Friday, October 04, 2013


I quote from an interesting article in The New Yorker focusing on the 80 members of the House of Representatives who are leading the current effort to bring down Obamacare by shutting down the government.
As the above map, detailing the geography of the suicide caucus, shows, half of these districts are concentrated in the South, and a quarter of them are in the Midwest, while there’s a smattering of thirteen in the rural West and four in rural Pennsylvania (outside the population centers of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh). Naturally, there are no members from New England, the megalopolis corridor from Washington to Boston, or along the Pacific coastline........ 
While the most salient demographic fact about America is that it is becoming more diverse, Republican districts actually became less diverse in 2012. According to figures compiled by The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman, a leading expert on House demographics who provided me with most of the raw data I’ve used here, the average House Republican district became two percentage points more white in 2012....... 
The average suicide-caucus district is seventy-five per cent white, while the average House district is sixty-three per cent white. Latinos make up an average of nine per cent of suicide-district residents, while the over-all average is seventeen per cent. The districts also have slightly lower levels of education (twenty-five per cent of the population in suicide districts have college degrees, while that number is twenty-nine per cent for the average district)........ 
Obama defeated Romney by four points nationally. But in the eighty suicide-caucus districts, Obama lost to Romney by an average of twenty-three points. The Republican members themselves did even better. In these eighty districts, the average margin of victory for the Republican candidate was thirty-four points. 
In short, these eighty members represent an America where the population is getting whiter, where there are few major cities, where Obama lost the last election in a landslide, and where the Republican Party is becoming more dominant and more popular. Meanwhile, in national politics, each of these trends is actually reversed.
I suspect that in these districts the young people often move away to go on to higher education or move away to find jobs. Look at his map of the age distribution of the population by country.

These districts elect white men to represent them in Congress, They must feel that the world is changing in ways that they don't like. Thomas Jefferson thought that the future of the nation was in the yeoman farmer living in a rural America. Power was vested in white men, and indeed in men who had land and worked that land. In that world, the suicide-caucus counties would be the heart and soul of the country. In the world of the Internet and global business, that world has lost prestige. No wonder that its inhabitants are mad, determined not to take it any more.

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