Discussion: Forget ‘Red’ Vs. ‘Blue’ — Here’s A Whole New Way To Think About State Divides

Discussion for article #225070

Thanks for the article. I would further surmise that this model would explain the differences within a state–where metropolitan areas fit the “loose” model while less metropolitan areas fit the “tight” model.

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“Tight” was a common term for drunk in the days that the GOP hopes to rekindle, and, as a preface to “ass,” describes a miserly person with little to no vision and total obedience to mindless social norms. Whereas, “loose” (in combination with “stay” or “hang”) means an attitude that is free-thinking and unencumbered by gratuitous social constraints. In this context, I wholeheartedly approve the updated nomenclature.

In the “tight” states the rates of teen pregnancy and divorce are higher. Sounds kind of loose to me


Random thought:

  1. How come New Hampshire is looser than New York and New Jersey?

  2. Hard to believe Idaho is as “loose” as Illinois.

You don’t understand; it’s their anuses that are tight…very, very tight.

Yeah whatever…we need a Blue state tax revolt. Especially when Kansas starts asking for a bailout.

If the idea is to come up with an explanation of what underlies the red-blue divide, this didn’t do it. The author notes where this model differs from the political map. If the result is different, then this doesn’t explain it. It might explain something else, but not modern political divides. I’d like to see the map when looking at just the individual factors, before combining them into a sort of index. I expect the one demographic factor that best aligns with our political division will be population density. My guess as to second place will be religiosity.

I think you are exactly right. Population density is a critical feature favoring liberal and pro-labor policies. It is a measure of labor abundance or scarcity in economists’ Stolper-Samuelson Theorem which, as Ronald Rogowski showed in Commerce and Coalitions, can go a long way to identifying political coalitions for generations. It is one of my very favorite books and I recommend it to my students frequently.

Tighter states had a higher average of conscientiousness — a personality characteristic related to lower impulsivity, greater self-control, orderliness, and conformity — relative to looser states.

The demand for conformity in “tighter” states creates the appearance of greater self-control and conscientiousness by forcing the “impulsive” behavior underground. It doesn’t take much digging to find it, and to say that our culture is replete with such references would be comic understatement.

Also, I’d guess that conformity has more to do with homogeneous populations than anything else. Homogeneity may derive from some of the conditions you mention, like undesirable living conditions that discourage influx, or urban-flight destinations like the mountain west, but I think those conditions are mostly circumstantial except where they contribute to the homogeneity that, after all, forms the bedrock of something to conform to.

I’m not sure that population density is the factor either. Here is a map: http://www.city-data.com/forum/general-u-s/1417982-u-s-states-ranked-population-density.html#b
Florida has a much denser population than Oregon, Washington, Minnesota or Vermont. Indiana is virtually the same as Illinois and Michigan in density, yet quite different politically. Even the presence of large cities doesn’t tell the whole story, since Texas cities like Dallas and Houston are quite conservative, while Vermont, whose largest city is <50,000 is probably the bluest state.

Nope. I don’t buy it. This seems to be as flawed a paradigm as red-blue. Both have substantial correlations and overlap but neither get to the core issues. This one fails by failing to account for the fact that many of these states are tight on certain type of issues and loose on others, giving the false perceptive of “middleness” rather than recognizing that two opposite, extreme positions do not equal moderate. For example, many of the mountain states are very tight (controlling) on some issues such as abortion and gay rights, but very loose on other issues, such as land use and gun rights.

If you want a divide that goes directly to a single core issue rather than one that deals only in corollaries, I suggest a better model would be to took at how positive or negative residents of a state view modern, secular society. Those that see the modern state as a positive force for improvement support regulation for the greater good, are committed to being a part of the community, and are willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of the community.

Those people that see modern, secular society in a negative light and the wrong direction naively yearn to be free of any regulation or for the power of total control over other’s individual’s beliefs, actions and choices - often both simultaneously; a paean to cognitive dissonance.

By the way, this dichotomy is almost precisely the split between those who accept and oppose the classic liberal, Enlightenment Era view of human nature.

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This analysis, like all generalizations, bluntly describes the states’ differences regarding their regulation of personal behavior. That said, however, you could almost just about reverse the terms and descriptions to describe the states’ regulation, or lack thereof, of corporate behavior. Marginally useful semantic adjustment. My $0.02

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Still looks like a Civil War map.

So how do I sign up for the Loose party?

And murder rates and divorce rates. Not exactly examples of coherence.

" those states with a large amount of slave-owning families in 1860 — those that were “occupied” by the North after the Civil War and lost the backbone of their slave-based economy — are tighter. "

Those states also had a large number of people who were owned and their descendants may view the matter rather differently.

I’d like to see this analysis redone using parameters of actual behavior rather than law. Instead of severity of punishment for marijuana use, simply measure the rate of actual use in the population. Gay-loving Massachusetts has “loose” divorce laws, but the lowest divorce rate. It seems the loose denizens of the Bay State have their “impulse control”, well, under control. Instead of percentage of dry counties, let’s look at alcoholism rates. Maybe the tight states are tight because their citizens, lacking impulse control, need to be externally controlled.