Suburban Areas

State Politics Much More Complicated Than Often Realized: The Cases Of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California

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.

IntraState Discontent: Suggestions To Break Up States Growing, But Unlikely To Occur!

A movement to break up states, and therefore create more Senate seats and overcome the influence of urban areas on rural and suburban populations, is starting to grow.

The suggestion has been made to create a new state of Southern California, consisting of 13 million people and 13 counties, but not including Los Angeles.

California is not the only state which has experienced this kind of movement. It is actually very common, at least in people’s imaginations.

Florida has seen the debate over creating a separate Southern Florida state. Upstate New York and downstate Illinois have long wished for separation from New York City and Chicago.

Northern Virginia has thought of itself as separate from the rest of Virginia, with the influence of Washington, DC over the area. And western Pennsylvania has wished to be separate from Philadelphia influences over state affairs.

Northern Ohio with Cleveland has long seen itself as different from Southern Ohio and Cincinnati, and Michigan is often seen as Detroit and a separate western Michigan.

And of course, the giant state of Texas has often been seen as multiple states, with the rivalry of Houston vs. Dallas-Forth Worth; the influence of Austin and San Antonio as the most liberal part of the state; and the Panhandle of Lubbock and other communities as totally different from the others.

So in theory, if all the wishes expressed for separation were to occur, we would not have 50 states, but more likely, at least SIXTY-ONE states!

But is this going to happen at any point in the future? Don’t put betting money on it!