What If Mexico Was Part of the United States?

The previous two posts in this serious dealt with what would happen if Canada’s electoral votes were added to the United States. This post will examine what would happen if the same occurred with Mexico.

A note to all Mexican readers: this post was written for serious political analysis along with it. It is not meant to offend, and sincere apologies are offered if any offense at all is taken.

More below.

Mexico is a lot bigger than Canada. Canada has a population of 34 million; Mexico has a population of 112 million. Indeed, it’s one of the most populous countries in the world. The effect of adding Mexico to the United States would have far more of an impact than adding Canada.

One can calculate the number of electoral votes Mexico has this way. The first post in this series noted that:

A state’s electoral vote is based off the number of representatives and senators it has in Congress. For instance, California has 53 representatives and 2 senators, making for 55 electoral votes.

The United States Census estimates its population at approximately 308,745,538 individuals. The House of Representatives has 435 individuals, each of whom represents – on average – approximately 709,760 people. If Canada was part of the United States, this would imply Canada adding 48 (rounding down from 48.47) representatives in the House.

This is a simplified version of things; the process of apportionment is quite actually somewhat more complicated than this. But at most Canada would have a couple more or less representatives than this. It would also have two senators, adding two more electoral votes to its 48 representatives.

Mexico’s population in 2010 was found to be exactly 112,322,757 individuals. Using the same estimates as above, one would estimate Mexico to have 158.25 House representatives. Adding the two senators, one gets about 160 electoral votes in total:


This is obviously a lot of votes. For the sake of simplification let’s also not consider Mexico’s powerful political parties in this hypothetical.

How would Mexico vote?

Well, it would probably go for the Democratic Party (funny how that tends to happen in these scenarios). This is not something many people would disagree with. Most Mexican-Americans tend vote Democratic. The Democratic platform of helping the poor would probably be well-received by Mexicans, who are poorer than Americans. Moreover, the Republican emphasis on deporting illegals (often an euphemism for Mexican immigrants, although some Republicans make things clearer by just stating something like “kick out the Mexicans”) would probably not go well in Mexico.

Here’s what would happen in the 2004 presidential election, which President George W. Bush won:


Senator John Kerry wins a pretty clear victory in the electoral vote. He gains 409 electoral votes to Mr. Bush’s 286 and is easily elected president.

What states would Mr. Bush need to flip to win?

In the previous post, where Canada was added to the United States, Mr. Bush would merely have needed to flip one: Wisconsin. Given his 0.4% loss in the state, this would require convincing only 6,000 voters to switch.

Mexico is a lot harder. In order to win, Mr. Bush needs to shift the national vote 4.2% more Republican. This flips six states: Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and finally Oregon (which he lost by 4.2%). They go in order of the margin of Mr. Bush’s defeat to Mr. Kerry:


But there’s a caveat here: in this scenario the entirety of Mexico is assumed to only have two senators. The fifty states have 435 representatives and 100 senators, making for 535 electoral votes in total (plus Washington D.C.’s three). Mexico, on the other hand, has 158 representatives and two senators, making for only 160 electoral votes. Obviously, Mexico’s influence is strongly diluted.

Mexico itself is organized into 31 states and one federal district. Assume that instead of the entire country voting as one unit, Mexico is divided in the electoral college into these districts. Each Mexican state (and Mexico City) would receive two senators, giving Mexico 222 electoral votes instead of 160.

But that’s not all. There are several states in America – Wyoming, for instance – whose influence is magnified due to their low population. The “Wyomings” of Mexico are Baja California Sur, Colima, and Compeche – which each have less than a million residents. Overall, this would probably add three more electoral votes to Mexico.

This means that Mr. Bush has to flip three more states to win:


New Jersey, Washington, and Delaware go Republican under this scenario. To do this, Mr. Bush would have to shift the national vote 7.59% more Republican (the margin by which he lost Delaware).

One can see that Mexico has a far more powerful effect than Canada; a double-digit Republican landslide has turned into a tie here. That’s what happens when one adds a country of more than one hundred million individuals.

Before Democrats start celebrating however, one should note that this the hypothetical to this point has been in no way realistic. It assumes that the residents of America will not alter their voting habits in response to an extremely fundamental change.

The next post explores some conclusions about what the typical election would look like if the United States became part of Mexico.


Part 2: What If Canada Was Part of the United States?

This is the second (more serious) part of two posts exploring the political consequences that would happen if Canada became part of the United States. The previous part can be found here.

A note to all Canadian readers: this post was written for the intent of a good laugh, and some serious political analysis along with it. It is not meant to offend, and sincere apologies are offered if any offense at all is taken.

More below.

How Important Would Canada Be?

The previous post looked at what would have happened in the 2004 presidential election if Canada had been part of the United States:


Democratic candidate John Kerry wins, but barely so. If 6,000 votes had shifted in Wisconsin, here is what would have happened:


Suddenly President George W. Bush is re-elected again.

This example probably overstates the importance of Canada. Canada’s Democratic vote would probably have sent Vice President Al Gore to the White House. But before that, one has to go all the way back to 1876 to find an election when the result would have been changed by Canada voting Democratic. Indeed, before 2000 the last time it matters which way Canada votes comes in 1916.

America’s presidents would mostly have been the same with or without Canada.

Here is another way to look at the picture. In the 2008 presidential election, a total of 131.2 million Americans voted. In the same year Canada held federal elections, in which 13.8 million Canadians voted. If one assumes that the same number of Canadians would vote in an American presidential election, one can make the table below:

If Canada Votes… Then Barack Obama Gains:
100% Democratic 9.53%
90% Democratic 7.70%
80% Democratic 5.83%
70% Democratic 3.93%
65% Democratic 2.96%
60% Democratic 1.98%
55% Democratic 1.00%

To be fair, these are not bad figures for Democrats. An increase of three percent in one’s popular vote is nothing to sniff at. At the same time, however, it is nothing world-altering.

Let’s take a look at the 2010 midterm elections. 87.8 million Americans voted for a congressional representative, and Republicans won that vote nationally by 6.8%. One can run the same numbers with Canada’s 2008 federal elections to get:

If Canada Votes… Then Republicans Win By:
100% Democratic -6.81%
90% Democratic -4.24%
80% Democratic -1.60%
70% Democratic 1.12%
65% Democratic 2.51
60% Democratic 3.92%
55% Democratic 5.35%

This indicates that Democrats would have needed around about three-fourths of the Canadian vote to tie in the 2010 popular vote.


A Canadian 51st state of the United States would not change American politics enormously. Ultimately Canada is just not populated enough to fundamentally alter the status quo.

To be sure, the Democratic Party would probably do a bit better initially. Liberal policies would be a bit more popular; conservative policies a bit less so. Canada would help Democrats in the House of Representatives, probably giving them around two dozen extra representatives (although Democratic strength would probably be diluted by the Quebec independence vote). On the presidential level, Democrats would need the Midwest a bit less. They could win with the John Kerry coalition – but barely so.

The beauty of the two-party system, however, is that the Republican Party would eventually adjust. It would move leftwards, much as it did after the New Deal or Democrats moved rightwards after the Reagan years. Eventually, after adopting more liberal policies, the two parties would again approach equilibrium.

Now…it’s a whole different story if Mexico was part of the United States (and not necessarily one that Democrats would like).


Part 1: What If Canada Was Part of the United States?

This is the first part of two posts exploring the political consequences that would happen if Canada became part of the United States. The second part can be found here.

A note to all Canadian readers: this post was written for the intent of a good laugh, and some serious political analysis along with it. It is not meant to offend, and sincere apologies are offered if any offense at all is taken.

Now…onto the post.

More below.

Part 1: What If Canada Was Part of the United States?


It is November 2nd, 2004. Election night. Incumbent president George W. Bush is nervously watching election returns, joined by his family. Early exit polls showed him losing massively, but the actual results are far more favorable to him.

As the night goes on, Mr. Bush begins to feel more comfortable. He’s ahead in the key swing states. Florida is going for him far more strongly than anybody expected, and things are also looking good in Ohio. It also looks like Mr. Bush has picked up a couple of states from 2000.

Although opponent Senator John Kerry has yet to concede, the celebration at party headquarters has already started. Drinks are opened. People begin cheering.

Then chief strategist Karl Rove comes in, ashen-faced. He turns to the president. “We’re in big trouble. Canada and California are just about to report, and I don’t think that we have the electoral votes to overcome them.”

Mr. Bush is befuddled. “What? Canada’s part of the United States? I always thought it was a different country.”

Mr. Rove looks puzzled. “No,” he says extremely slowly. “It became part of the United States after the War of 1812.  Are you all right, sir?”

Mr. Bush laughs. “Of course I’m fine. Just wasn’t thinking for a moment. Of course Canada’s part of the United States. Always has been.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Bush’s presidency is not fine. Deep into the night, as the Arctic territory of Yukon finishes voting, Canada reports. Mr. Bush loses badly, gaining only 35% of the vote. Canada’s 50 electoral votes go to Mr. Kerry. Early next morning Mr. Bush telephones his opponent, conceding defeat. Senator John Kerry has just been elected president of the United States.

Canada in the Electoral College

How likely is this scenario?

Well, of course Canada will not probably not become part of the United States anytime soon. Most Canadians are perfectly happy being separate from America. There is little to suggest that this will ever change.

Nevertheless, it is still quite fun to think about the possibilities.

A state’s electoral vote is based off the number of representatives and senators it has in Congress. For instance, California has 53 representatives and 2 senators, making for 55 electoral votes.

According to Canada’s population clock, the nation has an estimated 34,400,000 people (as of March 2010). This is slightly less than California.

The United States Census estimates its population at approximately 308,745,538 individuals. The House of Representatives has 435 individuals, each of whom represents – on average – approximately 709,760 people. If Canada was part of the United States, this would imply Canada adding 48 (rounding down from 48.47) representatives in the House.

This is a simplified version of things; the process of apportionment is quite actually somewhat more complicated than this. But at most Canada would have a couple more or less representatives than this. It would also have two senators, adding two more electoral votes to its 48 representatives.

Canada would thus add around 50 electoral votes in the electoral college:


These votes would almost certainly be Democratic ones. Most people would agree that Canada is a more liberal place than the United States. This is fairly apparent in the policies Canada pursues; it has universal health care and is less skeptical of climate change than the United States. It would not be too unreasonable to suggest, therefore, that Canada would vote for the more liberal party.

Canada’s Importance

Adding another California to the United States would definitely be a good thing for the Democratic Party. Nevertheless, one should not overemphasize Canada’s importance. After all, it’s population is barely one-tenth that of the United States.

Indeed, Mr. Kerry would have barely squeaked to victory with Canada’s electoral votes. In this hypothetical scenario, Mr. Bush would have just needed nine more electoral votes to win.

Here is one such scenario:


Here Mr. Kerry loses Wisconsin – and suddenly George W. Bush is president again.

This is an entirely possible scenario. Mr. Bush lost Wisconsin by 0.4%. A shift of less than 10,000 votes would have given Mr. Bush the state.

While the addition of Canada would shift America leftward, it is easy to overstate the degree of this. The next post will explore this topic more.


Analyzing the 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

On April 5th, 2011 Wisconsin held an election to choose a Wisconsin Supreme Court nominee. The supposedly non-partisan election turned into a referendum on Republican Governor Scott Walker’s controversial policies against unions. Mr. Walker’s new law will probably be headed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and since the Supreme Court is elected by the voters Democrats saw one last chance to defeat his law.

The frontrunner was the incumbent justice, Republican David Prosser. The Democratic favorite was relatively unknown JoAnne Kloppenburg. The two candidates essentially tied each other, although Mr. Prosser has taken the lead following the discovery of 14,315 votes in a strongly Republican city.

Here are the results of the election:


More below.

For a supposedly non-partisan election, the counties that Mr. Prosser won were almost identical to the counties that Republicans win in close races. There was essentially no difference.

A good illustration of this similarity is provided by comparing the results to those of the 2004 presidential election in Wisconsin. In that election Senator John Kerry beat President George W. Bush by less than 12,000 votes:


It is pretty clear that this non-partisan election became a very partisan battle between Democrats and Republicans.

Nevertheless, there were several differences between this election and the 2004 presidential election.

Here is a map of how Mr. Prosser did compared to Mr. Bush:


In most places Mr. Prosser is on the defence. He improves in his areas of strength by less than Ms. Kloppenburg does in her areas of strength. More Bush counties move leftward; fewer Kerry counties move rightward.

The great exception, however, is Milwaukee. In that Democratic stronghold Mr. Prosser improved by double-digits over Mr. Bush. Ms. Kloppenburg almost makes up the difference through a massive improvement in Madison (Dane County), the other Democratic stronghold, along with a respectable performance outside Milwaukee and its suburbs. But she doesn’t quite make it.

Here is a good illustration of the importance of Milwaukee:


As one can see, the two great reservoirs of Democratic votes belong in Madison and Milwaukee. Ms. Kloppenberg got all the votes she needed and more in Madison; she got far fewer than hoped for in Milwaukee.

Much of Mr. Prosser’s improvement was due to poor minority turn-out.

Milwaukee is the type of Democratic stronghold based off support from poor minorities (Madison is based off wealthy white liberals and college students). Unfortunately for Ms. Kloppenberg, minority turn-out is generally low in off-year elections such as these.

Another example of this pattern is in Menominee County, a Native American reservation that usually goes strongly Democratic. In 2011 Menominee County voted Democratic as usual (along with Milwaukee), but low turn-out enabled Mr. Prosser to strongly improve on Mr. Bush’s 2004 performance.

All in all, this election provides an interesting example of a Democratic vote depending heavily upon white liberals and the white working class (descendants of non-German European immigrants), and far less upon minorities.

–Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Can a Republican Nobody Win the Nomination?

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

It is the June, 2012. The Republican candidate, recent winner of the party’s presidential nomination, rises up to deliver a triumphant victory speech. He launches a full-throated defense of conservatism, inserts a few sly attacks on the Democratic president, and thanks his opponents for endorsing him.

Just six months ago nobody had heard about him. Yet then he won the Iowa caucuses, shocking everybody in the political world. New Hampshire followed, then a string of victories that utterly defeated his remaining opposition. Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee never stood a chance.

How likely is this to happen?

More below.

Well, it is certainly within the bounds of conceivability – although admittedly somewhat unlikely. There are several factors that ought to be considered.

Firstly, there is the state of the current Republican field itself. This is a surprisingly weak selection. There are a number of potentially strong candidates out there. The problem is that none of them are running.

Unlike most previous contests, there is no obvious front-runner such as Governors George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. Former Governor Mitt Romney is the one who best fits the definition. But Mr. Romney’s political skills are uncommonly weak; there is something about him (and this is a personal characteristic, not his Mormonism) that just turns-off voters.

So, unlike previous nominations, there is still plenty of space for a surprise Republican candidate to enter.

What about historical precedent? Here the picture is still pretty good. History is full of surprise candidates taking the nomination by storm. The most recent instance is, of course, the president himself (although he was actually pretty well known amongst the Beltway before 2008).

Even more encouraging might be example of President Jimmy Carter. Nobody, not even those immersed in politics, had heard of the peanut farmer before he ran for president. As late as January 1976 – the equivalent of January 2012 today – only 4% of Democrats chose him as their candidate. But Mr. Carter won the Iowa primary through retail politics, and then a string of other small primaries to build momentum.

There are other examples: Senator John Kerry in 2004, Governor Bill Clinton in 1992, and arguably Governor Mike Dukakis in 1988. These should hearten an ambitious yet unknown Republican.

On the other hand, all these examples come on the Democratic side. For whatever reason, political unknowns haven’t been as successful in the Republican Party. The last time the Republican frontrunner lost was in 1964, when Senator Barry Goldwater won the nomination (probably not the most inspiring model). Perhaps there is something in the nature of conservatism that is less attracted to exciting, new candidates of change.

At the moment, however, the chances that an unknown Republican will win the nomination better than they have been since – well – 1964.

Three Suggestions For the Republican Party’s 2012 Candidate

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

The time has come for many in the Republican Party to begin seriously considering the 2012 presidential election. By this time last year, President Barack Obama had just announced his candidacy. Soon the shadow campaign will begin in earnest, and then the real campaign several months after that, just before the Iowa primary.

Here are three of the strongest Republicans who could challenge Mr. Obama:

More below.

1) Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts

Mr. Brown may be the single most politically skilled individual in the entire Republican Party. He pulled a shocking upset over Democrat Martha Coakley, continues to retain extremely strong favorables, and looks likely to run a very competitive Senate race in 2012. All this while being many times more conservative than the average person in one of America’s most liberal states.

That takes skill.

Indeed, if this Republican ran for president, he’d probably have a decent chance of winning Massachusetts. Mr. Brown is a hero to Tea Partiers; at the same time there has been nothing so far that cuts against him negatively. And, in an era where looking good matters more than ever, Mr. Brown – as his Cosmopolitan photo shoot implies – certainly has the looks nailed down (he’s certainly going to need them, going against a man who can do this).

2) Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey

Mr. Christie is the popular governor of New Jersey, applauded by many Republicans for cutting spending and taking the fight full-hilt to the teacher’s unions. Media coverage of his agenda has been extremely positive so far, and his aggressive, blunt answers at town halls have draw much support on Youtube.

Compared to individuals such as Mr. Romney or Ms. Palin (or Mr. Brown, for that matter), the governor’s established record is far superior.

Mr. Christie’s weakness might lie in the realm of political skills. He was expected to win beat Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine in the gubernatorial race by double-digits; in the end Mr. Corzine made it quite close. While popular in New Jersey, the governor is hated by liberals and Democrats. And he doesn’t look presidential – or, to put it less nicely, he’s too fat.

3) Senator Marco Rubio of Florida

Mr. Rubio made an explosive rise in 2010. Starting out as a literal nobody, he succeeded in forcing out heavy favorite Charlie Crist in the Republican primary – and then winning a three-person senatorial race with ease.

The senator’s Hispanic origins help in the diversity realm, and he tells a great story about his immigrant parents. Moreover, Mr. Rubio has the rare ability to make people on opposite sides of an issue believe that he is with them and against the other side. He would be a formidable candidate.


There is one similarity between each of these candidates: they bear a strong resemblance to Mr. Obama, whatever their political differences.

Many in the Republican Party look at their current field  and do not see much. Each candidate – Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike  Huckabee, Haley Barbour – has serious weaknesses. None excites as Mr.  Obama does.

But these Republicans are thinking too narrowly. The  Republican Party has plenty of young, attractive, and politically savvy  politicians. It’s just that most pundits haven’t imagined them running  for president.

Perhaps Republicans ought to do a non-conservative thing: start looking outside the box.

Mexican Immigrants and the 2012 Mexican Presidential Election

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

There are quite a number of Mexican citizens living in America. Much political attention has been paid to these people by both American political parties. Liberals hope that the votes of their children will carve out a new permanent Democratic majority. Conservatives, on the other hand, relentlessly campaign against undocumented immigrants and “amnesty.”

When immigrant rallies occur, conservative media frequently focus on immigrants from Mexico waving Mexican flags. The implication is that these people are more loyal to Mexico than the United States.

Let’s take this thought a bit further, to a subject which most conservatives don’t think about. Like the United States, Mexico will have a presidential election in 2012. There are a lot of Mexican citizens in the United States (whether documented or undocumented). What if they voted?

More below.

So far they have not. Before the 2006 presidential election, Mexicans living abroad had to physically be present in Mexico to vote. Given the difficulty and expense of doing this (for all expatriates, not just Mexican), this effectively disenfranchised the Mexican expatriate population.

Before the 2006 presidential election, a new law was passed. This allowed Mexicans living abroad to register for an “overseas” ballot. The expectations were quite high; imagine the power of Mexico’s enormous expatriate vote to affect domestic Mexican politics.

As it turns out, however, only 32,632 Mexican citizens living in America bothered to take the offer. Most of them probably didn’t know about the procedure, or perhaps found it too complex. Apparently Mexican immigrants are just as disconnected to Mexican politics as they are to American politics (or more disconnected, in all probability).

Whether turn-out will be just as low in 2012 is still a mystery. Still, it’s pretty fascinating to consider what might happen if expatriate voting actually went into high-gear. What if the current ban on campaigning abroad was overturned? Imagine the PRI holding a political rally in California (or better yet, Arizona!). How about the PAN running advertisements on Univision?

Probably nothing more would piss nativists off than having Mexican political parties physically campaigning in the United States for the Mexican immigrant vote. It’s a humorous, if slightly unrealistic, thought.

California’s Unusual Black Vote in 2010

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

The black vote is one of the most reliably Democratic constituencies out there. Blacks commonly give Democratic candidates more than 90% of the vote; Democratic presidential candidates in 2000, 2004, and 2008 won 90%, 89%, and 95% of blacks respectively.

Blacks were as reliably Democratic as ever in the 2010 midterm elections. The black vote undoubtedly saved many a Democrat from defeat. Exit polls indicate that 89% of blacks nationwide voted for a Democratic congressman.

In California, however, blacks seemed to have been quite a bit more Republican than this.

More below.

The table below indicates the black support, according to exit polls, gained by Republicans in California’s statewide races:

2010   Black Vote Democratic Republican
Nationwide   (House of Representatives) 89 9
California   Governor 77 21
California   Senator 80 17

This can be graphed as below:


Now, a word of caution before analyzing these results: exit polls are notoriously unreliable. It is entirely possible that a bad sample skewed these results (although since it appears that the polls for the two California races were separately done, this may be less likely).

If the exit polls prove correct, however, California blacks voted significantly more Republican than blacks elsewhere in the nation. Generally speaking, it is quite a feat for a Republican to get more than 15% of the black vote.

Yet in 2010 Republican candidates in California did this twice. These were not especially impressive candidates; both lost pretty badly. Nevertheless, they got a degree of black support one would only expect Republican to pull during a landslide victory.

Whether this degree of black support is something recent, or  whether blacks in California have  always voted this way, is hard to  tell. According to exit polls, in 2008 they gave 94% of the vote to the Democratic candidate. In 2004 they gave 86% of the vote for Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer (this   was an election she won by a landslide). On the other hand, in 2004 a relatively paltry 70% voted for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides (who lost by a landslide). To round these numbers up, Senator John Kerry got 81% of the black vote that year.

Looking at the results does seem to indicate that blacks in California have been consistently more Republican than blacks nationwide, if not to the extent they were in 2010.

There are several reasons why this might have happened. Several years ago a blogger named dreaminonempty did a fascinating analysis, in which (s)he found that the blacks living in extremely non-black states tended to support Democrats less. For instance, blacks residing in states with higher black populations were more disapproving of President George W. Bush. This was the graph the blogger created:


Califonia is a state with a relatively low black population. Moreover, blacks in California are unusually integrated and getting more so. Places traditionally associated with the black community are rapidly diversifying. For instance, today Oakland is barely more than one-fourth black and Compton is less than one-third black.

California, then, constitutes a good example of dreaminonempty’s hypothesis. Its relatively racially integrated communities may have something to do with a less monolithically Democratic black vote.

Republicans should not start celebrating yet, however. Their relative strength amongst the black vote has very little to do with Republican success at appealing to minorities, and much more to do with the characteristics of California’s black community. If the party is ever to regain competitiveness in California, it must begin reaching out to minorities. Judging by the 2010 election results, this is still a challenge the party has yet to overcome.

The Rise and Fall of the South Carolina Democratic Party

In my research on South Carolina’s 2010 gubernatorial election, I came upon a fascinating chart. The chart describes the number of Democrats and Republican in South Carolina’s State House of Representatives from the Civil War to the present day. The data offers a fascinating story of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, and the Deep South in general.

Here is the story:

Most individuals familiar with politics know the history of the Deep South: it seceded from the Union after President Abraham Lincoln was elected. In the resulting Civil War, it fought the hardest and suffered the most against Union forces.

Victorious Union forces were identified with the hated Republican Party, founded with the explicit goal of destroying the southern way of life by ending slavery.

Under military Union rule, the Republican Party flourished in South Carolina:


The Republican Party was the dominant political force during the Reconstruction era, as the graph above shows. During its reign in power, it enjoyed large majorities in the State House of Representatives. Its political base was the black vote, and it attempted to systemically ensure racial equality for blacks and whites. A number of blacks were elected to state and federal office; it’s probable that many of the Republicans in the State House of Representatives were black.

This enraged whites in South Carolina. When President Rutherford Hayes ended Reconstruction and withdrew federal troops, they quickly gained control of South Carolina politics. The black vote was systemically crushed, and along with it the Republican Party.

This is reflected in the graph above. In 1874 there were 91 Republicans in the State House of Representatives. By 1878 there were only three left.

This led to the next stage of South Carolina politics, the Solid South:


Unfortunately, Wikipedia does not have data after 1880 and before 1902. After 1902, however, Democrats enjoyed literally absolute control of the State House of Representatives. For more than half-a-century, not a single Republican in South Carolina was elected to the State House of Representatives. Democrats regularly won over 95% of the popular vote in presidential elections.

That’s a record on par with that of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union.

There are several reasons why this occurred. Democrats in South Carolina were strongest of all the Deep South states, because blacks were the majority of the population. Only Mississippi at the time also had a black-majority population.

This meant that in free and fair elections, blacks would actually have control of South Carolina politics. If a free and fair election took place in another Southern states, the Democratic Party would still probably have maintained power – since whites were a majority of the population. In fact, this is what happens in the South today, except that the roles of the two parties are switched.

This was not the case with South Carolina, and party elites were profoundly aware and afraid of this. Therefore the grip of the Democratic Party was tightest in South Carolina, of all the Solid South (South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union for the same reason). Other Solid South states had more than zero Republicans in the state legislature. Republican presidential candidates might gain 20-40% of the vote, rather than less than 5%.

In black-majority South Carolina, the Republican Party was a far greater potential threat – and so the Democratic Party was extraordinarily judicious in repressing it.

Racism was a useful tool for South Carolina Democrats, and they were very proud racists. Controversial South Carolina Governor and Senator Benjamin Tillman, for instance, once stated that:

I have three daughters, but, so help me God, I had rather find either one of them killed by a tiger or a bear and gather up her bones and bury them, conscious that she had died in the purity of her maidenhood by a black fiend. The wild beast would only obey the instinct of nature, and we would hunt him down and kill him just as soon as possible.

Another time he commented:

Great God, that this proud government, the richest, most powerful on the  globe, should have been brought to so low a pass that a London Jew  should have been appointed its receiver to have charge of the treasury.

This was the Democratic Party of South Carolina during the Solid South.

At the end of the graph, notice that there is a little dip, just after the year 1962. This was in 1964, when the first Republican in more than half-a-century was elected to the South Carolina State House of Representatives.

He was not the last:


The year 1964 marked the day that Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed through the 1964 Civil Rights Act, against enormous Southern Democratic opposition.

It also marked the beginning of the end of the South Carolina Democratic Party. The Democratic Party underwent a monumental shift, from a party of white elites to a party representing black interests. In the process South Carolina whites steadily began abandoning it.

At first the decline was gradual, as the graph shows. In 1980 there were 110 Democrats in the State House of Representatives and 14 Republicans. Throughout the 80s the Democratic majority steadily declined, but in 1992 there were still 84 Democrats to 40 Republicans.

Then came 1994 and the Gingrich Revolution. The seemingly large Democratic majority collapsed like the house-of-cards it was, as South Carolina whites finally started voting for Republican statewide candidates, decades after they started doing so for Republican presidential candidates. Republicans have retained control of the state chamber ever since.

Since then the Democratic Party has declined further in the State House of Representatives. As of 2010 the number of Democratic representatives is at a 134-year low. And the floor may not have been reached. There are still probably some conservative whites who vote Democratic statewide, when their political philosophy has far more in common with the Republican Party.

Nevertheless, the modern era in South Carolina politics is still shorter than the Solid South era. Here is the entire history of the State House of Representatives:


It’s a fascinating graph, and it tells a lot about South Carolina and Deep South politics.

–Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Analyzing the South Carolina Gubernatorial Election, Part 3

This is part of three posts analyzing the 2010 South Carolina  gubernatorial election, in which Republican Nikki Haley won a  closer-than-expected victory over Democrat Vincent Sheheen. The main  focus of these posts will be to explore whether a racial effect  accounted for Ms. Haley’s unexpected poor performance.

(Note: This is also part of a series of posts analyzing the 2010 midterm elections.)


More below.

The previous post mapped out the relationship between Democratic shifts in 2010 and white registration numbers. Here is the relevant map reposted:


The post ended by noting that “So far this analysis has been relatively light on the statistical side of things.” It included a number of maps, but did not use any raw numbers.

This post aims to draw conclusions based on those numbers.

Let’s begin by translating the picture above into a graph:


This graph maps the relationship between how white a county in South Carolina is, and how much it shifted against non-white Republican candidate Nikki Haley in 2010.

If normally-Republican whites moved against Ms. Haley due to her race, one would expect the dots to be graphed in a roughly 45-degree diagonal line; the whiter a county, the more Democratic it would shift in 2010.

Clearly this is not the case in the graph above. There are a lot of very white counties that shifted strongly against Ms. Haley – but there are also a lot of very white counties that supported her more than they did Senator John McCain.

Indeed, the whitest counties seem to spread out into two groups; one group moves strongly against Ms. Haley, another actually shifts for her. One might speculate that the former group is composed of lower-income, rural whites and the latter is composed of higher-income, metropolitan whites.

To test this theory, the previous post adjusted for income by eliminating all the counties with a median household income greater than the state median (i.e. it got rid of the rich whites). Here is what the result looked like:


There seems to be a correlation here, as the previous post noted.

Here is how the relationship looks on a graph:


The group of white counties which shifted towards Ms. Haley has disappeared. Instead, one sees a much stronger trend: the whiter the county, the more strongly it moved against non-white Republican Governor Nikki Haley.

This only happens once high-income white counties are tossed out of the analysis. High-income Republican whites were very comfortable voting for non-white Republicans; low income Republican whites were less willing.

Interestingly, this pattern is not unique to South Carolina. In Louisiana, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal – a non-white individual of Indian descent – did extremely poorly amongst rural, low-income (Republican) whites while winning landslide support amongst high-income, suburban (Republican) whites. This caused Mr. Jindal to lose in his first attempt to run for governor.

Finally, one can test whether the effect above is statistically significant, or just the result of randomness.

Here is a regression analysis run on the 2010 South Carolina gubernatorial race:


Regression analysis is something I am still not fully comfortable with, so bear this in mind as the analysis continues.

The regression attempted to use two variables – race and income – to predict whether voters would vote more Democratic in 2010. Specifically, it used the percent of white registered voters in a county and said county’s median household income.

The model states that every 10% increase in white registered voters results in a 3.65% greater Democratic shift against Ms. Haley (this is the Coefficient column at the bottom left).

More importantly, whiteness and income were statistically significant when placed together; there was a 0.1% chance that the effect of whiteness was random, and a 0.4% chance that the effect of income was random (this is the P>|t| column at the bottom center).

So the evidence is fairly strong that racially-based voting by low-income whites hurt non-white Republican Ms. Haley in 2010.

There is, however, a caveat. The above regression only explains 20% of the variance between the different degrees of Democratic shifts between different counties (this is the Adj R-Squared line at the top right). This means that 80% of the variance is not explained by race and income.

Racism probably hurt Ms. Haley in 2010, but it was far from the only factor.





P.S. Here is the relevant data used to built this analysis:

County % Change   Democratic % White   Registered Median   Household Income
Abbeville 21.31% 69.08% 33,995
Aiken -1.30% 75.02% 43,845
Allendale 1.65% 25.09% 23,942
Anderson 15.75% 83.40% 41,399
Bamberg -1.54% 37.56% 28,266
Barnwell 0.40% 55.31% 30,549
Beaufort -8.27% 79.47% 54,085
Berkeley -1.32% 68.74% 49,609
Calhoun 4.72% 54.90% 39,537
Charleston -5.41% 69.36% 46,145
Cherokee 14.40% 77.45% 35,807
Chester 4.69% 59.40% 33,640
Chesterfield 15.82% 64.00% 32,267
Clarendon 2.28% 48.66% 29,840
Colleton 1.83% 58.16% 35,935
Darlington 6.87% 56.31% 34,577
Dillon 7.62% 49.11% 28,653
Dorchester -2.37% 72.07% 52,443
Edgefield 0.86% 62.79% 38,885
Fairfield 4.28% 42.02% 32,694
Florence 6.49% 58.12% 39,919
Georgetown -2.40% 66.73% 40,573
Greenville 4.41% 78.49% 45,917
Greenwood 12.18% 68.35% 39,586
Hampton 3.50% 42.67% 32,253
Horry -5.72% 85.98% 41,163
Jasper -4.05% 47.30% 35,163
Kershaw 33.41% 72.24% 45,268
Lancaster 9.10% 75.12% 40,286
Laurens 10.15% 71.81% 36,910
Lee 7.02% 37.11% 28,041
Lexington 15.99% 84.74% 52,062
Marion 5.55% 41.82% 28,437
Marlboro 9.87% 44.75% 26,799
McCormick -7.63% 57.41% 35,557
Newberry 13.21% 69.01% 37,263
Oconee 17.25% 91.39% 39,840
Orangeburg 2.19% 34.54% 33,567
Pickens 15.13% 91.76% 40,357
Richland 7.18% 49.90% 45,643
Saluda 15.99% 70.11% 40,819
Spartanburg 7.39% 76.07% 40,278
Sumter -0.65% 48.08% 37,113
Union 21.54% 67.31% 32,361
Williamsburg 1.43% 31.59% 26,639
York -5.13% 78.89% 50,644
Total 4.52% 69.66% 42,580