Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Discounting NY, CA, Madison and other “blue” areas: is it “rural elitism?"

Nobody's opinion is better than anyone else's on the basis of geographical location

If you don’t count Texas, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by more than 3.6 million votes in the popular vote totals for president last month.

That statistic is misleading, though, because of course Texas voters count. Every single voter who cast a ballot in the state of Texas is a citizen of the United States, and discounting their preferences is a stupid way to make sense of, or otherwise qualifying, the results of an election.

So, too, is discounting the worth of “blue” states votes that went for Clinton. But conservative sites like the Daily Mail and Drudge Report are peddling the idea that, if you don’t count New York and California, Trump won the popular vote by more than three million votes.
All of the voters in those two states matter because they’re all American citizens. To suggest that, “Oh, it’s just New York or California that gave Clinton a popular vote win” is a snide, shorthanded way of saying those states, and their residents, don’t really matter.

Others were quick to notice the problems with such logic:

Many across the country have suggested that urban areas are worth ignoring, and others have said we have the Electoral College precisely because we want to prioritize smaller states and rural areas, to ensure the candidates travel to places outside of New York and California (click here for why that’s illogical thinking).

This idea, of discounting geographical areas on the basis of whether their urban or not, isn’t limited to the national level either. Responding recently to Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, who recently described Madison as a “communist community,” former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz pointed out that derision of this nature is about much more.

From the Isthmus, Cieslewicz writes, “I’m going to guess that [Duffy’s remarks were] a calculated attempt to feed red meat” to a conservative audience, adding that, “Duffy got a rise out of just the folks he wanted to irritate.”

Cieslewicz is quick to say that we should “get our fellow Badgers to think of us as maybe the eccentric uncle in the family but not as the obnoxious cousin with the trust fund and the attitude,” and maybe he’s right to a certain extent – my conversations with people in rural areas usually indicate that Madison is considered too “hoity toity” for their tastes.

But dismissing certain geographical areas for helping boost the popular vote totals of Clinton is also something we cannot overlook. People who scoff at urban centers as being “different” than themselves are in dangerous territory. If they fail to step back their rhetoric, they risk becoming “rural elitists,” of considering themselves somehow better than a substantial part of the country.

No one is better than someone else because of where they live. Everyone’s opinions should be judged based on their merit, not their zip code, and we shouldn’t try to subtract votes from either candidate just because a substantial portion of them came from an area that votes a certain way. Yes, people do live in “bubbles.” But it’s important to acknowledge when you yourself live in one, and to try and see the world from a different perspective whenever possible.

1 comment:

  1. I find it infuriating that outstaters think they're the only people who pay taxes and work hard. I guess the $6,900 my wife is giving to tge City of Madison today is just for fun, and the thousands taken out of my paycheck get refunded? I don't think so.

    And I don't think that makes me special, and neither do my post-HS degrees. But Joe Sixpack from Bumblefuck thinks he's a "real man" and deserves more attention. And that guy calls ME soft and a "snowflake"?

    The real enemy isn't eju-kay-ted types like me. Know this