Kevin Soo's research on predicting county political behavior.
It's been a pleasure having scholars and researchers apply the American Nations paradigm to various research questions. Here's a recent one.
Kevin Soon, a doctoral candidate in cognitive psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, has found that a given county's voting behavior was better predicted by what American Nation it belonged to then by what state it was in or even whether it was densely populated or sparse and rural. Here's his take over at his blog, complete with data visualizations.
Curiously, the size of the county is actually less predictive than the state it is located in, but the regional culture trumps all.
My own take in the 2016 election -- with comparisons to 2008 and 2012 -- can be found here.
The problem is summed up by a former NOAA Fisheries senior manager thusly: "Let's say you want to implement a regulation to protect a fish. Now you'd have to remove protections on two others, which makes no sense. How would you decide which two? And how would you go through the full rule making to withdraw those, with public hearings and a reasoning that would stand up to court challenge?" The answer: you couldn't. Therefore there will be no fishing regulations that reach the threshold of "significant regulatory actions" going forward so long as the order stands.
I've been remiss in posting this story from Tuesday's Press Herald, wherein I talked to Maine US Senator Angus King -- who sits on the intelligence committee -- and Rep. Chellie Pingree about the biggest issue of an insane news week: investigating the Trump administrations' ties to Russia. Among other things, I learned that the committee is indeed investigating former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian diplomats before inauguration day, and that King and Sen. Susan Collins oppose the creation of an independent select committee take over from senate intel. (Pingree says this is essential.)
For those concerned about President Donald Trump's authoritarian behavior and personal stability, there's a lot of hope being placed in the U.S. system of checks and balances. They only work, people are beginning to realize, if someone acts to do so. With partisan tribalism at perhaps an all-time high and Trump's party in control of all branches of government and chambers of Congress, that actor isn't quite so clear.
Aside from the federal courts, the most obvious countervailing force in time of constitutional curses would be "country-before-party" Republican members of the Senate and -- statistically speaking -- the most likely member to challenge their caucus would be Maine's own Susan Collins.
The talk itself was for members, so I'm very pleased that the stations of Maine Public (formerly Maine Public Broadcasting) broadcast the lecture on their "Speaking in Maine" program yesterday. (I discovered this in a disorienting way: turning on the ignition to my car to hear my own voice lecturing me from the radio.) They have it up as a podcast here, for those interested. I also speak a bit about the 2016 election, fueled from the data in this post over at the Portland Press Herald.
Collins was joined by fellow Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. She also revealed an exchange of letters with DeVos in which the nominee pledged not to impose school vouchers -- a penchant of hers -- on any state or school district.
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, American Character, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I'm a staffer at the Portland Press Herald, where I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting and was named a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.