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Why are the shores of the Mississippi blue - politically?

 
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 03:51 pm
Take it's temperature, of course.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 04:40 pm
JPB wrote:
nimh, are you able to cross reference any of your data/maps with labor union strength? I wouldn't be surprised to see the northern urban areas along the river be highly correlated with a strong influence by unions.

Now that would be interesting.. I doubt that there's geographic maps of union membership levels by county.. but you never know, and would be interesting.. One for the to-do list Smile
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 05:08 pm
Vietnamnurse wrote:
In an issue of the New Yorker Magazine shortly after the "selection" of GWB by the Supremes was an article written by Nicholas Lehmann. He had interviewed Karl Rove about education of minorities, blacks and Hispanics and Karl told him that the goal was to educate, but not educate TOO MUCH, because then THEY WOULD VOTE DEMOCRATIC! I have posted this before.

Technology corridors were prime areas for grazing for Dem votes according to Donkey Rising writer Roy Texeira.

Gene Weingarten in the Washington Post had a humerous study done but was also factual...the more book stores an area had the more likely that areas votes would have gone to Gore. Laughing

Thats all very anecdotal tho..

For presidential elections at least, the exit polls are pretty clear about the nation-wide picture.

Both Kerry's and Gore's support was at its lowest among those with some college education and college graduates; and went up the lower educated the voters were. Reaching a high among those who hadnt finished high school.

Again, the only exception is all the way at the top - postgrads were the exception by swinging clearly to Gore and Kerry again.

So how to explain your examples?

The Rove quote sounds a little dodgy to me.. but that's besides the question anyhow. The bottom line is that that's just one person's take. We're not talking about actual fact or verifiable data here, just about how Karl Rove sees things. And though he may be the evil political mastermind in residence, his opinions are still fallible. (Plus I wouldnt be surprised if Republican honchos end up believing the stuff they insinuate all the time, eg about how the Dems are a party of upper class intellectual eggheads and the Reps are down home ordinary folk).

The Texeira point about technology corridors doesnt necessarily say anything about how education and voting preference work out in general; tech corridors are quite specific localities. What they often have in common is that they involve a lot of qualified workers coming in from elsewhere, moving into the locale, and changing its political outlook. If the locale is conservative, then the influx of population from outside that comes with a burgeoning tech corridor will by definition turn the area bluer. But that seems more to do with in-migration than with educational change itself.

Mind you, I suppose that the relation between education and political preference differs significantly from region to region. Eg, in the US overall, low-educated people are more likely to vote Dem than upper-middle education folk - but I suppose it could well be the other way round in the South. Dont know. (The influence of education is probably overridden by that of race, anyhow.) Basically the effect of educational change depends on the local culture I'd suppose. In your average mining town, or city of car factories, the original political culture will be strongly to the left, and then if a new generation gets better education and white-collar jobs, the place will move to the right politically. But in your avarage Bible Belt rural area, the original political culture will be strongly to the right, and if a new generation then goes on to enjoy higher education and white-collar jobs, the place will move to the left.

Dont know how the Mississippi banks figure in.

But no, nationally speaking at least, despite what Karl Rove said according to a journalist, or what Texeira wrote about tech corridors, specifically, up to a point better education goes with a more Republican-leaning vote. Equivalent to how those with less than avarage incomes in majority voted Kerry, while those with average and higher than average incomes voted Bush.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 05:38 pm
Setanta wrote:
but i would point out that the banks of the river are not exclusively "blue," and that if one looks in particular at the Illinois and Missouri banks of the river, it is rather red.

Yes, I'd pointed that out :wink:

Setanta wrote:
Furthermore, despite the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the banks of the river weren't particularly "blue" in Minnesota, where the river rises.

True, the pattern doesnt hold up much in Minnesota. As the simple map showing the winner by county shows more clearly than the "purple map", in the upriver section the contrast between riverside and inland shows up mostly in Iowa and Wisconsin.

Setanta wrote:
Correlation is not evidence of causation. An interesting exercise, but probably meaningless.

Hmm - you mean that the correlation Mississippi <-> Democrats does not need mean that Mississippi water turns you liberal? Smile

To clarify: My question was never intended to imply a hypothesis that somehow living next to water makes you Democratic. I am observing that along long stretches of the Mississippi, the counties on its banks are noticeably more Democratic than those further inland, and I'm asking about what kind of backgrounds are involved that would explain it.

Obviously, its not the physical river itself that does it. So what backgrounds do these concentrations of voters along the lower and upper Mississippi have?

They might be wholly unrelated things. Joefromchicago brought up a good example of how the concentration on the lower Mississippi probably has to do with the legacy of the old cotton plantations being concentrated in the river delta, and it having left behind currently Democratic-voting black populations. That background obviously doesnt play any role in the concentrations of Democratic voters in the riverside counties upstream in Iowa, northern Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Fishin on the other hand suggested an influence that would be more overarching in effect. Paraphrasing: the Mississippi as migration route that sprinkled a diverse and more liberal population throughout otherwise conservative lands. Still wouldnt need to have impacted the entire length of the river, of course - just there where in-migrants settled - market, harbour and industry towns, I'm guessing. Does seem like a feasible lead.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 05:42 pm
Chai wrote:
nimh wrote:
It doesnt hold up for the districts that border the Mississippi river a little upriver in Arkansas and Tennessee though; AR 4 is 71% white, AR 1 is 80% white, and TN 8 is 74% white. Still, in two out of those three, blacks are clearly overrepresented in the population, plus all three districts veer off far inland as well, so their demographics might not reflect those of the immediate riverbank counties well.

I think the Whites in those regions are primarily blue too, and traditionally have been that way since plantation times.

Which would bring us back to square one: what's the background of the white folk living nearer to the river being more Democratic than those further inland? Oy.. Smile

Anyone studied political geography, or Arkansan and Tennesseean history? :wink:
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 06:13 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
nimh wrote:
Hhmm, this part I still dont really see.. <eyes>. The upper Mississippi banks dont look particularly urban to me, on this map..

[T]hey're "urban" in that they're cities larger than 50,000 people. Dubuque, for instance, may not be as big as St. Louis or Memphis, but it is at the center of an urban area of close to 100,000 people, which looks pretty urban when you're in eastern Iowa or southwestern Wisconsin.

Good point. Yes, you and Swimpy have persuaded me on this count. The riverside counties of Iowa, and to some extent Wisconsin and southern Minnesota, may be overwhelmingly small town in character, but those small cities do actually represent the urban end of their states or areas, compared with more wholly rural counties further inland. Which makes it logical that they are more "blue" than inland counties.

(Mind you, the urban character, according to the same criteria, of Western Wisconsin didnt prevent Bush from making a clean sweep of the counties there, aside from Milwaukee..)

joefromchicago wrote:
Furthermore, your first election map just colors counties blue or red depending on which party got the most votes. Dubuque County isn't very large, and the city of Dubuqe accounts for over half of the county's population. So it's little surprise that Dubuque County appears blue.

True, good point.

So - summarising - whereas downstream in Mississippi and Arkansas, we are talking a genuinely rural (but partly black) Democratic constituency, the concentration of "blue" counties upriver might be driven most entirely by the towns there?

Which leads us to my speculation that

joefromchicago wrote:
nimh wrote:
there still must be something specific about these towns, then.. are they more industrial (or post-industrial), perhaps? With - just a wild guess - a tradition of harbour- and transport-related manual work that has seen hard times?

I don't think there's one economic sector that dominates life along the entire length of the Mississippi, except maybe agriculture.


I was talking specifically about the Iowan (or upriver, generally) concentration of Democratic "riverside" counties, and the towns that drive their vote.

And actually, your Wikipedia link about Dubuque is interesting in this regard. It's just one example of course, but it confirms my wild guess exactly!:

Quote:
After the lead resources were exhausted, the city became home to numerous industries. Because of its proximity to forests in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Dubuque became a center for the timber industry, and was later dominated by various millworking businesses. Also important were boat building, brewing, and later, the railroad industry. Throughout the 1800s, and into the early 1900s, thousands of poor German and Irish Catholics immigrants came to work in the manufacturing centers. [..] Much of the population remains Catholic to this day.

ndustrial activity remained the mainstay of the economy until the 1980s. During that time, a series of changes in manufacturing, and the onset of the "Farm Crisis" led to a large decline in the sector, and the city's economy as a whole.

The city's economy diversified and rebounded since, but yeah - an economic-cultural history like that is almost the prototypical traditional Democratic electoral profile! No wonder then.

Are the other riverside towns in this stretch of the Mississippi similar in character?
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 06:19 pm
ok, just guessing here....

nearer the mississippi, more agriculture.

some good years, some bad.

In bad years, assistance might be needed.

democrats more likely to implement social service programs

republicans more likely to assume you'll pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 06:42 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
nimh wrote:
Its a little off-topic, but thats actually not true - if anything, both have been trending Republican somewhat. [..]

If all politics were presidential politics, then you might be right. But state politics in Iowa and Wisconsin have been more Democratic in recent years than in the past, as is witnessed by the fact that both states have Democratic governors, three of the four state legislative houses have Democratic majorities, and both states have Democratic majorities in their congressional delegations.

Okay - good point. <nods>

The 2006 elections "Purple America" map certainly has Wisconsin going almost completely blue. True.

Thing is though - I thought that Wisconsin had always already been a kind of leftie state? I mean, Milwaukee didnt just elect a Socialist Congressman in the 1920s (Victor Berger), it actually had Socialist Party mayors up till 1960!

And Wisconsin - thats where Robert LaFollette, standing as independent Presidential candidate to the left of the Democrats, competing with both a Democratic and a Republican rival, still got a massive 54% of the vote! (He also got over a quarter of the vote in Iowa. Lovely map and details in this old post.)

In 1924, its true, not yesterday. But I'd just kind of assumed that Wisconsin had always remained more or less a "blue" state.. not true?
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 06:48 pm
Madison and Milwaukee tend to be progressive Democrats (Madison is lefty central). They're kind of islands in the larger state, though. I'd consider timber to have been a pretty classical non-city Wisconsinite, politically, though he probably was more socially liberal than most.

I had a friend who was raised in a small town in Wisconsin and developed a stand-up act based on how horrible it was. I met her in Madison, and Madison is my only direct experience of Wisconsin, and we talked a lot about the disparity between her "Wisconsin" experience and mine. She convinced me that Madison is very much the exception. And it's a big city, but certainly dwarfed by the state.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 07:16 pm
nimh, great question.
If I were a Dutch politician, I'd hire you inmediately!

I learned English as a border student in St. Louis, Missouri.
My school was two blocks away from the Mississippi River. "Residential South St. Louis", said the brochure sent to my parents. It was a working class neighborhood.
In St. Louis, the farther you were from the river, the richer your neighborhood was, with a few exceptions. I don't know if that has changed, but was noticeable enough to struck us Mexican kids after a couple of weeks... and that's without counting East St. Louis, Illinois, which was inhabited mostly by blacks.

I suppose it is the same county, but a school friend invited me to his home in New Madrid, Mo., and the same pattern prevailed. The poor and the black lived nearest to the river. I don't know why, but that's what I saw nearly 40 years ago.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 07:17 pm
Floods, maybe?
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 07:26 pm
sozobe wrote:
I had a friend who was raised in a small town in Wisconsin and developed a stand-up act based on how horrible it was. I met her in Madison, and Madison is my only direct experience of Wisconsin, and we talked a lot about the disparity between her "Wisconsin" experience and mine. She convinced me that Madison is very much the exception. And it's a big city, but certainly dwarfed by the state.

For shame - and that in a state in which all but eight or nine counties voted for LaFollette! To think that back then, the leftists (real leftists) had state-wide support..

Actually, now I've been reading up..

In terms of presidential elections, Wisconsin appears to always have been more something of a bellweather state, shifting from Dem to Rep and back mostly along with the national outcome (Dukakis was just an exception).

In terms of the Wisconsin state Senate and Assembly, however, there's been more clear periods (see p. 717). From before WW2 up till 1971, both Senate and Assembly were almost continually held by the Republicans. But from 1975 till 1993, the Dems were solidly in control of both houses. Since then, the picture has been mixed.

So basically, although Wisconsin life outside Madison was very different or even horrible ;-) in comparison, it cant have been especially rightwing, politically.. just more socially conservative, I guess.

Also means that Wisconsin is now "trending Democratic" only if you compare it with just the last decade or so - you could say it is mostly just returning to the political profile it had before the Gingrich revolution, after a decade-long Republican interval.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 07:29 pm
I do think socially conservative was a big part of it; she's a big tough "no I will NOT pretend to be something I'm not" lesbian. That didn't go over very well in her hometown.
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Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 07:52 pm
Wisconsin is the birthplace of the Republican Party.Read about it here.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 08:17 am
fbaezer wrote:
nimh, great question.
If I were a Dutch politician, I'd hire you inmediately!

I learned English as a border student in St. Louis, Missouri.
My school was two blocks away from the Mississippi River. "Residential South St. Louis", said the brochure sent to my parents. It was a working class neighborhood.
In St. Louis, the farther you were from the river, the richer your neighborhood was, with a few exceptions. I don't know if that has changed, but was noticeable enough to struck us Mexican kids after a couple of weeks... and that's without counting East St. Louis, Illinois, which was inhabited mostly by blacks.

I suppose it is the same county, but a school friend invited me to his home in New Madrid, Mo., and the same pattern prevailed. The poor and the black lived nearest to the river. I don't know why, but that's what I saw nearly 40 years ago.


The explanation for that is obvious enough. Just as affluent people move away from the city center, which often becomes run down, so people who live near a river front would move away. When St. Louis was a village, the affluent would have moved to the high ground to the west of town, to build new and more expensive, comfortable houses. As the population expands, they would continue to move away from the river, and the formerly affluent neighborhoods would become more and more working class, and, eventually, poor. There may be some notable exceptions, but i suspect this arises in the same simple manner as city centers are abandoned, with the affluent moving to suburbs.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 08:34 am
nimh wrote:
(Mind you, the urban character, according to the same criteria, of Western Wisconsin didnt prevent Bush from making a clean sweep of the counties there, aside from Milwaukee..)

Are you looking at the same map that I am? Kerry took all of the Mississippi River counties in Wisconsin. In fact, that's one of the areas along the river that can't be explained by the urban/rural divide, since only LaCrosse County could be described as "urban."

As for migration patterns that fishin mentioned, I'm dubious. The overall migration pattern in the US during the nineteenth century was from east to west, not south to north or north to south. Northerners, in particular, didn't migrate in large numbers to the antebellum south because slave labor competed with free labor and the existence of large plantations limited the amount of cheap, available land. More frequently, inhabitants of the upper south -- Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee -- migrated north to the areas of the former Northwest Territories, but that migration didn't follow the Mississippi River. Abraham Lincoln's family's journey from Kentucky to southern Indiana to southern Illinois was fairly typical of the time period.

Similarly, the great black migration of the twentieth century didn't follow the river, it followed the railroads, the most important being the Illinois Central from New Orleans to Chicago. And blacks didn't settle in northern rural areas, they settled in the cities. The Mississippi, in short, was a great avenue of commerce but not a particularly important route for migration.
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 09:09 am
I suspect he's looking at the shore of Lake Michigan and not the Mississippi river (which is, the east side of the state, where Milwaukee is).
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 10:53 am
joefromchicago wrote:
The Mississippi, in short, was a great avenue of commerce but not a particularly important route for migration.


No one that has ever done any genealogy research would ever agree with your statement. New Orleans was the 4th leading port for immigration in the U.S. from the early 1800s until 1945. Additionally, many of the immigrants who arrrived in New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia were put right back on ships and sent north to head down the St. Lawrence and into the Great Lakes where they headed to places like Toledo, OH and Duluth, MN.

French Canadians, Germans and the Irish all came across the Great Lakes and down the St. Croix River and on to the Mississippi. There were also large groups of Germans, Irish and Italians that arrived in New Orleans and came up the Mississippi.

Riding atop cargo ships and ore barges was a very common means of transport for poor immigrant men.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 11:24 am
fishin wrote:
joefromchicago wrote:
The Mississippi, in short, was a great avenue of commerce but not a particularly important route for migration.


No one that has ever done any genealogy research would ever agree with your statement. New Orleans was the 4th leading port for immigration in the U.S. from the early 1800s until 1945.

I didn't say immigration, I said migration. I was referring specifically to the migration of Americans from one part of the country to another, not the immigration of foreigners to the United States.
0 Replies
 
 

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