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    …with Alabama in between

    Here‘s Eric with more about the political strangeness of our shared state of birth:

    One of the things I hate about the damned “red state”/”blue state” argument [with you there, honey!–SRK] is that I live in a red state that’s blue.

    Or is that a blue state that’s red?

    He has graphics. My home county (still my place of residence for electoral and tax purposes) is Lehigh, which is at the northwest tip of the blue region to the southeast of the state, where metropolitan Philadelphia shades upward into the Lehigh Valley.

    I realize that the vast majority of us live in places which are varying shades of purple. But that’s not sexy. Nor does it appeal to the us-versus-them, energize-the-base party activists. This is not to deny that there is real geographical (at least demographical) tension in this country. But it’s more along the lines of “Big Cities” versus “The Rest.” It is not the country which is blue; it is the cities which are blue. For the most part, the cities aren’t even purple, the way the rest of the country is; Philadelphia is about as blue as it’s possible to be.

    Right. A lot of the red counties are solidly conservative, but they have more elk than people. (Yes, that’s a mischievous joke, but I’m not being derisive. I’m a city person through and through, but there are plenty of times–morning rush hour on Monday, usually–when I understand why a lot of people aren’t.) The cities, where most of the reliable voters are concentrated, may be heavily Democratic, but they’re still parts of different population and cultural belts.

    Philadelphia, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, and Wilkes Barre-Scranton–despite their differences–are all BOS-WASH metro areas. They’re part of the Northeast Corridor, oriented toward New York and DC. Pittsburgh and Erie are CHI-PITTS cities, more Midwestern in outlook. To people from the big Western states, Pennsylvania is pretty tiny, but the divide is real. The eastern and western halves of the commonwealth don’t spend all their time throwing water balloons at each other over Penn State at University Park, or anything; but there really does seem to be a tacit feeling that the number of pols from each half should be roughly equal. And yes, obviously, part of that is because of the symmetrical tug of big contributors in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but it’s also the way a lot of friends and neighbors will report voting.

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