Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 9, 2007
POLITICS: A Population Comparison
File this under "hard data": one of the issues that always comes up when Governors run for president is how big a job they really had. And while state population isn't the only variable, it's a useful shorthand. For example, when Howard Dean ran for president, I pointed out that Manhattan has individual police precincts that have a third of the population of Vermont. (I would argue that densely populated areas are also more challenging to govern than rural areas with more self-reliant populations - just look at the size of New York City's 37,000-man police force).
Anyway, with a former Mayor of New York City (Rudy Giuliani) and current and former governors of Massachusetts (Mitt Romney), Arkansas (Mike Huckabee), Wisconsin (Thommy Thompson), Virginia (Jim Gilmore), and New Mexico (Bill Richardson) among the at least semi-serious contenders for president (no, I don't take George Pataki seriously), I thought it would be useful just to lay out the populations of New York City, the 50 states, DC and a bunch of independent countries in the same general size range, just for comparison purposes:
|District of Columbia||581,530|
These are 2005 & 2006 population estimates; sources here, here, and here.
I know you're a Rudy guy and his fans think he has leadership written all over him, but I would recommend Wayne Barrett's two books on Rudy for the other side of the picture on Rudy's so-called accomplishments. Barrett's second book is quite critical of Rudy's 9/11 image, and halfway through the book I wonder if Rudy's fans want to know of his major shortcomings on this one issue.
As my dad said when Clinton was elected: oh great, the governor of a more-backwards Fresno.
"more difficult to govern" -- depends on what you mean by govern.
A state with rural, suburban and urban interests requires a far more diverse knowledge of problems and politics. I think someone who has been governor is more likely to be prepared for the the full mix than someone who has been limited to governing only a city.
Rural areas bring more than self-reliance. Residents there have demands, regardless of their needs. And the needs they do have, are vastly different.
I'm more likely to vote for Rudy than McCain or Romney. Just pointing out that your analysis is limited.
Good point. Population is one metric to look at, but hardly the only one. Each candidate brings their life experiences to the table. Some elections, lack of DC experience is a plus. Sometimes, security is more important than economic or social considerations. Often, it is about what differentiates the candidate from the incumbent.