1. Better Off Without You
This Yahoo/YouGov survey got a lot of play over the weekend because of one particular set of crosstabs:
Nice to see that Republicans are -10 on the question of secession! Though actually, it’s a little worse than that. Here’s Yahoo’s Andrew Romano doing the math so we don’t have to:
Red-state Donald Trump voters are now more likely to say they’d be personally “better off” (33%) than “worse off” (29%) if their state seceded from the U.S. and “became an independent country” . . .
And an even larger share of red-state Trump voters say their state as a whole would be better off (35%) rather than worse off (30%) if it left the U.S. . . .
And red-state Trump voters divide roughly down the middle on the question of whether things would be better (37%) or worse (40%) if the country as a whole actually split into a Blue Nation and a Red Nation. No other cohort views disunion so favorably.
So Trump voters living in reliably Red states are open to all sorts of interesting thoughts about secession: That it might be good for them, personally. That it might be good for their state. And that it might be good for America as a whole.
Maybe they are right! I am just asking questions!
The only frustrating thing about Yahoo/YouGov’s methodology is that they don’t disclose which states they count as “Red” and “Blue.” But if you look at election data it seems to me that the list probably goes something like this:
Notice any theme running through this list? Do you see a lot of, uh, economic dynamism in there? (Outside of the Great State of Texas, of course.)
The old version of the Republican party, circa 2012, spent a lot of time obsessing over “makers versus takers.” Remember the “We Built That!” chants at Romney rallies?
Well, that list of Red states is chock-a-block with takers. Here’s a heat-map of reliance on the federal government:
Just as a for instance, in reliably red West Virginia, 45 percent of all revenue to the state comes from the U.S. federal government. For every $1 that West Virginians pay in income taxes, the federal government pays them $2.36.
I would love to know if West Virginia Trump voters think secession would be good for them, personally, and for their state.
Anyway, that list of Red states has a whole lot of overlap with our map of the takers: Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Dakota—all of these places take more than they give.
And yet the Trump voters in Red states are the only subgroup of Americans who think secession would be a good thing.
One of the challenges we face in modern America is that people are extremely well insulated from the consequences of their beliefs.