Have you ever been to Piscataquis County, Maine? It is one of the largest counties (in area) east of the Mississippi River. Baxter State Park and Moosehead Lake are in Piscataquis County. Despite its huge size, this county has less than half the population (17,235) of Arlington. Piscataquis County is the only county in the six New England states that was carried by John McCain. (Yes. That means Barack Obama carried every county in New Hampshire.) McCain won Piscataquis County by 355 votes, 4,785 4,430. Consider there are 67 counties in New England, and Barack Obama carried 66 of them. McCain carried a tiny county by 355 votes. Welcome to Blue England.
New England elects 22 members of the House of Representatvies. With the defeat of Christopher Shays in Connecticut, all 22 members will be Democrats. This is amazing, when you consider that it wasn’t long ago when New England was the most reliably Republican region in the country. In 1932, New England provided four of the six states (ME, NH, VT, CT) voting for Herbert Hoover over FDR. (The other two states were PA and DE.)
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The rise of the Republicans as a predominantly socially-conservative and southern party conflicts with the socially-tolerant but frugal nature of New Englanders.
If the 2008 elections prove anything, good old New England common sense seems to be spreading. Not only are we solid blue, but the colors are running south and west. How far? Here’s two examples.
If you have ever driven south on I-95 toward Florida, you know the signs for South of the Border start appearing after you pass Washington. This famous tourist stop is just south of the North Carolina-South Carolina border. According to Google Maps, it is 816 miles, more than 13 hours of driving time, south of Arlington. If President-Elect Obama maintains his lead in North Carolina, South of the Border will be at the bottom of the first exit on I-95 in the first red state you encounter on your southbound trip.
If south isn’t your preferred direction, you can head west on I-90. Head west and you will be driving through beautiful blue Obama states until you reach Brandon, SD. It’s the first town in the first red state on that westbound trip. It’s 1,545 miles and about 24 hours west of Arlington.
It’s nice to know the next president, and the majorities of both houses of Congress, share our values. I look forward to some good old-fashioned Blue England common sense reflected in our new government.