Paul Krugman – The New York Times:
Until recently, Virginia seemed to be emerging from some of the darker shadows of its history. The state is becoming more ethnically diverse, more culturally open; it is, you might say, becoming more like America. For the “real America” is more than small towns and rural areas; it’s a place of vast variety, unified — or so we like to think — by a shared commitment to universal values of democracy and human rights.
Not accidentally, Virginia has also become politically more like America, at least in national elections: Like the electorate as a whole, it supported the Democratic presidential candidate in the last three elections.
But is Virginia’s apparent moral progress an illusion? And if it is, what does that say about America as a whole?
So much to say. I’m fond of Krugman’s economic analyses, and on the political front I tend to agree with him more often than not. Here, though, he’s stretched a wee too far.
We’ve made Virginia our home for two decades. While it’s true we’ve handed an electoral victory to the Democratic candidate in the last three elections, and were the swing state reporting that handed Barack Obama his first presidency, on the whole our state is not by any means becoming more diverse, unified, or moderate in our politics. One look at the county-by-county map from the last three elections tells the story. Here’s the map from 2008, Obama v. McCain (Wikipedia):
Here’s the map from 2012, Obama v. the last respectable Republican, Mitt Romney (Wikipedia):
Finally, here’s the map from 2016, Clinton v. Trump (Wikipedia):
As you can see, Northern Virginia is reliably blue. They report late. Drama queens. That’s where the 2008 surprise came from.
The Tidewater region at the mouth of the Chesapeake is also reliably blue. Some of those counties on the state line were heavy into moonshine back in the day. One is Franklin county, the setting of 2012’s Lawless. Terrifically acted film. Someone should do a study.
The blue bull’s-eye in the middle of the state is the county containing Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia. College town. Lots of liberal voters.
The other blue spot is at the east end of Virginia’s tail, and it contains Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech. So, more college students and the liberal community surrounding and supporting the university.
My own county is just outside Northern Virginia and went pink, pink, and red on these three maps, respectively. Eric Cantor was our Congressman until Dave Brat defeated him in a primary challenge. We should have seen Trump coming way back then.
The rest is a sea of people who’ve been pulling the R lever since the Democrats gave up on segregation and decided to become decent human beings. Their voters had to go somewhere.
Krugman makes another false assumption. He equivocates moral progress with voting Democrat. While I believe the Democratic party stands more for basic human decency than the Republicans, as evidenced by the social and economic programs it’s espoused and enacted over the last fifty years or so, it’s a hazard to tie any political party with morals. Parties exist as marketing machines for candidates. They’d sell babies on the black market if it reliably got their candidates elected.
So, not much of a good argument by Kruggo for Virginia voting to the left.
My guess is Northam, the Democrat, does pull off a victory next month. Here’s a better column on the race by 538’s Harry Enten.
What does that tell you? I’m with Harry. Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, coming one year after a new party takes the White House, don’t mean dick.
#GOP #Democrats #Paul #Krugman #Virginia #politics #governor