Data and Division                                                                        

To: Dr. Blackmon

From: Matthew L. Killen

Re: Data Visualization, Data and Division

The four-part example explores the importance of data visualization and the implations the various dates may have on future political strategy.

Example I

The graphs for whites born in 1955, 1965, 1975, and 1985 indicate the reflection of personal experiences during voter youth. During formidable years people are easily influenced whereas older people stay the course in their preference. 

White Americans born in 1955, are typically lifelong Republicans. The reason, they would have experienced President Carter's politics which trumpeted by the landslide election of President Ronald Reagan would have left quite the impression.

Similarly, being born in 1965 would expose someone to the dramatic events of a 1989 Ronald Reagan efficiently handing the Presidency to President Bush during their formidable years. Moreover, the favorability of right-leaning politics reinforced their familiarity with the policies of a centrist President, Bill Clinton.

Traditionally centrist folks born in 1975 experienced 90's-candidate Bill Clinton play the sax on Arsenio Hall at a time when they were probably watching. His centrist policies were enough to earn right-leaning votes. However, he was not able to pass the torch to then-Vice President Gore or keep the Congress. This experience shaped their right of center political paradigm.

White Americans born in 1985 watched 9/11 on live television two years before they were allowed to vote, although transitory. They observed as two wars raged in the middle east and looked for jobs during an economic collapse. They elected the first black President, Barack Obama, and nominated the first female candidate to a major party. Their politics are further left than anytime in recent history.  

While people typically stick to their guns through their lives, the game has changed. The election of President Donald J. Trump will have an adverse impact on the Republican Party folks who were born from 1955 through 1975. His low historical approvals will cause them to either stay home or vote in protest against their historical trends for the 2018 midterms. People born in 1985 could upset this prediction during primaries but is not likely because of lack of bitter contests. Most Congressional districts already have challengers.

Example II

Assuming the graph is representing the majority of interested parties, the presented information recognizes that internet service providers outspent their opponents in lobbying efforts to stop Net Neutrality by at least sixty-six percent. The opponents of the Net Neutrality rules either feel confident in the future of the rules or do not assume abrogating or resolute results that the controls would have in their industry.

One could guess from this information that the opponents of Net Neutrality would hold the line for a long as necessary to block the rules from coming to life. Without knowing the outcome of the rules, one could suspect that internet service providers would stand to gain more than opponents of the measure. Therefore, the opponents of the rules will likely prevail as they are adding more skin to the game.

Another indication presented is the likelihood of a constitutional or precedence problem which would stop the anti-net neutrality proposal. The increased spending toward stopping the measure indicates the companies opposing net neutrality are running into legislative issues.

As a corollary, the internet service providers will continue to build a war chest against the net neutrality proposal. The companies for the net neutrality proposal will likely increase their efforts as the issue matures.

The last inference from the data is the suggestion that the lobbying firms will stand to make enormous amounts of money from this debate. Lobbying is not cheap, and the raising fists will not allow this argument to go quietly into the night. Both sides will increase their value in the proposal as it goes forward, and they both intend to win.

Example III

Geographic Appeal.

The presented chart relates to the geographic appeal to both parties, here's how. The Democratic gubernatorial primary shows a definite downward trend towards candidates in the rural areas. The Lieutenant Governor race similarly affected. While they seem to have a slight edge in urban areas, the folks in the outskirts are not participating in the primaries like the Republicans. To caveat the Republicans are turning out the vote in rural areas, however, are struggling to hone the numbers needed in the general election.

Strengths and weaknesses.

Breaking down the primary results by participants and regions, we can see that 543,046 turned out for the Democratic primary and 366,274 turned out for the Republican primary. The result signifies the Democrats have more active party members that will vote in the general election. In some areas surrounding cities, we can see where it is possible for Democrats to win some rural areas. Places surrounding Norfolk and Virginia Beach had close primary voter turnout numbers. For instance, in Greenville County, there were 290 Republican primary voters and 609 Democrats. Alexandria has the same indications. The areas that should concern the Democrats the most are cities in the middle of rural areas like Roanoke.

Visual suggestions.


The geographic and interactive functions of the graph make it easy for anyone to recognize who the winner is and where he or she won. The instant percentage attribution helps pull details from each county which is quite useful.  

2017 Data implications.

As stated, the results of the 2017 gubernatorial primary give a strong indication that the Democrats will win the general election. 176,772 more people came out for the Democratic primary than did the Republicans.


The Democrats need to be sure the party stays unified. If Ralph Northam and Justin Fairfax can win the support of their respective primary opponents, they will win the election handily.

Republicans will have a difficult time winning the general election unless they can break into the cities and get out the vote. Republicans would be wise to unify and develop a message that can reach cities and urban areas.

Campaign Strategies. 

Democrats should continue to run polling for people living in urban areas to be sure no changes are happening with their base. While their numbers stay solvent, they need to reach out to some of these communities that are borderline blue. The western region of Virginia's proximity to West Virginia should also be a factor in that area of the state. It is advised to speak about issues that affect people across the geographical spectrum. Talk about schools, police, the veterans, and the children.  

Republicans should bring in the big guns. They are far behind the Democrats in the race by 176,772 votes. They will need to work with outside groups from all over the country to win. They need national figures including the President to come out and rally for the party. The Republicans will need to start organizing in the cities and particularly in Roanoke, Alexandria, Norfolk and, Virginia Beach. Those essential cities hold the majority of the votes and need more attention from the Republicans to win. They should talk about ways their policies could potentially help cities. They should also appeal to empathy for people who live in rural areas. The Republican party is known for representing rural values. It would be wise for them to explain how their values can help people in cities. Financial conservatism is prevalent in rural areas and cities. Republicans have claimed ownership of the financial argument for decades but do not apply themselves when it comes to winning major cities. Republicans must stop talking about getting rid of things the government does. They need to talk about how to make the government more efficient.


Example IV

The presented data infers the reflection of a gradually dividing country. The Republican ideology shapely moved further conservative in 1976 and had steadily run that direction since. They became business-centric and more business people (mostly white men) ran for office.

Democrats and Liberals ran towards the center and altered their ideology for votes. It worked for a relatively short period coming to a halt under President Bill Clinton and spurred the Republican revolution in 1994. Democrats hold the doctrine that they are the people's party and part of that mantra insists on helping people, and that is expensive.

In 1976, the Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo ensured there could be no limits on campaign financing. With campaign finance laws ajar political action committees and unions could spend unlimited dollars electing the candidates that benefit their businesses and not necessarily the areas they represent. The case favored big business and gave Republicans and Democrats the money they needed to feel like they did not need a consensus on issues. They became further entrenched and their respective parties, and the Democrats who won elections were closer to the center. The more that money became a factor in elections, the more politicians cuddled up to people with the money to help them win.

In that same era, there were new limits on Congressional aides which caused laws to become longer and contain more partisan pork. Presented as big wins for either winning side, the new path of legislating hadn't been this understaffed since 1945.


Example I

“1980 Electoral College Map.” RealClearPolitics, 2011,


Braswell, Sean. “Bill Clinton's Great Sax Appeal.” OZY, 8 June 2016,

 Cox, Amanda. “How Birth Year Influences Political Views.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 July 2014,

Eisenberg, N, and R C Silver. “Growing up in the Shadow of Terrorism: Youth in America after 9/11.” The American Psychologist., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2011,

Harsany, D. “Unlike Obama, Bill Clinton Was a Centrist | RealClearPolitics.” RealClearPolitics - Opinion, News, Analysis, Video and Polls, 2012,

Example II

Sunlight Foundation. “How Telecoms and Cable Have Dominated Net Neutrality Lobbying.”Sunlight Foundation, 26 Oct. 2016,

Example III

New York TImes. “Virginia Primary Results: Northam Will Face Gillespie in Governor's Race.”The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 June 2017,

Example IV

UCSB. “Democratic Party Platforms: 1976 Democratic Party Platform - July 12, 1976.” The American Presidency Project, 1976,

Brookings. “Vital Statistics on Congress.” Brookings, Brookings, 7 Sept. 2017,


Glass, Andrew, et al. “Congress Runs into 'Republican Revolution' Nov. 8, 1994.” POLITICO, POLITICO, 8 Nov. 2007,

Geraci, Victor W. “Campaign Finance Reform .” 2012. 

Monbiot, George. “Neoliberalism – the Ideology at the Root of All Our Problems.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 15 Apr. 2016,

Supreme court. “Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976).” Justia Law, 1976,