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This Map Tells A Story

Wrong map, right map


We've often seen the above map of the United States that colors the states red or blue, or sometime purple, during election season. Since at least the beginning of the 21st century, as I can recall, it's usually looked like vast swathes of the country are red (or republican, maps used to actually have the colors the other way around). Sometimes you wonder how a democrat can win with the much red. People who vote republican are dismayed and blame liberal cities for having too much influence. However, that map makes us forget that we elect people based on population, not land mass. Numbers of voters, not square miles. Electoral college votes are given to states based on their populations. Whether you think it's right or wrong, it is also a fact that needs to be reminded that New York, Florida, Texas, and California have a much larger influence than Nebraska or Wyoming. Again, not right or wrong, but a fact you should keep in mind every time you see a map like the one above.

Nate Silver's Fivethirtyeight blog offers a map that is much more accurate. That gives us a far better snapshot of the leanings of the states. Each hexagon is one electoral vote in the map below. Here we see the actual weight each state can throw around. I won't offer any judgments about this situation. I don't know if "red state people" are under-represented, I don't know if we should somehow reduce the influence of usual blue urban areas. Ideally we can learn to stop being red and blue and just be humans. But I hope this map offers a different perspective.

(from the fivethrityeight.com page, 10-21-16)
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