Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Red States and Blue States

Today’s tight party split resembles nothing so much as the late 19th century:

1876 Hayes-R 185, Tilden-D 184 (369) (Tilden had 51.% to 48.4% of the vote)
1880 Garfield-R 214, Hancock-D 155 (369) (Garfield won 48.4% to 48.3% of the vote)
1884 Cleveland-D 218, Blaine-R 182 (400) (Cleveland had 50.1% of the vote)
1888 Harrison-R 233, Cleveland-D 168 (401) (Cleveland had 49.3% to 48.4% of the vote)
1892 Cleveland-D 277, Harrison-R 145 (444) Weaver-P 22. Cleveland had 46.2% of the vote)

The electoral maps for 1876-1888 look extremely similar to one another. Indeed, they look similar to today’s maps, but reversed: the South is Democratic, the North and far West are Republican. This is a reminder that the anomaly of Southern cohesion and racial/cultural issues has persisted since the Civil War as the most salient fact in American electoral politics.

The election of 1876 was decided by Congress in electoral vote shenanigans.
The 1888 election favored a minority candidate in the Electoral college.

However, the Mountain West had yet to join the electorate.
Six western states were admitted between 1888 and 1892: N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Wyoming. Two states (Idaho and N. Dakota) split their electoral votes. Some have theoried that the intention was to gerrymander the electoral college in favor of Republicans. Of the new votes, Cleveland received 1, Weaver 4, and Harrison 15 in 1892. Still, Cleveland won that year because the three-way split cost Harrison a few other key states. The mountain west states were the subject of fierce electoral competition thereafter.

The lesson of this period may be that we are not entering a new political age, as returning to an older one of intense electoral competition and not a small bit of political corruption. Red State/Blue State is not a new "armageddon" phenomenon (as Zogby puts it) but a return to more familiar patterns of partisanship.

4 comments:

Raised By Republicans said...

The coalition that FDR put together during the depression was a kind of anti-capitalist coalition of Nothern labor unions and Southern populists. The Republicans formed a coalition of Northern establishment types, progressives (aka Liberal Republicans) and libertarians. During the FDR years, the Progressives often crossed over to vote for FDR but they've been relatively loyal Republicans since.

Today the most important division in American politics is about individual liberty and freedom, freedom from state oppression, from religious persecution and theocracy, and from corporate exploitation. The Post-Reagan Republican party is consistently on the anti-individual freedom side of each of these issues. The new Republican coalition is between Northern Establishment (Corporate types like Cheney and Bush I) and Southern Populists (like Bush II, Trent Lott etc) The Republican party has abandonned both its liberal/Progressive wing and its libertarian/"Stalwart" wing. But they continue to vote for Republicans out of habit because the Democrats have not realized they are up for grabs yet.

The Democratic party continues to try to reestablish the old coalition between Unions and Southern Populists. However, I believe the time has come for the Democratic party to recognize the lesson Law Talking guy points to in this posting! I believe the Democratic party should establish a coalition in defense of freedom itself among Progressives (of both parties' heritages) and Libertarians. By reframing the argument about corporations as a debate about personal liberty and privacy, this coalition could get the former union voters without having to make undelieverable promises about the return of the Industrial Golden Age of the 1950s and 1960s.

US West said...

It is a little scary to me how quickly you, RBR, can pull this type of information up. I admire it, but I worry about you. :-)i

Just a note, the 1876 election was decided by Congress who very nearly rejected Florida's electoral votes because it, along with 2 other states, submitted two slates of Electroal College memebrs due to ethnic tensions. It was also an election where the Republican winner of the electoral college was not the one who got the popular vote.

Raised By Republicans said...

Hey, the data stuff was Law Talking Guy not me this time!

Feel free to worry about me for other things however!

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