In reality, solely two regional cultures persistently exhibit urban-rural vote splitting, and collectively they account for simply 15 p.c of the inhabitants. Only within the Midlands has the cut up been a stark one. While city Midlanders most popular Democrats by between six and 18 factors within the three elections, their rural counterparts voted Republican by 15.2, then 22.6 and at last a blistering 40.eight in 2016. As in Yankeedom, this dramatic Trump surge amongst rural voters had an outsize impact on the Electoral College end result.
Nor ought to cities be assumed to be dependable bastions of Democratic assist. The core counties of main metropolitan areas, together with Phoenix, Jacksonville, Fla., and Virginia Beach — and many smaller ones, like Boise, Idaho; Colorado Springs; Mobile, Ala.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Wichita, Kan. — went Republican in all of those presidential elections. Notably, not one among them is in Yankeedom, the Left Coast or New Netherland, regardless that these nations account for almost 30 p.c of the United States inhabitants.
Look at counties inside medium-size metros — these with a inhabitants of between 250,000 and a million. Instead of being blue strongholds, such counties in 4 of the “nations” — Deep South, Greater Appalachia, Far West and New France — voted for Republicans in all three contests, and people within the Midlands did the identical within the latter two. Yet within the reliably “blue” nations, this similar county sort supported Democrats. Collectively, the very greatest core metro counties do vote Democratic in each nation, however by margins that fluctuate enormously, from 9 to 20 factors in most “red” areas to 40- and 60-point landslides in “blue” ones.
Why the variations? I’ve lengthy argued that United States politics resolves across the rigidity between advancing particular person liberty and selling the widespread good. The regional cultures we consider as “blue” as we speak have traditions championing the constructing and upkeep of free communities, as we speak’s “red” ones on maximizing particular person freedom of motion. Our presidential contests nearly all the time current a transparent alternative between the 2, and the areas act accordingly.
The 2016 election was an exception, largely as a result of Mr. Trump didn’t marketing campaign as a standard laissez faire Republican. Rather, he promised authorities would rebuild infrastructure and the manufacturing sector, protect staff from imports and migrant staff, change the Affordable Care Act with “something terrific” and shield Social Security and Medicare. This delivered vital dividends in rural elements of the communitarian-minded Midlands and Yankeedom, flipping scores of counties that had voted for Mr. Obama twice, most of them within the Upper Mississippi Valley, northern New England and upstate New York.