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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Thursday, November 11, 2004


The Electoral Dragon

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, November 11, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Along the lines of the 2004 electoral maps earlier, here is a county-level map, with the counties adjusted for population size. Counties that were more than 70% red or blue are colored solid, as per Kevin Drum's suggestion. As some have observed, the result looks like a dragon! Click below to see it...

click to enlargeAdjusting for population is I think essential to understanding the electoral layout, because after all our democracy is "one person, one vote" and not "one acre, one vote" as some partisans clearly pine for a return to.

Others have pointed out reasonably that since the number of electoral votes is actually the number of representatives plus the number of Senators, smaller states are technically under-represented in this map - states such as Wyoming get double the EC they would based strictly on population. But since that is a constant offset, applied to all states, it can be subtracted out - even from the larger states like California. All states are technically under-represented, by the same amount, so the above representation truly is the most accurate.


"all our democracy is "one person, one vote"

I wish that were true. It's really too bad that Afghanistan and Iraq are/will be closer to true decocracies (based on the way that their votes are counted - ie. one person, one vote) than the USA is.


I think that's unfairly pessimistic an assessment. We do indeed have full enfranchisement of working adult citizens, and each citizen does indeed cast one (and only one) vote.

Personally, i find the rhetorical line that third world countries have a "better" democracy than ours to be insulting, especially given that my parents immigrated here with nothing - and I know many other people who have done the same, where their countries of origin were far less democratic indeed. My grandparents' generation struggled against the British for the right of self-determination, and their children came here to the USA - to suggest that our system is somehow a joke is to malign their sacrifices and idealism.

No, the electoral college does not mean each vote gets apportioned into the Presidential choice equally. That is by design, and a good thing. Yes, Wyoming has more "power" per vote than Wisconsin - but which state saw more political wooing and courtship?

Bottom line - its frankly bad form to critique the democtatic system we have just because our side lost an eletion. I suspet that had Kerry won there wouldnt be such ill-informed comments. I expect better, at least in the Discussion threads.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.