July 24, 2021

WaPo columnist lives in a partisan bubble and he likes it.

I'm reading "Opinion: I live in a Democratic bubble. Here’s why that’s okay" by Perry Bacon Jr. 

I live in a partisan bubble, according to an interactive New York Times feature that lets you enter your address to find out the political-party breakdown of the [1,000 voters closest to you]. Only 18 percent of my neighbors in the Highlands area of Louisville are Republican. There is an area only four miles away that is balanced between the parties. I ain’t moving there. Being “in a bubble” is generally considered a negative in our culture, while diversity is a positive.....

Only 18% are Republican? How terribly un-diverse. But I'm not going to pester you with the details of why Bacon likes where he is, thinks it's actually diverse in its own way, and doesn't need more input from the kind of people who think such things as Biden didn't really win the election. 

What I am going to do is, go over to the New York Times and find out what percentage of my neighbors are Republican. Maybe you'd be interested to know where I'm writing from when I say I'm in my remote outpost in the Midwest.

The percentage of Republicans in my neighborhood is... ONE!


Ann Althouse said...

Nancy writes:

"Just read this article about how the wealthy and celebrated,( I’m assuming they’re democrats) are now taking over one of the last affordable and remote parts of Long Island. The bubble people are like the pods in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, springing up everywhere!"


Ann Althouse said...

Jeff writes:

"I broke down and got the NYT discount offer ($1/wk) just to see how my neighborhood broke out. The answer was not surprising, 55% Republican but I was a bit surprised by the NYT comment attached to the result, "Many of your neighbors — 55 percent — are Republicans. You don't quite live in a bubble, but we wouldn't say your neighbors are politically diverse, either."

"So 55% Republican with the remaining 45% being Democratic and Independent doesn't qualify as politically diverse. I wonder what it takes to earn the diverse designation? Would 55% Democratic qualify?"

Ann Althouse said...

Amadeus 48 writes:

"“The percentage of Republicans in my neighborhood is... ONE!”

"That is embarrassing. I doubt your neighbors know what Republicans think. You, because you are willing to host this blog and sort through the comments, are probably the best informed person in your immediate vicinity. On the other hand, your neighbors have almost perfected that state for which the government is striving in Fahrenheit 451. Who needs more than one opinion? It just upsets people.

"I move between two worlds—Lincoln Park (very few Republicans—my vote was visible in the last election) and a small town in West Michigan (the county went 61% for Trump twice). Shockingly, the people are pretty much the same in both places, but they have different sources of information. The Republicans are deep into eye-rolling over everything they see coming from the mainstream media. The Democrats appear to be secure in their belief that a benevolent government is overseeing their lives, and Jen Psaki is speaking truth to power. All are confident that the other side has it wrong. Political discussions quickly lead to tedium in both places. The problem is that everything has become political. The Cleveland Guardians? Help! Chief Wahoo has been lynched! Down with Abe Lincoln, who freed the slaves but didn’t pardon some Indians (who killed my wife’s great-great-great grandfather and grandmother)!

"I think that is the real problem—the personal is political."

Ann Althouse said...

David writes:

"Though not Republican yourself, you've at least entertained conservative ideas, which is likely why your audience has always skewed right. This is likely why, if it were not for your husband, your neighborhood would have zero percent Republicans."


My posting this comment doesn’t mean I agree with any of the assertions, e.g., that my husband is a Republican.

Ann Althouse said...

Temujin writes:

"1%? That's hilarious. That's almost impossible. I mean, it seems as though there would have to be a random independent thinker running around here or there to bring it up to 2%. Wow. I have a good friend who lives in Ann Arbor and is feeling like he can't take living there anymore because of the amount and depth of the 'progressive-ness' that runs through that city in every conceivable way. I'm sure A2 is less than 5%, but 1%? Madison...you are an island of close-mindedness in a sea of cheese and beer.

"I'd love to see that interactive algorithm in the NYT, but I've reached my monthly limit linking to other Althouse posts."

I will add:

The percentage is not at the city level. It's much more specific: "Enter your address to see the political party of the thousand voters closest to you."

We're very close to campus, so lots of students in the set.

Ann Althouse said...

portly pirate writes:

"I see references to a "big sort" or a "great sorting" at Instapundit and other places. The Hoover Institution did a study back in 2012 that would seem to discredit the belief in a great sorting:

The Myth of the "Big Sort": 'In the information age, Americans’ political allegiances go far beyond their neighborhoods. By Samuel J. Abrams ... Leftists flow into major cities to get away from rustics in rural areas and to find jobs they find more congenial than agriculture, factories and small-town service industry jobs. The specter of civil unrest and even civil war between Left and Right has caused many on the Right to counsel fleeing the cities and the possibility of unrest/rioting that was so prevalent in 2020 and probably would have continued in 2021 had not Biden's election temporarily mollified the malcontents and provocateurs on the Left. If the GOP seizes Congress in 2022 we can expect a return of rioting.'"

Ann Althouse said...

Charles writes:

"You quipped about living in a partisan bubble, about how Perry Bacon Jr “doesn't need more input from the kind of people who think such things as Biden didn't really win the election.”

"Now I’m a bit more seriously interested in why ANYONE should be interested in any argument that “Biden didn’t really win the election.”

"You’re a discerning person, a sophisticated consumer of news and current events such that you have cut your television cable because cable news is too banal for you. Are YOU interested in a discussion about how Biden didn’t really win the election?

"I’m a Republican; I happen to like living where there are NPR stations and art-house movie theaters. And yet I don’t care to listen to Democrats tell me about any Green New Deal. In fact, the Green New Deal is a harmless distraction, compared to Republican leaders who engage in rhetoric about a stolen 2020 presidential election. “Stop the Steal” not a truthful argument; it’s not an illuminating discussion. It’s a noxious waste of time. And as such, avoiding it — even including one’s choice of residential neighborhood — seems logical in a very Althousian way."

I'll say:

I quipped? What's the quip? I've been living here for >30 years.

By the way, I loathe invitations to answer aggressive questions that begin with ridiculous flattery.

Ann Althouse said...

Jack writes:

"This sort of analysis tends to ignore one point that I think is worth more attention - there are about 127 million persons in rhe US registered as either Republicans or Democrats (from quick internet search on Bing). Thus there are about 206 million persons, a significant majority, who are free of either stamp.

"Also it seems possible that some if those registered don't really define themselves by political party.

"Perhaps most of us live in a bubble that is not partial to political parties at all."

I'll add:

In Wisconsin, there is no registration by party, so the NYT was using some other method for assigning parties to us. I think it was how we actually voted, but that's missing the point that many people vote, say, Democratic, when they hate the Democratic Party. I'm sure that's the case around me, that there are many who are left of Democrats, but vote for Democrats as against Republicans. We have something here called Progressive Dane: " Progressive Dane is an independent, progressive political party in Dane County, Wisconsin founded in the fall of 1992. Focusing exclusively on local elections, Progressive Dane endorses candidates and lobbies for issues decided on by its membership. It currently boasts seven members of the Madison Common Council, three members of the Dane County Board of Supervisors, three of the seven members of the Madison School Board and one member of the Fitchburg Common Council. It has tenuous relationships and substantial membership overlap with the Wisconsin Green Party.... Progressive Dane achieved a high level of electoral success in the early-2000s, when Madison mayor and Progressive Dane member Dave Cieslewicz remarked, "For all intents and purposes, they are the [city’s] governing party right now." In 2019, the party reported seven members on the twenty-member Madison Common Council, three on the thirty seven-member Dane County Board of Supervisors, and three members on the seven-member Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education."

Ann Althouse said...

MJB Wolf writes:

"The thinking appears awfully binary when “independent” and “no party affiliation” are the true majority coalition in this country."

I'll say:

It's giving the parties way too much credit. They absolutely do not deserve to claim the people who voted for them as members. I'd say most people I've known were not party members. The partisanship I see is hatred of the other side.

Ann Althouse said...

Wince writes:

"Speaking of Living in Bubbles, Dr. Zachary Smith said...

Silence, you Malicious Moron... Just you wait, you Deplorable Dummy... Be still, you Bubble-Headed Booby... Spare me your useless medical advice Dr. Dunderhead... You Blithering Bumpkin... Spare me the comedics you Deplorable Dummy..."


Ann Althouse said...

SXD writes:

"It seems like the natural question is - do you know your neighbors well enough to have a sense as to who that one republican may be? I’d think they know they are in “enemy” territory and stay under cover. Does the NYT show the actual house?

"Living in Austin I assume most of my neighbors are dems. Most people don’t put signs up supporting candidates, but in the last school board meeting there was a sign supporting someone running on an anti CRT platform."

Ann Althouse said...

Michelle writes:

"OK, I went and put my own address into the NYT grinder, dimly conscious that I've done this once already. My neighborhood comes out 51% Democratic, with the rest split about 2:1 between Republicans and Independents. (I am registered Independent, FWIW.) I get the same answer another commenter got: "You don't quite live in a bubble, but we wouldn't say your neighbors are politically diverse, either."

"What the hell? Half Democrats, 1/3 Republicans, 1/6 Independents -- in what world is that not "politically diverse"? That looks, in fact, rather like the nation writ large, and the nation is nothing if not "politically diverse." I suppose if there were more Democrats, I'd rate higher on the diversity index?

"I wrote to Perry Bacon, btw, as comments on his column were (probably sensibly) shut off. Pointing out, among other things, that the WaPo Op-Ed page is itself the perfect bubble. I looked at the comments on pieces by Henry Olsen, Marc Thiessen, George Will . . . and they were literally one hundred percent negative, mostly to the tune of "why do you let this troglodyte keep writing?" Megan McArdle got only slightly less flak. I am puzzled as to why these people read the writers they know they despise already, and indeed some of them go out of their way to say that they didn't read the piece at all, before savaging the writer. Thiessen's posts included, among other things, a detailed explanation of how Cuba's system of employment is almost literal slavery. But the readership won't believe that, because Thiessen said it."

Ann Althouse said...

gpm writes:

"Don't know why I let myself get suckered in, but I signed up for the dollar a month thing to do this one. I have a subscription for the puzzles, which I think used to get you full access, but probably long gone. Of course, it's easy to sign up, but harder to get out (and no doubt you have to go through somebody trying to convince you not to; I reference the recent Althouse post on that subject). And how long do I need to wait?

"Anyway, the answer I got was 9 percent Republican in what they called my Democrat bubble; no mention of independents. I'm surprised it's that high. For chrissakes, I live half a block from Brookline MA (which can surely outdo Madison, unless all the Russian immigrants are making a difference) and am embedded in a sea of students (though I don't think they vote that much). It's quite possible they're counting me as a Democrat, since I may well be registered as such (not sure I would want to identify as a Republican, for that matter). Registration is totally meaningless here unless you want to vote in a primary. Except for a few statewide races, there's not likely to be a Republican running, let alone a meaningful choice in a primary, so what's the point in registering R?

"Like Amadeus 48, I split my time with a second home in a different locale. For me, Conway, in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. According to this analysis, the split there is 47 percent D/53 percent R. Of course, the place is overrun with tourists half the year, so you're mostly running into Massholes, not locals, no matter what. Though I do know all the local bartenders."

Ann Althouse said...

Donna writes:

"I'm inclined not to give the NYT a dollar a month to tell me how my area rates; I'm in Vermont, a very blue state, so it's probably safe to assume that most of my neighbors are left of center. However, as a long-time poll worker and vote counter in our small village (pop. +/- 400), I know that in the last two elections Trump garnered about 30% of the vote here. Checking online it appears that the 30% Trump votes was also his percent statewide, which usually comes as a surprise to people who believe that Vermont is completely populated by Democrats. I don't know too many Republicans in our corner of the state, but the guy down the road with his huge "Jail Hillary" and "Trump 2020" signs is surely one of them.

"To commenter gpm: the difference between native (many generations) New Englanders and the floods of flatlanders who have moved here and changed the political map can be stark. The old-timers, natives of whatever age, and farmers are more conservative in their politics and general outlook than the tiresome NY/NJ/CT/MA newcomers."