Wednesday, August 20, 2014

When Red Was Blue and Blue Was Red

I love a U.S.-by-county map, and recently came across this article about the grandma of them all.

It shows the results of the 1880 presidential election between James Garfield (R) and Winfield Hancock (D), a name I don't remember ever hearing of.

The article also treats the topic of the red vs. blue states... which in this map are reversed, with blue representing Republican while red represents Democratic.

For the most part, though, the state electoral vote outcomes are similar to the present day (if you flip the Republicans and Democrats, as their relative levels of progressivism have also been transposed).

That is, all those blue states in north voted Republican in 1880 (supportive of Reconstruction), while all the red states voted Democratic (against Reconstruction). Note, though, that many of the states are the lightest shade of either color, so they weren't as deeply committed as many are these days.

Notable states that have flipped sides since 1880 are California and New Jersey (voting with the anti-Reconstructionist side) and Nebraska and Kansas (voting with the Reconstructionists). Maryland and Indiana have also switched, but those didn't surprise me as much. Several other states have been modern-day-blue in recent presidential elections (Florida, Virginia, even North Carolina in 2008), but no one will be surprised to see them in solidarity with the rest of the South on the 1880 map.

Minnesota, for its part, is among the bluest states, bested only by Vermont and Nebraska.

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