Political Party and the Demographics of America’s Governors

The previous post examined “the demographics of America’s governors and compare[d] them to the demographics of America itself.”

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

It resulted in the following map:

This post will examine the party break-down of this.

Party

Currently twenty out of the fifty states have Democratic governors, twenty-nine out of the fifty states have Republican governors, and one state has an Independent governor:

Let’s first look at gender. Out of the twenty Democratic governors, eighteen are male and two are female. These are Governor Beverly Purdue of North Carolina and Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington.

Out of the twenty-nine Republican governors, twenty-five are male and four are female. These are Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, and Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina.

10% of Democratic governors are female while 13.8% of Republican governors are female.

Now let’s move to race. Out of the twenty Democratic governors, nineteen are white and one is black. This is Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.

Out of the twenty-nine Republican governors, twenty-five are white, two are Hispanic, and two are South Asian. These are Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Governor Brian Sandavol of Nevada, Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, and Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina.

5% of Democratic governors are minorities while 13.8% of Republican governors are minorities.

Conclusions

A Republican governor is marginally more likely to be a woman, and about 2.8 times more likely to be a minority, than a Democratic governor.

A lot of flak gets thrown at the Republican Party for being less friendly to women and minorities. Some of the criticism is valid and some is not. A Democrat might volunteer that their party is more friendly to woman and minorities by pointing to the higher number of Democratic woman and minority officeholders in the House of Representatives, state legislative offices, and the presidency.

Nevertheless, it appears that the Republican Party does a better job at promoting minorities and woman at the governor’s level, as of October 2011, than the Democratic Party.

--inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

A Patch of Pumpkin Heads

 

 by Walter Brasch

 

In a few days, millions of children will put on costumes, go door to door, and shout “trick or treat.” By Nov. 1, it’ll be over.

 But, it won’t be over for Americans who will face presidential candidates for the next year. The candidates will continue to try to mask their true selves, while luring us with treats that disguise tricks. Let’s see what each of the candidates might be wearing for the coming year.

 President Obama could dress as a stable boy. Since his first day on the job, he’s had to shovel whatever it is that was left for him in the stable. His opponents, however, think he should dress up as Pinocchio, with an exceptionally long wooden nose, and carrying a hammer and sickle.

Rick Santorum had begun fading away after he was trounced in a Senate re-election campaign in Pennsylvania, too reactionary even for the Republicans. Wrap him in bandages as the Invisible Candidate.

 The other Rick in the race is Perry. For awhile, he was the leader of the pack until the other candidates ganged up on him. Moderates thought he was too reactionary; the extreme right-wing thought he was too liberal. Dress him in a helmet, black leather jacket, and jeans, etch a few tattoos onto his body, and have him encased by a sandwich board. For a few brief shiny moments, he was everything that Camelot wasn’t.

 The current front-runner is Herman Cain, whose mask is a cloth pizza slice, cut to the 9’s. But since he’ll be a passing pizza, as the Republican voters love and unlove their front runners, perhaps he could also wear a half-eaten slice with a red bull’s eye on his back.

 Michele Bachmann has become one-with-a-teapot. Every voting citizen is likely to see her during the coming year spewing scalding steam, but unable to make quality tea.

 Dr. Ron Paul could wear a surgeon’s scrubs, with a lot of fringe, able to leap onto any patient to cut fat and some muscle.

 Jon Huntsman, perhaps the most intelligent and most civil of the candidates, could dress in a three-piece striped pants suit of the diplomat he once was. But, since civility isn’t a trait among this year’s Republican crop, the other candidates will probably throw a potato sack over him and bury him in the dirt.

 The cast from The Wizard of Oz always presents good costume possibilities.

 Mitt Romney, once standing straight, is now leaning so far right that he is likely to be kissing the floor soon. Perhaps he could dress as the Cowardly Lion and hope to find some courage.

 It’s too obvious to dress Newt Gingrich as a salamander, none of whom have monogamous relationships. But, it is possible that this incarnation of the former House speaker could wear the mask as Dick Cheney, the man without a heart, who dresses as the Tin Man.

Dorothy, the sweet Innocent with intelligence and compassion, isn’t in the running for the Republican nomination. Sens. Susan Collins, Olympia Snow, and Lisa Murkowski are all possible Dorothies but have no reason to dress up since the Republican party doesn’t like anything sweet and moderate.

The Wizard manipulating everyone might be Roger Ailes, the brilliant president of Fox News. But, since we are writing the story, we’ll make this wizard evil, blustery, and dense. Cerberus, the three-headed vicious dog who prevents souls condemned to Hell from ever escaping, could be the disguise that best identifies Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity.

And, of course that leaves just one main character from the Oz saga, the Scarecrow

without a brain. Need anyone look farther than the Alaskan Tundra for the one most likely to seize all the treats she can and still trick the people?

 [Walter Brasch’s latest book is Before the First Snow, a look at America between 1964 and 1991, the eve of the Persian Gulf War.]

 

 

 

Why Republican Voters Can't Make Up Their Mind

It seems like every couple of weeks we have a new leader in the Republican field. Michele Bachmann has been there, so has Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, and now Herman Cain sits atop the field. Why can't Republican voters make up their minds?

Here's why - they don't even believe their own positions. They want someone who is massively conservative and at the same time agrees with them on policy. The problem is the voters aren't nearly as conservative as they think they are. So they love the tough talking governor from Texas until they find out he wants to get rid of Social Security. They like that Michele Bachmann doesn't believe in global warming until they realize that she doesn't believe in it because she's bat-shit crazy.

If you choose ignorance as your party ideology why should it surprise you that you have completely ignorant party leaders? But it does, every single time. Watch, it'll happen again. This time with Herman Cain.

The voters are going to wake up a week from now and realize they're not sure they want someone leading the free world who doesn't know what Ubeki-beki-beki-stan is or what his own position on abortion is. They love his ignorance when it comes to science and basic economics, but they hate it when it shows how unqualified he is.

Well, you can't have it both ways. Someone who is remotely competent or sentient recognizes that 97% of the world's scientists are right about climate change (including even Koch funded scientists), that cutting deficits during tough economic times does not stimulate the economy and that firing state workers means we have less workers. But those are all against the stated position of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. So, what is a Republican voter to do?

The answer is to fall in love with another conservative politician this week and find out he is a blithering idiot the next. Or worse yet, find out you don't really agree with any of those positions when they affect you (get your government hands off my Medicare!). That's the schizophrenia of the Republican electorate -- they keep switching leaders because they don't even believe their own positions.

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The Demographics of America’s Governors

This post will look at the demographics of America’s governors and compare them to the demographics of America itself. It will specifically examine gender and race, which are easy to determine. I would add other factors, such as income, age, or area of birth – but these factors are a lot harder to find and work with.

A future post will examine how political party plays into this.

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

Gender

About half of Americans are male, and about half of Americans are female.

Most of America's governors, on the other hand, are male.

Out of the fifty governors in the United States, 44 are male and 6 are female as of October 8th, 2011. In other words, 88% of governors (about every nine out of ten) in the United States are currently males.

Race

Race is a bit more complicated than gender. According to the 2010 Census, 63.7% of Americans are white – which means that 36.3% of Americans are not white.

The majority of America is white, and similarly the majority of America's governors are white.

Out of the fifty governors in the United States, 45 are white and 5 are minorities as of October 8th, 2011. Exactly nine out of ten governors in America is white.

Gender and Race

We can combine these two sets of data to get a map of America's governors by both gender and race.

Out of the fifty governors in the United States, 41 are white males, 4 are white females, 3 are none-white males, and 2 are non-white females as of October 8th, 2011. White males overachieve quite splendidly; despite being less than one-third of the overall population, they compose more than four out of five of America’s governors. 82% of America’s governors are white males.

Conclusions

America is a very diverse place.

Its governors, on the other hand…not so much.

--inoljt

 

 

Analyzing the 2010 Midterm Elections – the Colorado Senate Election

This is a part of a series of posts analyzing the 2010 midterm elections. This post will analyze the Colorado Senate election, one of the few Democratic victories that night. In this election,  Democrat Michael Bennett narrowly defeated Republican Ken Buck.

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

Colorado’s Senate Election

The results of the Colorado Senate election, like many other elections throughout 2010, closely matched the results of President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election. In fact, this senate election may have followed Mr. Obama’s performance more closely than any other election in 2010:

Only one county switched hands from 2008 to 2010: rural Chaffee County, which Senator Bennet won by a mere 44 votes.

This indicates that Colorado is a fairly polarized state. Its Republican parts go heavily Republican; its Democratic parts go heavily Democratic. Democratic candidate Michael Bennett did a full 7.3 percentage points worse than Mr. Obama, yet didn’t lose a single county that Mr. Obama won.

Notice too that both Mr. Bennett and Mr. Obama carve out a “C” of counties that they win in the middle of the state. When Democrats are able to do this, they generally win. When Republicans make inroads into the “C,” Republicans generally win. Republican candidate Ken Buck failed to make the necessary inroads into this territory, which is why he lost.

The Suburbs

Why did Mr. Bennett do so much worse than Mr. Obama?

Let's take a look at Mr. Obama's coalition first:

(Note: Because the Times stopped updating before all absentee/provisional ballots were counted, this map does not fully reflect the actual results. I have corrected the discrepancy.)

In 2008, Mr. Obama won Colorado by 9.0%. Interestingly, Colorado was the most important swing state that year. If Mr. Obama had lost all the states he did worse in than Colorado, he would have still won the election. But if he had lost all those states and Colorado, Senator John McCain would be president.

As this map shows, the Democrats get their votes from Boulder and Denver. Republicans get their votes from Colorado Springs and the rural areas. Take a particular look at the smaller blue circles around Denver. These are Denver’s suburbs, swing territory which Mr. Obama does quite well in. Also note the smaller red circle to the upper-left of Colorado Springs (Douglas County). Although it doesn’t look like it in this map, Douglas County is a Republican stronghold. Mr. Obama does remarkably well there, which is why the Republican margin of victory is so small.

Now let's move to the 2010 Senate election

(Note: Because the Times stopped updating before all absentee/provisional ballots were counted, this map does not fully reflect the actual results. I have corrected the discrepancy.)

In 2010 Mr. Bennett does a bit worse than Mr. Obama in the Denver suburbs; his margins are much smaller. Republican Ken Buck also is able to win Douglas County by a more normal margin for a Republican. The reason why Mr. Bennett does worse than Mr. Obama is mainly because of his weaker performance in the Denver suburbs.

Crucially, however, Democratic candidate Michael Bennett still wins the suburbs. Had he lost them, Colorado would today have a Republican senator.

Rural Colorado

A very interesting fact is revealed if one compares the shift of Colorado from 2008 to 2010:

This map illustrates that shift. Red counties became more Republican from 2008 to 2010; blue counties became more Democratic. This does not necessarily mean that a county which shifted Republican voted for the Republican (or vice versa). For instance, Denver shifted Republican from 2008 to 2010, but it still voted strongly Democratic in both elections.

Curiously, Democratic candidate Michael Bennett did better than Mr. Obama in a lot of Colorado’s most Republican areas. He improved substantially in the sparsely populated, strongly Republican rural counties – in particular the eastern part of the state. Mr. Bennett was involved in education in Denver before the election, so he has no local connection to rural Colorado.

There are several possibilities on why this happened. It seems that in presidential elections Republican areas vote more strongly Republican, and vice versa for Democratic areas. The map above could have been due to Republican and Democratic strongholds being less partisan during mid-term elections.

Another possibility is that the third-party vote had something to do with it. Neither candidate in 2010 was able to reach 50% of the vote, meaning that the third-party vote was relatively strong. If a third-party candidate takes a significant share of the vote, then mathematically Democrat margins will decrease in Democratic areas, and Republican margins will decrease in Republican areas.

Then there is the hypothesis that the president was a bad fit for rural Republican Colorado. He might have therefore have done worse than the average Democrat. Intuitively this explanation makes sense; Mr. Obama is not the type of person who appeals to rural Republicans.

Conclusions

One always must be careful to say that a particular state is trending for one party or the other. Nevertheless, the result of the 2010 senate election does seem to indicate that Colorado is moving Democratic.

2010 was the worst year in a generation for Democrats; Democrats throughout the country lost elections. In Colorado, a state that Bill Clinton lost in 1996, one would have expected Republican candidate Ken Buck to win.

Mr. Buck was admittedly a weaker-than-average candidate; he made some mistakes on abortion and the 17th Amendment. Yet, on the other hand, Mr. Buck was relatively untainted by scandal. He wasn’t obviously crazy, and he didn’t do stupid things like tell a bunch of Latino students that they looked Asian. In addition, the Democratic candidate Michael Bennett wasn’t a very exciting candidate. He doesn’t inspire passion amongst Democrats; most people still have no idea who he is.

Yet Mr. Buck didn’t win – he lost to an unexciting Democratic in the best Republican year in a generation. Republicans should have won the suburbs around Denver in 2010; they were doing so everywhere else in the country. The fact that they failed to do so is a very powerful indicator of Colorado’s Democratic trend.

--inoljt

 

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