Purple As Mud

Sometimes I wish WordPress made it easy to display content from linked sources as Twitter does.

But at least I can unroll my twitter thread here w/out to much hassle!

The way we visualize data matters quite a bit. Coloring whole states red or blue needlessly polarizing and obscures reality.


This one is from 2012, but I would bet it hasn't changed a whole lot from now. When you look at this does the characterization of rural America as "red" feel right?

The deepest red parts of the country generally are the outer suburbs of metropolitan areas in the most traditionally religious zones – The "Bible Belt" and "Mormon country".

A lot of people have shared this gif of the “land doesn’t vote people do” and that is an important angle, but it is still needlessly binary when it comes to color.

This one tries to mix the purpling and the population over land dimensions

This one is definitely an improvement from coloring whole states. – It could be purple-ified too if the electoral collage didn't codify political polarization in such a ridiculous way.

And the XKCD one while useful in other ways it still feels problematic. The figures are all one color or another, but they represent populations that are non-binary

Not a single blue person in the Dakotas or Wyoming?!

2 takeaways, of many.

1. The electoral college codifies this polarization. No bueno

2. Proportional representation w/ multi-member districts would be potentially huge way to fix our representative system where so many people (correctly) feel like they are not represented.

Ranked choice voting also fights polarization, and negative voting (voting against who you want to lose) but multi-member districts fixes the representation problem. These two solutions can go together though.


One downside of the purple stuff is it leaves out non-voters. The Muddy Map by @LarryWeru tries to account for that


Originally tweeted by Aaron Eischeid (@aeischeid) on November 8, 2020.


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