Too Bad We Can't Build A Wall Around Trumpistan-- At Least During The Pandemic

Red America by Nancy Ohanian

Trumpistan... the sick and dying Moocher States-- whose people like everything about socialism (other than sharing with black people and immigrants... and the name "socialism), uneducated, steeped in bigotry and superstition masquerading as religion. America's albatross-- especially during an out-of-control pandemic when their willfully poor hygiene puts the rest of us, all of us in real danger.

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal noted that politics has pulled the country apart. "The widening divide between red and blue America," they wrote-- "demographically, philosophically and culturally-- can seem like an irreparable rift... And in 2020, one of the starkest divides has been attitudes about the Covid-19 pandemic. Among Republicans who voted in the 2020 presidential election, about eight in 10 said the country has coronavirus at least somewhat under control. About the same percentage of Democrats said it is not at all under control."

Thank your president for something needless and dangerous that didn't have to be politicized. But refusing to mandate masks and social distancing-- and for demonizing the whole idea of it-- Trump encouraged Republicans nationwide to keep spreading the disease, even as he did that himself, all of his rallies leading to outbreaks and deaths. When you look at the 3 states with the most cases of COVID per capita, they're all run by crackpot Trumpist governors who still refuse to follow public health officials. And the folks who live in these states? After 4 years of Trump, each voted heavily for 4 more years!

Doug Burgum (R-ND)- 73,934 cases per million residents-- 651.% Kristi Noem (R-SD)- 64,809 cases per million residents-- 61.8% Kim Reynolds (R-IA)- 51,284 cases per million residents-- 53.2%

Yesterday, Brookings put out a paper pointing out the economic disparity between the Trump counties and the Biden counties. I found it shocking. They reported that Biden-voting counties equal 70% of America's economy! "[T]he stark economic rift that Brookings Metro documented after Donald Trump’s shocking 2016 victory has grown even wider. In 2016, we wrote that the 2,584 counties that Trump won generated just 36% of the country’s economic output, whereas the 472 counties Hillary Clinton carried equated to almost two-thirds of the nation’s aggregate economy. A similar analysis for last week’s election shows these trends continuing, albeit with a different political outcome. This time, Biden’s winning base in 477 counties encompasses fully 70% of America’s economic activity, while Trump’s losing base of 2,497 counties represents just 29% of the economy. (Votes are still outstanding in 110 mostly low-output counties...) The nation’s economic geography remains rigidly divided. Biden captured virtually all of the counties with the biggest economies in the country, including flipping the few that Clinton did not win in 2016. By contrast, Trump won thousands of counties in small-town and rural communities with correspondingly tiny economies. Biden’s counties tended to be far more diverse, educated, and white-collar professional, with their aggregate nonwhite and college-educated shares of the economy running to 35% and 36%, respectively, compared to 16% and 25% in counties that voted for Trump."

The wealth-producing counties that Trump won in 2016 Tarrant (TX), Maricopa (AZ), Duval (FL), Morris (NJ) and Pinellas (FL), he lost to Biden last week.

In short, 2020’s map continues to reflect a striking split between the large, dense, metropolitan counties that voted Democratic and the mostly exurban, small-town, or rural counties that voted Republican.  Blue and red America reflect two very different economies: one oriented to diverse, often college-educated workers in professional and digital services occupations, and the other whiter, less-educated, and more dependent on “traditional” industries. Why does this matter? This economic rift that persists in dividing the nation is a problem because it underscores the near-certainty of both continued clashes between the political parties and continued alienation and misunderstandings. To start with, the 2020’s sharpened economic divide forecasts gridlock in Congress and between the White House and Senate on the most important issues of economic policy. The problem-- as we have witnessed over the past decade and are likely to continue seeing-- is not only that Democrats and Republicans disagree on issues of culture, identity, and power, but that they represent radically different swaths of the economy. Democrats represent voters who overwhelmingly reside in the nation’s diverse economic centers, and thus tend to prioritize housing affordability, an improved social safety net, transportation infrastructure, and racial justice. Jobs in blue America also disproportionately rely on national R&D investment, technology leadership, and services exports. By contrast, Republicans represent an economic base situated in the nation’s struggling small towns and rural areas. Prosperity there remains out of reach for many, and the party sees no reason to consider the priorities and needs of the nation’s metropolitan centers. That is not a scenario for economic consensus or achievement. At the same time, the results from last week’s election likely underscore fundamental problems of economic alienation and estrangement. Specifically, Trump’s anti-establishment appeal suggests that a sizable portion of the country continues to feel little connection to the nation’s core economic enterprises, and chose to channel that animosity into a candidate who promised not to build up all parts of the country, but rather to vilify groups who didn’t resemble his base. If this pattern continues-- with one party aiming to confront the challenges at top of mind for a majority of Americans, and the other continuing to stoke the hostility and indignation held by a significant minority-- it will be a recipe not only for more gridlock and ineffective governance, but also for economic harm to nearly all people and places. In light of the desperate need for a broad, historic recovery from the economic damage of the COVID-19 pandemic, a continuation of the patterns we’ve seen play out over the past decade would be a particularly unsustainable situation for Americans in communities of all sizes.