Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Ohhhh, Texas...

OK, I have to assume that the fact that I didn't hear the entire report is in their favor.

Today's NPR item: on the program "Think," there was a report called "Turning Texas Blue." The premise was that as Texas goes, so will go the nation - and that since Harris County, which contains HOUSTON, the fourth largest city in the United States, went Democrat in a year in which Republicans picked up seats every-dang-where, huzzah, there is hope that the entire country will go blue in the next few years.

Do you see what I mean about assuming that I just missed some important part of the report? How is it news that a big city went blue? And how does it follow that therefore Texas itself will follow, much less the country? Did they not notice that this pattern was just exactly what we saw all over the country? Every big city went blue. And virtually every non-big-city area went red. Check out this post, with lots of figures, about red versus blue, for instance. I find myself wondering whether this report was begun well before the election, more in the line of, "As the nation goes, so goes Texas."

I am not arguing that the blue voters won the popular vote. Big cities have lots and lots of people, and, as with protests and marches, it's easier to undertake a get-out-the-vote effort in a place where population is concentrated than in the vast landmass where population density is more like 80 people per square mile (about the average population density of the United States) than 7,000, as in Los Angeles. But I hope and pray at least two things: 1. that the red voters will continue to turn out, and to turn out in greater numbers so that they don't lose their place at the table, and 2. that the country won't lose its mind and get rid of the Electoral College, the only thing that keeps that seat available to those who choose not to live at high density.

But - and this next is purely anecdotal - it is my observation that people (of many ages and ways of life) still yearn for small-town life. And why is that? It appears that the people who so yearn are the people who want to have children; the dyed-in-the-wool urbanites frankly can't afford it. (I think this is why so many NPR stories about city folk feature city folk with children. NPR appears to take pleasure in illustrating how inappropriate stereotypes are by telling us stories of people who bust them. Please note that I am not in favor of stereotypes that limit people; any city people who want to have children - more power to you! I just recognize the realities.) As long as cities' fiscal policies continue to make it hard for people with, or who want to start, families to live and prosper within their borders, it seems well within the realm of possibilities that enough people will move to the small towns and suburbs, and will be positively affected by the lifestyle that's in reach there, that they'll continue to give the big cities a run for their money.

Anyway. I don't know how it'll all come out; I just think that a report saying that because Houston went Democrat, Texas is a burgeoning blue state is incredibly disingenuous. If instead the report had said that big cities' continuing indigo hue and high population are rendering vote distribution wildly out-of-whack, now that would have been truthful. Boring, but truthful.

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