URBAN vs. RURAL….Bill Bishop of the Austin American-Statesman, continuing his series of stories about the changing demographics of the American electorate, gets to the heart of things this weekend:
The nation has gone through a big sort, a sifting of people and politics into what is becoming two Americas. One is urban and Democratic, the other Republican, suburban and rural.
….In the 1980 presidential race, Democratic and Republican counties on average had about the same number of voters. By 2000, however, the average Democratic county had three times as many voters as the average Republican county, according to study of election results by Statesman statistical consultant Robert Cushing.
In the country’s most partisan counties ? those where one party wins by more than 20 percentage points ? the split is overwhelming. In 2000, the average landslide Democratic county was eight times larger than the average landslide Republican county. In 1980, the average landslide Republican county was more populous than the average partisan Democratic county.
Urban rural, urban rural, urban rural: say it over and over. That’s the big split in American politics, and as Bishop points out, the difference is becoming starker every year.
And if you’re curious, the Statesman also has a list of the 100 most Democratic counties (in 2000) and the 100 most Republican counties. It’s sort of scary to find out that my home, famously conservative Orange County, doesn’t even come close to making the “most Republican” list. I guess I’m just lucky I don’t live in Glasscock County, Texas.