Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Reshuffling The Deck

How are we to unravel Trumpistan?  How do we redraw the electoral map?  Obviously, finding a way to win back Pennsylvania is clearly a priority.  However, I think the manifest failures of the impending Trump Kleptocracy will manage some of that.

Additionally, you have to reclaim the cultural allegiances of some of the white working class, and the best way to do that is to break down cultural barriers.  I think activists for African, Muslim and Hispanic Americans need to train themselves to sit with these WWC voters and engage with them - not politically, but socially.  Not with the Armor of Grievance strapped on tight, but from a position of trying to find what you have in common.

Trump's pitch about urban hellholes was never intended to win black votes, but to scare rural WWC voters about the swarthy hordes of Philly, Detroit and Milwaukee.  If you can engage those voters, go to their communities, start a home and away softball game, potluck dinners and church socials, then you can demystify and unravel the "othering" that has defined out current politics.

Some of that is apparent in this story about how white voters broke depending on how far they moved from their place of birth.  Those that left home voted for Clinton.  Those that stayed home voted for Trump.  If WWC voters won't leave Erie or Eau Claire, then you have to go and visit them.

That's the easy part.

If Democrats/liberals really want to change the electoral and - more importantly - the congressional map, then they need to un-do the Big Sort.

Take Wyoming, for instance. Trump won Wyoming by 120,000 votes.  Demon spawn Liz Cheney won the House seat by 75,000 votes.  If you could move 200,000 young, liberal voters to Wyoming, you could flip the House seat, 3 electoral votes and 2 crucial Senate seats.

How about Montana?  Trump won by 100,000 votes, Ryan Zinke won the House seat by 80,000 votes and Steve Bullock, a Democrat retained the governorship by 18,000 votes.  Again, moving about 200,000 young, liberal voters to Montana nets you a House seat, a Senate seat and 3 electoral votes.

Of course, how do you convince half a million people to leave sunny California for the wilds of Wyoming and Montana?  The answer, to me, is Colorado.

Colorado is currently brushing up against some limits, as more and more of those young, culturally liberal people move there.  Water, as always, is the limiting resource in the West, and Montana and Wyoming aren't immune to that.  But as the Colorado Front Range fills up, why not expand up into Cheyenne and Laramie?  As Boston expanded it spread into southern New Hampshire.  That helped counterbalance the more traditional northern parts of the state.  Clinton won New Hampshire by winning Nashua.

Making Cheyenne and Laramie part of the Front Range political ecosystem might work.

For Montana, it's harder and easier.  Harder, because there isn't any natural ecosystem to link with, easier, because there is a natural appeal to living in Montana.  Clinton already won Gallatin County (Bozeman) and Missoula County, but she barely won Gallatin.  She lost Lewis and Clark County (Helena) and Cascade County (Great Falls) by a few thousand votes.  She got crushed in Yellowstone County (Billings).  Having been to Billings, I doubt any Democrat will excel there, but growing the populations of Missoula and Bozeman (and to a lesser degree Helena and Great Falls) would counterbalance the rural votes and the oil kingdom of Billings.

If I could live in Montana, I would.  So the question is: How do you create the sort of jobs that would get people to move there?  How do you create a Front Range type of political ecosystem in Montana?

The obvious answer is technology.  There is no reason why Silicon Valley has to be in Silicon Valley, except cachet.  It's cool to have a Palo Alto zip code.  But the Bay Area is running out of room.  That's not close to being a joke.

So how can we move roughly a million Bay Area tech jobs to Bozeman and Missoula?

Do that and suddenly things begin to change.  Can you find room for half a million tech jobs in Boise?  That makes Idaho a purple state.

Demographics will eventually flip Arizona and maybe Texas and Georgia.  Maybe North Carolina, too.  But to really change the political map, we have to change the population map.

We have to break down the Big Sort.

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