The Winter Cartographer

The cartography, writing, and ramblings of one crazy winter lover who likes to blog about the fun and inconsequential.


The 2004 Democratic Primary

The 2004 Democratic Primary was defined by its opposition to the policies of President George W. Bush, particularly in the economy and over the Iraq War. Initially, former Governor of Vermont Howard Dean, known for his centrist policy record as Governor, led the primary both in polling and in fundraising through populist fervor. His campaign also was innovative in using the internet to raise donations, a tactic that would only increase until it became one of the top ways to fund campaigns by the 2020 primary.

Going into Iowa, Howard Dean and Congressman Dick Gephardt were the expected leaders for the caucus, but just before the caucus was held Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, favored by the establishment, and upstart Senator John Edwards of North Carolina surged ahead, eventually coming in the top two places in Iowa. Kerry then won New Hampshire and from there proceeded to dominate the primaries and get the backing of the Democratic Party. Edwards managed to come close in several states, notably Wisconsin, as well as win the Carolinas, but ultimately could not stop Kerry from becoming the nominee.

The other interesting bit from the 2004 Democratic Primary is the candidacy of Retired General Wesley Clark. The last of the ultimately 10 candidates to enter, Clark was part of a draft campaign that sought to get an antiwar general into the primary as a way of offsetting George W. Bush's popularity following 9/11. While initially showing strong support, Clark's campaign had media troubles from the start that would cause his candidacy to fail, even as he managed to carry the Oklahoma Primary.

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The 2004 Presidential Election

The 2004 Presidential Election featured John Kerry, with primary runner-up John Edwards as his running mate, facing off against the then-popular George W. Bush in a battle for control of the country. The campaigns came to focus squarely on issues related to 9/11, as the attacks cast a long shadow over the campaign, along with the resulting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Conservative voters focused on a strong leader against terrorism while liberal voters wanted a strong leader for the Iraq situation.

Military records in particular for both candidates famously were scrutinized. When Bush's record with the Texas Air National Guard was looked into by CBS less than successfully, major leadership changes and firings occurred over the uproar resulting from the way they handled the investigation. Perhaps most infamously was the work Swift Vets and POWs for Truth did to cast Kerry in a negative light in questioning his service and his discharge from the US Navy. "Swifboating" became a term used in elections after this, used to mean a candidate is treated harshly and personally in an unfair manner. Ultimately, Kerry's Swiftboating was far more successful on the Republican side.

While the debates went better for Kerry, the Bush campaign and Bush's latent popularity were enough to help push him over the top when it came time for the election. It also helped that the terrorist most wanted for the 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden, released a video just days before the election mocking the United States and Bush, which gave Bush more of a lead. While Kerry would still keep the election close (close enough that a few more percentage points in Ohio would have won him the election), Bush won the election both in the electoral vote and popular vote. This marks the only election since 1988 in which the Republican candidate has won the popular vote.

Thank you all for reading! Next up in January is 2008 and maybe some stuff on Senate, House, and Governor races!

The 2000 Democratic Primary

The 2000 Democratic Primary  is fascinating for a number of reasons. For one, it is interesting for the total domination of Al Gore in the primary, as it marks the last time a non-incumbent candidate won every single state in the Democratic Primary. Then-Vice President Gore managed to create perhaps the most wide-ranging coalition in the primary in the 2000s, a far cry from the later more divided primaries. 

His main opponent was former Senator and ex-NBA player Bill Bradley, who ran a campaign to the left of him on issues such as education and healthcare. Despite comparable fund-raising and strong endorsements, Bradley could not come close to competing with the then-Vice President under a popular Democratic President and dropped out after Super Tuesday.

The other notable inclusion is that of cult leader Lyndon LaRouche. While overall a failure, LaRouche received large amounts of votes in some places such as Arkansas, where he garnered one-fifth of the primary vote. 

The 2000 Republican Primary

The Republican Primary in 2000 for President was a markedly more competitive one than the Democratic competition. While George W. Bush, son of former President George Bush, then-Governor of Texas, would go on to win in a comparative landslide, the primary began with real competition. That competition largely came in the form of Senator John McCain of Arizona, propelled to the national stage when he was shot down as a pilot in Vietnam, captured, and later released to much fanfare. McCain would run a dark horse campaign, riding a bus around the country to "straight talk" America and decry the religious right while Bush stuck to his idea of "compassionate conservatism" that courted the further right wing of the party. 

After Bush won Iowa and McCain swept New Hampshire, the primary came to a head in South Carolina. There, Bush engaged in infamous racist attacks on McCain, alleging the Senator had had a child with a black prostitute, rather than adopted a child from Bangladesh as was the case. The attacks seemed to help, and Bush won South Carolina by 9% and McCain's campaign struggled. Though he won several contests after, including his home state of Arizona, most of New England, and Michigan, Bush swept the primaries he needed and McCain dropped out, guaranteeing Bush the winner.

The 2000 primary is also notable for having a few national faces. Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine would run and perform relatively well in Iowa, though nowhere else. Alan Keyes, formerly of the Reagan Administration, would run again in 2000 after losing in 1996. Alan Keyes would become a perennial candidate for Republicans across the nation, running in Maryland later and then again in 2004 against one Barack Obama for the Senate seat which Obama would use to catapult himself to the Presidency.

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The 2000 Presidential Election

Before Trump, before locker room talk, before James Comey and private email servers, before Russia (well, before Russiagate anyway not the know what I mean), there was the 2000 Presidential Election.

Coming off the heels of President Clinton's failed impeachment as he left office more popular than he had ever been, the 2000 Presidential Election presented a moral battle between two giants: Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. Gore sought to distance himself from President Clinton's past misdeeds and sought to carve his own path while Bush campaigned on restoring dignity to the White House and on "compassionate conservatism".

But more than that, 2000 is remembered for the nastier side of politics. For the media blitz that came to define politics afterwards, with many Gore supporters alleging that the media exaggerated claims about Gore (similar claims would be made about Clinton in 2016). For the aggressive campaigning that would become the norm of elections in the 21st century. Even for the color coding of the candidates themselves, as this is the election in which red for Republicans and blue for Democrats was truly set in stone, a fact that is now taken for granted.

Of course, what most remember 2000 for is the razor-thin win Bush in Florida after a media and political frenzy over recounts (later examinations show that recounts in the few counties ordered would not tip the election to Gore but in all counties would have given the election to Gore). Political activists and fixers such as Roger Stone swarmed Florida and the Supreme Court got involved to order a stop to the recount. Even members of Congress at first refused to certify the results until ruled out of order. It's a controversy that carries on to this day, even if now replaced by controversies over the 2016 Presidential Election, which I'll get to later...

In the end, Gore was declared the loser. In many ways, he was lucky to come so close, winning 4 states by less than 1% as the nation shifted heavily to Bush from 1996 to 2000. This would be the beginning of the current order of politics as Democrats were chased out of southern states like Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri that Clinton had won twice and, as of 2019, are not anywhere close to being won by Democrats again. At the same time, this was near the end of the era for a Republican to win major cities, like Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis), Dallas County, Texas, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (Charlotte), and so forth. 

It was the end of the last political era and the beginning of a new one, which I will cover in further maps that I hope you'll all find interesting. Thank you for reading.

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Hello everyone, at last I've finished the main map for Alabama in the little series I've been posting on here. I hope you all enjoy it, it was a doozy to do but I had a lot of fun with it! I hope to do more state maps like Dakota and Sequoyah from this world in the future, too. What follows is the history of Alabama in this world I'm making, which should hopefully give some nice backstory to the world and give more information for later installments!

Alabama is a state that owes its history to Reconstruction following the Civil War. With the deaths of President Lincoln and Vice President Johnson, Radical Republicans were able to make acting President Lafayette Foster their puppet and get what they wanted for their plans in the South. With this "Radical Reconstruction", Republicans sought to break the back of slave power's remnant in the South following the Civil War. Former Confederates were punished and disallowed from office, civil rights bills were enacted, Amendments to the Supreme Court passed, and locally in Alabama a large branch of the Freedmen's Bureau was set up in Huntsville.

Alabama was not without resistance to the new policies, but the continued elections of Radical Republicans in Congress and to the Presidency, like President William H. Seward, meant that the government stood firm. Republicans were able to solidly carry the vote in Alabama throughout this era due to a diverse political alliance centered among the newly-freed and empowered black population. By the 1880s, Alabama had elected its first black Governor: Charles Atwood, a former slave who worked his way into being a notable investor in and ally to the powerful Pratt Coal & Iron Company in Birmingham.

The two primary political forces that would continue to dominate Alabama would be industrial production in urban centers such as Birmingham and Mobile and agricultural production throughout the rest of the state, but particularly in the "black belt" region where freedmen farmers made use of Radical Reconstruction to form their own organizations and cooperatives. The Southern Farmer's Alliance would do well here, and help form half of the political alliance that would morph into the modern Farmer-Republican Party. Alabama's urban centers would boom around the turn of the 20th century as Birmingham Steel and Mobile Shipbuilding became mainstays of the United States economy, and the state prospered.

Alabama was relatively unharmed by the "Troubles" of the 1930s in the United States, the period of social unrest and rebellion throughout the South against the American government, particularly by the descendants of anti-Reconstruction "Redeemers". The worst troubles was in Appalachian Alabama, but the already-heavy military presence in Alabama, with a large Army base in Anniston, made sure to keep things under control. Alabama would then see its economy boom during the 1940s following the United States' entry into the Global Revolutionary Wars, as Alabama's factories, shipyards, and mines worked just around the clock to provide the nation with its arsenal.

Following the war, Alabama began its transition to a modern economy, as cities like Montgomery, Auburn, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa began to rise as centers of the educated and professional business while Mobile and Birmingham began to diversify their economies away from their industrial pasts. Suburbanization occurred to an extent, and the cities expanded their borders to allow residents to live outside of the downtown areas while still within city borders. New highways moved through Alabama and the AFRA (American Federal Rail Authority) extended its lines through the state.

Many rural Alabamians packed up and moved to the state's cities or to the ever-growing Steel Belt in the North. This rural movement helped create conflict in many areas, and began movements on the subjects of labor and particularly race throughout the United States. Civil rights leaders in states such as Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio hailed from Alabama and brought their values with them as they sought to make life better in their new homes, while other leaders fought for labor, marriage, and other rights at home in Montgomery, Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile. Young black leaders were elected to local and, later, statewide positions as a result of these movements throughout the 1960s and 70s.

Today, Alabama is a growing state of just over 5 million with a large, multi-faceted economy and comparable living standards to the rest of the South. It is a complicated and diverse state, from the co-op farm fields to the bustling modern high-tech offices in Birmingham and everything in between. Politically it is divided between the three parties, and its future is uncertain over which will emerge victorious over the state. The Farmer-Republican Party, the broad tent party that has formed a union between much of rural and small town Alabama for generations, has slipped from its domination. The Social Democratic Party has come to power in heavily-educated and dense-populated areas of the state as well as reaching out to landless farm workers who derisively refer to the old party as the "Planter-Republican Party". In the suburbs and struggling white rural farms and small towns the right-populist American Worker's Party has grown as well on a message of economic strength for the little man and conservative values, met derisively by both other parties.

As mines close and factories fight with unions about closures, the economic future of Alabama is also up in the air. The state is in many ways a meeting place, where the Deep South states that straddle the Mississippi meet the Atlantic South. Whichever way Alabama goes in the future, so too will the other Reconstructed States of today go as well.

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Note: the write-up below is an editorial reflecting the views of the artist

The 1892 Presidential Election is perhaps best remembered for Grover Cleveland's comeback to the Presidency, but it was far more than that to the people of the time. Against a flawed incumbent President Benjamin Harrison, several major movements gained a boost in popularity in this election. In particular, this election would mark the peak of the People's Party at the Presidential level.

The People's Party was a largely agrarian and rural party formed by groups such as the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, Farmers' Alliances, and the Knights of Labor. Also known as the Populist Party, the People's Party supported stances such as bimetallism (tying American currency to both gold and silver rather than just gold), collective bargaining, federal regulation of railroad rates, a graduated income tax, direct election of Senators, and more.

The Populists were most popular in the agrarian West, but also had a measure of popularity in the South by running "fusion" tickets in place of Republicans, to try and break the absolute hold the Democratic Party had on the south since the end of Reconstruction. Both movements within the party would be successful, though later become polarized against each other and help lead to the party's downfall. The party would cast its lot in by endorsing William Jennings Bryan in 1896 and 1900, which proved unsuccessful in getting a People's Party candidate elected to the Presidency. However, many of the platform issues the People's Party endorsed would later be passed.

Back to 1892, the People's Party performed very well among the restless Gilded Age electorate, but failed to garner support in the Midwest despite the support of labor organizers like Eugene Debs. This has been chalked up due to the divides in priorities from Midwestern and Northeast labor, largely urban, and the more rural and agrarian labor that was the People's Party bread and butter in the Great Plains and West. In particular was the issue on tariffs that could hurt farmers and help urban laborers.

The tariff was a particularly big campaign issue, dating back to the 1890 McKinley Tariff. Cleveland called for lowering it while Harrison, obviously, supported it. The tariff was steep and it divided states and laborers, as said, in the west and the east between those who desperately wanted it lowered and those who wanted to keep it. Not to be outdone on just economic issues, though, civil rights was part of the campaign as well. Though the fight is often papered over now, Harrison supported a bill called the Lodge Force Bill, which would have allowed federal circuit courts to appoint election supervisors if a relatively small number of locals petitioned for it. This would have helped the black voting population in the South, but it stalled in congress and Cleveland became President so it didn't happen. And, well, that really sucks. There's not really a way to sugarcoat that.

In the end, Cleveland won, was unable to handle popular pressures bubbling beneath the grimy surface of the Gilded Age (Pullman Strikers Forever), and then the economy collapsed and only one Democrat would be President from 1896 all the way until 1932. He left office massively unpopular and alienated most of his party. One thinks Cleveland would have been better off stopping at one term, perhaps. As said, the People's Party would endorse progressive reformer William Jennings Bryan in 1892 and 1896 before fading away but getting their platform largely passed in a victory of sorts. The Prohibition Party, who got a respectable number of votes in 1892 as well, would see their own victory with the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, though that wouldn't go over so well and be repealed in 1933. The end.


Jeffrey B. Lewis, Brandon DeVine, Lincoln Pitcher, and Kenneth C. Martis. (2013) Digital Boundary Definitions of United States Congressional Districts, 1789-2012. Retrieved from on 2 September, 2018.

Haynes, Stan M, and Stan M Haynes. “Preface.” President-Making in the Gilded Age: The Nominating Conventions of 1876-1900, McFarland & Company, Inc., 2016, pp. 2–2.

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Hello, all! Here is my latest map. I can’t say the entire background, as it is for a larger story I want to tell in the form of a timeline posted on my Patreon and here as well called Spurious Transmissions: Tales From Another World. But for now, I will give the backstory.

Essentially, a slightly less turbulent early administration of Ulysses S. Grant but problems later in his second term cause Grant early on to not consider running in 1876. A number of men jump in for the Republican nomination, but eventually it is Benjamin Bristow who emerges victorious. He runs on an administration-critical ticket of economic populism and support of Reconstruction that gives him an edge that Hayes never had, and he wins 1876 handily with promises of a new, fresh start on the economy. He also is willing to apply pressure on the states not finished Reconstructing, namely South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. He is unwilling to let the states fall and indeed in 1876 through 1877 all three states see Republicans re-elected and federal troops stepping in against violence.

Bristow’s willingness to use the powers at his will to enforce Reconstruction and Republicans recapturing the House so as to control all houses of federal government causes a shift in the south. Slowly at first but growing over time, “Redeemer” whites leave the three states for other southern states in which the local rule is more friendly, if not as harsh as our own world due to federal intervention. Similarly, northern whites living in the south and freedmen move in increasing numbers to these three states, effectively transferring populations over time. For a time, this keeps the peace and Bristow goes on to win a second term as economic difficulties subside by 1880.

There is lots more to this world and events that come after to make it different from our own, but that is where it starts, and hopefully it will be a world y’all will enjoy reading about. I also hope all y’all enjoy the map and feel free to ask questions about it!

More pixel art, this time with some fanart of the manga/anime Soul Eater to boot! First time doing character art so had some fun. Includes the small version and larger.

Well, I've wanted to do pixel art for, like, 6 months now so I finally sat down and forced myself to do it. And here is about 7 hours of practice and looking up some other peoples' tips to try to break out of my own styles a bit to try out some new stuff. Think it came out okay, and hope y'all like. Also, I included the early line art of it from this morning for fun. Enjoy!