Anyone who follows American politics historically and contemporarily often seems unaware of the complexity of state politics around the nation.
We hear discussion of “Blue” states and “Red” states, but state politics is much more complicated that that.
Gerrymandering often distorts the reality of political loyalties in many states, and also the reality of about one third of voters being “Independent”, rather than loyal to Democrats or Republicans.
There are many examples of this across the nation, particularly noticeable in larger, more populated states.
Just a few examples:
New York State is often thought to be strongly Democratic, but not true in the state legislature, and New York City is vastly different in political culture from upstate New York areas, such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. Even Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, often reflect different views than the five boroughs of New York City, and within New York City, Staten Island, is vastly different from Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, with Queens County more balanced than the other boroughs in the city.
Pennsylvania is a state where gerrymandering has given the Republicans until now a great advantage, but new court ordered mandates may change that balance in Congress and the state legislature. Philadelphia has a very different political orientation than western Pennsylvania, often called “Alabama” outside of the city of Pittsburgh.
Virginia is well known to have a very liberal Democratic northern section (often called NoVa), reflecting the influence of being the Washington DC suburbs, while much of the rest of the state is reliably conservative and Republican.
Florida is strongly Democratic in the southern counties, particularly Broward and Palm Beach Counties, with somewhat less so in Miami Dade County due to the influence of Cuban Americans, but even that is diminishing, since it is now 60 years since the rise of Fidel Castro, and those directly affected negatively by Castro, are mostly no longer part of the population in Miami. At the same time, Central Florida is the real battleground in the state, the area that decides most elections. North Florida is much like Alabama or Georgia, its neighbors.
Ohio is strongly Democratic in the northern and central sections, particularly in Cleveland and Toledo, and the capital of Columbus, but in the more rural parts and in southern Ohio, near Kentucky, including Cincinnati, it is strongly Republican.
Illinois is dominated by Chicago in the northern part, but down state Illinois is much more Republican in orientation.
Michigan has Detroit as strongly Democratic but in western and northern Michigan, it is much more rural and Republican.
Texas has Democratic strongholds in the state capitol, Austin, and in Houston, while other portions of this very large state, including the rural areas, are strongly Republican.
California has Democratic strongholds in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the Central Valley, San Diego, and cities like Bakersfield, where House Majority Leader and possible next Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy resides, are strongly Republican.
The next race for the Speaker of the House could be between two Californians of totally different mentalities–Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.
A basic reality is that urban areas are always much more likely to be Democratic while rural areas are certain to be more Republican.
Suburban areas are what often decides the politics of a state and in Congress and the Presidential election, as they are the balancing force that determines a state vote, and recently it seems clear the suburban areas, often Republican, are starting to move away from that long time loyalty.
Virginia is now a Medicaid expansion state.