Political strategists won’t want to miss the NYT Economic Scene article today, Red States, Blue States: New Labels for Long-Running Differences detailing the findings of a study by two Harvard economists. The abstract from the report, released earlier this year, is worth noting:
The division of America into red states and blue states misleadingly suggests that states are split into two camps, but along most dimensions, like political orientation, states are on a continuum. By historical standards, the number of swing states is not particularly low, and America’s cultural divisions are not increasing. But despite the flaws of the red state/blue state framework, it does contain two profound truths. First, the heterogeneity of beliefs and attitudes across the United States is enormous and has always been so. Second, political divisions are becoming increasingly religious and cultural. The rise of religious politics is not without precedent, but rather returns us to the pre-New Deal norm. Religious political divisions are so common because religious groups provide politicians the opportunity to send targeted messages that excite their base.
In spite of the historical context and assertion that politics is not more polarized, the media continues to create a different impression. South Dakota’s Abortion Revolt is covered by Christine Vestal at AlterNet and abortion politics is again a major factor in the Oregon Republican primary for Governor in The Oregonian. Kansas continues to make headlines as a petition drive compelled a grand jury to be called to re-investigate a death involving an abortion provider even though an earlier investigation found no reason to charge the doctor as reported in the Washington Post.
Jeffrey Rosen writes in a series for the Atlantic Monthly looking at life After Roe as the Wall Street Journal reports a new Harris Interactive poll showing support for Roe at an all time low. See full results of the most-recent poll here.
Could it be that certain right-wing forces benefit from promoting polarization thus alienating voters from the political process giving their extreme views disproportionate influence at the ballot box and in the media?
More than 1,000 people are in Alaska this week attending a conference entitled Embracing Our Traditions, Values and Teachings: Native Peoples of North America HIV/AIDS as reported in the Anchorage Daily News.
Forbes is reporting that significant numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS have chosen sexual abstinence while the authors of a new study report that few gay men regret disclosing their HIV status suggest this offers hope, "We can tell HIV-positive men that others in their position rarely regret the fact that other people know their status," as covered at News-Medical.net.
Finally, in a nation and on a continent struggling with HIV/AIDS more than most, it is hard to believe, but a new study suggests that the South African media under-reports AIDS issues.