THE BLOG
10/23/2014 02:29 pm ET Updated Dec 23, 2014

It Is Not Just Blue State and Red State but Urban and Rural

The late Tim Russert, the much beloved political and news broadcaster, was often described as a genius for developing the simple idea of "Red state" versus "Blue state" in summing up the results of elections in general and presidential elections in particular. I think he had the best of intentions -- develop a simple way to explain election results through a clearly defined color scheme. However, the result has been that fewer American than ever understand why certain geographic areas vote in one way while you will find completely different results elsewhere. A closer examination shows that, generally speaking, it is not merely "red state versus blue state" as much as rural values (Red states) versus urban (Blue states).

With rare exception, Blue States have a huge portion of its population represented by urban areas. These urban areas swing final election results in a significant manner. They vote "Blue" or Democrat. In a similar manner, with rare exception states that largely vote "Red" have very few large population areas and there is a larger dispersion of population through out a state. Therefore, what we learn, is that the tendency for a state to vote "Blue" means they vote in the interest of urban areas, which tend to be liberal or inclined towards bigger government. Meanwhile, "Red" means they vote in the interest of rural areas which tend to be more inclined towards small government.

This is not a new phenomenon. I believe our Constitution, right from the beginning, was designed and inclined towards rural rather than urban values. According to the American Economic Foundation, in its book How We Live, at the time of the founding of the Republic roughly 80 percent of the population were in agriculture. You cannot get much more rural than that. Therefore the founders of this country would naturally reflect those values in the forming of the Constitution. They include self reliance, personal responsibility, neighbor driven voluntarism, and similar ideas.

Today there is a move towards eliminating the Electoral College. The Electoral College is that Constitutionally mandated institution that makes sure that states get represented for being states, regardless of their population size. This movement would largely eliminate the power of states that lack large urban areas. The desire to eliminate the Electoral College is largely driven by those who want urban areas to dominate politically, rather than the interests of the nation as a whole. With no Electoral College, liberal candidates could pour all of their resources in select urban areas through TV, radio, and other ads. In order to reach the same number of people outside of urban areas would cost multiples more per voter, based on advertising pricing. This would create an unfair disadvantage to certain politicians and to the constituents who seek their representation. The Electoral College is, to the election process, what the bicameral approach (House and Senate) is to the Congress is to government. It is meant to make sure everyone has a chance to be heard.