I would like to try to, if possible, discuss that development in abstract. What do we think drives densely populated urban centers towards what can be accurately described as socialism? Is that true everywhere in the US? I know there has for a substantial amount of time been a movement to develop a 51st state of "Jefferson" to allow the locals in Northern California a means to distance themselves from the politics of the major cities. I wonder if it plays out similarly in Texas, while I'm sure it still leans heavily to the right, if the cities themselves tend to swing more towards the middle than the more rural locations.

    I am hoping we can acknowledge the left/right perspective while still engaging in honest conversation here. What factors do we think drives this dynamic?
    "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." ~ Thomas Jefferson

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    Re: The Big Urban Swing to the Left

    As mentioned, what drives it is social programs.

    Though to get away from that topic, let me explain why many are Conservative in the more rural areas of California. For people from my area, it's simple. Everyone has wood stoves in the houses, everyone has guns and most hunt. So, when the left pushes the environment (spotted owl killing the lumber industry years back) and things like gun control (many hunters) it doesn't behoove the area to be "liberal". Also, because of the low population (my county is 8 people per square mile) the hazards of guns/shootings seen in the more populated areas just isn't there. Also, you don't have a lot of unwanted pregnancies, etc, just because of the makeup of the schools. My high school class graduated 36 students. 18 started kindergarten together. We had 26 guys, 10 girls, and most were more like brother and sister than girlfriend/boyfriend. So the abortion issue isn't an issue in the specific area. All the big liberal vs conservative topics just aren't issues in the small communities, so the only issues come down to lifestyle. Burning firewood, hunting, fishing, driving gas hogs (big trucks actually used for ranching/farming/wood cutting), etc don't really allow someone to vote for someone from the left.

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    Senior Member AJBIGJ's Avatar
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    Re: The Big Urban Swing to the Left

    I know you've mentioned in the past the unfortunate districting in the Electoral College also basically ensures every vote to elect a Federal Politician in that state (other than the House) is in effect a vote for a Democrat, a source of frustration for many individuals I would gather.
    "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." ~ Thomas Jefferson

    It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.
    James Madison

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    Re: The Big Urban Swing to the Left

    Quote Originally Posted by AJBIGJ View Post
    I know you've mentioned in the past the unfortunate districting in the Electoral College also basically ensures every vote to elect a Federal Politician in that state (other than the House) is in effect a vote for a Democrat, a source of frustration for many individuals I would gather.
    I'm not sure I've mentioned it, but you are right. It's definitely not California specific, though. Many states (Virginia comes to mind) suffer the same thing. The states with densely populated cities, as you know, make it pretty tough for any shot at a republican having a chance.

    All we can do is vote for our local politicians and hope they can take care of us. This may be another reason that many rural areas are conservative. They want the local governments to have more power because they know that's the only way they actually have representation.

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    Re: The Big Urban Swing to the Left

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    As mentioned, what drives it is social programs.
    That is the BIG one I see. Large urban populations (and those who are elected to represent them) are very keen on public & social programs. Social programs get a lot of attention and tax money to support them.

    I don't know many liberal minded people that think a large debt is a good idea but they think a more important priority are things like health, education, public safety and housing as well as those that present opportunity. At the same time, I don't know many conservatives that want to take food away from hungry people, put people on the street or leave everyone to fend for themselves when they need help, but they think a more important priority is reducing or eliminating the national debt and self-reliance.

    For people who have benefited from these types of social programs, there is a proclivity to continue them -- "they helped me."

    For people who have become successful largely absent of assistance or social programs there is a proclivity to think they are unneeded -- "I turned out fine, and I didn't get any help."

    The point @AJBIGJ brings up about large population centers in urban areas is excellent, the following image is a compilation of the 2012 Presidential Election by counties:

    Attachment 3587

    Now it is all about numbers and votes, but while by county California is somewhat split (but the margin of victory was 23% -- significant), there are significant areas that went Republican. In a state like Colorado which went Democrat (by 5.3% --) largely as a result of the voting block in Denver that entire state is represented by 9 democratic electors in the electoral college (thanks to Denver)

    While the 2012 election in the electoral college was a slam dunk, the margin of victory was 3.86%.

    So with that in mind, the urban centers in what could otherwise be considered a rural state can tip the representation in the State legislatures, as well as Congress and the Electoral College.

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    Re: The Big Urban Swing to the Left

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    I'm not sure I've mentioned it, but you are right. It's definitely not California specific, though. Many states (Virginia comes to mind) suffer the same thing. The states with densely populated cities, as you know, make it pretty tough for any shot at a republican having a chance.
    Maryland is another example that I am VERY familiar with. The way districts are drawn to include baltimore break up the largly urban vote in Baltimore City to spread those votes around into the more rural districts and turn what in some ways is a very moderate area (like where I live) into a district where the Member of the House of Representatives may live near me, but does most of his campaigning up in Baltimore.

    Also you could site Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconcin, Ohio, Florida Minnesota to name a couple states with very close margins that also have large urban areas that tend to vote Democratic.

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    Re: The Big Urban Swing to the Left

    Attachment 3589

    Quote Originally Posted by AJBIGJ View Post
    One thing came to mind while discussing the state of California and its political leanings. A very important point was made by Measureman there, when he noted that the massive lefty portion, like just about anywhere, tends be centered around the most populated areas.

    I would like to try to, if possible, discuss that development in abstract. What do we think drives densely populated urban centers towards what can be accurately described as socialism? Is that true everywhere in the US? I know there has for a substantial amount of time been a movement to develop a 51st state of "Jefferson" to allow the locals in Northern California a means to distance themselves from the politics of the major cities. I wonder if it plays out similarly in Texas, while I'm sure it still leans heavily to the right, if the cities themselves tend to swing more towards the middle than the more rural locations.

    I am hoping we can acknowledge the left/right perspective while still engaging in honest conversation here. What factors do we think drives this dynamic?
    How can you want to have a "honest conversation" when you start the conversation out of a false premise?

    I respectfully bow out of this thread, maybe next time.
    Antes de que vengas a juzgarme por que escribo el inglés con errores te pregunto: Cuantos idiomas tu hablas?! Solo uno? Y vienes a juzgar mi inteligencia?! Por favor mirate en el espejo y veras en él reflejo la imagen clara de la estupidez...

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    Re: The Big Urban Swing to the Left

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunch View Post
    Attachment 3589



    How can you want to have a "honest conversation" when you start the conversation out of a false premise?

    I respectfully bow out of this thread, maybe next time.
    I think the difference is how the money is spent. I'd be curious to see the stats on that. I will look around. I'm sorry you don't want to be part of this discussion. It seems like it WAS going well. The point of a conversation is that if you disagree, you give a counterpoint, as you did, then someone else gives a counterpoint. Or you can just bow out and accomplish nothing.

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    Re: The Big Urban Swing to the Left

    I live in California (LA area) and I do must of my work in the rural area around SoCal. You see the divide between the "Left Leaning Coastals" and the "Hillbillies of the desert" alot when you drive around Central and Southern California. You see the people out in the desert of Riverside, San Bernandino and the Imperial counties with their jacked up trucks and ATV's, who are very much good down to earth people who hate how the "Sacramento Democratic super majority is screwing them". Then you have the people who leaving within the 50 miles of the coast that love to drive their Hybrids and are VERY Democratic leaning and want to be all environmentally friendly. They pretty much set the tone for the rest of the state and it's laws are.

    I live in Pasadena right now, but I work for the USGS and drive literally all over central and southern California for the the record.

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    Re: The Big Urban Swing to the Left

    About the chart @Bunch posted, very interesting and not too many surprises other than Virginia, Maine and Vermont.

    I will dig around CRS and see if I can get info on that. Many of those red states seem to be agricultural and I would wonder if farm subsidies are part of that equation.

    Aside from social programs (I was talking to a colleague at lunch), how much do you think 'relatability' impacts urban voters & rural voters; how much voter education impacts the perception that urban voters are more democratic? Do you think urban voters and rural voters are more likely to vote based on political positions, by the party of a candidate or the appearance of a candidate?

    And by voter education, I mean on the issues at hand not level of formal education.

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