Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street's regional strengths and weaknesses

Interviewers have been asking me what the American Nations paradigm -- that the continent is really divided into eleven "countries," most of them centuries-old -- can tell us about the prospects of the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements.

Analyzing the Tea Party was relatively easy, as they've been engaged in electoral politics from the beginning, creating a wealth of data; my feature in the current issue of the Washington Monthly shows why the movement is doomed to failure in large swaths of the country. The results of last week's off-year elections bolstered the argument.

But the Occupy movement offers much less of a data trail: its newer; it has thus far spurned electoral politics; there's no "OWS caucus" in Congress to track. I've hypothesized that the movement would also face stark regional differences in popularity and leverage but, until today, didn't have any evidence to test the idea.

Today's article at the Washington Monthly's Ten Miles Square blog offers preliminary evidence that OWS is strongest in the very same "nations" where the Tea Party is weakest. But there's a surprise too: OWS appears especially strong in in the Far West, suggesting the (Tea Party-steered) G.O.P. coalition may be vulnerable to fracture. Enjoy the piece, and let me know what you think.


  1. Interested in your thoughts on David Brooks's assertion today: "At this moment of crisis, it is obvious how little moral solidarity undergirds the European pseudostate. Americans in Oregon are barely aware when their tax dollars go to Americans in Arizona. We are one people with one shared destiny."

  2. @David - On that point, Mr. Brooks is on very shaky ground.

  3. Right. Great book. I'm enjoying it immensely. Also loved Lobster Coast. As a product of Yankeedom, living in exile in the Midlands, your books are great fun as well as being packed with insights.