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Thursday, June 16, 2016

More Summer reads

   I am not sure why Summer seems like a better time to read than the rest of the year but maybe it is the opportunity to read leisurely on vacation.   While most vacation reads are fiction books I have always looked for non fiction.  Earlier this week I recommended one Summer read and today I can recommend another book.
    The book is "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Regional Cultures of North America."  We see the political and cultural differences being played out in our Country on a daily basis.  If you think these differences are new you are wrong.  Most of our differences go back to the early settlers of our Country.  The English settled both New England and the South but why they came to our Country was very different.   The English that settled the Deep South came from the Caribbean and were slave holders and came from an autocratic culture.  The English that came to New England were mostly religious settlers like the Puritans that held strict religious codes that stressed individual rights (at least for white men).
     The middle states like Maryland were caught between the two cultures as was shown when Maryland had soldiers fighting for both the North and South in the Civil War.  The Eastern Shore, Southern Maryland and Baltimore were Confederate strongholds and the Western Maryland soldiers fought for the Union.  Maryland also had strong religious influences from Catholics, Amish and Quakers that had pacifist leanings.  The Ellicott family for whom Ellicott City is named were Quakers from the Philadelphia area.
    Most of western United States is referred to as "El Norte" as being a nation of mostly Spanish settled states that belonged to Mexico until after the Mexican-American War in 1848.  This area of the U.S. has a rapidly growing Hispanic population and turning many of the states in this area from conservative Republican to "purple" swing states that could eventually turn "blue" in voting in the coming years.  This is especially happening in Colorado, Nevada and Arizona.  Even Texas is moving in this direction.
    The West Coast of the U.S. is also listed as its own "nation" for its diverse liberal leaning populations in California, Oregon and Washington State.  The diversity and openness to new ideas of this region is the prime reason for its liberal political leanings.
    I have only covered some of the 11 nations identified in the book.  For a good description of the 11 nations here is a good link.  Understanding the differences in who settled each of these regions helps explain the political differences we see in our current electorate.  With today's frequent migration of citizens these regional differences may change dramatically in the future.

P.S.
     I have deliberately held back in this blog to frequently commenting about this crazy Presidential season.   There is one aspect of the campaigns that I want to throw out there.   I can't help but think that Trump is "punking" the Republicans.  Not sure what I mean by "punking?" The Urban Dictionary defines punking as "ripping you off, teasing or tricking you."   Here is how I came to that conclusion.   Trump by his past statements (some of which are very recent) come off as a moderate Republican/Democrat aligned with the traditional Republican business class.  Generally conservative on fiscal issues but willing to be moderate to liberal on most social issues.  The guiding principle seems to be what is good for my business is good politically.  Trump has shown this by giving to both political parties to stay in the good graces of whomever is elected.
      So following this train of thought Trump like many other moderate businessman have grown concerned about where the Tea Party has taken the Republican Party in a very conservative direction.  The influence of the more moderate business wing of the Republican Party has been greatly lessened as more moderate Republicans are afraid of being "primaried" out of office.  I don't think it is unreasonable to think that Trump entered the primaries and took the extreme positions of the Tea Party to insure that only a very conservative candidate would get the nomination and hurt the Republican Party in the general election.  He would say publicly what many Republicans would only say privately.   Romney knew enough to only refer to the "47% of takers" in a private meeting.  Trump will say those kind of things publicly.
      The true test of my theory will be if Trump doesn't moderate his tone as we move to the general election.  Any serious candidate of either party moderates their views from the primaries to the general election in recognition of the broader electorate in a general election.  So far Trump seems to be following my theory by doubling down on his extreme positions and trying to alienate as many people as possible.  By suffering a significant election loss in November the Republican Party will have to address how to move away from the Tea Party supporters and move back to the more traditional business friendly segment of the Republican Party.  With that Trump will have succeeded in "punking" the Republican Party.  Just a theory so watch how this plays out.

1 comment:

Carl D Jones said...

This seems quite similar to what Clinton has done to the Democrats to keep enough of a percentage from voting for Sanders so that she could win the primaries and now she'll shift back toward the moderate side to try to win over people who are disgusted with Trump. They are all a bunch of Punkers!