What Would It Take To Turn Red States Blue?

A new fun tool from 538.

Play around with turnout levels and voting preferences of different demographic groups to see which states swing. North Carolina is more sensitive to hispanic turnout than I would have guessed.

Since liberalism seems to be connected to higher education I’d suggest raising the level of education would be an effective way to change the demographic towards blue.

The 538 article addresses this, but I think you are absolutely right. Colorado before 1990 or so was a state built on energy production and agriculture. There was a bad bust in those markets in the late 80’s and CO did a good job of diversifying the economy. There is a large segment of tech workers (both comp sci and biotech) in places like Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins and CO Springs now, and they are younger, more educated, and more diverse, and the state has gone from deep red to purple to almost reliably blue now.

Surrounding states that still rely on oil and agriculture, like the Dakotas, Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska are still deep red.

Really? I understood democrats poll much better among those with no high school education or high school grads only than they do among those with some college or college grads. Eliminating lower educated folks may not achieve what you think it would.

Well I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that political affiliation is an effect of cultural context and cognitive development. The way I see it you basically have three levels that are relevant here (I’m using the colors from Spiral Dynamics which is a school of developmental psychology):

BLUE (Mythic, pre-modern)
This is people who have developed their “concrete operational” cognitive functions meaning they understand rules and roles, but do not yet have access to what is thought of as “critical thinking”. They believe in order and authorities (like the Bible or what their leader tells them). They tend to vote for conservatives.

ORANGE (Rational, modern)
This is people who have developed their “formal operational” cognitive ability and learned how to think critically. They see themselves as rational beings who can make their own decisions and are capable of analyzing their own opinions. They believe in science, rationality and systems. Basically they see the world as a game you play in order to win. They can vote either for conservatives or liberals.

GREEN (Pluralistic, post-modern)
These guys have learned to “think about thinking” (late formop) and hold more than one perspective at a time. They tend to value cultural sensitivity and social justice. They are very critical of both blue level authority belief and orange level lack of sensitivity. They will tend to vote for liberals (or social democrats).
Education tends to speed this process along. In a way you could say that the main goal of education is to move you up this spiral or ladder. The full scale actually looks like this:

BEIGE - This is basically newborns and mentally ill street people with no sense of self.
PURPLE - Young children and animistic tribes in the jungle
RED - This would be age 3-6 or people who are suffering from narcissism or arrested development (they will actually vote for liberals because they want the handout)

Then it goes BLUE, ORANGE, GREEN, YELLOW, TURQUOISE, INDIGO. Politically there’s not much to say about the higher levels since so far the group of people who have developed to yellow and higher is so small that it has not had much of an impact. 98% of the world is below yellow according to what I have read.

I was writing my previous post before you responded but I’ll respond to this as well. :slight_smile:

People with VERY low education, development or social status will tend to vote for liberals because of base selfish needs. They are basically the “welfare kings and queens” that the conservatives don’t like. So when you add them to the equation you get (roughly):

RED - Liberals
BLUE - Conservatives
ORANGE - Either
GREEN - Liberals

So interestingly liberal politicians get their votes from both the highest and the lowest education levels, whereas conservative ones get their from the middle.

**What Would It Take To Turn Red States Blue? **

A few of many possibilities:

Donald Trump
Ben Carson
Ted Cruz

Great tool but some significant spin in their write-up …

A shift of 3 points in all groups is, in this current environment, “a small shift”? Seriously moving all groups by 3 points would be seismic. Moving just the White groups 3 points would be major.

Claiming that sky high Black turn out is crucial but then demonstrating that the Democrats win, albeit by a narrower margin even without it?

Meanwhile playing with the app the best bet the GOP may have is to push hard on the the non-college educated Whites (“skews older and more rural”). Get reasonable turn out there (up from 57% to 68% but still lower than the college educated White turn out of 77%) and increase the share from 64 to 70%, and they can lose a just as much share from college educated Whites (down from 56 to 50%) with the same turn out, keeping everything else the same, and win narrowly both by 1% on popular vote and 273 to 265 in the electoral college. (Taking FL OH IA WI and NH.)

Its where the GOP wheelhouse is right now and a Cruz … or even a Trump actually could potentially do that. It’s getting someone who can drive the turn out up in that demographic along with increasing the share that is their key. OTOH if the Hispanic turn out increases moderately and becomes more D even by a smidge in that scenario (from 48% turn out/71% D share to 55% share/73% share) then it flips back D with WI moving back.

OTOH to answer the op … if Hispanic turn out/share goes solidly from 48/71 to 61/79 and non-college educate White turn out/share goes from 57/62 to 49/59 … i.e. a solid rural strategy for the Democrats that or a GOP candidate that does not excite the rural Whites while pissing off Hispanics … then NC AR and GA flip in a popular vote landslide. TX MS and MO even come over if at the same time the college educated Whites go down to only 53% GOP. But again … landslide.

What do you think would be a viable strategy that could bump the non-college educated white turnout and share (a six point bump in share is huge!) without causing blacks and latinos to collectively shit their pants and move hard towards Clinton?

Education would actually turn blue states red, unless you could make people getting postgraduate degrees the norm.

Democrats tend to do best among the most educated and least educated, the poorest and the richest. So it’s that vast middle that you need to shrink if you want Democrats to do better. We need more inequality.

Of course, the easiest way would be to just persuade people who currently aren’t reliable Democratic voters to vote Democrat. Revolutionary idea, I know, in this age where demographic is considered everything. But it’s really not true. The effect of getting just 5% more African-Americans to vote one way or the other, or 2% more white people to vote one way or the other, or 2% more working class Americans of any race of sex to vote a different way are huge.

How much harder could the Black vote move to Clinton than it did to Obama?

And I’l believe something can get the Latino vote out in numbers when I see it.

You’ll need cites if you want anyone to believe all these claims. I’m particularly skeptical that the richest Americans, multi-millionaires and billionaires, lean Democratic.

In 2008, voters making 200K or more went for Obama:


By a small amount, and if they broke it down by millionaires and billionaires, the result might be totally different. In 2012, it was – but they used different brackets. As it often does, it all depends on how the question is asked.

First of all, the Democratic Party should actually play a 50-state strategy that doesn’t write off half the country since raising turnout in even the reddest states will improve margins in downballot races (in this regard, we may be reasonably conclude DWS is the Luigi Cardona of party politics). In relation the party must remember the great Tip O’Neill’s adage that “all politics is local” and thus not just focus on Presidential elections but also on House, gubernatorial, state legislature, and mayoral races. After all, Bernie Sanders did not come out of nowhere but rather built up a power base and a reputation as the mayor of Burlington and then Vermont’s Senator. These local political bases should thus be gradually built up to outlast individual candidates and function as sort of 21st Century political machines that ensure high turnout in election after election.

Of course, such an all-out strategy in the context of a two-party system we have in the United States requires ideological diversity. However, at the same time ideological diversity does not mean simply adopting a mushy, weak “Golden mean” sort of centrism that is utterly devoid of principle and/or ideological coherence and simply becomes “we are not the other guy”-the destruction of “Third Way” social democratic parties such as PASOK and PVDA proves this. Instead a coherent ideology should be adopted and the most useful one in the current context (and generally as well) would be a form of “social nationalism” that allows for strongly progressive views on socioeconomic issues while preventing the right from outflanking the Democratic Party on patriotism. Social nationalism would be an ideology that would acknowledge the primacy and greatness of the American state and people in the context of American politics while arguing that true patriotism requires devotion and concern not just for an “America” in the abstract but the people who actually constitute the nation which in turn means that all 300 million American citizens ought to be guaranteed equal rights and opportunities as well as a minimum standard of living.

Within this context, ideological diversity especially on wedge issues that matter little while being highly emotionally charged. Probably the most important ones are gun control where most current proposals (such as assault weapons bans) are utterly weak-assed, counterproductive, waste valuable political capital, and geared towards the concerns of the bobo caste who care only about their scions getting shot in their schools, universities, and movie theatres while allowing them to stick it in the eyes of the hated “inbred fundie redneck” white working-class whom they can be freely bigoted against without fear of being deemed racist/sexist/homophobic. Why else the obsession with an assault weapons ban while concerns about increasing suicide rates for middle-aged working-class whites or programs that would actually reduce deaths amongst urban black teens are ignored? Same with abortion which unlike most other cultural issues such as gay marriage and marijuana legalization have largely stayed the same in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade. Democrats should be willing to acknowledge the large pro-life segment in the party as well as the moderate pro-choicers and thus not think that somehow pushing for a 20 week abortion ban or a partial-birth abortion ban is somehow equivalent to an absolute ban on abortion when most European countries place restrictions on abortion even earlier in pregnancy. They should be clear that the Democratic Party offers both a home for a diversity of views on abortion as well as a consistent-life position by offering supporting for the baby and its mother even after birth through health-care guarantees, parental paid leave, and the like. On the abortion issue, the Democrats had a brilliant opening to exploit in the battle over ending Planned Parenthood funding-they could have offered to end funding for PP in return for doubling or even tripling the funding for other women’s health clinics/services that don’t provide abortions and essentially dared the Republicans to show whether they were more beholden to their pro-life principles or to the anti-tax hysterics of Grover Norquist. On both issues, the Democrats should be willing to nominate, run, and fund both pro and anti gun control as well as pro and anti abortion legalization candidates depending on the district’s characteristics provided they otherwise generally hold a commitment to socioeconomic populism.

Finally, especially in the current election Democrats need to acknowledge Trumpism is a real thing and acknowledge the underlying anger of the white working and lower-middle classes in a country that has seemingly left them behind for a generation with stagnant wages, rising poverty, increasing death-rates, regional deprivation, and the like. It is critical the Democratic Party direct their anger towards the correct target-namely the monstrous behemoth of untrammelled Capital. At the same time, appearances are important and the Democratic Party must while accepting the need to pursue a path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants currently in this country also in line with social nationalist thought oppose any guest workers program that would create a unfree labour force in this country for the first time since 1865, support making English the official language of the United States (while aggressively promoting English language education programs) and declare war upon the private businesses that undercut the American workingman by hiring illegal immigrants. Essentially, as I’ve said a thousand times, it must be made clear the real “cuckservatives” are the “Kochservatives” who whore themselves to the Washington-Wall Street axis regardless of any populist appeal that they make. If Trump is not the nominee probably because the Republican party will engage in subtle maneuvering to deny him such, this plutocratic dominance of the Republican Party will be made obvious to all and the Democrats should promote this narrative. Only a national Democratic Party that is strong in the North, South, Midwest, and West as well in rural, suburban, and urban America and amongst whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians and offers a clear and firm narrative and choice is one that can obtain majorities at all levels of government to promote real and progressive change.

If by “social democrats” you mean their castrated modern versions or the effeminate green parties you are probably right, but its unlikely they were the core supporters of Aneurin Bevan or Tage Erlander.

So poor people are literally people with the mental development of small children or narcissts? You make the Koch brothers sound tolerant and charitable towards the poor in comparison.

Social nationalism. LOL. It doesn’t get any better by reversing the words. No, it’s not fascism, and the idea does have wide appeal, but IMO the Democrats would not be well served by basically becoming like the new Euro right-wing parties only more politically correct.

You can’t underestimate how much power the Democrats have just from successfully portraying the Republicans as unacceptable. If Democrats concede the very things that make the GOP unacceptable to so many Americans, then they’ll do long term damage to their brand.

There’s nothing wrong with most of the Democratic platform. They just need to persuade middle America that this is the right path to go down. Where they make concessions, it should be on economic issues and foreign policy, not social issues.

Regarding education level we can use the Pew data

Clicking the link on the page brings up graphs. All inclusive of leaners for party ID using 2014 numbers.

So really it is the “some college group” that the Democrats are weakest on. Excluding that one group the line goes up from least education to most education.

And that “some college group”? Don’t include leaners and the big increase is in independents with both the Democrats and the GOP losing share.

If “more education” means increasing the number of people who finish college once they have started it and decreasing the number who start but never complete then it would help turn Red states Blue.

And a deep dive into the income question. The story is clearly complex, dependent on geography and other demographic features. But in 2012 the wealthiest reported subgroup went most for Romney. Boy most for Bush against Kerry too! And against Gore.