Monday, March 21, 2005

The TrustFunder Left

Michael Barone, a very perceptive and meticulous political demographer, has an interesting article on what he calls the "Trustfunder Left" on RealClearPolitics. Barone, by the way, was the first one to see that Ohio was going to Bush by having a very detailed understanding of the local political feelings in each precint.

Where Democrats had a good year in 2004 they owed much to trustfunders. In Colorado, they captured a Senate and a House seat and both houses of the legislature. Their political base in that state is increasingly not the oppressed proletariat of Denver, but the trustfunder-heavy counties that contain Aspen (68 percent for Kerry), Telluride (72 percent) and Boulder (66 percent).

You can see the trustfunders' imprint as well in New York. In 56 of the state's 62 counties, the Republican popular vote margin increased or the Democratic margin fell between 2000 and 2004. Five of the six counties that moved away from George W. Bush are trustfunder havens: New York (Manhattan), Ulster (Woodstock), Columbia (trendy Hudson River country), Otsego (Cooperstown) and Tompkins (Cornell University).

The overall analysis is interesting, but the aside about how Bush significantly improved his standing in New York State, a state hit hard by economic downturn, is interesting as well. One of the immediate reactions to Bush's win among angry Kerry supporters was that Bush supposedly is doing a great job in his war on terror yet he lost DC and NYC which were the places hit hardest by terror attacks. The DC point is completely inaccurate as those killed by the terrorist attacks were killed in the Pentagon, i.e. Northern Virginia. Virginia went to Bush.* New York State shifted more towards Bush as well. Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx all shifted more towards Bush in 2004. New Jersey, which had many of its residents killed in the WTC attacks, moved from 56-40 Gore to 53-46 Kerry. This is a 7 point swing towards Bush.

In the end, though, I think that focusing on the certain areas that were hit by terrorist attacks voting patterns is a silly thing to do anyway. The attacks struck NYC and NOVA, but they killed people from all over the country as many were flying on an a hijacked airplane, stationed at the Pentagon, or a recent transplant to NYC. It was an attack on America, not just one part of it or one kind of person. Arguments on the job Bush is doing fighting terrorism should focus on the bare facts of it, not on some questionable barometer about regional voting patterns.

*(Yes I understand that Nothern Virginia is more Democratic than the rest of the state but this is also where conservative workers in DC live and also the Pentagon employs different kinds of people than the EPA).


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