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November 19, 2013 / JayMan

Rural White Liberals – a Key to Understanding the Political Divide

Across the United States, there is a general pattern – at least among Whites – of urban dwellers tending to be more liberal and rural dwellers tending to be more conservative. Indeed, this pattern is so pronounced that Steve Sailer managed to produce a now well-known (at least in the HBD-sphere) hypothesis of White American voting habits: his affordable family formation theory (see also a longer discussion here). This theory posits that in more sparsely populated areas, cost of land is lower, hence space and goods to raise children are cheaper, leading to people having more of them. This then causes rural Whites – so the hypothesis goes – to become more child-centric in their thinking and voting than their urban counterparts, leading them to favor conservative candidates (hence, the name “the dirt gap” for this hypothesis). Sailer’s theory received some support from an analysis of the effective cost of living across U.S. counties, which found that it is, overall, higher in the “blue” counties than the red ones.

However, even though there is a considerable correlation – particularly between state fertility rates and voting habits – it’s unclear if the causation is as Sailer suggests. Looking at the areas that defy the dirt gap sheds some insight into this pattern. In fact, in so doing, in this post, I will explore the roots of America’s conservative-liberal divide.

The deviations from the dirt gap follow a predictable pattern, which plays into a topic previously discussed on this blog. In particular, there are large areas of the country that have fairly low population density but also tend to lean to the political left, as gauged by voting habits in the presidential election. This map of the vote by population density in the 2012 presidential election (the darker, the more densely populated; the redder, higher the Republican vote, the bluer, the higher the Democrat vote) drawn by Chris Howard (over which I have drawn the borders of the American Nations as described by Colin Woodard) makes three such regions clear.

American Nations Politics3

By contrasting the above map with this one, it becomes clear that, in general, the reddest areas of the country are indeed the emptiest ones and the bluest ones the most crowded. However, three areas in particular jump out, which I’ve highlighted here:

RuralWhiteLibsThree areas feature an anomalous level of blueness despite being relatively unpopulated, at least as far as Democratic voting areas go. These areas – northern New England proper, the upper Mississippi valley, and the Minnesota Arrowhead/Lake Superior region and the surrounding area are – unsurprisingly – all in Yankeedom, with some parts in the Midlands and New France. All are overwhelmingly non-Hispanic White. All are relatively sparsely populated, and yet all vote Democrat. All are devoid of and are generally outside the orbit of major metropolitan areas, with the upper Mississippi valley area having only smallish metro areas (Iowa City, Waterloo, and the Quad Cities area) and northern New England having the Burlington, Vermont-Plattsburgh, New York metro as its most populous area.

If we were to believe that population density and the urban-rural divide were the prime drivers of voting habits (second only to race) – as is commonly assumed by many simplistic analysts, then these areas should not exist. Yet they do.

As we have seen with this blog, political orientation, as with all things, is largely heritable. Indeed, a recent meta-analysis of behavioral genetic (class twin) studies by Peter Hatemi et al which observed ~19,000 subjects across five countries found that heredity accounts for upwards of 40% of the variance in political orientation (this is the low end estimate, since measurement error attenuates the results).

Heritability politics

Further – and just as significant – the shared environment measure isn’t significantly different from zero, also consistent with other behavioral genetic results. This means that family environment and upbringing (parenting) have no effect on one’s adult political views, which is in line with the notion that parenting doesn’t have much of a lasting effect on how we turn out at all. Because evidence indicates that heredity is of paramount importance in shaping political views, I explore genetic explanations for persistent differences in regional ideological and political differences.

That said, contextual factors can affect the voting habits of individuals and groups even with no change in their heritable dispositions. This is why one cannot focus too much on any single electoral outcome, but must focus on broad trends, especially persistent patterns of behavior. Understanding relevant context may help explain particular electoral results. Hence, I will try to examine these as well.

So what’s the deal with these three regions? Unfortunately, I am only intimately familiar with one of them, as I live deep in the northern New England zone in here in Maine. As well, I have been to the periphery of the upper Mississippi region. I will examine the characteristics of each in turn.

Northern New England (from Maine to northern New York) is perhaps the area of Yankeedom that most consists of the descendents of the original Puritan settlers. However, this area gradually diffuses into New France, with Maine’s Aroostook county hosting a strong Acadian-French speaking population (where I live, French speakers are far from an uncommon occurrence). French Canadians make up a considerable share of the population all along this region. Like the rest of New England, this area received a considerable Catholic Irish influx, but less so than southern New England. Scots are also present, mostly arriving from farther east in Yankeedom (from the Maritimes). This area is not very wealthy, with the major industries (lumber, paper) mostly long since gone. The area is largely dependent on tourism, maple syrup production (particularly in Vermont), and fishing (particularly lobster) along the Maine coast.

berniemaher2The largest urban center in the region (when southern Maine and southern New Hampshire are exempted as being part of the Boston metro area) is in Vermont, the Burlington metro area straddling the beautiful Lake Champlain. This city is home to the University of Vermont (one of the “Public Ivies“). The state of Vermont is the most Left-leaning of the area, notable for being the home of the socialist senator Bernie Sanders. But like Sanders, most of the residents of the state originate from outside Vermont, from both within the region and from without. These newcomers have impressed themselves on to the area’s Puritan culture and have moved it squarely to the political left.

Map German 1870 USThe eastern Iowa area, sitting on the border of Yankeedom and the Midlands, contains elements of both. This area of the Mississippi Valley received a considerable German settlement, as did much of the Midland Midwest. Indeed, this area was one of the strong concentrations of German settlement. A considerable Scandinavian presence was also established here. Catholic Irish are also present. These attest to the area’s Midland tradition of ethnic pluralism.

In keeping with its Yankee characteristics, this area is home to two large universities (indeed, also both “Public Ivies”), the University of Wisconsin–Madison on its periphery and the University of Iowa in Iowa City in its heart. The regions around these schools retain a certain liberal characteristic – appearing as if the entire region was in their sphere.

And finally, the upper Great Lakes area is the most sparsely populated of the three here, being essentially completely devoid of large cities, the biggest being Duluth, Minnesota. All I know about this area is that it interestingly appears to correspond to the area where self-identified Swedish-, and to lesser extent, Finnish- and Norwegian-Americans are most concentrated:

Indeed, the Swedish (keeping the limitations of self-reported ancestry in mind) zone seems to capture the most liberal areas. Considering Scandinavia in general today, and Sweden in particular, perhaps the area’s liberal tendencies aren’t all that surprising.

I invite readers more intimately familiar with these areas to please share what you know in the comments.

So what explains the political inclinations of these areas? What do they have in common? Is religiosity a common theme?

adherents

This is a map of religious adherents (from Valpo), which can be taken as a rough gauge of the religiosity of the country. As reported previously, northern New England proper is the least religious area of the country, with the Pacific Northwest (the Left Coast) being next least religious. However the other two anomaly regions along aren’t necessarily as irreligious. In fact…

catholic

german-people-map-2-good

…the eastern Iowa area is actually quite Catholic (Dubuque, Iowa is a considerable Catholic stronghold). While some of these individuals are from traditional American Catholic groups, such as the Irish, the bulk appear to be German Catholics. Indeed, Catholic Germans appear to explain much the distribution of Catholics in the upper western Midwest seen on this map, corresponding well to the distribution of self-reported German Americans.

(The Catholics in eastern New England are primarily Italians and Irish, in the south; and French, in the north.)

So if population density cannot explain the liberal affinity of these areas, neither can religion or religiosity. Indeed, the eastern Iowa border region appears to liberal and education-minded while remaining at least nominally religious. So what else can we look at? Indeed, for that matter, how, exactly, does the affordable family formation theory hold up, in general, and across these “anomalous” regions in particular?

Afford Family Form-Vote Comparison

These are comparison maps from Hawley, 2010. This is a direct examination of the Affordable Family Formation theory. There are some large correspondences, but huge disparities exist.

Indeed, none of the three liberal “anomaly” areas fit here. All are areas where the effective price of housing is low. Affordable family formation cannot directly explain these areas.

In fact, there appear to be large problems with the affordable family formation model. Indeed, much of the Interior (Far) West is incongruent, being racked with high effective land prices but nonetheless solidly Republican. Broadly, we see that it seems to work well for a few large areas: the Great Plains, the Left Coast, and the New York City and Boston metro areas.

Even the South doesn’t necessarily fit into the pattern (even discounting the areas that are majority Black). Indeed, at least one region exists as the reverse of the three liberal anomalies above:

suburbanconserv

The southern Piedmont is an area of relatively high population density (mostly suburban) and generally conservative voting patterns. This area consists of the suburbs of the metropolises of southern Appalachia and the Deep South/Tidewater. A stark city/suburb split is evident here. While the suburbs of these cities are indeed cheaper to live in than their Northeastern counterparts, even the few relatively expensive areas are solidly conservative.

So what then is the best explanation for the political landscape across America? As Razib Khan once noted when he touched on the matter, the best fit is the American Nations model.

It should be no big surprise that the anomalous areas (in terms of population density) all fit in the respective nations in the current political alliance as they exist today:

American Nations 2012nationwidecountymapshadedbypercentagewonDYankeedom, New France, and the Midlands are dominated by groups that today espouse beliefs  n line with what are currently modern liberal ethos (such as universalism, faith in government, education, and egalitarianism), as per the original settlers and the people that subsequently came to live among them. By contrast, the Cavaliers and the Scotch-Irish of the current Dixie nations (and to a certain extent the Far West) espouse views generally in line with modern conservatism – restrictive sexual mores, religious faith, an innate propensity towards children and family, and a distrust/de-emphasis of outsiders to the group. This is partly related to the respective levels of historic of inbreeding in each of these groups (see Tentative Ranking of the Clannishness of the “Founding Fathers” and How Inbred are Europeans?)

This split across the American nations is visible across history, as we can see from these maps of historical presidential election results by county (from here):1856

A look back through these results shows that the alliances between the respective American nations shift with time, and hence voting habits follow the divide of the coalitions of their day. Hence, the recent political regional divide should not be thought of as being absolutely definitive. They do nonetheless speak to deep divisions between individuals and the respective regions/nations.

Colin Woodard noted the importance of ethnonational divisions over the urban-rural divide in his analysis of the recent Virginia gubernatorial race:

Some suggested this was nonsense, the results being better understood in “rural vs. urban” terms, which Democrat Terry McAuliffe dominating the cities, Tea Party Republican Ken Cuccinelli the rural areas. In a postscript I provided some early evidence this was a mistaken idea. Now I have some solid data to prove it.

I asked one of my student research collaborators — Miami University of Ohio’s Nicollette Staton – to run the results both by region and by the National Center for Health Statistics’ six-tiered urban-to-rural spectrum, which categorizes every U.S. county by level of urbanity, from those in major metropolitan regions (1) to the completely rural (6). The results were even starker than I expected.

In Greater Appalachia, Cuccinelli won every category of county, from the very largest cities in the section (where he won 49.1 to 45.7) to counties without so much as a big town (62.8 to 30.8). In every category save the largest (category 2 in Greater Appalachia), he won by more than 20 points.

By contrast, in Tidewater, McAuliffe won by large margins in counties large and small, taking five of the six categories. In the biggest cities he won 56.3 to 37.3. In the most rural counties he won by a convincing 51.0 to 41.1.

Black percent VA 2000Of course, it’s not that the Cavaliers of the Tidewater area are all that Democratic today; rather the Tidewater area contains the state’s Black population, and I suspect this carried McAuliffe to victory. This might be revealed by this part of Woodard’s analysis:

The only category he lost [in the Tidewater] – “category 5” which consists of rural counties with a decent size town within them – was by far the least consequential, accounting for less than 12,000 of the more than 1.6 million votes cast in Tidewater that day and only 6% of the region’s overall rural vote. (Curiously, though, Cuccinelli won this sliver of counties by a staggering 61 to 32.9.)

That all said, the affordable family formation theory does still have much to offer here in terms of an explanation for what we see. Parts of the current “blue” nations, Yankeedom and the Midlands, contain considerable (relatively) conservative districts (at least as seen in the most recent presidential elections). In the Midlands especially, this appears to correspond, to a degree, with the pattern the affordable family formation theory would predict. This is especially visible across the Plains.

Much of the Plains was settled by diffusion from the more populated “seed”/coastal areas. Such areas may have favored individuals with strong family values, as these individuals would need to continue moving in order to continue reproducing. Indeed, this attitude towards marriage, family, and children is one of the modern hallmarks of the psychological differences between liberals and conservatives, as testified by my examinations of their fertility gap (see also Who’s Having the Babies?):

Child by pol by region

Indeed, the attitude towards sex, marriage, and family are defining traits that distinguish liberals and conservatives today, conservatives being more child- and family- centric. In the past, this difference may not have had the consequences for fertility that it does for the two groups in today’s world (where it is possible to delay fertility). Avi Tuschman wrote a book, Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us  (which I have yet to read) detailing these inherent political dispositions and possible explanations for why they are so (see his Atlantic article, as well as HBD Chick on his work, also here).

The fertility differentials between liberals and conservatives show that the likely primary source of the baby gap Steve Sailer noted across the states is the relative proportions of each of these types of individuals in each state.

So now we see that there are several broad factors that separate liberals and conservatives. These include ethnic origin (the angle explored by David Hackett Fischer and by Colin Woodard) and attitudes towards family and children (the angle of looked at by Steve Sailer and by Avi Tuschman). But what else divides these different type of individuals? Another factor, and one that also lends itself to the pattern Steve Sailer observed, is sensitivity to crowding itself.

Discussion over at the site Neuropolitics once claimed that conservatives have much less tolerance for crowding than do liberals. If so, this would mean that individuals with conservative mindsets are uncomfortable being around large numbers of people, and would tend to be pushed away from urban centers. (John Durant has noted that he believes that conservative attitudes may be a form of pathogen avoidance, which may also explain conservative aversion to high population densities.) Liberals on the other hand appear to be more comfortable in cities, and may remain close to their birth areas if they come from denser areas; indeed, they may preferably move towards them. (I will note for the record that my wife and I, despite being liberals, are not very tolerant of crowds and much prefer our wide-open spaces.)

We have indeed heard these types of ideas here before. These were part of my Pioneer hypothesis. I once posited that natural selection trends towards more conservative minded people on the front of geographically expanding populations and more liberal-minded people in geographically bounded ones. The key limitation for this hypothesis, and why I have been unable to adequately test it, is that I don’t know if conservatives had a fertility advantage in the far past, prior to the 20th century (see Expectations and reality: a window into the liberal-conservative baby gap). Likely, considering, the prevalence of liberals today, if conservatives couldn’t have had much of a fertility advantage in the past, but the traits may have existent in some of semi-balanced equilibrium, being, broadly, equally good strategies. We do see that in geographically expanding populations, certain traits are indeed selected for, as was the case with the French Canadians. However, no group in the U.S. was under exactly the same circumstances, as all regions of the U.S. have received substantial subsequent immigration, particularly Yankeedom and the Midlands. That said, the expansion of the colonial American groups was, for a time, very similar to that of the New French, especially in New England and Greater Appalachia. Today, while Yankeedom and the Midlands, in toto, lean left as part of the Blue state alliance, parts of each are considerably conservative. Many of these areas are regions that were fronts of expansion from their respective colonial bases. Perhaps this is the legacy of individuals who had to spread out into a homestead of their own, away from the filled settlement (if, albeit, often just outside it, given the stronger family ties typical of conservatives). The distributions of some religions that are prominent in the western reaches of the Midlands perhaps attest to this:

If you’re an individual intimately familiar with these regions, I invite you to comment and please share what you know.

121008_romney_family_tagg_ann_mitt_ap_605Of course, the Far West contains a conservative bunch of Yankees that split off from their cousins in New England: the Mormons. Mormons perhaps exemplify the process of more conservative-minded (at least, what would be such in today’s world) expanding away from more liberal source stock.

Alternatively, these could be the result of simple selective migrations – the founder effect. Perhaps these western areas across the Great Plains and the Far West were just settled by religious pioneers.

Indeed, founder effects – which are broadly responsible for the development of the American nations – works for liberals too. We see that across the Left Coast, which received individuals high on “openness to experience” (see also a critical take on that particular dimension: Openness to Experience – That Liberal Je Ne Sais Quoi | Staffan’s Personality Blog) and introversion. This may be partially responsible for the distribution of personality across the country (see also here for maps of each of the Big Five dimensions):

US Personality

Self-sorting migration likely reinforces these divides, as noted above. Additionally, these processes alter not just the receiving regions, but the sender regions too (see Boiling Off | West Hunter). The Midwest in particular has lost a considerable fraction of its people – often for the coasts. Perhaps the upper Midwest have lost enough of its “bright lights, big city” folks to render the remaining population more home and family bound in their thinking. Just the same, more family-centric people probably flee expensive coastal metros for the cheaper interior.

In general, the affordable family formation theory is likely correct in that people shuffle themselves around for cheaper/more expensive districts based on their political (and hence, marriage and children) inclination.

We have seen that there are likely several factors involved in shaping the modern American political landscape. Of which, the strongest may be ethnonational origin. This is buttressed by population density pressure, founder effects, internal self-sorting, and perhaps even recent evolution. There remains much that we don’t know, and hence, a lot remains to discover. Indeed, genetic sampling and admixture analysis of White Americans in different parts of the country might go a long way to understand key political divides. However, the heritable roots of these differences mean that the divisions among White Americans are largely intractable, and the divides we see will be with us – in one form or another – for a long time to come.

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30 Comments

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  1. The Man Who Was . . . / Nov 19 2013 3:10 PM

    I took a look at the counties in the Dakotas and Minnesota that went either Republican or Democratics in the last few presidential elections.

    Counties in the Dakotas that tended to go Democratic in a presidential election were either:
    1. Heavily Norwegian
    2. Had a large Amerindian population.

    Counties in the Dakotas that went Republican tended to have a large German population.

    Counties in Minnesota that tended to go Democratic in a presidential election were either:
    1. Heavily Norwegian
    2. Had a large Amerindian population.
    3. Had a very diverse population, particularly in the Twin Cities area, but also places like Deluth.

    Counties in Minnesota that went Republican tended to have a large German population.

    Surprisingly, in neither place did Swedes make much of a difference.

    • Staffan / Nov 19 2013 3:59 PM

      Swedes are highly conformist, much more so than Norwegians. Many rooted for the Nazis when they looked as if they might win but then abruptly shifted to democratic socialism after the war.

    • JayMan / Nov 23 2013 12:27 PM

      @The Man Who Was . . .:

      Interesting, but remember we can’t take self-reported ancestry too seriously. It’s best thought of as a broad guide and that’s it.

      That said, one does have to wonder if Scandinavian genes are contributing to the liberalism of the area. It would seem to break down in western North Dakota (heavily self-reported Norwegian), but then we have the self-report problem again.

  2. Staffan / Nov 19 2013 5:53 PM

    I’m guessing it might be like in Scandinavian countries where the overwhelming majority are liberal, so even when the most liberal leave for the city there is no dramatic change. We don’t have any conservative rednecks.

    It might also be a matter of climate. I’m toying with the idea that sun people have evolved a pathogen avoidance along with the conservatism that is so clearly a part of it. Perhaps the climate contributes in a short-term as well in that it might trigger this avoidance. There is a rough correspondence between Big Five conscientiousness and heat index (heat and humidity) in America. I’d love to see some state-level stats on Haidt’s Purity foundation since that would be a more direct measure than conscientiousness, but I haven’t found anything so far.

    • JayMan / Nov 23 2013 12:24 PM

      @Staffan:

      Good points.

  3. Luke Lea / Nov 19 2013 11:38 PM

    Jayman: “the heritable roots of these differences mean that the divisions among White Americans are largely intractable, and the divides we see will be with us – in one form or another – for a long time to come.”

    Somehow I find that relaxing. We can forget about changing other people’s minds.

    • JayMan / Nov 19 2013 11:41 PM

      @Luke Lea:

      Hehe. 🙂 The best way to get results is to appeal to the sensibilities of the other groups to coax them to act in a way in line with what we want.

      I admit I’m far from the most able in this department.

    • Sisyphean / Nov 20 2013 8:52 AM

      It’s not relaxing to me, in the sense that most people don’t get it and may not be capable of getting it, so they will continue attempting to turn everyone else into them through whatever means they fancy. So much wasted effort, so much pointless argument.

      ~S

  4. Orthodox / Nov 20 2013 11:54 AM

    A lot of German communists fled Germany during the 19th Century crackdowns and ended up in Wisconsin.

    • The Man Who Was . . . / Nov 20 2013 2:09 PM

      Yes, one might wonder about different Germans in different places. The Germans in Minnesota, ND and SD lean strongly to the right.

  5. Ivar / Nov 21 2013 5:01 PM

    I have family in both the really blue part of Iowa and the really red part of Nebraska, so this is a bit anecdotal. I’d probably second the notion that Scandinavian ancestry seems to be a factor in how ‘community minded’ someone is. (I’ve joked that you can guess someone’s political party here in Omaha by whether a person’s name ends in “-sen”, but that’s probably not accurate.) It’s hard to say what effect German ancestry might have. Honestly, I’ve never met anyone around here who’s full-blooded German without a bit of Danish or Swede or Scots in them. Everyone’s a mutt around here, many times over. So self-reported ancestry can be a bit tricky. Another complication is that most of the German culture of the Great Plains is Volga German, which is something totally different. The Worst Hard Time has a good bit on how they imported a frontier spirit forged on the Russian steppes onto the American prairie. You know that tumblin’ tumbleweed? That’s Russian thistle, brought by those crafty Germans from Russia. Their sociopolitical orientation was mostly your standard ‘live and let live’ variety, the opposite of the totalitarian mindset that too often finds its place in German intellectual circles. In fact, there’s actually actually a strong pacifist tradition among them, since many Volga Germans were Mennonite conscientious objectors. They were closer to being Amish than being Commies or Nazis. (Though not for lack of Hitler and Stalin trying. But that’s a tangent.)

    Anyway, back to the Scandinavian influence. I wonder if Woodard might be underestimating the role that the code of Jante might be playing in Midlands culture. (Its stress on egalitarianism, thoughtfulness, living quietly, helping your neighbor, etc.) for example. At least that’s what I was always told as to why my family does things the way they do. But if that’s true, it’s a kind of mutated strain of Jante, different from the old country. There’s an undeniable and rigid commitment to fairness and equality, but virtually no emphasis on conformity that Staffan referred to. There’s the taboo against showing off, but no real respect for hierarchy, position, or authority.

    I dunno. Just my two cents. Ultimately, if you want to try and understand the Midlands, just look at Warren Buffet. There’s probably no one alive who better encapsulates its values, and its bizarre myriad contradictions.

    • Ivar / Nov 21 2013 5:04 PM

      Er, Warren Buffett that is…

    • JayMan / Nov 23 2013 12:22 PM

      @Ivar:

      It’s hard to say what effect German ancestry might have. Honestly, I’ve never met anyone around here who’s full-blooded German without a bit of Danish or Swede or Scots in them. Everyone’s a mutt around here, many times over. So self-reported ancestry can be a bit tricky.

      Yup…

      Another complication is that most of the German culture of the Great Plains is Volga German, which is something totally different. The Worst Hard Time has a good bit on how they imported a frontier spirit forged on the Russian steppes onto the American prairie. You know that tumblin’ tumbleweed? That’s Russian thistle, brought by those crafty Germans from Russia. Their sociopolitical orientation was mostly your standard ‘live and let live’ variety, the opposite of the totalitarian mindset that too often finds its place in German intellectual circles. In fact, there’s actually actually a strong pacifist tradition among them, since many Volga Germans were Mennonite conscientious objectors. They were closer to being Amish than being Commies or Nazis.

      Interesting. That is another factor that may explain the redness of the Great Plains. As I explored in my earlier post Germania’s Seed, when is a German not a German? Not all German Americans are created equal, and I think the specific regional origin of the German settlers may contribute to the modern liberal vs. conservative mindsets of today’s German Americans.

      Anyway, back to the Scandinavian influence. I wonder if Woodard might be underestimating the role that the code of Jante might be playing in Midlands culture. (Its stress on egalitarianism, thoughtfulness, living quietly, helping your neighbor, etc.) for example. At least that’s what I was always told as to why my family does things the way they do. But if that’s true, it’s a kind of mutated strain of Jante, different from the old country. There’s an undeniable and rigid commitment to fairness and equality, but virtually no emphasis on conformity that Staffan referred to. There’s the taboo against showing off, but no real respect for hierarchy, position, or authority.

      The Scandinavians seem more concentrated in western Yankeedom (the western upper Midwest) than the Midlands. Woodard did indeed note that the Scandinavians found themselves at home with the Yankees (and the communitarian Puritan culture). At least in the upper Midwest, the liberal areas corresponding to areas of reported Swedish settlement would seem to support this.

      Yes, there was an article mentioning Omaha (and by extension Warren Buffet) as being the capital of the Midlands, a title it does indeed seem to serve.

      Thanks for your input!

  6. G. Hawley / Nov 22 2013 12:41 PM

    Interesting stuff. For what it’s worth, I actually consider many of these issues — including a discussion of Woodard — in my forthcoming book (http://www.taylorandfrancis.com/books/details/9781138017740/). I should note that, while white Americans remain divided politically along ethnic lines, these divisions are shrinking — the political differences between WASPS and other whites are now much smaller than they were as recently as 1970. Whereas the gap between white Americans of British descent and Eastern and Southern European whites was once huge when it comes to party identification, it is smaller today.

  7. whiskeysplace / Nov 22 2013 10:08 PM

    Jayman —

    My sense is that these attitudes are likely to change, rapidly. After all, massive Mexican immigration is hitting even upper Yankeedom and New France, as well as lots of Africans and such. Dump a bunch of Somalis into Vermont, and even the most hard-core liberals don’t like being the victim of vibrancy. Then there is the financial aspect. Not only does massive vibrancy bring person security issues to places that did not have them, and cause mental stress on avoiding crime-think as to the causes, it means radically decreased opportunity for one’s kids as “Public Ivies” turn into say, UCI, when went from nearly all-White enrollment in the 1980’s to about 17% today. And that’s Irvine California.

    Now you have the Obama Administration full onto Agenda 21 including massive wealth transfers, and the new HUD policy aimed essentially at Section 8 housing everywhere but Malibu and the Upper East Side. If the economy were constantly rising and people could afford a new house every ten years, no problem. Uh oh.

    My view is we will shortly test Roissy’s theory of Diversity + Proximity = War. And also see a rise in White unitary nationalism, i.e. New England Nation, Yankeedom, the Midlands, New Scandinavia etc. will all dissolve into White Nation as most of the White Middle Class is smacked with diversity, pays the price literally and figuratively for vibrancy, and sees the upward ladder not only kicked out but faces downward mobility. Which is the classic definition of pre-Revolutionary conditions.

    White rural liberals existed because they did not face defacto ethnic cleansing by non-Whites. That is no longer the case, and the ethnic cleansing comes not in the 1950’s-60’s era of rising income, but declining. Meaning loss of a home to anti-White crime (think 5,000 Somalis dumped in Burlington VT) can’t be mitigated into a nicer house in the suburbs. It means a nasty apartment somewhere else for those cleansed who take a permanent loss. You know what Machiavelli advised regarding this. The traditional ethnic “nations” of America have never before faced such massive, and inescapable non-White stress.

    Look at the Upper Piedmont. The inescapable conclusion is that Whites in high-density areas vote “White” (aka non-Liberal) to prevent transfer of resources away from themselves to … Blacks. And resources are not just monetary. Take the attitude towards guns. Non Liberal Whites view guns as a weapon of last resort against murder, torture, robbery, and rape, not necessarily in that order, by non-Whites. This represents real history of Indian, Mexican, and Black attacks, as well as Mixed-Race non-Whites (like say John Murel, the “Land Pirate” whose treasure formed the basis of Tom Sawyer’s treasure, Twain in Life on the Mississippi quotes figures Murel may have murdered over 4,000 men as the leader of his group).

    So far, social peace has been purchased by social mobility, and the ability of Whites including Scandinavians and Yankees and such to avoid the impact of mass Non-White presence and defacto privilege. The “Knockout Game” aka Polar Bear Hunting, by Black “teens” and “youths” is now nationwide, fueled by Youtube and WorldStarHipHop dot com, making social attitudes under severe pressure.

    John Derbyshire worries about the elites “turning racist.” Far more likely IMHO is a sudden “snap” in attitudes by Scandinavian, Yankee (who are Scandi lite essentially), Midlands, and other peoples. Those not elite and knowing they are not on the elite ladder (no opportunity loss).

    • Ivar / Nov 22 2013 11:41 PM

      Hey WP-

      I’m probably the ‘whitest’ guy possible, genetically speaking. I ancestry.com’d my family last year back to 1200’s Sweden. (The nick I’m using is one of my ancestors.) I do get what you’re trying to say, though separating out the prescriptive from the descriptive is a bit difficult for me. And I do understand that there are some issues with too multiculturalism as an ideal. For one thing, there’s Gause’s Law of Exclusion where different species can not occupy the same space at the same time, and that this can apply to human races as well as species. Multicultural societies are ephemeral, fleeting things. The brief flame burns brightly.

      But I don’t think you can look to Scandinavian Midlanders or the Midlands in general to hop on board for any of this “White unitary nationalism” stuff. In fact, with respect, that kind of talk weirds me the hell out. Just speaking for myself, I feel more affinity for my neighbor, for my city, for my region and for my country than a set of 30-100 proposed genes that code for an oxidative tyrosine derivative expression that we collectively decide to call “race”. I think if you look at the history of the Midland…if some full-on “race war” erupts or whatever it is you’re warning about, we’ll most likely become a refugee belt, a new Trail of Tears where people without enough melanin in their skin make their way to the only place they can live in peace. Kind of the purpose we’ve always served. You realize that we have more in common with Ontario, Canada (both “mosaic societies” founded by the same exact settler cultures)? So maybe the Midlands will be re-united again, our brothers in the north joining us again, and we can be a safe haven for anyone who wants to work hard, pay their fair share, and try to lead a decent life, regardless of whatever the Bitter Ulcer of White Rage thinks about the matter.

  8. Anonymous / Nov 23 2013 8:13 PM

    You have to consider what words like “liberal” and “conservative” mean. You say you are liberal, but most liberals, I believe, would disagree. There are three main “political” issues that I look at when talking about the the left-right divide. There is the divide between “nationalists” and “internationalists.” There is the divide between cultural liberals and cultural conservatives on attitudes toward sex and marriage. And then there is economics. Which one of those things is not like the other? A feminist who wants a society where women will be promiscuous wants that because THAT is her utopia. A conservative who believes in traditional marriage wants that because THAT is her utopia. The feminist and the traditional conservative want radically different ends. In contrast, most fiscal conservatives and fiscal socialists honestly believe that their system will help the poor better. They disagree on the means, but they agree on the ends. I could easily see middle Americans embracing a socialist system if they think it would help them. I don’t think fiscal conservatism is programmed into them.

    • Ivar / Nov 24 2013 8:43 PM

      “I could easily see middle Americans embracing a socialist system if they think it would help them.”

      I think you make an interesting point. Look at the Progressive era. Look at William Jennings Bryan, George Norris, and Henry A. Wallace. Look at the prairie populism during the depression that produced the only socialist banking system in the US (The Bank of North Dakota). I think ‘middle America’ will always be a bit socially conservative. Economic conservatism, on the other hand, does not have a lock on the region.

  9. Anonymous / Dec 2 2013 10:44 PM

    Ronald Reagan came from not far from the Midlands region of the Midwest, from Dixon, Illinois. He probably is the most prominent representative who exemplifies the temperament of the region. There were some utopian communities setup in that part of the country, such as the Amana one in Iowa, so those might have been liberal-minded, after a fashion. However, I would hazard a guess that the only real reason why some Democratic voters have remained in such parts–for now–would relate back to the fact that a tidal wave of sea change has been rearing up from the South, and will continue well North. Remember when the “Solid South” meant Democratic?

    • Richard / Dec 15 2013 1:51 AM

      That’s because the southern racists joined the GOP.

      That tidal wave is confine to the south because the whites up north come from a different culture. Have you noticed that the GOP has been losing (not gaining) seats in the north since a generation ago?

  10. asdf / Dec 11 2013 2:45 AM

    Isn’t the upper Midwest a bit of a swing region. I think Sailers whole “keep republicans relevant another cycle or two” strategy involved going after white voters in those regions. They are still swing states.

    • JayMan / Dec 25 2013 11:09 PM

      @asdf:

      As per Audacious Epigone, by Whites only, western Yankeedom (the Upper Midwest) would be a swing region, since its White population did vote Republican in 2012 (but not in 2008). However, when you factor in the non-White population, those areas are solidly Democrat. Republicans don’t have a chance appealing to the Yankee areas.

  11. petertharaldson / Nov 17 2016 1:45 PM

    I live in Minneapolis but grew up in northern Minnesota. I work in analytics with extensive background in demographic research.

    You analysis and insights, and ability to think across multiple factors is very impressive. This is really amazingly close.

    Another commentator suggested there was a Norwegian correlation with blue voting, and a German one with red. That’s right, and you can see it in county voter patterns in Minnesota. The norhtern section is helped by high concetnrations of Norwegians…in addition to the mining industry.

    I also happened to go to a Liberal Arts college in Eastern Iowa. In fact my political thought professor, David Loebsack, is one of the most liberal members of the House right now.

    In addition to the University of Iowa and Wisconsin, that region has numerous liberal arts colleges, in towns no more than 40 miles a part. It also does include the western edge of the rust belt, namely in the Quad Cities area.

    Minnesota in general is one of the greatest concentrations of blue voting rural areas. One thing though, whereas New England has a more liberal tinge, Minnesota has a more social democratic tinge.

    The dominant party in Minnesota constitutional offices now (Gov) is the Democratic Farmer Labor party…the Farmer Labor part being a binational movement form the 30s with roots in both western Canada and the Norther Plains. Tommy Douglas, founder of the NDP and government healthcare in Canada was originally a Farmer Laborite.

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