Art & Political Entrenchment

I recently visited the Phillips Collection gallery here in DC and saw the work of one of my favorite artists: Camille Pissarro. In one of his paintings, The Seine Valley at Les Damps, he uses an impasto technique in the clouds with bold, hatch brushstrokes. I wanted to try re-create this hatch effect in a viz.

This viz shows how every state voted in the Presidential election since 1964. Each mark is a state where the angle is the degree to which they voted democrat (left) or republican (right). The sharper the angle the more heavily they voted for one party. The thickness of the mark is how many people voted and the color is which party won the state. I didn't quite achieve the effect I wanted but am happy with the result nonetheless. See findings below.

As you can see party shifts were much more common in the past. In 1964, 45 states voted for Johnson (Democrat) and in 1972, 49 states voted for Nixon (Republican). However, since 2000 party shifts have been increasingly less likely. In the past five elections only six states have voted with either party more than once: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. Seemingly, political division and entrenchment are up.


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