Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Geography, Threat and Presidential Politics

While George Miserable Failure Bush and his supporters like to crow about the threats to America if Senator Kerry is elected president, the people who are most likely to be the targets of any attacks tend to support Kerry. Is this merely because those places that might likely be targeted are traditionally Democratic enclaves? (Here I am talking about NYC, DC, LA, San Francisco, and Chicago.)

Perhaps it is explained more by demographics than by any assessment of threats. People in the aforementioned enclaves have, on average, higher levels of educational attainment, which correlates with a more liberal world view. In addition, people in the Bush states tend to have lower levels of educational attainment and are more religious.

So, do these Fox Americans actually believe they will be safer under a second Miserable Failure administration, or is their support more a factor of Bush's kow-towing to religious conservatives on social issues? Maybe a better question might be why do these people feel threatened at all? How likely is a terrorist attack on the cornfields of the Midwest, the deserts of the Southwest or the tobacco or hog farms of the South? (Yes, I realize that those are awful stereotypes, but the reality is that there are not desirable targets in these areas.) If people in these states are aware of the de minimus threat posed by terrorists, are they then failing to account for the safety of their fellow citizens? Or, is their knowledge more subconscious and thus driving a false perception of threat and miscalculation about Bush's leadership in the war on terror?

Back to the Kerry supporting states. If their support for Kerry is predestined by their demography, what does that tell us about the role that rationality plays in electoral politics. We should expect self preservation, as exercised by a vote for the candidate who would best protect their area, to trump identity politics, demographics, historical voting patterns, etc.

Where does this all leave us? Are the Kerry voters simply irrational? Do Bush state voters have a false perception of threat? Or, is safety not accounted for in a rational way in people's voting decisions?


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