03 February 2009

Electoral hex redux and African colonialism

At Gil Kalai's blog I came across a map in which counties which voted Democratic in some election are colored blue, and counties which voted Republican are colored red. (It is not the 2008 presidential election map, or at least it doesn't match Mark Newman's map.)

Anyway, Kalai suggests "hex voting" -- like the game of Hex, the Republicans win if there's a continuous path in red counties from north to south, and the Democrats win if there's a continuous path of blue counties from east to west. (In the map he gives, the Republicans win, but only barely -- there are some places where the red region is only one county wide.)

It turns out that the British and French played a similar game in Africa early in the last century; here's a map of European claims to Africa in 1913, in which the British were attempting to create a continuous path of red (British) colonies from north to south, and the French were attempting to create a continuous path of blue (French) colonies from east to west. (At least, that's how the Wikipedia article on Cecil Rhodes puts it.)


Anonymous said...

The French and English also did the same thing in North America. France attempted to cut off the British colonies from the interior of the continent by creating a chain of forts from the Canadas to Louisiana. See here for a picture.

Sean Henderson said...

I've never heard of Hex before, but I recognize it more readily as the old game show BlockBusters...Interesting concept. It guarantees a winner, too, which is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I was going to guess 1936 or 1940. 36 was no good, the Republicans only won 2 New England states. 1940 was closer. Dakotas, Neb, Kan, Col, but also part of New England and part of the midwest. No good.

Look more closely. There are Republican smatterings through the south. That's not a New Deal situation. Also, all 48 states are voting, that places us between 1912 and 1928, in a Democratic victory. So it's Wilson? Nope.

So post-New Deal? Too much of a landslide for Truman, Kennedy... Carter, Clinton... Could this be 1964? Look at Arizona, nope.

So I am guessing that we're looking at congressional results... but I don't know which year.