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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What's The Definition of Insanity? Just Ask These Voters

I don't think we actually know who uttered these oft-repeated words: "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome each time." Some say it was Einstein. Some say it was Benjamin Franklin. I've even seen claims online that say it was Winston Churchill. It's irrelevant, but the notion makes sense.

Where is this going? Well, right to the following charts. But first, let's get one thing clear. This assessment is not by any means a statistical representation of correlation nor causation. It merely brings into question two other C-words: coincidence and... crazy?

This chart shows the top-ten major cities (populations greater than 250,000 residents) in the United States and their respective percentage of individuals living below the poverty level.
Source: US Census Bureau American Community Survey Reports:
What does this have to do with anything? Well, check out the second chart. It shows these cities and the last time a republican mayor was elected in that city.
Source: Various Wikipedia articles
While it is nearly impossible to prove a correlation between the two (okay, okay, there is some sarcasm in there), LME has to say "oh, come on!" Conditions in these cities are getting worse year after year. Detroit has been at the top of the poverty list for decades and for some reason it repeatedly elects a democratic mayor. According to this article in the Detroit Free Press, the city's financial situation is reaching crisis levels. Genius mayor David Bing is asking city service employees to take a 10% pay cut while proposing a tax increase on corporations. Why?! Haven't the citizens of Detroit had enough? They haven't elected a republican mayor since 1949 and the city is the poorest in the country, but yet the citizens continue to repeat the same action over and over again. Bing proposes the same ineffective action (yes, increasing taxes on businesses will cause them to leave, which will reduce the number of available jobs, increasing unemployment and further pushing the city into poverty) that got this debt-stricken city into this situation in the first place. 

What gives? Is it pure coincidence? Perhaps. Are the citizens of these cities crazy? Who knows? But to quote another phrase: "if the bridge ain't broke, don't fix it." Well, the bridge has been broken for a long time, and the solution, according to these cities, is to just keep breaking it. Isn't it time to fix them? Isn't it time for some change? I doubt it would hurt, but you never know until you try.


  1. I just want to know one thing. When mayoral candidates are campaigning, does the democratic candidate advertise and make claims that the republican candidate would actually make things worse?

  2. Let's also keep in mind that these are all manufacturing towns (or towns affected heavily be immigration) and that the US has lost 9M manufacturing jobs in the last 30 years while the population continues to increase. Not saying the mayoral elections has nothing to do with it as I believe in a good mix but other factors need to be considered.

  3. Why don't we take a similar look at states by poverty level?

    Mississippi- state with highest poverty rate
    Louisiana- second highest
    New Mexico- and so on...
    West Virginia
    South Carolina

    Notice something about the political orientation of these states?

    Everyone should know that there are good governors and bad governors in both parties, and that the same is far more true of mayors.

  4. Whatsamattausa - Good day! Welcome back.

    Very true, some of these towns were big manufacturing centers, and some (probably El Paso, for instance) have been negatively affected by illegal immigration. With that, as you stated, I do believe there are other factors that are at play. But, as the post says, this isn't an attempt to show neither correlation nor causation. I, like you seem to do, like to live in a world of fact, and I like to be able to prove what I'm saying. I can't prove that the political party of the mayors had an absolute direct effect on the recent histories of these cities. I'm just merely making the point that after so many years of going in the wrong direction maybe these towns should change who they elect. Now, with that said, for me personally, I do believe the mayors have a lot to do with it (again, I can't prove it), and I would like to see the citizens vote for someone else. It's more of a debate topic with improvable things, but it's fun to debate.

    Anonymous - Thanks for your comment. And I must thank you for what you pointed out in your post: the political orientation of these states with regards to governors... DEMOCRATIC! I did some research, and I am happy to share it with you:

    MS: Democrats from 1876-1988, Republicans 1992-2000 Dem 2000-2004, Rep since 2004. Total count:(55 D, 5 R)
    LA: Democrats from 1877-1996 (skipped 1 term, 1980-1984), Republicans 1996-2004, Dem 2004-2008, Rep since 2008. Total count: (40 D, 10 R)

    After these two alone, I started to realize the trend and started to merely count the party of the governors (since the beginning of the state, or since 1900, depending on how old the state was). I continue:

    NM - Total count: (19 D 12 R)
    AL – Democrats every year from 1872 to 1987 Total count:(52 D, 6 R)
    TX: Total count: (39 D, 6 R)
    AR: Total Count: (48 D, 7 R)
    OK: Total Count: (22 D, 5 R)
    WV: Total Count: (20 D, 15 R)
    AZ: Total Count: (16 D, 10 R)
    SC: 5 republicans total
    TN: Total Count: (20 D, 6 R) since 1900

    And, just to take some more evidence from the U.S. Census report, New Hampshire, the state with the lowest percentage of citizens below the poverty level... Total count: (50 REPUBLICANS, 21 DEMOCRATS).

    So yes, I do believe your statement is correct about the fact that there are both good and bad governors and mayors, but, looking at the governors of these states as well actually put more substance behind my case. I will that the position again, however, that this still does not show provable causation. I will merely repeat what my post said... "come on, man!"

    Either way, thank you for the post. If you choose to right back, I look forward to it. If not, best of luck to you.

  5. As someone who has lived in Texas & now live in Louisiana; both of these states are benefiting from the representation of REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS and statistics such as poverty, education, etc. are much better and will continue to improve. Louisiana, in particular, suffered a long time under Democratic Governor Edwin Edwards, who was recently released from prison, where he served for selling influence. He's a Democratic PIG who drove this state into the ground and pocketed $$$$$ as much as he could.

  6. Anonymous - Thank you for this post. Going along with the Edwin Edwards reference.... Blagojevich!

    I (though statistically unable to prove it) see it as more than just a coincidence that these cities are the worst when it comes to poverty levels. The funny thing is: an anonymous poster tried to counter me with the "well, look at the governors" (claiming that they are republican-run states), and as you surely noticed in my reply, ALL of those 10 ten states for poverty levels have had primarily democratic governors over their histories. More than a coincidence?

    I never even mentioned states struggling financially (California, Illinois, New Jersey) are democrat hotbeds with HUGE debt problems.

    Thanks for your post. Are you a follower? There are numerous ways to subscribe to this blog. We hope you do. It's a great way to spread the conservative message and get around the mainstream media. I hope you like what you see. Please tell a friend, and I hope to see you here again.

  7. There's a lot to digest here, but I want to quickly respond to the following statement from anonymous: "both of these states are benefiting from the representation of REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS and statistics such as poverty, education...".

    You obviously don't live in Texas. Our education system is on life support and we've been under Republican leadership for many years. Granted, we have a unique situation, illegal immigration, that 46 other states don't have to deal with, but it's very irresponsible to make sweeping claims based on political rhetoric. I know what's coming next from LME..."Prove it." Fair enough.

    First, public education funding was cut by approx $4b from 2011-2013. In total, this will result in an estimated 100,000 school worker layoffs. I hardly call this a success.

    Second, many school districts, including larger districts (ie Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio), teach Spanish as a primary language through the early grade levels of elementary schools. In some cases, Spanish is taught as a primary language as late as the 4th grade!! Again, I will hardly call this a successful education system.

    It is my belief, and obviously a personal opinion that is difficult if not impossible to support with fact, that Texas' current problems are a result of a lack of political balance. As it stands today, Texas is a Republican safe haven. Twenty years ago, it was the opposite. Kind of sounds like the federal government doesn't it? Irony? I think not.

    As a moderate conservative, I look forward to the day of political cooperation and the silencing of the likes of Keith Olberman and Rush Limbaugh. Maybe then, when rhetoric is pushed aside, we can move forward as a country.

  8. Anonymous -

    I don't know how long it's been since you've lived in Texas, but our education system has consistenly ranked towards the bottom of the country for a number of years. Thanks, in large part due to our Republican "leadership." As a Republican and a father, I find that very hard to swallow.

    The proof (because if history repeats itself, that's LME's next question) is as follows:

    1. From 2011-2013 the state will cut over $4b from the education budget which will result in a loss of 100k education based jobs.

    2. Spanish is taught as a primary language as late as the 4th grade in many districts, including but not limited to, Fort Worth, Dallas and Houston. Why is that a problem? The state issued standardized test that these students are required to pass in order to advance through the education system is given in English.

    My point? Republican "leadership" is just as likely to fail as Democratic "leadership" especially in environments that foster group think (ie, Texas, California). That's why it's our responsibility, as United States Citizens, to elect a balanced leadership that is willing to cooperate amongst each other. Is it time for Obama to go? Absolutely, but only if he and Boehner leave together.

  9. mansfieldsig - Thanks for the post.

    My only counter is that Texas has had republican governors only since 1995. Prior to that they alternated with democrats from 1979, and before that, it has been democrats in entirety since 1870.

    I like how you realized that I'm big on proof. It shows you read my blog, and I appreciate the mention there :-)

    With your two points, I don't live in Texas and that's something that you definitely have a greater knowledge of relative to me.

    With your last paragraph, indeed. They are just as likely to fail, but, as with the 10 cities listed above... the point was merely that after so long, it's time to change. I definitely wish and think the republicans can succeed, but they can fail just like the democrats did.

    Thanks again for the post. I hope to hear back from you. If not, best of luck!