Saturday, February 18, 2017

Bad economy and brain drain = WisGOP winning strategy?

I'm going to give you a few pictures that all point to the same thing- the lagging economy in 2010s rural America is leading to bad electoral results which is leading to states run by GOPs elected by those angry rurals continuing to decline.

The National Association of Counties recently released a report going into detail on the recent economies of all American economies, and comparing it with the election results of 2016. I highly recommend that you click on this and go through the numerous interactive maps that are part of it- you can get a lot of insight about where your area of the state and country shapes up.

One of the most relevant political observations is this.
About 200 counties that voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in both 2008 and 2012 voted Republican in 2016. The majority are in the Midwest, in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. These swing counties are disproportionately mid-sized — with populations between 50,000 and 500,000 residents — and have economies specializing most often in agriculture, forestry and manufacturing. Overall, these 200 counties have weaker job recoveries than county economies overall (See Figure 2). The majority of them (56 percent) did not reach their pre-recession job peaks by 2016, while nationally only 43 percent of county economies fit that pattern. This is the result of their longer and deeper job recessions than county economies overall. They also lag in economic output (GDP) recovery due to deeper economic output (GDP) declines.
And if you look at this map that singles out the counties that shifted from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, this relationship definitely seems to hold up in Wisconsin. This is shown as the counties in red, and the darker ones are counties that have not recovered the jobs lost in the Great Recession.

In addition, most of America saw job growth decline In 2016, which further adds to this feeling that any good economic times that may exist aren't going to last. Wisconsin only had 4 counties see their job growth speed up, and they were in places so small that it could have been a statistical blip of a handful of people.

But it's not just small towns that are seeing economic concerns in Wisconsin. Phil Hands had this excellent cartoon in yesterday's Wisconsin State Journal which illustrates problem on the upper, highly-educated end of the state's economy.

It sure makes you think if these 2 things are related. Governors like Walker and backwards-ass ALEC legislators put in legislation that injured a state's economy in the 2010s, which led frustrated blue-collars and rurals to blame Obama for their lack of improvement and look to Trump for more and better change (yes its stupid, but that was the mentality). And then the same ALEC crew defunds public education to keep those people stuck in crappy jobs, and drive away the talented young people that would change the electorate enough to vote them out of power.

It makes too much sense to me, which is why I'm inclined to stay here in Wisconsin and not give those regressive GOPs what they want by saying "Fuck you, I'm outta here." At least for now.

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