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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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In Southwestern Wisconsin, a lot of people are, as you noted, organic or small farmers, but the area has a lot of artists and outdoorsy-types. They may have been turned off by the big-business types and the Southern-tinged social conservatives. Also, LaCrosse is an old union town. I can't say comprehensively what it is, but I think that's part of it.

It sounds like the Driftless area is perhaps becoming sort of the Midwest's Vermont - a lightly populated place with hills and farms that was once solidly Republican, but started attracting artists and outdoorsy-types back in the Sixties, and has long since gone blue.

Or it could be that 8 years of Bush, followed by 4 years of Obama not doing anything completely stupid, has given the Dems some inroads in various areas. If this is the case, the next 4 years may decide its voting patterns for a long time - if things go well, probably they stay Dem. If not, they may 'drift' back. The only thing I have faith in, regarding both our major pilitical parties, is their amazing ability to screw up whatever advantage they've been able to gain.

"It sounds like the Driftless area is perhaps becoming sort of the Midwest's Vermont..."

Exactly.

Long live the Republic of Driftopia...

Wall Street Pit noted "Appalachia is also a hilly farming region" and noted that it is mostly Republican, and wondered why the Driftless Area would be different.

I think you got it partly right with the "Norwegian" nationality, but I think you missed the long-lasting religious and societal influence of the Lutheran social gospel. Look at the electoral map, and pay attention to the still-rural hotbeds of Lutheranism: NE Pennsylvania (part of Appalachia that Wall Street Pit probably considered "rust belt") and the Driftless Area. Both went "blue" in 2012.

I also suspect this more-rural (and thus likely slower-changing) region is heir with Madison to the Bryan-Lafollette progressive strain of politics.

The Driftless Area may very well be "the Midwest's Vermont" but I think Madison got there about 40 years ago and is its intellectual and social capitol (which I deliberately misspelled to avoid conveying the notion of "social capital").

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