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

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

Condos in Orange Beach Alabama.jpg

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.



  1. browninghipower May 8, 2017

    I have a feeling that I’d be treated differently in Alabama with a Bernie or Hillary sticker on my car than in California with a trump sticker.

    1. kep May 8, 2017

      Not as much as you might think. People here are extremely friendly and outgoing. Everyone is welcomed down here, but do not bring your liberal BS with you.

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

        Another demonic thought from someone who claimed to have no Religion, but is a “Registered Democrat” instead.

        1. kep May 9, 2017

          LOL. You such an arrogant idiot.

          1. Independent1 May 9, 2017

            And you are such a worthless piece of trash!!

          2. kep May 9, 2017

            Keep up those great liberal responses.

          3. Independent1 May 9, 2017

            Sure. It’s your premature funeral. If you’re comfortable with that – I am too.

          4. kep May 11, 2017

            I just love it when you liberals start commenting on something you know nothing about, which is constant.

          5. Independent1 May 11, 2017

            I know if you get your wish and Republicans gain more control that Americans will be dying younger across the country.

            I know that although not one Blue State has a longevity projection from the CDC of 75-77, that there are 11 Red States that do.

            I know that although there are only 2 red states where the CDC says people will live to 80 and over, there are 9 Blue states that the CDC projects people will live to 80 and 81.

            And I know that if you take the averages of longevity projections that people in Blue States live 2-6 years longer than people who live in Red States.

            So if you get you’re moronic wish, you and everyone in America will have a much higher probability of dying younger than they would have if the GOP just died away and let Democrats run the nation so not only would people live more meaningful lives; they would live longer as well.



            Oh! And from reviewing extensive statistics I’ve compiled – I know that it’s red states that lead the nation in every form of dying prematurely that you can dream up – by every known disease, by gun-related violence, by non gun-related violence, by auto accident, by giving birth or even by just being born and not living to your 1st birthday. The GOP is the party of premature death!!!!!

          6. kep May 11, 2017

            Again, talking about something you have no clue about.

          7. Independent1 May 11, 2017

            Only in your pathological lying mentally retarded mind:

            Follow this: starting with CDC longevity projections for
            red states of 75 in: Miss., W. Va., Ala. & LA.; to 76 in: Arkansas,
            Kentucky & Tennessee to 77 in: S. Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio & N. Carolina; while no Blue State has a longevity projection of less than 78, and many Blue/purple states have longevity projected to 80 and over: N.J., N.H., Vermont, N.Y., Mass., Calif., CT, Minn. & Hawaii; Only one red state has longevity projected to 80 Utah (80.2), while 2 Blue States have
            longevity projections of over 81 –Minn. & Hawaii)

          8. kep May 11, 2017

            And again, something you know NOTHING about. You have probably not ever left whatever large urban area you were born in. Try to get out of your bubble. Travel. Explore new THINGS. Meet new people. Just leave that liberal attitude and liberal mindset at home.

          9. Independent1 May 11, 2017

            You are truly mentally deranged and should be in Bellview sanatorium. It’s clear you are subhuman and have absolutely no concept of morality.

          10. kep May 11, 2017

            Ahhh. You’re a NYC urbanite. That explains so much. Maybe start out simple. Just hop the train to White Plains, and it’s just a couple miles walk to Saxon Park. You can expand your horizons, and get a feel for being in the wilderness without feeling too threatened. Then, maybe next time, go ahead bit further to Bear Mountain Park. Still in Westchester, so not too far from home. Just take baby steps. In no time, you may feel comfortable enough to travel out of the state.

          11. Independent1 May 11, 2017

            -11 of the top 12 states that have the highest infant mortality rates in the nation are RED STATES? With Mississippi having the highest infant mortality followed by Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, S. Carolina, Delaware, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Indiana & Ohio.

            -8 of the 10 most corrupt states are RED STATES: Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Alaska, South Dakota, Kentucky and Florida.

            -9 of the 10 most miserable cities in America are in RED STATES: Huntington/Ashland, WVA, Charleston, WVA, Redding, CA, Spartansburg, SC, Hickory–Lenoir-Morganton, NC, Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX. Columbus, GA/AL, Shreveport/Bossier City, LA, Mobile, AL, Evansville, In/KY.

            -For 2014 and 2015, Gallup-Healthways/24-7 Wall Street designated 10 GOP-governed states as the most miserable states in America to live with the worst quality of life. John Kasich governs the #2 most miserable state, Ohio and Mike Pence governs #3, Indiana – both ran for president in the 2016 GOP primaries. The most miserable being West Virginia and then: Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and last but not least – Oklahoma.

            All 10 of America’s poorest cities are in RED STATES: Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas, Dalton, Ga., McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, Gadsden, Ala., Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz., Albany, Ga., Monroe, La., Cumberland.W.Va., Fort Smith, Ark.-Okla, Pine Bluff, Ark;

            -While 9 of the 10 richest cities are in Blue States: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md., Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif., Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H. , Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif., Anchorage, Alaska, Honolulu, Hawaii, Manchester-Nashua, N.H., Napa, Calif.

            – More than 75% of food stamp recipients live in RED STATES. Six of the top 10 food stamp-using states are GOP-RUN states and beyond that the greatest food stamp using states are the sparsely populated red states. And of the 456 counties in America that use more than 90% of all food stamps, 421 of those counties (92%) voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.

          12. Independent1 May 11, 2017

            -All 15 States a CBS News study found were the hardest to
            earn a living in are GOP-run states or considered GOP-governed by CBS News: ID, MS, AR, MT, UT, NM, SC, WV,AL, AZ, KY, FL, GA, NV, IN

            -All 10 Counties considered the ‘Toughest Places to Live’
            are in GOP-run states per CBS News and 6 are in KY and the other 4 are in: MS, LA, GA, AR (And the senator from KY is the GOP’s Senate leader.)

            -Note that 14% of people who live in rural areas live in poverty while only 12% of city dwellers live in poverty. And by far, the GOP governs the most rural states and ignores their struggles in poverty.

            For 2015, a WalletHub survey found that the 25 states in
            America with the highest percentage of their residents broke and on the verge of bankruptcy were GOP-governed states.
            And likewise, that 30 of the 32 states with the lowest personal consumption/capita (with the most people struggling to live just day to day) were GOP-governed states.

            -The two least educated states are TX and MS (Texas has
            the lowest percent of residents in the nation with a college degree. As well as the lowest percentage of people with health insurance and that vote; and it spends the least on educating its citizens of any other state. In addition, Texas is by far the poorest ranking state in America – coming in in the worst 10 of 23 socio/economic comparisons to other states).

            -The 8 Healthiest states in America are all Blue States:
            HI, MN, CT, CA, NY, MA, NH, NJ

          13. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 9, 2017

            Still got “liberal” on the brain. There must be a full-fledged tumor developing in your brain by now.

          14. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 9, 2017

            Kep, being a troll for Putin has dire consequences. Also, wasting your precious time with childish name-calling is a clear indication of a man possessed by delusions and satanic impulses. Why not try to act like a human being for a change?
            Or is that something beyond your capability at this juncture in a life that has reached a dead-end?

          15. kep May 9, 2017

            But fact is I’m an American veteran, and liberals are the commies.

          16. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 9, 2017

            Kep, if you are really a veteran—a claim that even Trump might make if he knew no one would double-check him–then, the trauma of leaving the US proved too much, let alone any purported action you may have seen.
            Whatever the case, you’re clearly incapable of rational thought.

          17. kep May 11, 2017

            Apparently you have never served anything but yourself, like most liberals. You aren’t worth my time.

          18. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 11, 2017

            “liberal this”, “liberal that”, ad nauseam. “Kep”, you’re in a death spiral.

            The angst and anger of Trump supporters is quite evident and growing if the usual Trump lovers who have nothing better to do than root for a groper and narcissist is any indication.
            And the sheer volume of responses from a couple of die-hard partisans(like “kep”) who can only react to comments rather than present a cogent argument to refute the article, is clear evidence of the decaying of the rational faculties of such partisans.

      2. Independent1 May 8, 2017

        Wow!! Trump has nothing on you – you’re as big a pathological liar as he is. The south is rampant with anti Yankee feelings. What kind of clodic moron are you??

        And it’s not just Alabama; If you pay attention to the news, over 75% of the violent actions that happen in America, and that includes racist incidents, muggings and murders, natural disasters and mass killings- all happen in red states; especially in America’s Southeast and even Lousiana, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and on and on. Sane people have lots reasons (not addressed by the author of the above article) to be shying away from Alabama and virtually every other Gulf Coast state.

        1. kep May 9, 2017

          You’re absolutely right. The south is far too dangerous for liberal cupcakes like yourself. Most people down here can’t tolerate stupidity and ignorance. You are wise to stay away, Comrade.

          1. Independent1 May 9, 2017

            Nice try at being snarky their lowlife, but here’s some statistics that prove my point. Note that Alabama is #2 in the first list (states with the worst quality of life in 2014) and #3 in the 2nd list – states with the highest amount of gun-related violence. (Oh! and note in all the following lists it’s almost exclusively GOP-run states that are listed.)

            And after that, there are CDC statistics that show clearly it’s GOP-run states with the highest incidence of dying from most prevalent diseases.

            You GOPers just don’t realize the danger that your lives are being put into. I guess you twerps just don’t like to live very long.

            -9 of the 10 States with the worst quality of life are GOP-run states– Via a 2014 analysis by 24/7 Wall Street
            Disposable income/Percent in poverty/

            Homicide Rate per 100,000/% that vote


            -All 10 of the states with the most gun-related violence are GOP-run states
            Analysis by 24/7 Wall Street – 2013
            Homicides/Assaults/Violent Crime


            CDC Lung Cancer death
            rates by state 2015

            Over 95% of the 21 states with the most lung cancer deaths are run by the GOP Highest death rate states: OK, LA, AR, MO, MS, AL, IN, TN, KY, OH, WV, ME
            States with next highest death rates: KS, IA, IL, PA, VA, NC, SC, GA, NV

            CDC Death rates by state for all forms of cancer combined 2015
            All ten states with the highest cancer death rates are run by the GOP
            From 1 to 10: KY, LA, MS,WV, TN, AR, AL, IN, OH, OK

            24/7 2015 Study of heart disease related deaths by state
            Only 1 of the 15 states with the highest heart disease death
            Rates has not been run by the GOP for over the last 5 years
            MS, OK, TN, WV,KY, AL, AR, GA, LA, SC, MI, NC, OH, NY,TN

          2. kep May 9, 2017

            Really. Stay away. It is way too far from your protective bubble. There are gaters and snakes, not to mention sharks and jelly fish. Besides, it is far too hot for a delicate snowflake like yourself.

          3. Independent1 May 9, 2017

            Don’t worry. I’m not accustomed to wasting my money visiting death inspiring hell holes!! You can keep trashville!!

    2. kep May 8, 2017

      Actually, if I had a Trump sticker on my car in California, liberals thugs would probably burn my car. Down here, you wouldn’t have that problem. Right wing people don’t riot.

      1. browninghipower May 8, 2017

        When is the last time you’ve left your bubble, Festus?

        1. kep May 9, 2017

          Apparently, I leave my bubble far more than you.

      2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

        And if someone had a Bill Clinton sticker, you would burn and/or dynamite their car. You need to educate yourself. Your ignorance outstrips your intelligence by leaps and bounds.

    3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

      Your chances of having your car and yourself put in harm’s way with such a sticker would increase ten-fold once you enter the “Red Zone” in the South.
      The movie “Easy Rider” wasn’t based on fantasy, but was a reflection of the attitude and darkness that are a result of the noxious influences of racism and the deaths of slaves and Civil Rights workers of the past, which still hang over the entire South like a thick veil.

      And that tick veil will continue to be a constant reminder, like a thick haze of smog in the Bay area in summer, until the current generation of children and youth in the South, and elsewhere in America, arise to imbibe a new “Wine” of the knowledge that all humanity has proceeded from the same Source, and demonstrate in their lives and their speech the Reality of “The Oneness of Humankind”.

      1. Alicerprice May 9, 2017

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  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

    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.

    OK, we all know that people are intrinsically the same all over the world, but clearly there are enough individuals in Saudi Arabia who aren’t quite stable, and potentially can be easily triggered to overreact given the slightest offense to tradition. Therefore, Jeddah or Ryadh wouldn’t come to mind as a place to visit without thoughts of grave discomfort. During the 60’s and 70’s in many parts of

  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

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

    The professor is only partially correct and displays a profound ignorance of psychology and the after-effects of a region having had a bloody history as recently as last year, now this year, and going back to the past for decades.

    The thoughts and images of the savagery exhibited in the South, in Indiana, and certain parts of Boston and NYC, have a big impact on decisions of where to vacation.

    Having experienced and heard so much about violence in Mississippi during my early life, I wouldn’t recommend Mississippi as a vacation spot for anyone. The level of bigotry has subsided, but pockets of racism dot the state, many policemen there, and in other parts of the South now, were raised in households where bigotry was taught to be a matter of fact way of thinking, and that black people were to be thought of as animals—and children don’t easily forget such indoctrination once they become adults. The dangers will be posed by those children who are male, who by their nature are more prone to act in a violent manner when there was never any morality exemplified in the household.

    So, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, etc. have an image problem, and justifiably so. It will take the next generation to show substantial improvement in the general mental attitude that sees, embraces, and practices what the Spirit of the Age demands, as formally announced by Baha’u’llah in 1863 in Baghdad, Iraq. That is, that all humanity are members of the same Human Family, and all have proceeded from the same “dust”, by virtue of the Will of God. This is a truth largely forgotten by a preponderance of those who adhere to the Messages previously announced. People today in large measure are no longer capable or willing to put the Teachings of Jesus in the proper context of a world vastly different than it was over 2000 rears ago.

    Only a relative handful of adult Americans apprehend and put this Reality into practice, and Alabama, and the rest of the South, sadly, has a dearth of adults of light complexion who share the Vision of Baha’u’llah.

    “O Son of Man! Veiled in My immemorial Being, and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore, I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image, and revealed to thee My beauty.”

  4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 11, 2017

    The angst and anger of Trump supporters is quite evident and growing if the usual Trump lovers who have nothing better to do than root for a groper and narcissist is any indication.

  5. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 11, 2017

    The angst and anger of Trump supporters is quite evident and growing if the usual Trump lovers who have nothing better to do than root for a groper and narcissist is any indication.
    And the sheer volume of responses from a couple of die-hard partisans who can only react to comments rather than present a cogent argument to refute the article, is clear evidence of the decaying of the rational faculties of such partisans.


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