March 2, 2016

Electoral showdown between Eastern vs. Western America

Although a lot of "big data" came pouring in tonight, nothing surprising happened. It's the same picture I've outlined in other posts and comments between east vs. west of the Mississippi River. (Use Google to search the site.)

That relates back to the work I started a couple years ago on how rooted people are in different parts of the country. For instance, what percent of residents were born in the state? Folks are more rooted in the oldest settled parts of the country, and shallowly rooted as you move westward, with the old Frontier still being a strong fault-line. Settlers of Texas were rootless and lawless transplants 150 years ago, and the churn of transplants has not abated since then.

The local and regional economy has also failed to materialize, due to these out-West states getting a much later start toward settlement, the settlers being motivated by get-rich-quick schemes rather than hard honest work, and a constant churn of residents moving on and new waves of transplants coming in. None of that leads toward the slow gradual build-up of industries into a mature state, but rather toward one form of exploitation or another -- resource extraction (oil, mining), crop cultivation (exploiting fertile soil which won't be so fertile after extensive cultivation), real estate hucksterism, lifestyle cult gurus, snake oil salesmen, business services of diverse sorts to fuel all this exploitation (banks, law firms), and on and on.

With shallow family and community roots, combined with a non-productive economy (perhaps half of which is virtual and speculative), people in the Plains and Mountain states feel insecure rather than stable in their situation. A profound disruption always feels like it's around the corner when you have little family networks to back you up, and where the economy is a house of cards. Deep-seated insecurity about the basics of life leads toward the apocalyptic mindset.

All you have to do is see evangelical preachers back East like Virginians Jerry Falwell Jr. and Pat Robertson interviewing Donald Trump -- they're so cheerful and at-ease, however much they may be worried about the direction of the nation. But an evangelical preacher from out West like Pastor Jeffress (Texas), who is also on board the Trump train, comes off as high-strung, pessimistic, and preparing for the apocalypse.

It doesn't have to take a supernatural form, though: plenty of apocalyptic people are preppers and paranoids who fear the federal government, the Federal Reserve, the United Nations, and so on and so forth, not as things they'd like to see reformed, but as existential threats that need to be extinguished.

The out-West paranoids do not want to take over Washington and institute their own distinct programs to replace what is currently going on there -- fundamentally, they want to send a group of martyrs to wipe it out altogether. For them, Cruz is to act as a kind of suicide bomber to take out the Senate, and perhaps Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court as well. He is not to take it over on his own behalf or on behalf of his constituents -- the federal government is felt to be so corrupted that it cannot be redeemed. Only its thorough extinction can allow the out-West preppers to breathe free and live as they please.

The vision of the Trump movement, by contrast, is to seize control of the federal government and then use it as an instrument to achieve our goals. Both the Cruz cult and the Trump army want to get rid of business as usual in Washington DC, but one side is depressive, pessimistic, and doom-minded -- nuke the whole thing -- while the other is basically cheerful, optimistic, and inclined to feel like the sky's the limit for how much good can be done once our side is in control.

There's more to say about these geographical differences, in another post. For now, it's enough to show how they explain the pattern in the primary results -- especially the part that puzzles many people, where both the Southerners and the Yankees are solid Trump supporters. Several Southern states went for Huckabee and Santorum during the last two cycles, but it turns out that they were attracted to the more populist tone and plans of these candidates, compared to the country club choices of McCain and Romney. Their evangelical message was icing on the cake, but not the driving factor.

It also explains why the out-West people have such a hard time comprehending what's going on back East -- real populism has always been weak where the reigning ethos was "get rich quick" and "I got mine, good luck to you getting yours" and "let the Devil take the hindmost". Their migration and residence choices are defined by refusing to be bound by duties and responsibilities to other people (family, friends, neighbors, fellow members of organizations). And those wide-open uncolonized niches out on the Frontier and beyond draw individualists rather than communitarians. Since there's nothing out there, there's nothing to conserve and steward, which is part of the plan of populism (public goods benefiting the common man).

Caring about the bottom layers of the class pyramid cuts directly against the striver mentality that prevails out West, especially among the suburban yuppie type who wants to live in a gated community. Back East, such caring is not a sanctimonious, holier-than-thou exercise akin to donating money to the Third World -- as though the working-class living in our area were The Other. Rather, They are part of Us, and if the bottom layers are doing awful, how can the entire group be doing well itself?

If your mindset treats people as like cells and organs within a single coordinated body, then having an increasingly destitute working class is a disgrace and needs restoring back to health. Only when your mindset walls off most other people from inclusion within Us, do you pay no mind to how the lower levels of the pyramid are doing.


  1. You might find this interesting:

  2. advancedatheist3/2/16, 11:13 AM

    The paranoia about the Federal Reserve doesn't make sense to me, considering that it operates under public supervision, it undergoes several kinds of audits every year and it surrenders most of its profits to the U.S. Treasury annually. The conspiracy theorists' effort to subject the Fed to yet another gratuitous audit shows magical thinking, as if it would turn up the super-secret information necessary to discredit the Fed and justify its abolition. What if instead this audit doesn't turn up anything untoward about the Fed's operations?

  3. Today's rich are not conservative at all, they are decadent liberals who are only conservative by association -- part of a coalition with evangelicals to form the two main wings of the Republican Party (before Trump).

  4. smell the desperation

  5. And lest anyone think that Cruz's win in Alaska was due to it being an outpost of the Bible Belt, here's a reminder of the godless Last Frontier:

    The mountain states are mostly godless too, aside from Utah. We already know about the Pacific Coast.

    Alaska is more of an extension of the Mountain states and the Pacific Northwest.

    But being that far out West, the secular paranoid prepper mindset is high, and that's the wing of the Tea Party that Cruz appeals to out there -- not a hotbed of evangelicals.

  6. A lot of wealthy people are your typical socially liberal/fiscally conservative elitists. Basically, libertarians. They're political insofar as advocating for policies that don't infringe upon their nakedly ambitious financial endeavors and any lifestyle choices they make, as well policies that further decouple them from any kind of responsibility to and for the commons. They lean Republican only because that's the party that allows then to continue building personal wealth with the least amount of obstacles and accountability.

  7. "Trump not yet on track in delegate count" -- more disingenuous bullcrap. Last night's races were proportional, otherwise Trump would've really cleaned up like he did in South Carolina.

    And now that we're upon the winner-take-all states with yuge delegate counts, the Trump army is going to crack that sucker open like a big, fat pinata.

    Cruz blew his wad last night -- Texas is the only apocalyptic state with a large number of delegates to scoop up, and even then it was proportional, so he didn't take the whole thing.

    The remaining cuckold stronghold states will add a handful of delegates to the Cruz cult, and it's done. LOL if he thinks he's going to win any state back East, or along the Pacific Coast. Trump will clean up in the delegate-rich states back East, including Wisconsin -- what a difference the Mississippi River makes, compared to their uber-cuck neighbors in Minnesota, who are part of the Louisiana Purchase people, not the Northwest Territory crew.

    Rubio could potentially spoil the Pacific states if it went that far (they vote very late). That's why Trump is going light on Ted -- no more big upsets coming from him -- and trying to get Rubio out, since California will vote Trump over Cruz, but would be iffy against Rubio / Romney / Etc.

  8. @JV, the narrative is that the nouveau-riche, often western, "libertarian" types hijacked conservatism from noblesse-oblige eastern establishment. IRL the Roosevelts were outliers among the latter.

  9. *hijacked political discourse in general, since Dems have been mostly onboard with neoliberalism for a while as well

  10. I don't use "Cruz cult" as a cute metaphor, BTW. If you saw the victory speech he gave in Texas last night, look at the crowd behind him. They have this ecstatic smile on their face for a prolonged period of time, whereas a normal smile appears and then goes away. There's is more like being in a trance. The gaze on one of the women was wandering around, up high, left, right, just like she was in a trance.

    The Cruz lady on CNN went in and out of that same ecstatic trance-like state, and she wasn't even in the room with her guru and fellow followers.

    It reminded me of the Jim Jones followers, if you've ever seen footage from their church gatherings in San Francisco or their happenings once they set up in Guyana. Not just happy or victorious, but spellbound and trance-like.

    Contrast that to when Cruz lost South Carolina and Nevada. It was the same kind of crowd behind him at the "Trump is Anti-Christ" speech, but they looked completely hollowed out, like they expected their Messiah to lead them to political victory, only to see him crucified. They weren't just upset or crestfallen -- they looked like one of their key prophesies had failed to materialize.

    It makes me worry about subduing them, which we're going to have to do somehow or another. They're so detached from reality that they voted for a snake oil salesman rather than the leader who will build a wall and protect them from the Amerindian hordes.

    For them, suicide-bombing the federal gubmint is more important to their survival than building The Wall on their own border and deporting the illegals.

    I'm starting to hope that we avoid outright civil war, but look what happened the last time we were in this mess about an entire regional economy being dependent on the cheap labor of foreign jungle-dwellers.

  11. Basically the only card that Cruz and Rubio have left to play is with the fanatic Israel-firsters, the latter in particular was showing that on Tuesday night.

  12. The map of Arkansas' results look like a Plains state, where Rubio took the big cities, Cruz took their suburbs and exurbs (red state strivers), with Trump doing best in sparsely populated places.

    He did just well enough in the rural areas to win the state, probably due to hiring Huckabee's daughter, who would know how to get out the vote in marginal areas.

    The Southern states show entire Trump dominance, aside from some big city counties that Rubio took (Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston), and where Cruz didn't take a single county. And in Sweet Home Alabama, Rubio didn't even take the cities -- it was 100% Trump country.

    Arkansas is just over the border of the Mississippi, so it looks like the other Western states, but it's the weakest example.

  13. My guess is the fast-growing, wealthy NW of Arkansas was Cruz-dominated: many nouveau-riche strivers, big corps that employ plenty of immigrants (legal and otherwise), ostentatious megachurches, etc. It's basically where the Midwest begins.

  14. "the narrative is that the nouveau-riche, often western, "libertarian" types hijacked conservatism from noblesse-oblige eastern establishment. IRL the Roosevelts were outliers among the latter."


    "I don't use "Cruz cult" as a cute metaphor, BTW. If you saw the victory speech he gave in Texas last night, look at the crowd behind him..."

    Also agreed. Cruz has always reminded me of President Stillson from the movie version of Stephen King's "Dead Zone." I've since learned I'm not nearly the only one who's made that connection. He's got the wide-eyed maniacal vibe to him. This is how I envision a Cruz presidency (and, you know, the world) ends:

  15. I'm embarrassed that Trump placed 3rd in MN, but at least Rubio won. Rubio is a lap dog careerist, which is less alarming than Cruz's mania and zealotry.

    Minnesotans aren't quite as bumpkinish as Iowans. Besides, Cruz's chicanery during and after the Iowa caucus probably did send some people fleeing to Rubio.

    Maybe the quirk of Iowans/Minnesotans that weirds people out is an odd mix of Western individualism and Nordic farmer dour moralistic scolding. A Trump has no idea how to appeal to that; very few people do.

  16. Hillary is toast, IMO, in the general election. Her pandering to blacks has been so disgusting that it's undoubtedly going to fuel massive numbers of lunch-pail types to vote against her. And whites still substantially outnumber blacks in general. Also, the hispanic vote is irrelevant for the most part, given how notoriously idle and indifferent they are. At least in comparison to entitled blacks.

    Hillary's crowds are tense and sullen, of course. When your primary supporters are aging strivers and petulant youth who don't want the identity politics gravy train to derail. what else would you expect?

    Bernie's crowds are on the naive dreamer side, but that's preferable to Cruz's zealot army and Hillary's entitlement brigade.

    Yesterday during the primaries, a pretty intense argument happened on CNN between a white Boomer supporting Trump (who served under Reagan, giving some credibility to the idea that the 80's were the last period where Neo-cons didn't dominate the GOP) and a Gen X black loud mouth. The Trumpite tried to shame the black dude into acknowledging that Democrats have been stirring up racial divisions for decades, betraying 60's civil rights rhetoric about moving beyond race and being truly equitable. The black dude just got louder and more insistent without insight into why modern identity politics is necessary or useful.

    Of course, the black dude knows that with truly color blind policies, there's a good chance that he'd be mopping floors rather than getting uppity with an amiable and articulate white gentleman.

  17. The east-west divide has been one of your most perspicacious insights this election cycle (and there have been many). Nevada is the only trend bucker. Why? Could it be due to Trump's Vegas presence?

  18. Not sure about that. Maybe among elites, but for us plebs out here, many have been thirsty for populism. Two of my grandparents were Okies who grew up in the Great Depression, and my grandma voted Dem till she died due to FDR (though my grandfather bolted with the Silent Majority). Another was from Louisiana and Long was revered by them as almost a folk hero.

    If you had money though, like a big oil and gas outfit where you could be Lord of the Manner, I could see them being "muh free market" uber alles.

  19. "Nevada is the only trend bucker. Why?"

    Nevada may be more like the Pacific Coast than the Mountain states. They went for Obama both times, and Clinton both times. Sin City is part of West Coast hedonism, and that's where most Nevadans live. Lots of West Coasters have been moving inland as the immigrants have flooded the coastline, so lots of "Nevadans" today are actually Californians (and other transplants -- almost nobody is from Nevada).

    So perhaps the Nevada results are a sign of Cruz rejection in the Pacific Coast. Then it's either Rubio or Trump. Since Nevada isn't quite so geared toward yuppie country club types, compared to California or Washington, they'll go for Trump.

    Using Nevada as a guide, I'd expect Cruz to do even worse along the Coast, Rubio might give Trump a run for his money (like Virginia), although it's too murky to see who would win at this point.

  20. "a pretty intense argument happened on CNN"

    I changed the channel after 10 seconds of that crap. They'd already been beating the issue to death over the weekend, and it was clear that they were trying to make this the one thing to sink Trump -- right in the middle of the primary results pouring in.

    Even today, they're still re-running the argument and devoting most of the hour to race / identity politics / culture war bullshit. I've had to keep CNN off for nearly the past week. They just won't shut the fuck up. Shame, since they've been better than the others so far.

  21. I'll add some perspective on Minnesota and Nevada. My parents are from Minnesota but I was born/raised/live in San Francisco.

    Minnesotans are hyperfeminine. In addition to their blonde feminine appearance they're passive aggressive and gossip like crazy. They never air anything in public but chatter on and on in private about perceived slights, and most of them are just that, perceived. So anyone speaking in public about politics has to be extra sure what they say and who they pick offends absolutely no one lest they have the town calling them an awful person behind their back. So of course Marco Rubio is the most inoffensive candidate. Cruz offends lefties and exterminators. Trump offends everyone according to the media.

    My Minnesotan uncle voted for Ben Carson and last election Herman Cain. He's a smart guy, he designs the circuitry for nuclear reactors but he's so eager to signal against racism he does something incredibly stupid with his votes. His son is real racist (had his CD collection stolen as a teen) and together we tried to teach him the correct reaction to being called racist was, "who cares?" to no avail. They've got a definite inferiority complex to the coasts and want to prove they can be just as decadent.

    Minnesota nice should be called Minnesota inoffensive to call them out on their passive aggressiveness.

    I met Donald Trump in Reno. I was in the line for six hours and in the crowd for another two. I don't know if he'll make anime real but /pol/ and MPC came to life for those eight hours. Respectable family men, respectable businessmen both explicitly naming the Jew in ways that were smart. Multiple times I felt like I was dreaming because I thought the Semitic assholes were going to get away with their crimes forever. Nevadans knew the score and responded to the dog whistles. They are apocalyptic without being too religious which is why Cruz couldn't get a foothold but Trump announcing doom for the ruling elite resonated. Jeb was first to be thrown in the volcano to the gods of populism and after the Cubans, the Clintons will have their screams cheered.

  22. Looks like Agnostic needs to build a bigger wall to keep out street shitting spammers.

    An interesting test on the rootedness question will come in the NC results March 15. This state has been trending purple due to high influx of transplants from the northeast and west coast, but with a strong reaction against this trend due to a relentless and disturbing amerind invasion which has turned parts of the major cities into favelas.

    I expect Trump wins with around 40% of the vote due mostly to the traditional base of the state, which is white working class/tobacco and pig farmers. Rubio and Cruz split the transplants and cuckservatives about evenly.

  23. North Carolina will be like Virginia, only not as close of a call. NOVA is 100% transplants because FedGov employees migrate from outside.

    In North Carolina, there are transplants feeding on FedGov through the Research Triangle grants, and defense contractor grants. But that parasitism got a later start, and cannot sustain the same numbers as the DC migration. So it's not as rotted out as NOVA, but not as untransplanted as South Carolina (where they're mostly retirees and snowbirds, not a huge careerist crowd).

  24. Rubio only won the NOVA counties by DC and Alexandria for that matter. The western counties, historically Scots and German, went to Trump.


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