Browsing the archives for the History tag.

The geographical (and historical?) divisions underlying Ukraine’s political strife

European Politics, History, International Politics, Politics

As Washington Post blogger Max Fischer illustrated with what he called “the one map you need to understand Ukraine’s crisis”, the current protests and revolts in Ukraine are fierce, but largely limited to the north and west of the country, which is right in line with the pattern revealed in the 2010 election outcomes. It’s no secret that the same broad geographic divide appeared, time and again, in most of the elections since 1991, when Ukraine gained independence.

Ukrainian election maps, 1991-2012

Ukraine: Election maps for all the main elections since 1991

For convenience’s sake, I gathered electoral maps for all the presidential and parliamentary elections in those twenty years (as well as the 1991 independence referendum), in one big overview file. All of those maps are from Wikimedia/Wikipedia.

(One contestable editorial decision I made for the 2012 parliamentary elections was in choosing the map that showed the leaders in multi-member districts by constituency, rather than the one showing the leaders in single-mandate constituencies, which includes a lot of independents and is therefore less clear. I also couldn’t find a map of the results for Gorbachev’s All-Union referendum in 1991.)

Oddly, the candidates actually running for presidential office sometimes seemed irrelevant to the geographic divide itself. In 1991, the former dissident Viacheslav Chornovil was the worthy but politically weak candidate who won only in the Galician northwest of the country, while former apparatchik Leonid Kravchuk based his landslide victory on wide support in the south and east. But in 1995, the roles were reversed: Kravchuk won constituencies across the north and west when he lost his reelection bid against Leonid Kuchma, who swept the vote in the south and east. Those elections marked the first real time that the electoral map showed a dividing line right down the middle of the country that would start marking election maps again in every major election after 2002. But it gets stranger still: move on to 1999, when Kuchma faced a Communist Party candidate as opponent in his reelection bid — and it was Kuchma who won almost all of the north and west, while support for the communist candidate was based mostly in the south and east.

Considering Chornovil’s, Kravchuk’s and Tymoshenko’s losses, and the gritted teeth with which many voters in Kiev and the northeast must have voted for Kravchuk in ’94 and Kuchma in ’99, it’s hard to elide the thought that this pattern illustrates how the real political power in the country has lain in the south/east. The voters in the north/west have had to choose between voting for the lesser evil or rebelling in the streets. Yushchenko’s victory would be the only exception, and that took a revolution. I doubt that Viktor Yanukovich will ever switch to being the northwest’s candidate, though …

There is one further geographic wrinkle of note in these maps, and that is how the Transcarpathian/Ruthenian region constitutes a bit of an outlier within the northwestern half of the country. That’s the region midway on the left side, where the country’s borders take a turn east to curve around Romania, which is often coloured differently from all the surrounding territories. It can’t be a coincidence that the historical background of that region is wholly separate. Whereas the rest of northwestern Ukraine used to belong to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and much of it to interbellum Poland as well, this region was belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire until WW1, and to Czechoslovakia between the two world wars.

When it comes to elections, history can be destiny. A map overlaying the borders between Imperial Russia and Imperial Germany on the Polish election results of 2007 has done the rounds online among map geeks for a few years because of the striking correspondence it reveals. And on a Reddit thread about these Ukrainian election maps, commenter Martin Keegan pointed out that “the boundary is where the old Polish-Lithuanian – Russian border used to be,” an idea he previously proposed on his blog. That piqued my curiosity, so I ventured on an effort to do a similar overlay to the Polish one: how do the old Polish and Lithuanian borders with Russia overlap with Ukraine’s current political polarization?

It was more of an effort than I’d have thought. But here is the result, overlaying different historical borders on the 2010 Presidential election results. It turns out that Keegan wasn’t entirely correct about the old Polish-Lithuanian – Russian border - but he definitely had a good point about the continuing salience of historical borders. Check out how the territory that still belonged to Poland in between the two world wars overlaps with the most overwhelming support for Tymoshenko (click the map to enlarge).

 

Historical borders and the 2010 Ukrainian election map

History as destiny? Historical borders superimposed on the 2010 Ukrainian election map

Moreover, Keegan’s point appears more vindicated when looking at the 1991 referendum results, though the division there was merely one between a large versus a near-unanimous majority in favour of idependence, or, especially, the 1994 presidential elections. Here is what the historical overlay looks like for the latter:

 

Historical borders and the 1994 Ukrainian election map

History as destiny, Pt. II? Historical borders superimposed on the 1994 Ukrainian election map

 

There are, however, also ways in which history is conspicuously not destiny. Or at least not in ways that are immediately obvious or make sense intuitively. Check out this map of the Holodomor – the genocidal, man-made famine that struck large parts of Ukraine, which is often blamed on indifference or outright malice on the part of Stalin and his regime. Compare it with the post-independence electoral maps, and any overlap is … hard to see. If anything, the Holodomor was most devastating in areas that now habitually side with Russia-friendly politicians like Yanukovich. Which doesn’t immediately make instinctive sense.

Methodological note:

The historical borders are approximate, though I did my best to be precise. As source material I used a map of Northeastern Europe around 1700; a Wikimedia map of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth anno 1789; a Wikimedia map of Poland after the Second Partition of 1793; the detailed 1794 Laurie and Whittle map of the Kingdom of Poland; and an administrative map of Interbellum Poland in 1930. In addition, I used the Wikipedia page and subpages on the administrative raions of Ukraine,  and a detailed Ukrainian Wikimedia map of the electoral multimandate raions of the country. Delineating the far eastern border of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a bit difficult since some settlements like the erstwhile Krylov that were right on the border back then have long been submerged in the Kremenchuk dam reservoir. In the south, the problem in defining how the historical border overlaps with current territories, lacking more detailed maps, lies with the transfer of Transnistria to Moldova.

2 Comments

I Got 95 Theses But A Pope Ain’t One

Culture, Funny, History

This was made last year, but I’d never come across it before, and it’s bloody brilliant.

It’s 1517, and Luther’s got some dope shit:

The lyrics are on the 95thesesrap.com website. The whole thing was directed by a senior history major at Yale, Alexander Dominitz, and produced by a junior at Yale, Kate Maltby. More info also in an item she posted on the Iqra’i blog.

1 Comment

Russia’s gradual embrace of Stalinism

Culture, European culture(s), European Politics, History, Politics

When it comes to Russia’s creeping rehabilitation of Stalin, a good follow-up read was published last month in openDemocracy: The Embrace of Stalinism. It was written by Memorial’s founder Arseny Roginsky, apparently on the eve of the police raid. It starts off slow, but ends up sketching an instructive panorama of the current junction in Russia’s development.

The urgency of the moment when it comes to determining historical memory reflects the same tragedy as Spain’s; any opening is about to be too late. The terror is “a passing memory. There are still witnesses, but they are the last of their kind, and they are dying, taking with them the personal memories and experiences.”

The difference, of course, is that Spain is witnessing a last-minute rush to uncover stories and records from the totalitarian past, while the last opportunities to do so in Russia are rapidly being clamped down on. All the signs point the other way – as was poignantly underlined by the raid on Memorial and the further assassinations of dissidents this month.

So why is today’s Russia romanticising the memory of Stalinism, Roginsky asks – and proceeds to walk the reader through the ingredients:

Continue Reading »

2 Comments

Updates: Follow the links

Culture, European culture(s), European Politics, History, Media / journalism, Politics, US Politics

Re Spain’s orphaned children of the revolution: I found the photo of the Women’s prison Les Corts in Barcelona on Flickr, but the original source must be this site: Memòria de les Corts, prisión de mujeres, a site of the Catalan government. There’s many more.

Re: the raid by armed Russian police on “Memorial”: only after writing that post did I find two openDemocracy articles about it. Russia: raid on Memorial HQ has the official statement from “Memorial” from 4 December, outlining that “the confiscated discs contain databases with biographical details of tens of thousands of victims of the Stalinist repressions [which] has taken “Memorial” 20 years to collect”. In Eleven hard disks, “Tatyana Kosinova itemises the material, which includes Memorial’s massive project for a Virtual Gulag Museum” and the whole of its electronic archive of oral history.

Re: Speech wars and past inaugural addresses: for a comparison of the words used by GWB and Obama in their speeches, check out this mysterious webpage. It lists the “words which appear in one speech, but not the other, in decreasing order of number of times mentioned”, with words of less than 4 letters and themost frequently used words excluded for clarity.

Re: reasons to hate Chris Matthews, read this hilarious account of watching Mathews present the inauguration: Chris Matthews’ Inaugural Jib-Jabbery. Money quote is right at the beginning:

Nobody in TV news stir-fries his ideas and serves them to the audience faster than MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Drawing from a larder filled with old anecdotes, unreliable metaphors, wacky intuition, and superficial observations, the always-animated Matthews steers whatever’s handy into the hot wok that is his brain. The sizzling free-associations skitter through his limbic system, leap out his mouth, and look for a resting spot in the national conversation, where they steam like fresh lava in untouchable heaps.

When I ranted about Matthews, I mentioned his mindblowingly shallow stupidity, but mostly I focused on the way he “turns with the wind with the self-evidence of someone who is so obliviously vain and unreflective, he wouldn’t even be able to recognize that he’s doing it.” But what strikes me in Shafer’s account is the man’s enduring love for authority, or maybe it’s celebrity. His knees go weak in the presence of celebrity – not the best trait in one of the country’s premier pundits.

No Comments

Reenacting their parents’ revolutions as farce?

Culture, European culture(s), European Politics, History, Politics
May Day march of the Greek communists (KKE and allies) in 2008. Image used under CC license by xamogelo.

May Day march of the Greek communists in 2008. (Image shared under CC license by Flickr user xamogelo.)

“You can only imagine the bitterness this must have left in families [with] Republican, anarchist or socialist traditions,” I wrapped up my previous post about the lost children of Franco’s Spain. This might be something to keep in mind when eyeing the still vibrant leftist countercultures in the Mediterranean.

In Germany and Holland, countercultural hotbeds in the eighties, even the parties furthest to the left have long embraced classic social-democratic programmes that are more redolent of Willy Brandt than Karl Liebknecht. But in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal there are still significant constituencies waving the red or black flags of revolutionary communism or anarchism. Maybe stories like those of Spain’s lost children are part of the explanation: the political emotions go deeper, are rooted in more personal stories.

This is what an IPS report on the Greek riots last month posited. Explaining the sheer intensity of anti-police violence, Apostolis Fotiadis reported:

Many [of the young people who joined the demonstrations] were joined by their parents, who experienced military dictatorship between 1967 and 1973. “I came because I felt responsible for the stalemate we left to these children to deal with [..],” said Tania Liberopoulos, a middle-aged accountant.

The protests were fed by the political memory of a history of social and political struggle. Almost by instinctive conscience, many people in Greece distrust the state. The latent Greek dislike of the police, which erupted so volcanically, has its roots in the old dictatorship when the police functioned as the colonels’ enforcers against the citizens.

Constant misuse of the police for anti-social purposes has led to its dehumanisation; officers are met with hate and contempt, and they hate back.

I’m not sure I buy into this – or at least, I’m not sure whether it works as much of a defense.

Continue Reading »

5 Comments

Spain’s orphaned children of the revolution

Culture, European culture(s), European Politics, History, Politics

A heartbreaking story in The Times this month underlines the sheer, unprecedentedly ideological cruelty of the 20th century – and the lasting traumas it left behind, like so many time bombs:

Find General Francisco Franco’s stolen children of the Spanish Civil War, says court

She was 54 when she first got to know her mother, but Antonia Radas was one of the luckier ones. Taken away when her mother, Carmen, was imprisoned after the Spanish Civil War for her father’s Republican links, Mrs Radas’s adoptive parents lied to her, telling her that she had been abandoned, and changed her name to stop relatives tracing her. Mother and child were finally reunited in 1993, 18 months before Carmen died.

Now 71, Mrs Radas is among an estimated 30,000 children who were separated from their parents on the orders of General Francisco Franco. Many of them never knew who their real parents were.

Their cause was taken up by Judge Baltasar Garzón, the man who went after Pinochet and officers from the Argentinian junta:

Garzón [..] has claimed that Franco and 34 henchmen were guilty of the systematic killing or disappearance of at least 114,000 people during and after the civil war.

Among the victims were children of Republicans who were adopted by Franco sympathisers to prevent them coming under the influence of Marxism. Others, whose families fled abroad, were lured back to Spain under false pretences. “Child refugees were also kidnapped in France by the repatriation service of the regime and put in state institutions,” Judge Garzón wrote. [..]

Julián Casanova, a historian, claims that the aim was to “reCatholicise” the children of “Reds”. He said: “The Church was responsible for the theft of these children, from Red families. It wanted to purify them.”

The stories are all the more tragic because it’s too late now, for all but a few victims. The children who were robbed from (and of) their parents are in their old age. Their parents will almost certainly be dead, so there is no prospect of a cathartic reunion.

Womens prison Les Corts in Barcelona, 1952 (Image shared under CC license by Jaume dUrgell). Google Books allows for a peek in Prison of Women, by Tomasa Cuevas and Mary E. Giles, which has testimonies from this prison.

Women's prison Les Corts, Barcelona, 1952 (shared under CC license by Jaume d'Urgell). Google Books provides a peek in "Prison of Women" by Tomasa Cuevas e.a., which has testimonies from this prison.

Moreover, Garzón last November had to relinquish “what had promised to be the first criminal investigation of wrongs committed by Franco and his allies”. He was forced by state prosecutors to concede jurisdiction to regional courts, “who now have the authority to decide whether or not to take up these controversial cases”. He also had pass the responsibility “for opening 19 mass graves believed to hold the remains of hundreds of victims” to regional courts.

Xenu Ablana, 80, holds little faith in the proceedings. “The courts are still run by Francoists. These people have a lot of influence,” he said. His story is one of the heartbreaking ones:

Continue Reading »

7 Comments

Washington DC, the inaugural address – ninetynine years ago

Culture, History, Politics, US culture, US Politics

The inauguration speech, to the year one century ago:

Hence it is clear to all that the domination of an ignorant, irresponsible element can be prevented by constitutional laws which shall exclude from voting both negroes and whites not having education or other qualifications thought to be necessary for a proper electorate. The danger of the control of an ignorant electorate has therefore passed. With this change, the interest which many of the Southern white citizens take in the welfare of the negroes has increased. The colored men must base their hope on the results of their own industry, self-restraint, thrift, and business success, as well as upon the aid and comfort and sympathy which they may receive from their white neighbors of the South. [..]

There is in the South a stronger feeling than ever among the intelligent well-to-do, and influential element in favor of the industrial education of the negro and the encouragement of the race to make themselves useful members of the community. The progress which the negro has made in the last fifty years, from slavery [..], is marvelous, and it furnishes every reason to hope that in the next twenty-five years a still greater improvement in his condition as a productive member of society, on the farm, and in the shop, and in other occupations may come.

This, it should be noted on behalf of William Taft, from a speech that spoke both of and for America’s blacks as no inaugural address before had done, and must to contemporary standards have pressed hard for their case.

America – as they say … you’ve come a long way, baby.

P.S. Explore past inaugural addresses with this nifty word analysis tool. “Locusts,” alas, appears only once, as in “We are stricken by no plague of locusts”.

No Comments

Burying Perestroika

Culture, European culture(s), History, International Politics, Media / journalism, Politics
Memorial

Memorial had its digital archives seized in a police raid last month. "This was 20 years' work. We'd been making a universally accessible database with hundreds of thousands of names."

The BBC last week took on the story Dagmaraka started telling here three months ago, picking up roughly where she left off. Rossiya TV, one of Russia’s biggest TV channels, last year launched a show that, over the course of the year, grew into much more than just another TV program: vote for the Greatest Russian in history!

In the first round, no less than fourtyfive million votes were cast for the initial fifty candidates. In the second round for the top 12 vote-getters, another four and a half million votes were phoned or texted in or cast online by the time the vote was concluded last weekend. But there was a problem. Throughout the year, those pesky viewers kept voting Stalin to the top of the list.

Anxious to avoid embarassment, the organisers tried to change the ranking by hook or by crook. The producers appealed to viewers to vote for someone else and, as Dagmaraka recounted, at one point claimed a massive hacking incident to remove one million votes for Stalin. But he kept bouncing right up again.

When the BBC reported the story on Saturday, Stalin was in fourth place. In the final tally, he still passed Pushkin and came in third. He missed the top spot only by a hairwidth: Alexander Nevsky and Pyotr Stolypin beat him by just six and five thousand votes respectively. Lenin didn’t do badly either: he came in sixth, squeezed in between Peter the Great and Dostoyevski.

Now the success of the show in itself is striking. It’s tempting to speculate that it must have something to do with how Russians don’t have many opportunities anymore to vote on a wide-ranging ballot of candidates, but earlier versions of the show in the UK and Holland saw a similar mass participation (and the Dutch version triggered a similar controversy). The BBC report, however, takes the story into a different direction, and places Stalin’s success in the poll in a context of progressive efforts by the Putin-era state to rehabilitate him.

It may be a little all too embarassing to have Stalin right at the top of a list of Russian heroes, but his showing is actually right in line with the state’s recent push to take him out of history’s doghouse:

The primary evidence comes in the form of a new manual for history teachers in the country’s schools, which says Stalin acted “entirely rationally”.

“[The initiative] came from the very top,” says the editor of the manual, historian Alexander Danilov. “I believe it was the idea of former president, now prime minister, Vladimir Putin.”

Continue Reading »

3 Comments

Che (cont.), a photo gallery: the irony of the icon

Culture, History, International Politics, Politics

First, an anecdote. Back in 2006, I was visiting Amsterdam. A friend and I were wandering around downtown, and came across an exclusive cigar shop. Very fancy. They had some of their most eye-catching products in the shop window. I am no cigar afficionado, I don’t even smoke, so none of it meant much to me. Something caught my attention though. What was that we saw? A true prize item. A large, beautiful wooden box (humidor is the word, apparently) of real Cuban cigars … adorned with a picture – that picture – of Che Guevara.

The box even featured, in a handsome scrawl, the famous appeal: “Hasta la Victoria Siempre!”

Price of said humidor: Euro 3,000.

It was designed, apparently, by the exclusive Parisian manufacturer Elie Bleu, which produces “some of the world’s finest humidors [..] handcrafted from natural or tinted mahogany and sycamore.” Each box features a “meticulously brilliant finish, a delicate process done by hand.” The Che Guevara range was, of course, a strictly limited edition.

The box in question is still on sale online: here, for example, for $5,000, or here for $4,785. Or you can order it here at the smart price of just 2,340 euro. Bizarrely, it comes accompanied by a Che-themed ashtray, available online for just $350.

Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

Hey, didn’t Jay-Z rap, ”I’m like Che Guevara with bling on”? Now, Che is the bling. 

In the same spirit, I want to take you through some of the Che-related, Creative Commons-licensed photos on Flickr. I always trawl through Flickr to find illustrations for these blog posts. For the Che post from the other day, there was more than could fit with the post. Hence, this photo gallery. Oh, the humanity.

 

Taking the biscuit: Using Che to promote the stock exchange. Photo by patapat, used under CC license.

Be realistic: demand the impossible. Billboard for Swissquote, the Swiss leader in online trading. Discover the world of the stock exchange with the Swissquote Box for 29,90 Swiss Francs!

“Be realistic: demand the impossible”. Billboard for Swissquote, “the Swiss leader in online trading”. Discover the world of the stock exchange with the Swissquote Box for 29,90 Swiss Francs!

 

Mixed message? Photo by TobiasAC, under CC license.

The Finnish market recycles the Che icon. The photographer keenly observes: What I dont understand is the political implications: does owning this mean I love you, Che Guevara, so much that I want you to greet me every day as I come home or Up yours, Che Guevara -- I wipe my feet on you!? This, I do not know.

How the Finnish market recycles the Che icon. The photographer keenly observes: “What I don’t understand is the political implications: does owning this mean “I love you, Che Guevara, so much that I want you to greet me every day as I come home” or “Up yours, Che Guevara — I wipe my feet on you!”? This, I do not know.”"

 

Gay Che, donning the pink. photo by s.o.f.t. under CC license.

Gay Chuevara, with pink beret: Part of the Art Below exposition in the London tube

“Gay Chevara” with pink beret: Part of the Art Below exposition in the London tube.

 

Che at the ration card office. Photo by Alex Barth, under CC license.

Ration card office, La Habana, 2000

“Ration card office, La Habana, 2000″
 

Continue Reading »

13 Comments

Che Guevara, or when history becomes pop culture

Culture, History, International Politics, Politics
(Image by mikebaird used under CC license)

(Image by mikebaird used under CC license)

The holiday season is often used to reflect back on items that are not exactly current news, but worth a re-read over time. This selection is inspired by an off-hand blogger’s comment about Che, but any occasion would have been a good one to dig this one up from the archive.

On a forum,  a couple of years ago, I recommended an article by Alvaro Vargas Llosa that was published in TNR in 2005 with these words:

Everyone adores Che as a pop icon.

But the icon means ever less.

For me the following article was an absolute eye-opener.

First, it fillets the visible postmodern reduction of “Che” into what is, in effect, merely an extraordinarily successful market brand. A feel-good product for the young and rebellious. A pre-fab idealistic dream; an instant badge of revolutionary street cred. This part may make you laugh. In recognition; and at the surreality of it.

But then, having wrapped off the countercultural commerce of Che as icon, it also digs into the actual historical record. To recount the rather more sordid story of who “Che” really was. Because filmic sketches of the man’s soul are fine — but what did he mean to those who lived under his actions?

The filmic and biographic portraits of Che seem to almost portray him in a vacuum; an individual soul, a romantic one-man story. But Che held real power. The Cubans and others who had to suffer his idealism are strangely absent in the iconic version of Che. This author puts them back into the spotlight.

This article is very long, and doesnt always make for comfortable reading. But it should be an obligatory read for anyone ever caught wearing a “Che” t-shirt.

Seriously.

Don’t be mistaken about the ironic birds’ eye view of Che-the-icon in the beginning of the article. The rage of the author is real – and very well-informed. It is not that of just another reactionary, either – note the very last section. It is that of one who sees history and fashion reward bloody zealots, and forget those who fought tyrants without killing a fly, and actually achieved results. Because those gentle reformers are so much less glamorous than your failed, bloodthirsty revolutionary.

You can still love the myth if you will. But before you put on the shirt, know about the politics behind it.

The TNR archive is still lost in the site’s technological fail, but the article can be read in full here: The Killing Machine: Che Guevara, from Communist Firebrand to Capitalist Brand.

(Image by нσвσ used under CC license)

(Image by нσвσ used under CC license)

About Che as icon, by the way — did you know that the famous Che image now adorning the t-shirts of millions of rebellious teenagers came about through a little bit of what we’d now call Photoshopping? To get the “t-shirt Che”, just take the real Che’s photo and make him “slimmer and his face longer, by about one-sixth”.

That was noted in a New Statesman article from 2007, found via the opening post of an instructive thread about Che on the forum Able2Know, Che Guevara … Forty years on.

That thread also features this post on a more serious note: how has Cuba’s death toll under communism compared with that of the brutal Batista dictatorship that preceded it? Not well at all, according to the work of one statistician, R.J. Rummel, who recorded that the Batista regime “killed 1000 of its citizens from 1952 to 1959, for an average rate of 143 per year,” while the Castro regime “killed 73000 of its citizens from 1959 to 1987, for an average rate of 2607 per year”.

According to his data, then, the Castro regime killed at an 18 times faster rate than even the despicable Batista had done, or at a 12.6 times higher proportional rate if you take population growth into account. Admittedly Rummel appears to be a highly controversial figure, so I’d love to hear about alternative estimations, though I can’t imagine an alternative computation would suddenly reverse the roles.

1 Comment

Not amused

Culture, European culture(s), International Politics, Politics
Sweatshirt I bought @ Target, writes Flickr user Eshm (photo used under CC license)

"Sweatshirt I bought @ Target," Flickr user Eshm (photo used under CC license)

Living in the Netherlands, ca. 1998, meant increasingly being confronted, not just with that ubiquitous icon of wannabe rebel teenager identity, the drearily mass produced Che tee, but training jackets and the like saying DDR, or CCCP. Not because there was any suddenly resurging affinity for the former Eastern Bloc regimes, but because those were the thing to have for any self-respecting ironic hipster.

It went with, say, nodding your head to the latest abstract beats, or dancing to the soundtrack of a soft lesbo porn movie from the seventies with a knowing smile. Aren’t we being cool!

I never got it. Stunned at the baffling lack of … awareness, I suppose. Even if I knew that no disrespect was intended toward, say, the victims of communism — all was tongue-in-cheek, after all! The postmodern game being played out transformed me, instantly, into an old crank. It did so right at the moment that I refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of that irony; the moment I failed to think, “oh that’s OK then”.

Continue Reading »

3 Comments

Election night toolkit: data and resources

Congressional Elections, Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics
  • An Observer’s Guide to Election Night, by our own JoefromChicago. There are 435 congressional races, 35 senate races, and 11 gubernatorial contests today, Joe points out, and “these races merit attention in their own right, but they also may be early indicators of the way the presidential race will turn out”. A convenient list of the races you should be paying attention to as you watch the presidential results come in, ordered by time of night.

     

  • Swing State Project: Poll closing times & Key races, by DavidNYC. Very handy country map with the poll closing times, and a list of key House, Senate, gubernatorial and state legislative races, arranged by poll closing times (linked in is also a list of key ballot measures).

     

  • The American Prospect 2008 Election Night Guide. Comprehensive guide, encompassing six sections, among which an overview of key swing state counties, a list of Senate races that would pave the way to a utopian 60 Dems, a review of bellwether House races, and a number of ballot initiatives to watch.

     

  • US Election Atlas, by Dave Leip. A long-standing, invaluable elections resource. Browse the results of previous elections going back to 1789 (no, really). Not just by state – results by individual county are available back to 1960.

     

  • Google Maps Historical Election Results, going back to 1980. Click or zoom into a state or county – the map will show you the winner and moreover, with a click of the mouse you get both the electoral breakdown and basic demographic data (income, age, race/ethnicity). Click on the National Almanac map, which should show up on the right, and you can find additional demographic info on language and occupation by state or group of states. The Google Maps historical election results tool should also be available on Google Earth (h/t Marc Ambinder).

     

  • Census 2000 Interactive map. Zoom in on states and counties to find demographical data on population density, racial composition and black or hispanic population.

     

  • Ancestries by state, tables derives from the US Census Bureau’s American FactFinder. OK, so only very tangentially relevant, but very interesting. (Keep an eye on those Hillary-loving people of “United States American” – i.e., non-ethnic – ancestry in the Appalachians and the Border South, which are very unlikely to go Obama.)

     

  • Cleveland Plain Dealer Data Central, for all your political data from the state of Ohio. Aside from the interactive map of county-level results back to 1960, which overlaps with the above resources, there’s an interactive map that breaks down the voter registration and demographics on both congressional district, county and ZIPcode level. And a map and table showing how voter registration has gone up or down since 2004 by county. And a useful explanation, with map, of how Ohio may be a swing state, but inside Ohio there really are but a dozen of swing counties.

     

  • Counties to watch according to Marc Ambinder in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada and Colorado and in Florida, Virginia, Ohio.
     
No Comments
« Older Posts