The election results: an interpretation

Several thoughts come to mind in the aftermath of yesterday’s election.  One is that the country seems to be becoming more geographically polarized.  The vast majority of the interior of the country voted for Romney.  The coasts and the midwest industrial belt went for Obama.  These trends have, of course, been going on for quite some time.  But I think that they are becoming slightly more pronounced.  I know my American history pretty well, and I cannot remember an electoral map whose geographical polarization was this pronounced since about the mid-nineteenth-century.  Geographical polarization is a dangerous phenomenon because it frequently can exacerbate the tensions between competing factions.  It is easier for radicalization to occur – irrespective of the particular end of the political spectrum on which one is located – when one is surrounded only by like-minded persons.

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