Posted by: Chris | May 2, 2012

A Historical Corrective

The next time you hear someone make broad claims about “Red States” or “Blue States”* as political constants, especially if it’s to whine about imputed injustices of the Electoral College, you would do well to remind them how historically contigent these labels are.

For instance, prior to 1992, bluest of the “blue” Vermont had only voted for a Democratic presidential candidate once previous, in 1964, voting for the Whig/Republican candidate the other 39 elections.  Now its the most reliable three votes the Democrats get from any state (sorry DC).  Likewise, do you know the earliest election that the former Confederate states voted as a bloc for the Republicans when a significant chunk of the remainder voted Democrat?  Bush-Gore in 2000.

Just because something is does not mean it always was or ever will be.

*Even the colors are mutable: the networks alternated colors until the shitfest in 2000 from whence the names originated and everything solidified.  Wikipedia has even ahistorically retconned its color scheme to conform to current party identities, thus painting Lincoln red and Douglas blue when they themselves had no such affiliation.

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