Remember this image from after the 2016 election?
If I were to look at this map, I would believe the majority of the country, overwhelmingly, was conservative <or Republican>. That is false.
If I were to look at this map, I would believe the majority of people, overwhelmingly, was conservative <or Republican>. That is false.
If I were to look at this map, I would believe the majority of counties were, overwhelmingly, conservative <or Republican>. That is false.
If I were to look at this map, I would believe this was representative of all of America. That is false <only about 60% of voter eligible people actually voted>.
As we near the 2020 election I wanted to revisit this because if I were a betting man (and I am not), I would guess a bunch of hacks are going to be slinging around a bunch of images like this trying to skew the truth. I am not a data wonk nor do I give a rat’s ass about politics and who is conservative and who is liberal.
So what would be better than this incredibly misleading image?
I would imagine if I were to ‘dot map’ the country coded by zip codes I would most likely get a better sense for how even in some rural areas liberals lived side by side with conservatives, in urban areas there were neighborhoods of conservatives buried amongst the wackjob liberal and that zip codes reflect a mixed bag of people who think different thoughts and desire a varied list of things <and have a variety of legitimate issues>.
And then I would imagine if I tinted my colors by % split between Republican & Democrat we would find that it is very rare for some county <which may be coded in the above image as “red”> to be 100% ‘red’, but rather anywhere between 51% red to 80% red.
And how about I would imagine if I figured out some color coding to show the % split between Independent & Republican & Democrat & non voters, well, I imagine we would find that zip code by zip code, maybe even county by county all the colors are a shitload less bright and a helluva lot more lighter.
Yeah. This kind of shit is important.
Doesn’t it matter to anyone thinking about this if I have a 1,000 person county that voted 95% Trump and a 100,000 person county that voted 39% Trump <but he still won the county? <answer: yes, it should>
And then I would imagine that if I even went down into a household zip cluster we would find that there is a mixed bag of people even living in the same neighborhoods let alone a house.
But, no, some hack wanted to make some point and shoveled this shit image round for people to gobble up and spew out platitudes of mandates and elitism voting and working class bullshit.
This map is shit. If only the world were this simple. But it is not. But when hacks use images like this they drive home common perceptions and beliefs:
the internet has made people insulated from other people’s thoughts (yet they live side by side and share playgrounds, bars and high schools?>
there are blue states and red states (yet no state ever votes 100% for any topic and on specific issues, which get pounded into our heads as ‘majority’ issues, the majority in a state may actually vote/believe the opposite?)
Yeah. Sure. There is certainly “Trump country” and there are liberal zones, but when you walk around America you will find that these two distinct ‘description zones’ interconnect & interact more often than some hack is willing to tell you.
I make this particular point today to remind everyone who despairs about the “divided America” that while opinions may be divided, people are more generally not and if we stepped into real lives and real communities talking with what we call the ‘divided people’ TOGETHER is just not that difficult.
Now. I admit. In my past business life I have not been above not only using selective information to make a point nor am I not guilty of creating an image to showcase a vivid metaphor for the point.
It doesn’t take you long in business to recognize that decisions are made based off of some simplistic net conclusions. And if you are not careful you could, well, present an image like the one I opened this piece with and make some really important overarching conclusions and, ultimately, some fairly important decisions are made.
Here is what I know about that.
In the business world people get fired for presenting shit like this and misleading people to make some misguided decisions. I know for sure I would get fired if I tried this crap.
Purposeful disingenuous use of information is what assholes do. They know better.
And maybe this is where I get grumpy with people like FoxNews. I think they, as do all major news outlets, have a responsibility to their audience to not only say what people want to hear, but to also nuance it with some perspective so people don’t walk away with a misguided simplistic thought. Their responsibility lies in exactly the same responsibility I, as a business presenter, has — managing the net conclusion <because inevitably I know someone is going to make some decision based off of that>.
And, yeah, the burden of responsibility does vary depending on the entity & person. While I do believe everyone has the responsibility to use information properly, factually not selectively, and portray it in a way that makes your point in a non-disingenuous way, your burden increases or decreases depending upon who is dependent upon your information.
Someone like FoxNews knows they have a diehard conservative viewership, therefore, their burden to enlighten is higher than say someone who has a mixed viewership like an ABC, CBS or NBC.
Worse than maybe Fox? Republican Politicians. They are chosen to be honest representors of truth so that we, the people, can be better informed and more enlightened as to real issues rather than ‘false flag’ issues <which permits us to better evaluate what is being done and what is important and what are the real issues>.
<note: to be clear, I could choose a different topic and make the same point about Democrat politicians and their lack of responsibility on that topic, but, over the past 4 years what Republican politicians have done is morally reprehensible>
Here is what I know.
Hacks play to their audiences’ worst devils and play to existing perceptions & attitudes. It is the cheap way to use good information <and cheapens not only the information but cheapens the truth>.
It is the lazy way to present. And it is admitting no personal responsibility for portraying the real & total truth.
Anyway. As for this stupid map and stupid <but somewhat important> information.
Would I use an image showing voting districts? Sure.
But only internally. If my job was to elect someone and therefore I had to figure out where and how to spend my money, I would use it.
But everyone should be clear that voting districts have been bastardized to maximize their party voting base so much that voting districts are meaningless to anyone outside of those who are looking to get someone elected. They misrepresent general takeaways.
I say that because I think it is not only disingenuous, but also misleading to people by showing shit like this in a mainstream way. People who know better should be better than this. Its crap like this that not only divides people even more but encourages further discussion on elitism versus ‘working people’ when the truth is significantly more nuanced than that.
Using images like this only hurts the discourse and increases the sense of divide between the haves & the have nots, the intellectuals versus the manual labor and the city folk versus regular folk.
Set the maps aside.
A shitload of ‘elitist’ rich people voted for Trump.
A shitload of ‘creative artsy types’ voted for Trump.
A shitload of smart blue collar hard working people voted for Clinton.
A shitload of smart hard working ‘intellectual’ people <who poorly articulated their thoughts> voted for Clinton.
A shitload of rural/suburban people voted for Trump and a shitload of urban/suburban people voted for Clinton.
The hacks will show you dashboards capturing data and say things like “suburban women overwhelming supported X candidate” and all the while you are looking at a chart that says “60% of”. Yeah. That means 40% of those same people were not part of the ‘overwhelming.’ Yeah. That means you have a 40% chance you are shopping with someone in the same aisle who was not part of the overwhelming.
I have written far too much and far too often on the real issues behind the most recent election in frustration over the simplistic bullshit people throw out as for ‘why Trump won’ and ‘how Trump won.’
If I were to reference one thing I have written for people to think about it would be ‘the death of the malls’ which, to me, reflects the complexity and nuances of what hollowed out non-urban America and created some attitudes which governing officials have ignored <and Trump hasn’t acknowledge either, but a camel dying of thirst will drink any water … even poisoned>.
It is using information improperly in images like this that actually convince some of us everyday camels we are actually dying of thirst, when we are not <that is a warning to citizens and politicians>.
It is using information improperly like this that actually convinces some of us to make some fairly important misguided decisions <that is a warning to business people>.
I hate crap like this.
Fucking hate it.
In general, the country has issues it needs to be resolved. In general, the people have issues that need to be resolved. In general, we all have a common interest in getting everything resolved or, at minimum, as neighbors & citizens, would like to find a common path to resolutions. The hacks need to stop sharing images that keep us off that path.