Since the years of the George W. Bush administration, pundits have been poring over electoral maps, and drawing inferences – alternately illuminating, plausible, and at the very least interesting (though quite often false) – from the information conveyed in those representations. By this point, enough pieces focused on the fundamental cultural and political divisions between rural America and urban America have been published that one could probably assemble an edited volume on the topic.
The latest of these, Red State Blue City, by David Graham, has just come out in the Atlantic. It raises much of the same issues as the previous decade and a half of similar pieces. If instead of focusing on the state-by-state electoral map, and you focus on the counties, it is clear that, with a few exceptions that seem to be based on racial demographics, there’s a significant and well-established split at the county level. Rural counties go hard red, the majority of their voters supporting Republicans. Urban counties show the opposite trend, deep blue, supporting the Democrats. The urban counties, of course, wield a lot more votes since they are densely populated, but there are far more rural counties, at least in most states. Continue reading