Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Voting follows old patterns in Missouri (again!)

Four years ago, on the day after the election, I wrote the following post about the breakdown of voting in Missouri. While the name Obama has been replaced with Clinton and I had to change the percentage of the popular vote, otherwise everything remains true.

In the weeks running up to the election I became obsessed with CNN's Election Center. With all the results in, I took a look at voting in Missouri. CNN posted an interesting map showing how Missouri voted county by county.

As you can see, Clinton only carried three counties. They were St. Louis, Jackson, and Boone. She also carried St. Louis city. St. Louis County is part of the metro area, Jackson is home to Kansas City, and Boone is home to Columbia, which serves as the setting for my Civil War novel.

Knowing Missouri, I never expected Clinton to win there. She did pretty well, though. St. Louis and Jackson are, of course, the most populous counties, and Boone is number 7, so while Clinton only managed to carry three counties and St. Louis city, she did get 38% of the popular vote.

What's interesting is that St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia were the three main strongholds for Union sentiment during the Civil War. More rural areas (called "Outstate" by Missourans) tended to be for the South. They supported the Democrats, who back then were a conservative party that wanted to preserve the status quo. If you wanted to find supporters of the liberal alternative to the Democrats, the Republicans Party, you had to look in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia.

A sweeping generalization, I know, but one that still has a ring of truth 150 years later. The three cities are still liberal and the rest of the state is still conservative, all they've done is switch parties! 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Interesting point.
Although if you look at the time of Lincoln, what his party was doing was very liberal compared to the other party. And he was a Republican. I think over time, the parties have switched views. Odd, huh?

Tony Laplume said...

The only problem with this is that during the Civil War era, rural areas more or less followed whatever it was their leaders were saying, which is why they fought, not because they had any stake in the issue of slavery. If this was different in the cities, it was because of the lack of slavery in them. So the rural areas weren't being particularly conservative; they weren't condoning a way of life but rather the idea that this was their country. That's why Lee led the troops, too. What's interesting about yesterday's vote is that it represents an almost conservative turn in urban thinking, the belief that the status quo has been doing its job, despite massive civil unrest in those areas the last few years. This is why I don't tend to ken to the labels of "conservative" and "liberal," because they don't always mean what they seem to, like the random flip-flopping of what the parties they tend to represent, as you point out.

Sioux said...

Sean--It was a sad day yesterday. Hopefully the next four years will not be as bad as I think they might be...

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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