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Greenealogist Makes Maps (and is bad at thread titles)

Greenealogist

Well-known member
Location
Schaffhausen
#1
Hi, I'm Greenealogist and am pretty new to this whole cartographical business, but without much else to do at the moment, I've started making some, and now I've made a few, thought it might be an idea to keep them consolidated somewhere easy to get at. Also, I figure if I make a thread, I'll be more inclined to try and fill it with stuff instead of just dropping back into lurking. For the moment, three Deep Southern OTL state legislative maps cross-posted from the American Politics thread.
I wasn't sure where to put this, but this seemed as good a place as any: I pulled together a quick map of the Alabama State Legislative elections based on the AL Sec State website. Alabama was compelled to redraw its districts in 2017 because the old districts were found to be inappropriately racially gerrymandered - which makes a nice change from Deep South states redrawing their districts mid-decade in order to inappropriately racially gerrymander. There was no overall change in seat numbers in the Senate, but the Democrats lost five seats in the House, leaving them effectively reduced in both the Senate and the House to effectively the Black Belt, Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville. There are a couple of exceptions in the House, with Dexter Grimsley holding the 85th district in Wiregrass Country and 24-year incumbent Barbara Boyd being re-elected in the Talladega-to-Anniston 32nd district, but other long-term Democratic seats were lost, like the Tuscumbia-based 3rd district where long-term incumbent Marcel Black retired and the peripheral Black Belt seat of the 65th district, where incumbent Elaine Beech has been unseated. These losses are really the tailend of the re-alignment of white Southerners to the Republican Party, and it's hard to see the Democrats falling much further as the vast majority of their remaining seats are unopposed African-American majority districts - although as can be seen from the map there are also a horrific number of unopposed elections in Republican seats. Despite their spectacular Senate win in 2017, there doesn't seem to be a corresponding resurgence on a state level. View attachment 6499
I'm not sure it's really fair to call what happened in South Carolina this year an election, but it can nonetheless be mapped. A whopping 68 of South Carolina's 124 State House seats were uncontested, and a further 11 were only contested by minor parties, including two from the surprisingly resilient United Citizens Party, who date back to the end of Jim Crow as a vehicle to try and elect black people in response the Democrats refusal to nominate them. The result of this was that only just over a third of voters had a Democrat-Republican contest on the state legislative ballot. Very noticeable on the map is the Charleston area, home of the 1st Congressional District which the Democrats unexpectedly managed to gain after former South Carolina Governor and centre of one of the strangest political disappearances since John Stonehouse, Marshall "Mark" Sanford Jr., was primaried by Trump-backed Katie Arrington, which has a lot of very pale majorities on both sides and saw two seats change hands - which cancelled each other out. In fact, all changes cancelled themselves out at this election and the balance remains 80 Republicans to 44 Democrats. The Democrats are contained to the Black Belt, Charleston and city centre districts in places like Greenville and Spartanburg. Unlike in Alabama, there is a clear path for Democratic gains here in Charleston and its environs in the future, but this is another state where politics have largely ossified, with even contested races returning huge majorities. With neither party seemingly bothered about fighting elections - and frankly, this is a state where I kind of understand why given the results when they do try - there doesn't even seem to be a possibility of things changing substantially. View attachment 6520
I moved away from South Carolina to Georgia thinking it couldn't possibly be worse. After all, Georgia is a competitive state, with high-profile races for governor and the US House. Surely, surely, there would be fewer unopposed elections here, of all Deep South states.
Oh how wrong I was.
70 of the 180 seats in the Georgia State House of Representatives saw contests of any sort - just over a third. Similarly, 22 of the 56 State Senate districts saw challengers. Astonishingly, this is an improvement on 2016, when only 13 Senate and 32 House districts had more than one candidate. Those seats that actually saw elections tended to be very competitive, with 17 seats in the house probably changing hands - 11 from the Republicans to the Democrats, plus four more where the Democrats lead in but are yet to be called, all in the Atlanta metro, but two seats in Athens (the 117th and 119th districts) won by the Democrats in special elections narrowly returning to Republican hands. 2 northern Atlanta Senate seats also flipped to the Democrats. Some of these swings were huge - some necessarily, because one of the state senate seats and five of the state house seats returned Republicans unopposed in 2016, others as a consequence of good campaigning. Of note were the eleven point swing in the 40th Senate district and the twelve-point swing in the 54th House district.
These pickups were concentrated overwhelmingly in the 6th and 7th House districts. The white-majority 6th was the home of the most-expensive ever special election last year, when Jon Ossoff, probably grown in a lab somewhere to be the DNC's ideal White Moderate Suburban Candidate, failed to gain the seat by a few percentage points, but has now been gained by Lucy McBath, an African-American gun control activist. Create your own arbitrary narrative about what this means for Democratic presidential candidates in 2020. In next-door's 7th, now only a white plurality seat, Republican incumbent Rob Woodall leads Professor Carolyn Bourdeaux by only 900 votes and the race is still yet to be called. All in all, these results are a real sign of the meteoric shift in the Atlanta Metro - the aforementioned 6th and 7th districts voted for Romney by over 20 points and for Trump by two and seven points respectively. The good news for the Democrats wasn't limited entirely to Atlanta, however, seeing big swings towards them in the suburban Savannah 164th district, the rural south-western 151st and 154th districts, located within Sanford Bishop's congressional district, and the 147th district in Warner Robins, as well as the two aforementioned Athens districts which returned to the Republicans. All this on a house map that was partially redrawn in 2015 and a senate map in 2014 to try and shore up potentially vulnerable Republican incumbents in the Atlanta metro - and with yet another House redistricting plan currently proposed.
With the breaking of the Senate supermajority, substantial gains in the House and a potential pickup in the Secretary of State race, which would neutralize the frankly banana-republic levels of shenanigans committed by until-very-recently incumbent Brian Kemp, who is also the probably-successful Republican candidate for governor, the Democrats have reason to feel good about the future in Georgia, but the map looks very, very different to when Clinton narrowly carried the state in 1992. Whether the Democrats can consolidate their Atlanta gains in 2020 is going to be one of the many, many interesting questions of that election cycle.
View attachment 6546
 

Greenealogist

Well-known member
Location
Schaffhausen
#2
And Tennessee, where the shift seems most dramatic to me purely because I can vaguely remember Harold Ford almost winning 2006 and all the Al Gore ramping in 2016.
Tennessee, home of the nation's most disappointing Blue Dog senatorial candidate, former governor whose surname I've just discovered is not Bredesden, Phil Bredesen (remember when people said he'd do better than O'Rourke?), is surprisingly good for contested elections, so long as you don't look at Memphis too closely. It's also home to whatever the American equivalent of an UPLB is in attorney John Windle, a Democrat who has represented a huge swathe of central Tennessee in the 41st House district, that voted for Trump by well over forty points, for the past 27 years and was re-elected reasonably comfortably even this year. But, like so much of the South, the map is far removed from how it looked even a decade ago, by which I mean it's red. Oh so red.
The lesson from Tennessee is that contested does not mean competitive. Huge majorities is the name of the game in both the House and the Senate. There are exceptions to this rule, however: the Democrats came within a few thousand votes of picking up a Senate the 31st Senate District in the Memphis suburbs, an area which also saw close races for two House seats; made significant progress in Knoxville, a city formerly not especially receptive to Democrats and dominant in a county Trump won by almost twenty-five points, winning a second seat on a big swing and narrowly missing out on a third; and made strides in both the House and Senate in the formerly heavily-Republican Rutherford county, home of Murfreesboro and a large chunk of Nashville suburbia. On a big picture level, though, almost nothing changed, with no seats switching in the Senate and only the aforementioned 13th district in Knoxville flipping in the House. This does at least mean the Democrats performed better than in Alabama and South Carolina, and have definite targets for the future, which I'm sure is very comforting for them even as the man widely thought to be their best chance at statewide office for the foreseeable future went down in flames to far-right climate-change-denying young earth creationist and Planned Parenthood conspiracy theorist, and therefore excellent fit for the state, Marsha Blackburn. Hard to believe this is the same state that Al Gore, the eternal never-happening presidential candidate, represented in the senate until 1993.
View attachment 6575
 

Thande

Chemical Christian Chaos Chelator
Published by SLP
#3
And Tennessee, where the shift seems most dramatic to me purely because I can vaguely remember Harold Ford almost winning 2006 and all the Al Gore ramping in 2016.
Tennessee is interesting because you've got the eastern bit that's always been staunchly Republican against the rest since Literally The 1860s, so you'd think the rest couldn't realign to be Republican without disrupting that bit (like how New England became Democratic as the south became Republican), but no. I suppose it's a reverse, more dramatic version of how upstate New York is getting more Democratic when traditionally it was Republican to be against NYC.
 

Md139115

You have not even begun to grasp the madness
#4
Tennessee is interesting because you've got the eastern bit that's always been staunchly Republican against the rest since Literally The 1860s, so you'd think the rest couldn't realign to be Republican without disrupting that bit (like how New England became Democratic as the south became Republican), but no. I suppose it's a reverse, more dramatic version of how upstate New York is getting more Democratic when traditionally it was Republican to be against NYC.
It does make one think though: what region(s) of the country has never changed? What has always been, and will always be (assuming current trends continue) one party?
 

Greenealogist

Well-known member
Location
Schaffhausen
#5
Tennessee is interesting because you've got the eastern bit that's always been staunchly Republican against the rest since Literally The 1860s, so you'd think the rest couldn't realign to be Republican without disrupting that bit (like how New England became Democratic as the south became Republican), but no. I suppose it's a reverse, more dramatic version of how upstate New York is getting more Democratic when traditionally it was Republican to be against NYC.
Aren't there a few chunks of the South like that? In particular, I'm thinking of the rock-ribbed counties in Kentucky and the West Virginia panhandle. Man, it really is true that the US never got over the Civil War.
 

Greenealogist

Well-known member
Location
Schaffhausen
#8
And North Carolina, completing my journey through the Deep South for this year's state legislatures.
After a seemingly endless stream of uncontested elections, North Carolina appears to make me feel a lot better. Out of 170 state legislative districts over both houses, only a single district - House 107, in the depths of Charlotte - had only one candidate, and only two - House 24 and 13 - had only minor party or unaffiliated candidates as opponents, and one of them actually nearly won. Why North Carolina had fewer uncontested races than even Minnesota is unclear, but I would hazard a guess at the court-mandated redistricting in 2017, which saw one of the most aggressive Republican gerrymanders at both a congressional and state level undone. Whilst the Democrats have narrowly failed to make any gains in Congress, although coming very close in three districts, it's a different story in the legislature, having picked up somewhere between three and six (probably six) seats in the Senate and between eight and eleven (probably nine) in the House and easily breaking Republican super-majorities. This includes every house district in Wake County, home of Raleigh, and all but one in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), but also encompasses seats in the rural African-American majority areas, the transplant-filled areas of the Research Triangle, and smaller cities like Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Wilmington and Asheville. There were even two of the rarest kinds of Democratic pickups - white rural districts in the south. Both the 93rd and 119th districts in the Appalachians were picked up from incumbent Republicans, and not even especially narrowly. Whilst the 93rd contains Appalachian State University, which is probably what carried Ray Russell to victory, the 119th consists of traditional swing areas which have been trending increasingly Republican so this might be a good sign for Democratic hopes in the state in 2020, when one-term Republican incumbent Senator Thom Tillis will be defending his seat, as will a fair few vulnerable Republicans who just clung on this year, and, of course, the state's 15 electoral votes will be up for grabs.
Obvious targets for the Democrats are visible on the map, primarily the hope of further improvement in the suburbs and the smaller cities, but also rural districts in the Inner and Outer Banks, home of the individualistic Republican congressman Walter Jones in the Third District. May North Carolina's encouraging trends continue and not be stymied by a horrific bit of re-gerrymandering in 2020.
View attachment 6593
 

Greenealogist

Well-known member
Location
Schaffhausen
#9
I made a few non-state legislative maps for a friend of mine from Pennsylvania today, thought I'd put them up here. They should be fairly self-explanatory. At some point I'll do an actual AH map...
 

Attachments

Greenealogist

Well-known member
Location
Schaffhausen
#12
B L A T A N T W I S H F U L F I L M E N T
aka more from the electoral reform 'FAVA'-verse.
In addition to the 'blue wave,' the 2018 elections saw something of a rainbow wave. The LGBTQ+ Victory Fund put large amounts of money into Democratic primaries in an attempt to get more LGBTQ+ candidates selected and were wildly successful, resulting in seven LGBT Democrats in winnable senate races (of whom all but Texas's Annise Parker were elected), including Kerri Harris, who narrowly defeated sitting senator Tom Carper in the primary, and many more candidates in winnable house races. LGBTQ+ candidates therefore won not only in deep blue states like Massachusetts and California, but also in states like Nebraska, Idaho and Oklahoma, and there are currently six gay or lesbian senators and 24 LGBTQ+ representatives, including the first gay clergy member (Virginia's Joe Cobb) and the first out African-American representative (Massachusetts's Denise Simmons, Barbara Jordan was not open about her sexuality during her time in Congress). Some consideration was given to forming a separate caucus from the LGBT Equality Caucus for the queer members along the lines of the Congressional Black Caucus, but as yet no such caucus has been founded, although all sitting LGBTQ+ congresspeople are members of the LGBT Equality Caucus.
 

Greenealogist

Well-known member
Location
Schaffhausen
#15
University of Wisconsin-Madison have all the old state blue books, featuring electoral apportionment and results data broken down to town and ward level, going back well over a century. Scratching the surface of this absolute treasure trove with a couple of state senate maps from Bob LaFollette's governorship.
Wisconsin Senate 1902.png
Wisconsin Senate 1904.png
 

Thande

Chemical Christian Chaos Chelator
Published by SLP
#16
University of Wisconsin-Madison have all the old state blue books, featuring electoral apportionment and results data broken down to town and ward level, going back well over a century. Scratching the surface of this absolute treasure trove with a couple of state senate maps from Bob LaFollette's governorship.
View attachment 7584
View attachment 7585
Nice work! I found some of those on Google Books a while back, but unfortunately the ones I saw did not go into detail of the district boundaries in the cities once you got below city/county level. (I think the ones I saw were Wisconsin as well, or they may have been Michigan).
 

Greenealogist

Well-known member
Location
Schaffhausen
#17
Nice work! I found some of those on Google Books a while back, but unfortunately the ones I saw did not go into detail of the district boundaries in the cities once you got below city/county level. (I think the ones I saw were Wisconsin as well, or they may have been Michigan).
Milwaukee was an absolute pain. The map in the book just showed the districts that were in the county, and had a list of the city wards and the townships that made up each district. I had to dig out an old guide to Milwaukee from 1904 which contained the ward boundaries listed by street, then find a street map of the city from 1904, then draw the boundaries on that, then shrink them and fit them in map. It was fun though, and also means I have a ward map of Milwaukee for the period, albeit very rough, which might come in use someday.
 

Thande

Chemical Christian Chaos Chelator
Published by SLP
#18
Milwaukee was an absolute pain. The map in the book just showed the districts that were in the county, and had a list of the city wards and the townships that made up each district. I had to dig out an old guide to Milwaukee from 1904 which contained the ward boundaries listed by street, then find a street map of the city from 1904, then draw the boundaries on that, then shrink them and fit them in map. It was fun though, and also means I have a ward map of Milwaukee for the period, albeit very rough, which might come in use someday.
Yep, that was the same book I saw! Seriously impressed you managed that. (y)