Time for me to play snopes…

Posted: March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

So, I’ve seen the following on my facebook page about half a dozen times today:

map

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law , St. Paul , Minnesota , points out some INTERESTING FACTS CONCERNING THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION:
Num…ber of States won by:
Democrats: 19 Republicans: 29
Square miles of land won by:
Democrats: 580,000 Republicans: 2,427,000Population of counties won by:
Democrats: 127 Million Republicans: 143 million
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:
Democrats: 13.2 Republicans: 2.1
Professor Olson adds: “In aggregate, the map of the territory Republicans won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country.
Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare….”
Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the “complacency and apathy” phase of Professor Tyler ‘ s definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation ‘ s population already having reached the “governmental dependency” phase.If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called illegals and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years.IF YOU ARE IN FAVOR OF THIS, BY ALL MEANS, DON’T SHARE.

IF YOU ARE NOT then SHARE IT to help everyone realize just how much is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.

Let’s break this down, shall we?  First, about the picture itself.  Yes, incredibly large areas of the US are indeed red.  Many of those red areas also have sparse population, especially compared to the blue areas.  That’s why the picture alone is deceptive.  The only numbers you need to prove this are 51.1% to 47.2%.  That’s the amount of popular vote recieved by Obama and Romney, respectively.  That’s really all that matters.  But, for fun and because I’m bored let’s keep going with the statements.
First, keep in mind that “Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University” was used back in 2008 in a chain conservative email, debunked by snopes: http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/athenian.asp  This is a pattern I’ve seen a lot over the last few years: repeats of the same crap I saw in 2008 about Obama and democrats in general.
Number of States won by: Democrats: 19 Republicans: 29  This doesn’t matter at all.  Obama won the electoral college and the popular vote.  The republicans did indeed win more states, but many of those states – Alaska, Montana, Missouri, the Carolinas, etc – are sparsely populated, again comparatively speaking.  This is irrelevant.
Square miles of land won by: Democrats: 580,000 Republicans: 2,427,000  Again, irrelevant.  This is just restating the state count with greater numbers.  Should land get to vote?
Population of counties won by: Democrats: 127 Million Republicans: 143 million  Again, irrelevant and sneaky this time.  Counties don’t give electoral votes, nor do they give popular votes.  It’s just another way to restate numbers to make it look like some miscarriage of justice.
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Democrats: 13.2 Republicans: 2.1  Again, irrelevant to the election and horribly leading.  What does this matter?  It doesn’t but the purpose is to get you to think that murderers vote democratic.  It has nothing to do with the pretty map.
Professor Olson adds: “In aggregate, the map of the territory Republicans won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country.  Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare….”  Again with Professor Olson.  This will probably be disproven upon further research, and again it’s irrelevant to the picture that was posted.  How can this even be proven?  It’s vague and oddly specific at the same time:  “Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements.”  That’s a setup for a rigged and deliberately inflammatory statement.
Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the “complacency and apathy” phase of Professor Tyler ‘ s definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation ‘ s population already having reached the “governmental dependency” phase.  Again with Olson and the appeal to authority.  An (uncredited and unchecked source) professor said this so it must be true!  I’d like to hear from the good Professor himself, especially in light of the snopes link above.  I have a hunch this “quote” will also be disproven.  Consider that it isn’t even a complete quote; just a few words are actually in quotation marks.  I’m smelling some good old fashioned out of context cooking.
If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called illegals and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years.   Another inflammatory statement.  The number of illegals in the US is estimated to be anywhere from 12-20 million (google search and averaged the numbers from various sources).   And again, this is irrelevant to the picture but let’s keep going and have some fun with math.  In the 2012 presidential election approximately 125 million votes were cast.  In the 2012 presidential election approxiamtely 55% of registered voters actually voted.  So, if we assume that 60% of those criminal invaders vote (I’m giving an extra 5% to be reasonable even though the percentage hasn’t been that high since 1948 http://elections.gmu.edu/voter_turnout.htm) and we split the numbers down the middle (16 million) that’s 9.6 million extra votes.  If we give 70% of those to democrats and 25% to republicans that’s 6.7 million votes for democrats and 2.4 million for republicans, or an increase of 5% of the total vote blue and 2% for red, or a net increase of 3% democratic.  3% can be a significant number but it’s certainly not enough to make us “say goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years” (an oddly specific number there).  More scare tactics.
Finally, my favorite part and an essential bon mot for any scare email/post: IF YOU ARE IN FAVOR OF THIS, BY ALL MEANS, DON’T SHARE.  IF YOU ARE NOT then SHARE IT to help everyone realize just how much is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.  Because remember, if you disagree with this dumb, inflammatory, and leading post, then you are the enemy and obviously don’t care about our country like real hardworking Americans do.  It’s your responsibility to pass this on!
I’m in favor of thinking things out.  If you agree with me, share this post.  If you don’t, well, you must suck and hate America.
Comments
  1. Jan says:

    For the first time…I am disappointed in your information. I thought this was a place to find truth…not another political opinion! I wanted to find out if the statistics are true, not if they were irrelevant or mattered to the final vote. I already know that answer.

    • Glen says:

      The stats may be true but how they are presented, especially relative to the subject, is misleading. That was the point of my post. Well, that and that it gets old seeing this manipulative crap.

  2. David Thomas says:

    Let me assure you, then, NONE the statistics are true, at all. In fact, they aren’t even close. I have merged the county-level 2012 Presidential election statistics from politico.com and 2012 population data estimates from the US Census. I had to use crime statistics from 2008, because that is the most recent year for which I could find county-level data on homicide and non-negligent manslaughter. I had to treat Alaska as a single unit, since Alaska does not report election results at the county level. Here is what I calculated:

    1. The actual number of States won in the 2012 Presidential election was: Obama: 26+DC, Romney: 24. The article gives 19 for Obama and 29 for Romney, which is not only very wrong–it only adds up to 48 states! While it is true that two states, Maine and Nebraska, don’t use a “winner-take-all” system for electoral votes, all of Maine’s electoral votes went to Obama and all of Nebraska’s went to Romney.

    2. The population of counties won by Obama: 176 million; by Romney: 138 million. The article claimed Obama 127 million, Romney 143 million. The claim is flies in the face of common sense, since it was obvious, even before the election, that the Republican candidate would do better in rural counties with *lower* population. Had the author actually done any research (as opposed to pulling numbers out of thin air), he might have uncovered the remarkable factoid that the Democratic candidate only carried 686 counties, while the Republican carried 2,431–and lost. That’s no more relevant to the outcome than any of the other statistics, of course, but it illustrates the polarization of the political culture more than anything else I’ve seen.

    3. Square miles of land… are you kidding? Even *I* won’t waste my time on that.

    4. This was the tough one: Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by Obama: 6.3; by Romney: 3.2. The article claimed 13.2 and 2.1, respectively. The numbers in the article don’t seem to have changed since it first appeared following the 2000 Presidential election, but I doubt that they were accurate, even then.

    Incidentally, the unfortunate professor Joe Olson at Hamline University denies having ever written anything that is in the viral screed, and has been fighting it for 12 years.

    • Glen says:

      David,
      For me the most damning part is that Olson denies having ever written it. Ya know, the internet exists, and it makes fact-checking fairly simple. If you publish BS like this you’re gonna get called on. Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog! I appreciate it.

  3. doug says:

    you do realize this whole thing is an “old wives tale”, created by someone not the professor( he denies writing it). Check the facts. Don’t believe everything you read.

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