The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Red-State Blue-State Divide Is Showing Up In Tourism: Stereotypes Are Keeping Liberals From Alabama Beaches

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

People from blue states like California typically don’t think “Alabama” when looking to plan a beach getaway. And most tourists visiting Alabama’s expansive, white-sand beaches either come from Alabama or from Trump-supporting states, according to recent data. But just why that is likely comes down to undue stereotpying more than anything else.

The trend in Alabama’s beach goers doesn’t just relate to Alabama tourism, but to the deep (and seemingly deepening) divides between people across political lines in the U.S. More than half of Democrats are wary of conservatives, according to Pew Research Center data, and 68 percent of Republicans think Democrats are “harmful” to the country. The local Alabama news site AL.com explores this issue in a recent, detailed piece on Alabama tourism and partisanship.

But as political science professor Richard Fording of the University of Alabama told AL.com, those divides often exist solely in people’s heads.

“People in Alabama and California are not as different as the people in each state tend to think… There are a lot of conservatives and liberals in each state—just somewhat more of the former in Alabama and somewhat more of the latter in California,” he said.

The Alabama state tourism department would agree, and wants to change its beachgoing demographics. But as it stands, the state’s tourists are largely defined by their political preferences, as shown on a summer 2014 map created for the tourism arm of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area of Alabama.

Kind of remind you of the 2016U.S. election map?

As AL.com reports, “Alabama residents are the top visitors to the beaches of its own state, but other states follow suit, and almost all of them backed Trump: Mississippi, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The only outliers are the Clinton states of Illinois and Maryland.”

According to coastal Alabama tourism officials, the people who do visit the state’s beaches like what they find, as 97 percent of respondents to a Gulf Shores and Orange Beach query said they would return, AL.com reports.

Writing for the New York Times recently, W. Kamau Bell, a CNN host, stated, “If there ever was a time that we all should take a trip to the other parts of America and spend some time to get to know people there, it is now. So, who wants to come with me to Orange Beach?”

Bell noted that people in the U.S. might realize these divides are often just psychological, if they spent some time outside of their respective comfort zones.

“It is one of my enduring frustrations with this country,” he wrote. “People live in their part of the Union, and if they don’t travel a lot, then there is a tendency to believe that the other parts of America couldn’t possibly be as American as their part.”

Read the entire AL.com article.

April M. Short is a yoga teacher and writer who previously worked as AlterNet’s drugs and health editor. She currently works part-time for AlterNet, and freelances for a number of publications nationwide. 

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mike Lindell

Ronna McDaniel secured a fourth term as chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) on Friday with roughly two-thirds of the votes cast, leaving her challengers in the dust, including millionaire conspiracy-monger Mike Lindell, who had projected a winner’s confidence on the campaign trail.

Keep reading...Show less

Charles McGonigal

Youtube Screenshot

The arrest of Charles McGonigal, chief of the FBI counterintelligence division in New York from October 2016 until his retirement in 2018, reopens festering questions about the troubled election that put Donald Trump in the White House. Among the crimes charged against McGonigal in two lengthy federal indictments is a secret financial relationship with Oleg Deripaska — a Russian oligarch close to dictator Vladimir Putin and associated with Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, himself convicted of crimes and pardoned.

During his FBI career, McGonigal oversaw investigations of Deripaska and other oligarchs suspected of various crimes, including espionage. Now the exposure of his illegal connection with Deripaska may provide fresh insights into Trump's tainted victory.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}