Focused Series »

Indo-European Origins
Siberia
Northern California
The Caucasus
Imaginary Geography
Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Geopolitics

The 2022 Republican Losses in Pennsylvania and Michigan

By Martin W. Lewis | December 7, 2022 |

By the 1990s, Pennsylvania and Michigan had become solidly Democratic states in national elections, key blocks in the so-called Blue Wall stretching across the northeastern quadrant of the country. In 2016, however, both states swung to Republican Donald Trump, albeit by very narrow margins. In the 2022 two midterm election, both states returned to the blue camp, with Democratic candidates outperforming expectations. In all likelihood, Michigan and Pennsylvania will be critical states in the 2024 President presidential election.

Mixed Election Returns in Arizona: The Trump Effect?

By Martin W. Lewis | December 3, 2022 |

The take-home message of the 2022 Arizona election is that close association with Donald Trump, along with a reputation for extremism, often proves harmful for Republican candidates. In the Arizona U.S. House contest, the Republican candidates received 56.4 percent of the vote statewide, whereas the Republican Senate candidate received only 46.5 percent. These are striking numbers.

Geographical Patterns in the 2022 Election, Part 1, The North-Central United States

By Martin W. Lewis | December 2, 2022 |

As can be seen on the first map below, the Democratic Party thus established “trifecta” control in Minnesota, just as it did in Michigan, Massachusetts, and Maryland. But the metropolitan/non-metropolitan divide continues to deepen, as can be seen in maps of the Minnesota State House of Representatives. In 2022, the Democrats triumphed here because they dominated the vote in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metropolitan region. Peripheral Minnesota, on the other hand, is almost entirely red. Even the mining country of the northeast, historically one of the most solid Democratic strongholds in the country, supported Republican candidates in the 2022 state legislative elections.

Racial and Regional Voting Patterns in Brazil’s 2022 Election

By Martin W. Lewis | November 25, 2022 |

Almost all of the districts in northeastern Brazil that supported Bolsonaro in 2022 are in the coastal area of Alagoas, a mostly pardo (or mixed race) area. Deeply entrenched patron-client relationships, in which local elites influence the voting patterns of non-elites, might explain this seemingly anomalous pattern.

Voting Patterns in the 2022 Election in Brazil’s Cerrado Region

By Martin W. Lewis | November 22, 2022 |

Although some areas in the northeastern Cerrado have become major centers of soybean farming, relatively few people are employed on the mechanized farms and low levels of income remain widespread, as can be seen on the second set of maps posted below. As a result, there is relatively little correlation between voting patterns and agricultural production zones in this part of Brazil, as can be seen on the second set of maps below (the areas outlined in white on the electoral map have Brazil’s highest soybean yields).

Amazonian Deforestation, Support for Bolsonaro, and the Roraima Mystery

By Martin W. Lewis | November 17, 2022 |

In the 2022 Brazilian presidential election, the Amazonian region was strikingly divided, as is clearly visible on the Globo map posted below. (I have added an oval and two terms on the map to mark Roraima and the Amazonian region.) Most municipalities (similar to U.S. counties) here strongly supported one candidate or the other. Bolsonaro’s zone of support lies to …

Brazil’s Stark Electoral Divide

By Martin W. Lewis | November 11, 2022 |

As a general rule, the poorer states of Brazil’s northeast support candidates on the left while the richer states of the south support candidates on the right. This pattern can be seen on maps comparing the 2022 election results with those showing per capita GDP by state and the Human Development Index (HDI) by state. Some exceptions exist, such as relatively poor but right-voting states of Acre (“AC”) and Amapá (“AP”), and relatively wealthy but left-voting Minas Gerais, but the general pattern is clear.

Brazil’s Lack of a Metropolitan/Hinterland Political Divide

By Martin W. Lewis | November 9, 2022 |

Bolsonaro triumphed in more than half of Brazilian cities with populations of more than one million. As a map from the same article shows, Brazil’s “hubs” do not stand out from their “heartlands” in regard to electoral geography. A Portuguese-language graphic from Nexo shows that Bolsonaro won more than half of the capital cities of Brazil’s states. In the northeastern state of Alagoas, where Lula took 58.7 percent of the vote, Maceió, the capital city and largest urban center, went for Bolsanaro.

Religion, Ethnicity, and Conflict in Ethiopia and Eritrea

By Martin W. Lewis | November 1, 2022 |

Most actual assessments, however, find that Eritrea is roughly half Muslim and half Christians, although some sources claim that the country is roughly two-thirds Christian, with almost 58 percent of its people adhering to the Oriental Orthodox Tewahedo Church. But nothing is clear about Eritrean demography; figures for the country’s total population range from 3.6 to 6.7 million.

The Ethnic Roots of the War in Ethiopia and the Paradox of Tigrayan Ethnic Identity

By Martin W. Lewis | October 26, 2022 |

Despite such cross-border ethnic ties, in the current conflict Eritrea is closely allied with the Ethiopian government against Ethiopia’s Tigrinya-speaking population. Eritrea has militarily occupied a small slice of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region and has reportedly attacked local people with brutality. No evidence of any pan-Tigrinya-speaking ethnic solidarity is readily available.

William: Not Just Prince of Wales But Also Duke of Cornwall

By Martin W. Lewis | October 21, 2022 |

Now that Charles has become king, Prince William has become Prince of Wales. That title is customarily given to the heir apparent by the reigning monarch. The day after he became King, Charles bestowed the title on his eldest son. The position is not without controversy. Thousands of Welsh people have signed a petition calling for the abolition of the …

The Shrinking Number of Commonwealth Realms after Elizabeth II

By Martin W. Lewis | October 19, 2022 |

One reason for the Caribbean dissatisfaction with the monarchy is the coming to the throne of Charles himself. Unlike his mother, Charles has not enjoyed widespread popularity. Her death is therefore seen as a good opportunity to drop the historically fraught relationship with the House of Windsor, the current British dynasty.   

Iran’s Kurdish Population: Anti-Regime in the Northwest; Pro-Regime in the Northeast

By Martin W. Lewis | October 14, 2022 |

The relative conservatism of Iran’s northeastern Kurds is an interesting phenomenon that has received little attention in the English-language literature. I can only wonder whether Iranian scholars, pundits, and political activists have examined it.

Iran’s Striking Decline in Religiosity

By Martin W. Lewis | October 13, 2022 |

The Iranian government is not happy about the revival of interest in Zoroastrianism. According to a recent article in Swarajya magazine, it is “the religion that the Iranian mullahs fear the most.” Iran’s theocratic regime is also worried about Yarsan, a mystical faith with some connection to Zoroastrianism that is followed by up to one million Iranian Kurds.

Could Iran’s Government Fall?

By Martin W. Lewis | October 12, 2022 |

If these findings are accurate, it becomes questionable whether Iran’s nakedly theocratic regime can persist for long. In such circumstances, heightened repression could easily result in increased opposition. Eventually, the dam will break.

?php get_sidebar(); ?>