As the Midwest goes, so goes America

by Ryan Streeter on November 8, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

America consists of 5 political nations, two of which are coastal and solidly Democratic, and two of which are western and southern and solidly Republican. Only the Great Lakes region, which is the fifth, is politically up for grabs.

So goes the thesis of this interesting piece by Joel Kotkin.

The thesis seems right to me. He concludes:

Ultimately, the decision comes down to the Great Lakes industrial region – which we can call the Bailout Belt. For these areas, which have high concentrations of manufacturing, the auto bailout was a godsend. And the region is now even more prosperous by the discovery of vast amounts of oil and gas

The benefits of the bailouts in this election ‑ communities revived, families uplifted ‑ outweighed those from fossil fuel producers, which now operate under threat of a possible Environmental Protection Agency-ordered shutdown. These states, outside of Indiana, stayed with Obama ‑ by a handsome seven-point margin in Michigan. In virtually all these states, however, Romney did better than McCain.

The president was quiet about fracking during the election. Now eyes turn to the EPA, since the House of Representatives would likely oppose a ban of any kind. The Bailout Belt may have to decide its energy future before it sides with either party.

And where this region decides to go, so goes the nation — the entire nation.

Read the whole thing here.