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kottke.org posts about 2012 election

How the Cretaceous coastline of North America affects US presidential elections

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 20, 2016

2012 Election Map

That’s a portion of the 2012 US Presidential election map of the southern states broken down by county: blue ones went Barack Obama’s way and counties in red voted for Mitt Romney.

But let’s go back to the Cretaceous Period, which lasted from 145 million years ago to 65 million years ago. Back then, the coastline of what is now North America looked like this:

Cretaceous Coast

Along that ancient coastline of a shallow sea, plankton with carbonate skeletons lived and died in massive numbers, accumulating into large chalk formations on the bottom of the sea. When the sea level dropped and the sea drained through the porous chalk, rich bands of soil were left right along the former coastline. When that area was settled and farmed in the 19th century, that rich soil was perfect for growing cotton. And cotton production was particularly profitable, so slaves were heavily used in those areas.

McClain, quoting from Booker T. Washington’s autobiography, Up From Slavery, points out: “The part of the country possessing this thick, dark and naturally rich soil was, of course, the part of the South where the slaves were most profitable, and consequently they were taken there in the largest numbers.” After the Civil War, a lot of former slaves stayed on this land, and while many migrated North, their families are still there.

The counties in which slave populations were highest before the Civil War are still home to large African American populations, which tend to vote for Democratic presidential candidates, even as the whiter counties around them vote for Republicans. The voting pattern of those counties on the map follows the Cretaceous coastline of 100 million years ago — the plankton fell, the cotton grew, the slaves bled into that rich soil, and their descendants later helped a black man reach the White House.

We Work Remotely

Voted

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 06, 2012

It’s been a tough few weeks here in NYC. Sandy. Power outages. Food and gas shortages. The hurricane aftermath. Those two kids murdered by their nanny. The NYPD officer who was planning to kill and cook women. The election has been weighing heavily on my heart, more heavily than I realized. The Presidential campaign has been difficult for me to follow…so little substance and so so so much sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I’ve been pretty apathetic about politics in the past and I’ll never be the type of person to proselytize for one candidate over another (well, not too much anyway) but I would have waited in line for 12 hours today in order to cast my vote. Voting this morning1 felt like the first hopeful thing that’s happened in quite awhile.

[1] For Obama/Biden, I don’t mind telling you, not least because of the Republican Party’s contempt for the rights of the majority of the population, aka our wives, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc.

Obama/Clinton 2012

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 28, 2011

Writing on his Tumblr blog (!!), former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich makes the case for a Clinton/Biden swap that would lead to an unstoppable Obama/Clinton presidental ticket in 2012.

My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State - a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.

So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.

Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.

(via ★djacobs)