Is Your Family Improving America?

Target Smart

Target Smart has a great web application, What’s in a Name? It uses a database of voter registration throughout the country and allows you to look up your last name. It will tell you what percentage of people with your name are registered Democrat and Republican. It also tells you how likely you are to vote. It’s a whole lot of fun!

For example, I put in “Koch” into the database and found that 56% of people with that name are registered as Republicans. That’s unusual, because most names I looked at skewed Democratic. For example, “Smith” is the number one name in America and it is 57% Democratic. But as usual for the registered Democrats, the Smiths don’t vote as much as average. They vote 48% of the time, whereas the average is 49%. But those Republican leaning Kochs vote 57% of the time.

The other top names are similarly skewed. Johnson: 63% Democratic; Williams: 70% Democratic (but even less likely to vote); Brown: 64% Democratic; Jones: 65% Democratic; Miller: 50% Democratic; Davis: 61% Democratic; Garcia: 80% Democratic (they really don’t vote much); Rodriguez: 80% Democratic (they vote even less than the Garcias); and Wilson: 58% Democratic.

What you see going through all of this is that the notion that America is a center-right nation is total nonsense. America is a center-left nation. But because our voting system makes it so hard to be part of the electoral process, American voters are just barely right of center and that won’t be the case for more than a year or two. Note to all my liberal friends: if you care about democracy, then get people to vote: if you know old people or disabled people or people with kids who have a hard time getting to the polls: help them! Remember: we are still nominally have a democracy. Let’s use it while we still can!

You may be wondering where the Moraes name came down in all this. Well, it turns out that it’s a little complicated. The Moraes name is kind of a new-world mistranslation of the original Portuguese name Morais. In general, people with the name Moraes are from India and Brazil. My family came from The Azores, a Portuguese island that is way in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This is why I’m so pasty, because English sailors historically stopped by the island and did a whole lot of fornicating as sailors are wont to do. But I still think that we are all one big happy name. (Also: I would rather spell my name “Morais” for two reasons. First, “Morais” is more or less how it is pronounced. Second, half my mail comes to “Morales.” I hate that.)

The two names are not very different and given the small number of people with the names (only a total of 1341), they probably are consistent. Moraes is 71% Democratic and Morais is 78% Democratic, for an overall rating of 77% Democratic (because there are a lot more Morais). Also, we Morae/is people are not big voters. The average is only 42%. I may take it upon myself to call all my extended family members to lobby them to get to the polls. (Note: I don’t care how people vote because I love democracy!)

I learned something else about my extended family. We mostly live in California, Florida, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. And my fellow Moraeses really don’t like Chris Christie! My fellow Moraises are more widely spread on the east coast, where they have been helping to turn Virginia and North Carolina into blue states.

So what has your family been doing to make America great?!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Is Your Family Improving America?

  1. My maiden name is Republican, a shock to me because my father’s been a Democrat since 1930. By contrast, both my married names are Democratic, yet my in-laws are highly to ludicrously GOP.

  2. @JoyfulA – It’s a lot of fun. I had to find a list of common names after I went through all my friends’ names. I found a number that were overwhelmingly Democrat, but none that were overwhelmingly Republican. Interesting.

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