Land Does Not Vote. People Vote.

Land Does Not Vote. People Vote. November 11, 2019

Do you know what’s frustrating? This is frustrating:

Kelly Ward, the chair of the Arizona Republican Party, posted maps of the Virginia Senate and Kentucky gubernatorial results side-by-side on Twitter on Wednesday night. “Should we look toward an #ElectoralCollege type system at the state level?” she wrote. “How is a Republican against local control?” one Twitter user asked in response. “How is listening to every part of the state ‘against local control’?” Ward replied. “I don’t think the Feds should implement it, states should. As a rural AZ resident, it is frustrating that the state’s population centers, Phoenix & Tucson, could control politics in this conservative state.”

At a time when the electoral college has deprived people of the ability to choose their president in two of the past five elections, Kelly Ward, the chair of the Arizona Republican Party, is publicly advocating for electoral college systems of voting at the state level. 

I don’t know why this is so apparently difficult for people like Ward to understand, but land does not vote. People vote. If Ward is upset that the majority of Arizonans who live in cities vote blue, she should try to change people’s minds, not disenfranchise them.

I am not all that familiar with Arizona, so I just turned to the google, and guess what? Of the 7 million people living in Arizona, nearly 6 million of them live in the Phoenix and Tuscan metropolitan areas.

Land does not vote. People vote.

It’s not like Ward doesn’t know about the map above, though, because after listening to the google for a moment I went back to Ward’s comments and noticed something:

“As a rural AZ resident, it is frustrating that the state’s population centers, Phoenix & Tucson, could control politics in this conservative state.”

You know what? The state’s population centers should control politics! It’s just how voting works! I would be worried if the people in a state did not control the politics in that state!

What’s frustrating to Ward is that all votes count equally. She wants her rural vote to count more than all those urban votes, which, just so we’re clear, would mean overturning the principal of one person one vote. It would mean disenfranchising voters whose views she does not like.

(But then, it’s not like the Republican Party has a problem with disenfranchising voters. See voter ID laws, restrictions on polling locations to keep them out of heavily Democratic areas, and laws banning large swaths of people who have had even minor run-ins with the law from voting.)

In her tweet, Ward shared this image of Kentucky’s gubernatorial election results last week, by winner of each county:

That’s a whole lot of red. Maybe Ward has a point. Nope. No she does not. Look what happens to this map when we remember that land does not vote. This. This happens:

While I couldn’t verify this given the limitations of my not having a New York Times subscription (something I really should fix), my quick perusal of their maps for 2018 state races elections in the one state I was able to check before hitting my article limit suggests that the “size of lead” button included above may be new to 2019. If it is, it’s likely because Ward is not the only Republican to share county-level electoral maps with the highly misleading suggestion that land in fact votes (it does not).

By this point, it should go without saying that land does not vote. People do.

You can see a better map here:

While perusing Twitter for the above image, I came upon a tweet which pointed out that there’s something wrong with the above map—namely, with the portrayal of Alaska. I assume the map-maker got it wrong because he was operating off of the image Trump shared, which—have a look back up—does not have either Alaska or Hawaii broken down by county level results.

It turns out that the story in Alaska is a bit different.

And remember, Alaska is big.

“If uninhabited land gets a vote,” the twitter user who pointed this out stated, “those blue areas are as big as Texas and Florida put to together!” I’m going to have to start pointing this out anytime anyone points to the county-level red/blue map like it’s some sort of point. True, people vote, not land, but if you’re going to show misleading images that suggest that land votes, at least get it right. 

All this aside, Ward’s public comments have laid bare Republican plans for dealing with possible defeat at the ballot box—disenfranchise voters you don’t like. I guess that’s what you do when you’ve given up on being able to persuade people of the virtue of your views in the marketplace of ideas.

Also, see other maps here, here, and here.

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