Colin Woodard, American Nations, The 2012 Election


Here’s the true story of the 2012 presidential election … the Yankee Question. Once you understand that question, you will understand the futility of White Nationalism and “the metapolitical struggle” to erase the accumulated weight of four centuries of cultural sediment and historical experience in the minds of the people.

The same fault lines can be seen in every recent national election. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of advertising changes nothing:

The G.O.P.’s Yankee Problem

“A remarkable thing happened last Tuesday. The Republican Party was virtually extinguished from the land of its birth.

I’m speaking of Yankeedom, a great swath of the country from Maine to Minnesota that was effectively colonized by New England Puritans and their descendants. This cultural region – one of eleven that make up our continent — includes upstate New York, the Western Reserve of Ohio, Upper Great Lakes states, the northern tier of Illinois, and part of Iowa. The birthplace of the G.O.P and the center of its support for the first century of its existence, today it is home to 54 million people, few of them genetically related to the early settlers of the Bay Colony, but all of them effected by the cultural DNA they left behind. …

It was a regional rout of national significance. In New England, Mitt Romney didn’t capture a single Electoral College vote, while Republicans lost every major federal and statewide contest. Scott Brown lost his U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. In Maine, two-term Independent Gov. Angus King routed his rivals to capture the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by moderate Republican Olympia Snowe, while Republicans lost control of both houses of the state legislature. In “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire, Republicans lost both U.S. House contests and – in a massive turnaround – the lower chamber of the State House; Democrat Maggie Hassan was elected governor.

New England now doesn’t have a single G.O.P. congressperson. Only one of its six governors and two of twelve U.S. Senators are Republicans.

And it’s not just in the New England core. Romney lost every state dominated by Yankeedom – Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota – and all those with significant Yankee sections, including New York and Ohio. Republican U.S. Senate candidates lost in every Yankee dominated state as well, while Democrat Sherrod Brown owed his Senate victory in Ohio to overwhelming support in the Yankee-founded Western Reserve. Republicans lost 10 of 12 Yankee-controlled House seats in Illinois, 5 of 8 in Minnesota, 4 of 9 in upstate New York, and both in eastern Iowa. They clearly lost the Western Reserve as well, though intense gerrymandering of that Democratic bastion makes a firm count of districts impossible. Only in Michigan and Wisconsin will the G.O.P. house caucus represent a majority. . .”

U.S. Regional Clashes Behind Obama Versus Romney

“Last week’s election demonstrated, once again, that America’s most essential and abiding divisions are not between red states and blue states, conservatives and liberals, or even the faithful and the secular. They’re cultural, the result of differences that can be traced all the way back to the rival colonial projects established on our continent three and four centuries ago.

Our political divisions are rooted in 11 disparate regional cultures, as I explained in a book that was excerpted on Bloomberg View last year. These regions — separate nations, really, including Yankeedom, Tidewater, New Netherland, New France, Deep South, Greater Appalachia, the Midlands, First Nation, the Far West, the Left Coast, El Norte — have been hiding in plain sight throughout our history. You see them outlined on linguists’ dialect maps, cultural anthropologists’ maps of material culture regions, and maps of religious regions, political geography and historical patterns of settlement. . . .

With this background in mind, the county-by-county results from Tuesday’s election offer few surprises. Obama dominated Yankeedom, sweeping 58 of 63 New England counties, and dominating the Yankee-founded tier of the Northeast, from upstate New York and the Western Reserve of Ohio to northern Illinois and the Upper Great Lakes states. He routed Romney in New Netherland and won 39 of 53 counties on the Left Coast. Add the overwhelming support of the regions first colonized by Spain (where voters were unimpressed with Romney’s immigration policies) and you have the “blue” coalition that has supported the Democratic candidate for six presidential elections running. . .

Regional divisions date back centuries

“Late Tuesday night, the television screens carried a familiar image: America, its northeastern quadrant and western shore a sea of blue, much of the rest a mass of red.

It’s essentially the same map — give or take two or three states — that greeted viewers during election week in 2000, 2004 and 2008, one reflecting divisions dating back centuries. The Democratic presidential nominee — whether an African-American from Hawaii and Chicago or a white Southern Baptist from Tennessee — dominated much of the old Union, the Republican nominee most of the states of the old Confederacy, often by wide margins.

While these state-level maps suggest our political differences may have a regional basis, they actually conceal the depth of the sectional divide because they fail to capture the true cultural fault lines that have shaped and defined American politics since long before the United States came into existence. …

Look at county-level maps of almost any closely contested presidential race in our history, and the presence of these regional cultures is far clearer. Again and again, the swaths of the country colonized by the early Puritans and their descendants tend to vote as one, and against the party in favor in the sections first colonized by the Barbados slave lords who founded Charleston, or the Scots-Irish frontiersmen who swept down the Appalachian highlands and on into the Hill Country of Texas, Oklahoma and the southern tiers of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.

The people of the slender Pacific coastal plain from San Francisco to Juneau, Alaska — a region you might call the Left Coast — have backed the same horse as the Yankees in virtually every contest since their states joined the Union, and in opposition to the candidate favored by the majority of people in the interiors of their own states. Yankees have also found allies in the sections of the Southwest that were effectively colonized by Spain in the 16th to 19th centuries. . . “

About Hunter Wallace 12380 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. Of course Earlmundo and Dixiegirl will chime in and say it’s the fault of the Catholics that these Yankee puritan states vote like Yankees….

  2. Despite the fact that the Yankees killed the GOP in 2012, the GOP is doing all it can to appeal to Mexicans, not Yankees. They think amnesty will get them the Mexican vote. To be honest, I don’t know how they could re-take the Yankee vote. I wouldn’t even know where to start with such a project, especially if you want to keep the Southern vote. In the end, it seems almost impossible to get the Southern vote and the Yankee vote unless it’s one of those elections where the opposition candidate is extremely marginal or the two parties are in transition.

    I also wonder what sort of opposition to the Democrats would emerge if New England were independent? I tend to think that there would be a Leftist party and a Centrist party. I don’t think a Rightist party would be mainstream there. Meanwhile, here in the South (if we were independent) the parties would probably be racially-based. I tend to think you’d have a Rightist White party that would be divided into the pro-business moderate camp and the socially conservative camp. And you’d have a Black-led party. They would govern their areas and we would govern our areas. I imagine in the transplant-heavy areas and the areas around universities you might see White Leftists joining the Black party. I don’t know what the Mexicans would do. I imagine in the end they would be sent back to Mexico because it seems to be the one thing Blacks and White agree on.

  3. Well…. it does seem a bit funny, since no Puritans live there.

    Think the article uses the phrase, (lmao) CULTURAL DNA.

    So, um, guess you believe in that ole “cultural DNA,” (dem debil pure-tins made me do it wid dere kulchural DNA!!!)….

  4. “They think amnesty will get them the Mexican vote….”

    NO they don’t. They SAY that to the public on t.v. to justify their lust for Mexico. But they aren’t stupid. They know exactly what they are doing.

    You can’t really believe they believe that.

  5. — If the south were independent, the universities would be completely different— the whole version of history would change overnight.

  6. Good post, worth sharing.

    Pennsylvania is a very divided state on Woodard’s map (and in reality) where some of it lies within conservative “Greater Appalachia” and none in liberal “Yankeeland,” but far too much of it lies within the very weak and unstable “Midlands” — and worst of all, the ultra-liberal Philadelphia metropolitan area, at the fringe of “New Netherlands” is included, which dominates the rest of the state with its immense population.

    But every state has SOME blue areas, nearly all urban. I understand the point, however, about the cultural division.

  7. Every elections breaks down along the same lines. It reflects a massive cultural divide. Woodard’s most incisive observation is that Yankee transplants in the Beltway and Hampton Roads have overrun Tidewater.

  8. I see it now, Hunter. I’ve complained about not enough focus on the trees, too much broad generalisation, while I’ve been focusing on the trees (red counties) too much to appreciate the distant view.

  9. “The Democrat Party would probably be challenged by the Communist Party.”

    No need on the Left Coast. They are already one and the same.

  10. Re: northern and southern Jersey: They were two separate colonies in the beginning.
    But nearly all states and countries, and even some counties, seem to have a north and a south. Southern and northern Belgium, for example, and southern and northern Netherlands, in tension politically.

    On the better, clearer Woodard map, I see that Pennsylvania DOES include some “Yankeeland,” but that northern tier of counties votes conservative!

  11. If it will include all of Greater Appalachia on Woodward’s map, then I would need to move only a VERY LITTLE distance west to join.

  12. “Of course Earlmundo and Dixiegirl will chime in and say it’s the fault of the Catholics that these Yankee puritan states vote like Yankees….”

    Only in Boston….

  13. Republic of Dixie? Why not call it a Confederation of states? Why use “Dixie”? What do you think of the etymology, and origin of the term “Dixie”?

  14. Who published the book/map along similar lines of Woodward that showed three regions meeting in Southern Indiana? I believe the areas were called “The foundry”, “The South” and The Plains or some such. Hunter, I thought you linked it here.

  15. The Democrat Party would probably be challenged by the Communist Party.

    Hunter, I think you are on to something there. What would happen is that the Democrat party would start being called Far right and the new Communist party would become the new left.

    I really don’t believe that the White nationalists would be able to take advamtage in such a situtation. As you have pointed out, “worse is better” has not worked out for them in the North and Westcoast.

  16. Yeah I live in Tidewater.

    We basically have no voice in our government (Federal or State) in the rural areas of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

  17. Found it.

    “Nine Nations of North America” from 1981.

    That map looks a bit more workable from a U.S. breakup standpoint. Dixie, the breadbasket(most of it) and the empty quarter have almost everything in common in terms of political philosophy without the slavery thing. The liberal politics of Locke uniformly as I see it.

    Yankeedom really is the Calvinist puritans writ large but with Marx replacing Christ.

  18. “We basically have no voice in our government (Federal or State) in the rural areas of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.” Ditto here.

  19. “no voice in our government (Federal or State) in the rural areas”: Rural versus urban in most states, except in the Northeast where rural and urban seem to be almost equally liberal.

  20. YT, there is certainly some truth to that map vs the Woodard one.

    The reality is probably that the two are layered on top of one another, reflecting original cultural foundations and more recent realignments. For example, anybody who has visited or lived in the lower peninsula of Michigan can tell you that it is simply not the case that MI has more in common with MA/NH/VT/ME than with OH or IN as the Woodard map would suggest.

    The rural and exurban areas of Michigan are not a liberal Yankeeland. This is in contrast with the rural areas of MA/NH/VT/ME which are reliably liberal. At the same time, MI has more than a fair share of native utopian liberals. To some extent, the current mix probably reflects the early and mid 20th century migrations of Appalachian whites into the Great Lakes region for industrial jobs.

  21. “New England now doesn’t have a single G.O.P. congressperson.”

    now tell me again how we can make common ground with rural yankees? All I see them doing is doubling down on BRA even at the congressional district where you would expect to see a break them with BRA if what the yankees here say about them is true

    “President Barack Obama explicitly embraced the notion that we are all in the same boat, that we will succeed or fail as a community, that the successful ought to make sacrifices for the common good. On the stump and in his victory speech, he presented these as American ideals, and they are in the sense that they are the central founding principles of Yankeedom, the section of the country colonized by the early Puritans and their descendants. The Puritans believed they were God’s chosen people and, as such, would be rewarded or punished collectively. They came to this continent to create a religious utopia, a “light on the hill,” a godly community to serve as an example for the world. Ever since, Yankees have had faith in their ability to engineer a more perfect society through public institutions. Their culture, more than any other, has prized the common good above individual aspiration, often celebrating self-denial as a virtue.

    Many other, equally American cultures look upon this philosophy with skepticism, even revulsion, and none more so than the people of Greater Appalachia. …..

    In this clash of values, the other American nations fall on a spectrum between the Yankee and Appalachian poles. ………..The Appalachian view is subscribed to in the Deep South ”

    What’s this common culture some folks here think we share? There are always things that over lap in border regions but the differences at an operational level seem clear to me

    We need to call it Dixie or the CSA to keep ourselves rooted in our past and heritage. We do not need to become a collection of rootless White tribes like up in yankee land

  22. “Note: Far West would probably join too.”

    Except for that which would include all of the hydroelectric power generation of the Columbia and Snake River systems from 31 dams starting at Bonneville Dam all the way through to the Grand Coulee Dam plus one nuke station at Hanford. 10+ gigawatts of continuous generating capacity when run conservatively as it now is.

    Provides irrigation for Idaho potatoes, Eastern Washington grain, and Oregon cattle which gets shipped by rail and barge down the Columbia to Portland and Longview. Throw in produce farming in the Willamette Valley and Western Washington, dairy farming and fishing and up and down the coast and up into Puget Sound and Gulf of Alaska, and logging in the Cascades, Olympics, and Coast Ranges and you have a pretty rich and self contained country all by itself with plenty of surplus for export and lots of power for manufacturing.

    No particular need for the rest of the United States except as trading partners. We could just go back to calling it all the Oregon Territory as before.

  23. I live in New Netherland. I saw the polls from New England but the episcopals I know up there all voted Romney. The better people didn’t know anyone who renigged. Friends at Plymouth Rock all voted Romney. The band Aerosmith voted Romney.

  24. The idol of ‘America’ has our people enthralled and we won’t be free until they’re broken of it.

  25. Rudel, I think most regions would do just fine on their own. Better in fact since they would be free to purse what is in the best interests locally instead of dealing with bullshit policy designed for a much large and population and wider range of concerns

  26. Let me throw the doomer card of financial disaster on the table. I’m in Illinois, yankee part, and the Obama voters I know and I only know whites voted one of two ways for him economic or cultural but dependent on economic in reality.

    I’m of the belief the pie is going to shrink and the D party will be doing some serious triage of their dependent classes. Long story short the excitement has just begun and these analysys will be overcome by events.

  27. “I’m of the belief the pie is going to shrink and the D party will be doing some serious triage of their dependent classes. Long story short the excitement has just begun and these analysys will be overcome by events.”

    Ya, the entire pie is shrinking. This election taught us that instead of triaging out the lesser elements under the D tent they will be conducting more raids for the remaining pie under the R tent.

    yankeedom may indeed start making hard decisions but only after they’ve starved the rest of us and eaten our corpses.

  28. @ Rudel

    Not exactly.

    The “Inland Empire” hates the Ecotopians with a passion not wholly dissimilar to the South v. North and only lacks the memory of the bloodshed of the War of Northern Aggression to make such visceral.

    Let the Ecotopians have Ecotopia and the geographic division created by the top of the Cascades delineate the two separate “nations” in this region. The Ecotopians will “get along” with the interior for all the reasons you illustated because living in the dark isn’t much of a living. Those hydroelectric plants are all located in the Inland Empire, not on the left coast. Those coastal people are bedfellows best not slept with in constant “union”, but, rather, a group of “diverse” peoples that the Inland populace should “make a deal” with regarding port access in exchange for connection to the grid and little else.

    You know, a Kelley’s Heroes, Crapgame-type “deal, deal”, because when push comes to the choice between light and dark they will momentarily act like Republicans. “A deal, deal.”

  29. “the geographic division created by the top of the Cascades delineate the two separate “nations” in this region.”

    The geographic separation is actually narrower than that. It’s only gerrymandering that prevents Oregon from having another Republican congressman. It’s only Portland, Corvallis and Eugene that keeps the Dems in power. Most rural folks even west of the Cascades aren’t in “Ecotopia.”

    Look at the county map. Obama barely took Clackamas County and lost in Marion County home of the state capital Salem. Obama only won by only a 0.15% margin in Clark County Washington (Vancouver.)

    My point remains however that politics aside, the whole of the old Oregon Territory is economically integrated and that it is still predominantly WHITE.

Comments are closed.