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If you were to ask most Americans, they'd tell you that they would have thought that Hillary Clinton was poised to win the election. The actual polls, though, showed a different outcome - despite her winning the popular election. One may wonder what makes blue states turn Republican, especially after the debacle that was the most recent election.
The fact is that the reasons states turn red are varied, but the fact is that the outcome is all the same.
The biggest issue that is happening with states is that each political party has become increasingly aligned with certain demographics - and that means that demographic changes tend to lead to parties switching from blue to red.
More specifically, it deals with the number of white, non-collegiate people in the area.
People who work blue collar factory jobs are more likely to benefit from Republican ideals. After all, Republicans want more factories in America, tend to keep taxes low, and also generally look to keep housing prices low.
For Republicans, environmental issues aren't as big a deal because they are more or less concerned with actually being able to afford housing, cars, and necessities. The way they afford these things is through factory jobs.
The Religious Right, as it were, tends to vote against abortion and gay rights, which in turn makes them single issue voters. Incidentally, they almost always are not college educated, and are almost always white.
Democrats tend to work office jobs, which means that factories don't have that big an impact in their lives - aside from the pollution they produce. Democrats tend to lean towards secularism, and therefore back policies that don't give the church too much power.
Many Democrats are also minorities who are often alienated by Republican policies, attitudes, and laws. As a result, they also tend to vote for anti-discrimination laws and civil rights.
Since Republicans tend to be a majority demographic, they often feel like Democrats are "detached" from reality or are just ignorant of the struggles minorities endure. Ergo, Republicans don't want to vote for these policies because they see them as unfair advantages for minorities.
The more party-affiliated each demographic gets, the more polarized politics will become. In the meanwhile, what we're witnessing is a draw-up of the main demographics in each state, city, and town.
The City Issue
One shouldn't discount the amount of an impact your neighborhood has. Living in a rural area is very different from living in a city environment. Your needs are different, your neighbors are different, and the kinds of jobs you can find will be different, too.
A growing indicator that an area will vote blue is if they are in a city or major metropolitan area. This makes a lot of sense, since there are more people in these places. More people means that there will be more tech, knowledge, media, and scholastic jobs - career choices that are left for college educated people.
Minorities also tend to live in cities, since it's better than being the "odd one out" in a small neighborhood. People who are in a demographic majority will be more likely to meet minorities, interact with them, and also witness struggles they go through due to discrimination. This would make them more likely to sympathize with them and make them more likely to vote blue.
Urban areas also will rely on mass transit, public utilities, police, and community services more often. Democrats are the ones who tend to vote for higher taxes to get that robust infrastructure. Meanwhile, since many of those perks are out-of-reach for rural areas, many Republicans see them as a drain on finances.
Simply put, political leanings have a lot to do with what you pay attention to, where you live, and the kind of factors that impact your life.
As the country continues to get polarized along racial, industrial, and education lines, it's clear that people are seeing two different kinds of America. How we can meet halfway, though, remains to be seen.