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Old 05-03-2013, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Hollywood, CA
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I've heard differing opinions about the Great Plains not really being part of the Midwest. But how different is the Great Plains from the Great Lakes in culture?
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Jefferson City 4 days a week, St. Louis 3 days a week
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Politics is one big differentiator. The Great Plains are deep red states, while the Great Lakes states are moderate to blue.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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As with many things, I don't think the states perfectly capture the political boundaries.

Much of the "great lakes" states, for example, are plains. The most productive corn/wheat farming in the U.S. runs in a band through Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, for example.

Similarly, some Midwestern states show big east-west differences. For example, Western Iowa (dunno if you'd call it Great Plains or Great Lakes), is very moderately Republican while Eastern Iowa is moderately Democratic. The same split is more or less seen in Minnesota, where the western part of the state is very similar to the Dakotas in terms of farming, language, and politics. In contrast, in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, the easternmost portions are fairly moderately Republican, while the western half is incredibly Republican.

Most of the political differences, though, come down to the Great Plains lacking major cities, while most Great Lakes states have them. Indiana is more Republican than the other states around the Great Lakes in part because Indianapolis isn't as big as Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis-St Paul, or Milwaukee, and hence doesn't drown out the rural areas as much.
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:00 PM
 
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St. Louis, while not a Great Lakes city, has more in common with the Great Lakes cities than Great Plains cities.
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
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Aren't the Great Lakes more blue-dog Democrats anyways than your wine and cheese San Francisco or Seattle liberals? If so, wouldn't that make a difference in the overall political vibe?

The Great Plains doesn't really have any major cities unless you want to include Texas as a Great Plains state. Technically Denver is on the western boundary and Kansas City is on the eastern boundary but both are more associated with the Mountain West and Midwest respectively than the Great Plains.
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Old 05-03-2013, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Jefferson City 4 days a week, St. Louis 3 days a week
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
As with many things, I don't think the states perfectly capture the political boundaries.

Much of the "great lakes" states, for example, are plains. The most productive corn/wheat farming in the U.S. runs in a band through Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, for example.

Similarly, some Midwestern states show big east-west differences. For example, Western Iowa (dunno if you'd call it Great Plains or Great Lakes), is very moderately Republican while Eastern Iowa is moderately Democratic. The same split is more or less seen in Minnesota, where the western part of the state is very similar to the Dakotas in terms of farming, language, and politics. In contrast, in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, the easternmost portions are fairly moderately Republican, while the western half is incredibly Republican.

Most of the political differences, though, come down to the Great Plains lacking major cities, while most Great Lakes states have them. Indiana is more Republican than the other states around the Great Lakes in part because Indianapolis isn't as big as Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis-St Paul, or Milwaukee, and hence doesn't drown out the rural areas as much.
Indianapolis also isn't nearly as liberal as those places either.

The reason Indiana is republican is roughly the same reason Missouri is as well. The cities aren't large enough to overwhelm the rural areas. St. Louis is moderate to liberal, while KC is very, very moderate to slightly liberal. Columbia is also liberal. The rest of the state leans red. Also, Indianapolis is itself a moderate city...I would not call it nearly as democratic as Cleveland, Chicago, or even St. Louis.
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Old 05-03-2013, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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The Great Lakes states are more heavily industrialized. Although agriculture is important, most towns have at least one fairly heavy manufacturing industry. Further west, in the plains, there is less industry. This arises from the rivers in the more easterly states, which provided power to industry in the 19th century. Further west, more towns and cities were established where there were no rivers, or only slow and/or seasonal currents, which were not useful for industrial power. Great plains tended to develop around railroads, rather than rivers.

Because of the early industries, the Great Lakes states attracted immigrants who would settle where there were industrial jobs. Labor unions were important. In the Great Plains, there was much more of an imbalance toward agriculture and livestock work.
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Old 05-03-2013, 05:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hipcat View Post
I've heard differing opinions about the Great Plains not really being part of the Midwest. But how different is the Great Plains from the Great Lakes in culture?
Great plains dont border lakes, they are generally drier, more conserative, less urban population, usually grouped in the flyover states and tend to be very agricultural
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Raccoon City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hipcat View Post
I've heard differing opinions about the Great Plains not really being part of the Midwest. But how different is the Great Plains from the Great Lakes in culture?
In terms of culture, they are slightly different. As most have mentioned they tend to be more conservative, and rural-minded. I am originally from the Great Plains, and after I moved to the Great Lakes, one thing I noticed was the Great Plains tends to have a greater emphasis on Native American culture, especially around Oklahoma and South Dakota. The people are also built to survive the most unimaginable weather.

It seems like some of the Great Lakers want to dump the Great Plains because it is the least fashionable part of the US. Whenever someone comes along to dismiss the Midwest as fly-over country, some Great Lakers will just point to the Great Plains and say "I think you mean these guys over here." It's not good to be seen with us. Sort of the old timer nobody wants around anymore. Agriculture just doesn't command the respect it once did, and the staunch conservatism ages us even more. I can understand some of the mentality of not liking the Great Plains, but having grown up there, I know there are a lot of good people on the plains.

That said, the Great Plains is more diverse (landscape and politically) than most would think. And I do find a lot of Midwesterners (especially within the older generation) view the two regions as a whole.

Last edited by thefallensrvnge; 05-03-2013 at 06:49 PM..
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stlouisan View Post
Indianapolis also isn't nearly as liberal as those places either.

The reason Indiana is republican is roughly the same reason Missouri is as well. The cities aren't large enough to overwhelm the rural areas. St. Louis is moderate to liberal, while KC is very, very moderate to slightly liberal. Columbia is also liberal. The rest of the state leans red. Also, Indianapolis is itself a moderate city...I would not call it nearly as democratic as Cleveland, Chicago, or even St. Louis.
St. Louis easily is one of the most liberal cities in the country, that is a fact. Politically it is in the same bracket as Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, etc. Indianapolis is conservative, and one of the few major cities with a Republican mayor.
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