On election night, I spent a fair amount of time explaining to my kids why the map looked more red than blue and why that didn’t actually mean more people voted red than blue. We had to talk about the electoral college, and about population density, and also about how the media likes graphics and charts to show lots of contrast because everything seems more dramatic that way.
And honestly, we like those dramatic images, too. So here’s another one, which I hope is shocking because it challenges our assumptions at how divided we are as a nation. And kudos to the people who took the time to make these more accurate representations. (The gradient one seems like it must have been a total nightmare…can you imagine? HOURS of work!) If you want a fantastic description of the images above, and the way statistics actually break down coast to coast, you can read the full article here.
And, if I may add just one more layer to the images…I stand in a very odd cross-section of people in my world, and I’m all too often reminded that most stereotypes about who votes which way and what those people are like is accurate far less often than we’d like to believe. And even if we think we can guess what a person’s opinion may be, that doesn’t mean we understand why.
If we can see the U.S. as purple, that’s a good first step. The next step is to see each color dot as a person who is far more than what we judge him to be by his political vote. If we then think about how each person is made up of both red and blue beliefs or opinions within herself, we’ll really be moving toward how our political landscape actually works out. (A girl can dream…)