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Author Topic: What's special about the "central column" of states?  (Read 1084 times)

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What's special about the "central column" of states?
« on: August 10, 2018, 07:18:04 AM »

"Central column": ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, and TX, i.e. the states that US 81 passes through.

Is this confirmation bias, or is there something real here? These four maps show five things that change depending on if you are east or west of it.



Above: Temperature variance between daytime and nighttime



Above: Annual rainfall. East is colored green without "patches" of different colors; west is colored orange/red with green patches.



Above: Population density. Also, look at how counties are larger in area west of the "central column" compared to in and east of the "central column".



Above: 1996 electoral map. 1992 works almost as well.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2018, 08:16:15 AM »


I'm going with bias.  If there were no states, but the cities remained where they were, the same results would most likely occur.  The Rocky Mountains aren't exactly very livable, so that knocks out any real population growth there.  Weather patterns will most likely continue to occur regardless of any artificial boundary lines (and have done so long before there was even a United States to speak of). 

The only thing different may be the electoral map, but that's more due to state laws and politics within each state, rather than anything to do with the central column of states.
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mrsman

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2018, 08:47:49 AM »

All the factors are somewhat related.  Since our country was founded on the East Coast, the East will naturally be more populous than the west.  What causes the big drop here are the geographic factors - to the west of here are mountains and deserts which will support much less population than the grasslands of the east.  These states due form a natural boundary due to the Rockys and the Badlands, so naturally the weather patterns will also be different.  And politics is related to population density as Democrats tend to be stronger in more dense areas.


Also, the 100th meridian goes right through these states and forms an unofficial boundary between west and east due to these differences.  In some ways, it's the new "Mason-Dixon Line" separating east from west.
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MantyMadTown

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2018, 09:02:45 AM »

All the factors are somewhat related.  Since our country was founded on the East Coast, the East will naturally be more populous than the west.  What causes the big drop here are the geographic factors - to the west of here are mountains and deserts which will support much less population than the grasslands of the east.  These states due form a natural boundary due to the Rockys and the Badlands, so naturally the weather patterns will also be different.  And politics is related to population density as Democrats tend to be stronger in more dense areas.


Also, the 100th meridian goes right through these states and forms an unofficial boundary between west and east due to these differences.  In some ways, it's the new "Mason-Dixon Line" separating east from west.

Well the population center has been moving west since the country was settled, and now as the cities in the western part of the country are getting bigger and more established, I would say that the population is now fairly evenly dispersed. I do know of a major difference in population between east and west however, and that is the population in the west is more concentrated in metropolitan areas, while the population in the east is more spread throughout. I'm guessing this is due to geography differences, as the land in the east is better suited for farming, and that can support a more rural population than out west.

As for your suggestion of a new Mason-Dixon line, is there really that much of a political difference between east and west? Because as it stands right now, Democrats have a stronghold in major cities as well as the east and west coasts, and Republicans tend to be popular in rural areas and especially in the plains, mountain states, and the south. I don't really see the east and west being fundamentally different in a political sense.
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abefroman329

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 09:07:57 AM »

As for your suggestion of a new Mason-Dixon line, is there really that much of a political difference between east and west?
I'd say there's a difference between the types of Republicans.  Western Republicans are more libertarian-ish and generally anti-government; eastern Republicans are in love with legislating morality.
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MantyMadTown

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 09:13:04 AM »

As for your suggestion of a new Mason-Dixon line, is there really that much of a political difference between east and west?
I'd say there's a difference between the types of Republicans.  Western Republicans are more libertarian-ish and generally anti-government; eastern Republicans are in love with legislating morality.

Ok but what about Democrats though? Is there a significant difference between east and west coast Democrats? Also are eastern/western Democrats or Republicans more similar to their counterparts in the opposite party than to the same party in the opposite side of the country?
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SP Cook

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2018, 09:31:42 AM »

All of the maps, except the political one, are just reflections of the geography of a continent.  More or less the line where the continent dries out.

As to politics, there is almost nothing to be learned from the 1992 or 96 elections based on who got the PLURALITY of votes in three way elections.  By assigning entire states to "red" or "blue" and attempting to glean something about the people there,  when in many cases, especially in 92 but also in 96, MOST people voted against the winner, is pointless.

If you are looking for a geographical political divide, the maps of the results, BY COUNTY, since the end of Jim Crow/democrat one party rule in the South almost 50 years ago, tell you most all you need to know.  Thin seams of deep blue cities, the so-called "black belt" of black majority counties arching from NC to Arkansas, and dots of blue counties where pointy headed college professors live in blue; everybody else in red.

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2018, 10:12:39 AM »

As for your suggestion of a new Mason-Dixon line, is there really that much of a political difference between east and west?
I'd say there's a difference between the types of Republicans.  Western Republicans are more libertarian-ish and generally anti-government; eastern Republicans are in love with legislating morality.

Ok but what about Democrats though? Is there a significant difference between east and west coast Democrats? Also are eastern/western Democrats or Republicans more similar to their counterparts in the opposite party than to the same party in the opposite side of the country?

Hell yeah there is- western Democrats tend to also be more libertarian. The key difference between a western Dem and a western Republican is that western Dems see corporations as the threat and limited government regulation as an ally to preserve their lifestyle while western Republicans see government as the threat. Both are skeptical of out of state interests and have a strong desire to be as self-sufficient as possible. Western Dems are more likely to be pro-gun and value fiscal conservativism more than their Eastern counterparts.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 10:18:21 AM by corco »
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MantyMadTown

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2018, 06:17:13 PM »

As for your suggestion of a new Mason-Dixon line, is there really that much of a political difference between east and west?
I'd say there's a difference between the types of Republicans.  Western Republicans are more libertarian-ish and generally anti-government; eastern Republicans are in love with legislating morality.

Ok but what about Democrats though? Is there a significant difference between east and west coast Democrats? Also are eastern/western Democrats or Republicans more similar to their counterparts in the opposite party than to the same party in the opposite side of the country?

Hell yeah there is- western Democrats tend to also be more libertarian. The key difference between a western Dem and a western Republican is that western Dems see corporations as the threat and limited government regulation as an ally to preserve their lifestyle while western Republicans see government as the threat. Both are skeptical of out of state interests and have a strong desire to be as self-sufficient as possible. Western Dems are more likely to be pro-gun and value fiscal conservativism more than their Eastern counterparts.

Is there a difference between the west coast Democrats and Republicans and those in the plains and mountain states? I always thought the west coast politicians liked to cozy up to the big corporations iirc, you know, with Silicon Valley and all.
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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2018, 06:28:38 PM »

The first two are related to the Gulf of Mexico.  Humid air comes up off the Gulf and helps regulate the temperature, and of course humid air is necessary to create rainfall.  This is also part of the reason why the states you listed are known as Tornado Alley - the warm, humid air from the Gulf hits the dry, cool air from the Rockies and creates severe thunderstorms.
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abefroman329

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2018, 06:47:39 PM »

As for your suggestion of a new Mason-Dixon line, is there really that much of a political difference between east and west?
I'd say there's a difference between the types of Republicans.  Western Republicans are more libertarian-ish and generally anti-government; eastern Republicans are in love with legislating morality.

Ok but what about Democrats though? Is there a significant difference between east and west coast Democrats? Also are eastern/western Democrats or Republicans more similar to their counterparts in the opposite party than to the same party in the opposite side of the country?

Hell yeah there is- western Democrats tend to also be more libertarian. The key difference between a western Dem and a western Republican is that western Dems see corporations as the threat and limited government regulation as an ally to preserve their lifestyle while western Republicans see government as the threat. Both are skeptical of out of state interests and have a strong desire to be as self-sufficient as possible. Western Dems are more likely to be pro-gun and value fiscal conservativism more than their Eastern counterparts.

Is there a difference between the west coast Democrats and Republicans and those in the plains and mountain states? I always thought the west coast politicians liked to cozy up to the big corporations iirc, you know, with Silicon Valley and all.
Silicon Valley is pretty libertarian, if political at all.
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abefroman329

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2018, 06:57:34 PM »

If you are looking for a geographical political divide, the maps of the results, BY COUNTY, since the end of Jim Crow/democrat one party rule in the South almost 50 years ago, tell you most all you need to know.  Thin seams of deep blue cities, the so-called "black belt" of black majority counties arching from NC to Arkansas, and dots of blue counties where pointy headed college professors live in blue; everybody else in red.
As I've mentioned every single time you or anyone else on this forum has mentioned maps of Presidential election results by county, those maps are meaningless since counties have neither uniform geographical size nor uniform population density.  It's possible that any given blue county could have 5 times the population of any given red county and be 1/5 the geographical size, yet the red county would show up as five times as significant.  Relatively speaking, a map of election results by Congressional district might be more meaningful, since those are at least supposed to have uniform population size (within each state, I'm not sure off the top of my head whether Congressional districts nationwide are supposed to be of uniform size, since each state is guaranteed at least one Representative), but of course that wouldn't be as pretty.
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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2018, 09:56:27 PM »

If you are looking for a geographical political divide, the maps of the results, BY COUNTY, since the end of Jim Crow/democrat one party rule in the South almost 50 years ago, tell you most all you need to know.  Thin seams of deep blue cities, the so-called "black belt" of black majority counties arching from NC to Arkansas, and dots of blue counties where pointy headed college professors live in blue; everybody else in red.
As I've mentioned every single time you or anyone else on this forum has mentioned maps of Presidential election results by county, those maps are meaningless since counties have neither uniform geographical size nor uniform population density.  It's possible that any given blue county could have 5 times the population of any given red county and be 1/5 the geographical size, yet the red county would show up as five times as significant.  Relatively speaking, a map of election results by Congressional district might be more meaningful, since those are at least supposed to have uniform population size (within each state, I'm not sure off the top of my head whether Congressional districts nationwide are supposed to be of uniform size, since each state is guaranteed at least one Representative), but of course that wouldn't be as pretty.

Since I'm basically an old fart who's lived through nearly seven decades of political change and realignment, I can pretty safely say that the old pre-'64 Southern Democrats (the largely white contingent that comprised most of the regional voting public back then) were the most socially conservative single grouping in the country at the time; their congressional representatives generally followed suit (with a few notable exceptions).  Of course, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 changed all that; supported by pretty much the rest of the Democrats plus northern and Midwest Republicans, it had the effect of alienating the southern Democrats to the point that by 16 years later they constituted one of the most loyal contingents of Reagan Republicans -- and in reference to the Democratic Party, often stated "we didn't leave the party, it left us!"  Now the "Solid South" refers to the 38-year Republican dominance of that region. 
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SP Cook

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2018, 09:37:25 AM »

As I've mentioned every single time you or anyone else on this forum has mentioned maps of Presidential election results by county, those maps are meaningless since counties have neither uniform geographical size nor uniform population density.

Umm, neither do the states.

This is not really a "politics" thread, at least IMHO.  IMHO, the OP was trying to make cultural points.  The point of making cultural points, based on statewide election results (for president, governor, senator or whatever) is quite ham handed.  If you want to glean something of cultural geography from the election results by county (or CD, although ridiculous laws from past generations dictate crazy shaped districts in many places) you can.  If I want to understand Austin, knowing the political bent of Travis County is 10000000 times more useful than knowing the political bent of Texas.  Likewise thinking you know people in not New York City New York based on how New York as a whole votes, is pointless. 
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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2018, 09:51:00 AM »

This "central column" of states separates east from west, and that's all there is to it, as far as I'm concerned.
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abefroman329

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2018, 12:19:51 PM »

This is not really a "politics" thread
Then stop talking about politics.
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SP Cook

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2018, 12:41:15 PM »

Since I did not, no problem.  The only person in the thread talking politics, is you.
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abefroman329

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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2018, 12:52:18 PM »

Since you apparently need a reminder, here’s several paragraphs of you not talking about politics from the other day.

All of the maps, except the political one, are just reflections of the geography of a continent.  More or less the line where the continent dries out.

As to politics, there is almost nothing to be learned from the 1992 or 96 elections based on who got the PLURALITY of votes in three way elections.  By assigning entire states to "red" or "blue" and attempting to glean something about the people there,  when in many cases, especially in 92 but also in 96, MOST people voted against the winner, is pointless.

If you are looking for a geographical political divide, the maps of the results, BY COUNTY, since the end of Jim Crow/democrat one party rule in the South almost 50 years ago, tell you most all you need to know.  Thin seams of deep blue cities, the so-called "black belt" of black majority counties arching from NC to Arkansas, and dots of blue counties where pointy headed college professors live in blue; everybody else in red.
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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2018, 05:20:53 PM »

This is the 100 west line; the dividing line between the humid east and the arid west.  The place where the rain shadow from the Rocky Mountains gives way to moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.  The resulting impact it has on climate and human activity rapidly becomes apparent in all kinds of metrics.  This is mandatory learning for any freshmen looking to major in geography.  And it's the first thing I remember learning that confirmed my longstanding view that geography is cool as fuck.
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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2018, 04:48:11 PM »

This is the 100 west line; the dividing line between the humid east and the arid west.

Conveniently enough, this dividing line roughly follows US-81.
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Re: What's special about the "central column" of states?
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2018, 08:07:48 PM »

The "central column" hosts the Jefferson Highway :)
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