Washington Monthly: how centuries old settlement patterns shaped the 2022 Midterms

In Washington Monthly, Nationhood Lab director Colin Woodard outlines the findings in the project’s recent analysis of the 2022 U.S. midterm elections

For Washington Monthly, Nationhood Lab director Colin Woodard wrote about the findings of a new the project’s report on how centuries-old settlement patterns affected the results of the 2022 U.S. midterm elections in several key states.

The research, published with the launch of the project’s website Feb. 14, shows how the regional cultures that are the legacy of these competing colonization streams can be clearly recognized on county-level election result maps in states like Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Washington which all have stark regional cleavages. The effects of the regional differences — outlined in Woodard’s 2011 history, American Nations — overwhelmed the alleged “urban/rural divide” in many of these states, leading statewide Democratic candidates to lose even the urban county vote in the Far Western sections of California and Washington and in the Deep Southern and Greater Appalachian sections of Texas and Pennsylvania. Their Republican rivals lost even the rural county vote in the Left Coast section of those two western states and in the El Norte section of Texas.

“We found that voters behaved very differently based on these centuries-old cultural boundaries, regardless of whether they lived in rural or urban counties,” Woodard wrote. “In most cases, rural and urban voters in a given U.S. region continue to support the same candidates, though, as has always been the case, by different margins.”

The Monthly‘s editor in chief, Paul Glastris, discussed the article and the Pell Center project’s findings in a recent interview with Sirius XM radio’s Julie Mason on Julie Mason Mornings.