Appreciating Nuance: Lessons in North Dakotan Politics Through Maps (Part I)

Without claims to correlation or much concern about context, I want to put these Google API generated maps out into the (creative) commons to help overcome the deficiencies in the representations that exist for North Dakota. I’ve overheard way too many conversations in the Capitol Hill Starbucks where amateur pundits try to impose a certain, uniform political culture where one doesn’t exist. Furthermore, it seems irresponsible to allow particular voices dominate the construction of a North Dakota political identity.

In absence of voter registration and strongly ideological politics (I would point to Hoeven’s apolitical origins as proof of this), any supposed political identity is an artificial creation, often espoused for partisan purposes. Certainly, I have no inclination to argue that my home state is the bastion of hidden liberalism.

Constitutional Measure #1, 2004 by ‘No’ vote.

What I would like to briefly/facilely argue is that instead, by visualizing recent voting trends we can facially see that local politics is an incredibly layered process influenced by a variety of historical and demographic factors.

Percentage of Families Below Poverty Line, 2000, emphasizing highest poverty.

How the nation views the state.

Fictitious. I haven’t come across an office where at least Rolette county didn’t go Democratically.

How North Dakotan see ourselves.

President & Vice-President of the United States, 2008 by majority.

North Dakota

The truth is that ND, like most Midwestern states, is incredibly political diverse and conflicted by the deeply-rooted populist conservatism of rural culture and something facinatingly new.

President & Vice-President of the United States, 2008 by proportion.

Grand Forks, Bismarck and Fargo are no longer the cities that I was born in, grew up and sought refuge in (respectively). On the one hand, job growth and budding populations of displaced people have started shifting the fundamental culture of the cities. The 2010 census is going to be a pretty remarkable insight into this change.

Lastly, I wanted to add an underappreciated clip which I think demonstrates that this so-called populist anger is cyclical. In the next, I’m attack such social statistics.