The majority of my life, and the entirety of my voting life (the year I lived in San Antonio I maintained my vote in Oregon) I've lived in two states. States that, from a national perspective, appear to be very "progressive" and "liberal."
The fact of the matter is that both of these states are VERY divided. The urban, metropolitan areas are very left-leaning. The rural, agricultural areas, not so much. However, the metropolitan areas, by definition, have more people, so tend to win out in statewide elections. But look at a statewide map and there's a fair share of red on a local level.
My own political persuasion tends to lean to the left, and I've always been very at home in the metropolitan areas of my states. The year I spent in the Tri-Cities I got to see what life was like on the other side, but that was a move of necessity rather than choice, so it was a bit of a badge of honor that my politics didn't match those of all of my neighbors.
Well, I've started to see these signs popping up around town:
A bit of a history lesson for those who don't live in Washington and don't remember the story: Dino Rossi is your stereotypical Republican. Christine Gregoire is your stereotypical Democrat. They were opponents in the 2004 gubernatorial election in Washington. Originally Rossi won by something like 200 votes. There were mandatory recounts and accusations of voter fraud and all sorts of mudslinging on both sides. In the end Gregoire became Governor. By eight votes.
It was not a pretty process. It showed a lot of holes in the system, that people at least claimed to be cleaning up since then. I'm sure that Rossi supporters still have hard feelings about it. Just as Gore supporters still have hard feelings about 2000. And this is our first gubernatorial election since that debacle.
And here we are four years later, and we'll have the same opponents facing each other, and I now live in a place where there is enough of a right-leaning contingency that the Republican candidate can play into that us vs. them mentality. I am now amongst the them.