* The New York Times had an interesting story over the weekend about how Americans have allegedly intentionally self-segregated by ideology…
“Americans are self-segregating,” said Bill Bishop, author of “The Big Sort,” a 2008 book that examined, in the words of its subtitle, “why the clustering of like-minded America is tearing us apart.”
Mr. Bishop said Americans now choose “in their neighborhoods and their churches, to be around others who live like they do and think like they do — and, every four years, vote like they do.” He tested his thesis with an examination of the shifting geography of presidential politics, beginning in 1976, when Jimmy Carter won the presidency by the slimmest of margins, with 50.1 percent of the vote.
That year, 26.8 percent of Americans lived in “landslide counties,” which voted either Democratic or Republican by 20 percentage points or more. By 2000, when Al Gore and George W. Bush split the popular vote, 45.3 percent of Americans lived in landslide counties. In 2008, the figure was 47.6 percent.
Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University, reported the same phenomenon at the state level in his book “The Disappearing Center.” In the 1960s and 1970s, he said, big states like New York, California, Illinois and Texas were evenly split in presidential elections, making them battlegrounds. “Now,” Mr. Abramowitz said, “a lot of the big states are lopsided.”
Political clustering is reflected in religious participation and even shopping choices. David Wasserman, of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, recently calculated that 89 percent of the Whole Foods stores in the United States were in counties carried by Barack Obama in 2008, while 62 percent of Cracker Barrel restaurants were in counties carried by John McCain.
Much of this is due to people moving. But some, at least here in Illinois, is also due to changing attitudes. For various reasons, people have hardened their partisan positions here, particularly since the 2000 election of George W. Bush and George Ryan’s troubles afterward. That softened considerably last year during the governor’s race and the biggest GOP landslide since 1946, but not quite enough to unseat the Democratic governor. A decade ago, the Republicans were considered the governing party in this state. No longer.
…Adding… From a commenter…
It is a lot likelier that the parties are sorting their respective appeals by geography than people are basing living decisions on partisan preference.
* Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin is endorsing Tammy Duckworth for Congress…
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will take sides in a Democratic House primary and endorse Tammy Duckworth over rival Raja Krishnamoorthi on Monday during a press conference in Elk Grove Village, several sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Durbin endorsement was expected and is not surprising, as the contest in the newly remapped northwest suburban eighth congressional district heats up. Durbin’s move comes as Krishnamoorthi, a business executive and former deputy treasurer, and Duckworth head into what may be the marquee Illinois Democratic matchup in the March primary.
Durbin is a longtime political patron of Duckworth, a former assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs who ran the Illinois state veterans department.
“I respect Senator Durbin, but the economic suffering millions of Americans face today means this election will be decided by the candidate who best demonstrates a depth of experience, passion, and ideas for creating jobs and helping the middle class. I respectfully submit that candidate will be me.”
* And the Daily Herald has a piece about Congressman Joe Walsh’s reelection that relies heavily on commentary from Kent Redfield…
In the best of circumstances, Redfield said, having a candidate with a messy financial past run on a platform of fiscal conservatism, “is a huge problem. If you want to you can really make it a metaphor for larger issues,” he said.
In order to be a viable candidate, Walsh must, Redfield said, resolve the child support issue.
“What you really need at this point is if you’ve got the ex-wife on the same stage saying everything is fine, or we worked it out and divorce is hard but he really cares for his kids, etc.,” he said.
How effective he is in getting the issue behind him and rebuilding his image is going to have a “huge impact on whether he’s going to be able to compete,” Redfield said.
There is, however, another dynamic not explored here. Many die-hard Republican adherents have adopted a “victimization” mentality. Media hits are successfully brushed aside as the “lamestream media” working on behalf of liberal Democrats. That attitude, if successfully mined, is Walsh’s clearest path to victory. The line will be that he stuck up for his principles and was then kneecapped by the liberals.
* New political map means new faces in GA
* Obama heads to Illinois to rally voters on midwestern bus tour
* Speaker John Boehner to fundraise for Schock
* Boland enters crowded contest for Illinois’ 17th Congressional district
* Council’s Lack of Debate Surprises Chinese Interns: This summer, a group of college students from China interned at the office of the city clerk, Susana Mendoza, and found City Hall, well, a lot different from what they were used to at home. But their comparisons may not be what some Americans would expect. “I’m surprised to see there is no debate in the Council meeting,” said Yana Huang. “There is some debate, even confrontation, in the council meetings in Hong Kong, but everything goes peaceful here.”
* Warren: A Diverse Ward’s New Leader