From Obama Nation to Abomination: an Alternative to Some "Alternative Facts" About the "Democratic" Election of Donald Trump
by Patrick Speer
Introduction: Re-writing the first draft of history.
I don't like Donald Trump. Let's not even pretend. He is, to me, the all-too-real embodiment of movie villains like Gregory Breed Marmalard in Animal House and Biff Tanney in Back to the Future. But Part 1 of this 3-part essay is not about Donald Trump and his scandal-plagued past, his obnoxious behavior on the campaign trail, or even his disastrous take-over of the government. It is, instead, an attempt to see around that, and focus instead on the central question of our day: what the heck happened?
In the days following T-Day, November 8, 2016 (a date that will live in infamy?) I, as so many other Americans, read news article after news article, and watched news program after news program, in an attempt to understand what happened. And was let down.
These articles and programs missed the big picture. Some of them treated the election as though Trump had won in a landslide, and had a mandate for change... And some of them treated the election as though Trump had won a fair fight and earned our respect (Like... Congratulations, you've just lost an election by close to 3 million votes. We owe you our undying allegiance... What?) And some of them treated the election as if it were a poker game, and second-guessed every move made by Hillary Clinton over the months and years before the election, and essentially blamed her for winning the election by almost 3 million votes, yet still losing due to a loophole created for slave owners.So I spent two months or so reading and jotting down notes--analyzing the election results. And decided to write an article of my own.
Here, then, are my findings...
Finding # 1: There was no mandate for change.
No, really. There was no mandate. Not even close. The operating definition for "mandate" is "the authority to carry out a policy or course of action, regarded as given by the electorate to a candidate or party that is victorious in an election." Well, it's hard to see how an election in which one fails to win even 50% of the votes can give one a mandate. I mean, how can one claim the majority has spoken and thus we must make a change when the majority has actually voted against that change? Now, that's just ridiculous. From 2000 to 2016 there were five presidential elections, with ten major party candidates. Of those ten, Trump received the ninth highest percentage of the vote, lower than "losers" such as Clinton in 2016, Romney in 2012, Kerry in 2004, and Gore in 2000, and less than a third of a point higher than the one remaining "loser", John McCain in 2008. Looking back still further, one can see that receiving but 45.94% of the vote is not only not a mandate, it's a rebuke. No one honestly believes the election of 1988 was a mandate for change---and yet Michael Dukakis received but a third of a point fewer votes in that election than Trump did in 2016. And no one honestly sees the election of 1976 as a mandate for the continued reign of Gerald Ford--even though Ford received 2% more of the vote than Trump did in 2016. So let's not even pretend.
While some might look at Trump's margin of victory in the sixteen smallest states he won and believe he'd won the national election in a landslide, for that matter, this is simply a mirage. These states, when added together, comprise roughly 37 million people, and 1.8 trillion dollars in Gross State Product. This is indeed a size-able chunk of the country. And Trump's victory in these states was indeed impressive. He won 64.5 percent of the votes cast for himself or Clinton, which amounts to his winning by 29 points. And yet, his landslide victories in these states was actually offset by a Clinton victory in but one state, California, with its 39 million people and 2.5 trillion dollars in GSP, where Clinton won 66% of the votes cast for Trump or Clinton, and Trump but 34%. That's a 32 point margin, folks.
I looked back through prior elections, furthermore, and found no record of a similar election, in which the most populous state (in this case California, but in most prior cases New York) so roundly rejected a president. Going back to 1828, when elections bore little resemblance to today's elections and where the popular vote was an afterthought, the winning candidate lost the election in the biggest state but 8 times, and never by the margin by which Trump lost California. (When third party votes are included in the final tally, Trump lost California 61.73% to 31.62%, a mere 30 point margin...)
Now, to be clear, some LOSERS have had worse performances in the largest state. Actually, correct that, ONE LOSER has had a worse performance in the largest state, and that was in 1920, when Ohio Governor James Cox lost to fellow Ohioan Warren G. Harding 64.56 to 26.95 in the great state of New York.
So, perhaps we should think of it this way. A loser the likes of James Cox only comes around once every hundred years or so, and this century's James Cox is Donald Trump.
And that's not the only manner in which Trump is one of the biggest "losers" in history.
The last "winner" to lose his home state was Woodrow Wilson in 1916. And that's when one counts his home state as New Jersey, where he'd briefly served as Governor. Wilson was actually born in Virginia. He won in Virginia. The only other "winner" to lose his home state was James K. Polk, who lost his home state of Kentucky in 1844. Making matters worse, for Trump, is that Wilson lost 54.4 to 42.68, a margin of less than 12 points (slightly less than 58,000 votes), and Polk lost by .1 point (131 votes). Trump, to be clear, lost his home state of New York 58.4 to 36.15, a margin of more than 22 points (and 1.7 million votes).
And that's not the worst of it. NO major party LOSER in American history ever lost his home state by such a margin, at least, that is, since the election of 1856, when ex-President Millard Fillmore split the vote and James Buchanan defeated John C. Fremont (of the newly born and still not quite walking Republican Party) in his home state of California, 48.38 to 18.78.
Now, let that sink in. Trump is both the second biggest loser of the biggest state in American political history, and the second biggest loser of his home state in American political history.
The people who know Trump best like him least!
So...what was that about a landslide? And a mandate?
There is also this... U.S. Senators come up for election every 6 years. As a consequence only 33 or 34 come up for election every other year. Thirty- four seats came up for election in 2016, 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats. If there had been a "mandate" the Republicans would most certainly have picked off 2 or more of the 10. But no, they actually lost 2 seats. More surprising, the total number of votes cast for Democratic Senatorial Candidates was far greater than the number cast for Republican Senatorial Candidates. To be clear, they received over 18.9 million more votes than Republican candidates for Senator in the 12 states they won, while Republicans received barely 7.8 million more votes than Democratic candidates for senator in the 22 states in which they emerged victorious. Now it should be acknowledged that over 12.2 million of the votes for Democrats came in California, where no Republican was on the ballot, and a Black woman ran against an Hispanic woman. But that's just the point. How can Trump claim a mandate for his agenda when his party is so weak and disrespected it can't even get a candidate on the ballot for a Senate seat representing the most populous state in the country?Well, what about the House of Representatives, then? Yes, it's true. The total number of votes in the House favored the Republicans, by .8 of a point. But this by no means represents a mandate. In fact, this margin was down from a 5.7 pct. margin of victory in 2014. Now think about that. That means the Republican Party, taken as a whole, LOST 4.9 of its mandate in but 2 years, and is now left with a narrow lead in popularity, not a mandate to rule without compromise. Of course, Trump lost the popular vote by 2.1 pct. So, think about that as well. That proves the AVERAGE Republican candidate for congress was 2.9 pct more popular than Trump among their constituents, and this in turn proves Trump should look to them, and their non-existent mandate, for guidance, as opposed to claiming they should get behind him and his non-existent "mandate for change" as he sees fit.
Finding #2. The "legitimacy" of the election is rightfully open to question.
The word "legitimate" has multiple meanings. According to Dictionary.com, the most frequently-used definitions for the word are "lawful" and "in accordance with established rules, principles, or standards." While there is no firm evidence the election was unlawful, there are many who would say the largely-successful attempts by those supporting Trump to limit access to the voting booths for those not supporting Trump, Trump's own race-baiting efforts on the campaign trail, the secret meetings by members of his camp with Russian officials, and the strange behavior of FBI Director James Comey, were not "in accordance with established rules, principles, or standards," and led to an election that was anything but "legitimate".
But one need not go so far to say the election was not legitimate. Among the less common uses of the word "legitimate" are "logical," and "of the normal or regular type or kind." While one might disagree as to whether or not the election was "logical", it can not reasonably be argued it was "of the normal or regular type or kind."
So, one can honestly claim the election was not "legitimate", if just to mess with those who insist it was simply business as usual and that we should all just move on. As we shall see, it was absolutely positively not business as usual.
No matter what some in the media would have you believe...
That's right. I'm taking a cue from Trump and bitching about the media, if only just a little. You see, the manner in which the election was covered fed into the illusion Trump's win was legitimate, and decisive. The news coverage followed the election from east to west, and kept an ongoing electoral count. By the time polls closed in the west, it was pretty much a done deal. The "people" had spoken. Trump had won. Some even said in a landslide.
But this was an incomplete portrait of what had actually occurred. Those reporting on a trial owe it to their readers to report not only what side is "winning", but whether justice is being served. Well, the same is true for those reporting on elections. The deference to tradition and the validity of the Electoral College by those in the mainstream press helped "legitimize" Trump's victory, even though many if not most of those watching at home felt justice was not served.
To be clear, most Americans do not give a rat's ass about the Electoral College, or even understand it. It is not a cherished tradition. It is, instead, that stinking loophole few can understand that opened the door to George W. Bush, 9/11, and the failed war in Iraq.
So let's view the election as an event most Americans understand: a football game. And let's view it through a metric they both understand and support: the popular vote. And let's start from west to east instead of east to west.
Well, Clinton struck first: she won Hawaii, by 138,000 votes. Then Trump battled back. He won Alaska by 47,000. Clinton then gained some momentum. She won in Oregon, Washington and Nevada, by a combined 770,000 votes. Trump then countered by winning Idaho, Arizona and Utah by a combined 515,000 votes. Clinton then slowed the momentum by picking up New Mexico by almost 66,000 votes. Trump regained his momentum by winning in Wyoming and Montana by a combined 220,000 votes. But then Clinton picked up Colorado by 136,000 votes.
So, here we are at the end of the first quarter in our imaginary football game... Clinton has been in the lead the whole way, and is currently ahead by over 330,000 votes.
But we skipped something, didn't we? We skipped California, where Clinton won by, get this, 4,270,000 votes. The race from west to east from this perspective isn't even close. By the time we get to Texas, Clinton is winning in a landslide, by more than 4.6 million votes. Let's call that 23 points.
But Trump won Texas, some might argue. He rallied back and gained the momentum.
Well, then, let's continue. If we're gonna describe an imaginary football game, after all, we might as well describe it to the end, and make it as dramatic as possible.
Trump and his big orange machine begin to roll. He picks up North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, by a margin of over 2.1 million votes. Clinton then squeaks out Minnesota, by 45,000 votes. Trump then resumes his roll. He wins in Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wisconsin, by a combined 1.6 million votes. He's closing in. and is now down by roughly 900,000 votes. But Clinton wins Illinois, by 944,000 votes.
So, here we are, half-way through our imaginary football game, and Clinton still has a sizeable lead of over 1.8 million votes. Let's call that nine points.
Trump then regains his momentum. He rolls like Sherman across the South and rust-belt. He wins in Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, and North Carolina...by almost 3.9 million votes. It's the end of the third quarter and he is now over 2 million votes in the lead! Let's say 10 points.
Only not so fast. Clinton battles back in Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, and wins those races by roughly 1.25 million votes. She is within striking distance. A big win in Pennsylvania and she's back in the lead. But Trump takes Pennsylvania, by 44,000 votes or so.
And that's it. The last minutes of the game are all Clinton. She wins in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine, by roughly 3.6 million votes, for a final victory margin of almost 2.9 million votes. Let's say 14 points.
Clinton, from this perspective, won a dramatic victory!
Now, to be sure every American can see it, here is how it played out as a football game.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Clinton 23 0 0 24 47
Trump 0 14 19 0 33
Now, no doubt some are thinking that this football analogy doesn't hold, because of that pesky Electoral College.
This brings us to...
Finding #3: The Electoral College has got to go!
Let's go back to an earlier point: that Clinton's advantage in the California popular vote was greater than Trump's cumulative advantage for the sixteen smallest states he carried. Now, one might take from this that she also received more delegates for the Electoral College from this victory than Trump received for his 16 victories but that is not the case. Small states are over-represented in the Electoral College. As a result, Trump received 82 delegates in the Electoral College for winning 16 small states, while Clinton received but 55 for winning a state with more people than the 16 states put together, and by a wider margin than Trump won those states.
And this wasn't an isolated incident. Should one continue matching up big against small, one would find that the second largest state won by Clinton was New York, and that it closely matched in size the next 4 smallest states won by Trump. Except that Trump received 38 delegates in the Electoral College for winning these 4 states while Clinton received but 29, even though she won New York by a much wider margin than Trump won these four...
And that's not even to mention that the economic might of California and New York far exceeded the economic might of the twenty smallest states won by Trump...
But that's a separate issue. The bottom line is this: the Electoral College, on its surface, punishes big states and helps small states...
So let's look at the election from another perspective. Instead of looking at it from east to west or west to east, let's look at if from the most populous states on down to the least populous states.
We'll start by looking at the Big 5: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. These states comprise 37% of the nation's population and over 40% of its economy. Now, here's the surprise. Clinton not only dominated in these states, she did better in these states than Barack Obama did in 2012. And it wasn't that Obama did poorly in 2012. There have been 30 major party candidates over the last 15 elections, going back to the election of 1960, Clinton did better in these five states than every major party candidate but four: Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Richard Nixon in 1972, Ronald Reagan in 1984, and Barack Obama in 2008. Now, all these candidates went on to win the election by size-able margins.
So why not Hillary?
It comes down to eight words: the Electoral College (which has got to go!).
Let me demonstrate. When looking at the states by population, one can break the country into three pieces, each representing around a third of the population.
Here, then, is a breakdown of the election by thirds.
The first third, comprising the four largest states by population:
Clinton wins two states, for 84 delegates in the Electoral College, by over 6 million votes.
Trump wins two states, for 67 delegates in the Electoral College, by a little over 900,000 votes.
Clinton is up by roughly 5.1 million votes. She leads by over 14 points in head-to-head voting. She looks like a sure-winner.
The second third, comprising the next eleven largest states by population:
Clinton wins five states, for 70 delegates in the Electoral College, by roughly 3.1 million votes.
Trump wins six states, for 96 delegates in the Electoral College, by a little over 950,000 votes.
Stopping right here, Clinton is around 7.2 million votes ahead. She is up by 8 1/2 points in head-to-head voting.
And yet, she is down 9 delegates in the Electoral College!
Where else in the world can you be leading by 8 1/2 points and still be "losing"?
This just isn't acceptable. The Electoral College, created for the wrong reasons and subsequently changed for the wrong reasons, is an affront to all-things American, in particular our sense of right and wrong and fair-play. It is not only un-Democratic, it is undemocratic. No American soldier ever died overseas for the Electoral College. They died for the concept of one man, one vote, with no hanky panky, and no back doors through which a widely-disliked candidate can sneak in and reward his cronies and supporters with an agenda rejected by the bulk of the populace.
The Electoral College has got to go!
Let's look at this some more, from a slightly different angle. The three biggest states won by Clinton were California, New York and Illinois. These states represent over 71 million people. If separated from the rest of the states and combined into one, these three states would become one of the 20 largest countries in the world by population, with the third largest economy, after only the United States and China. Clinton received nearly 7 million more votes than Trump in these states and received over 63% of the votes cast for herself and Trump in these states. She did better in these three states (and Trump did worse) than any major party candidate since 1920. She was awarded 104 electoral delegates for her effort.
Now let's look at the four biggest states won by Trump: Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. These states comprise almost as many people as the three states won by Clinton, but have a significantly smaller economy, around 30% smaller. Trump received 1.4 million more votes than Clinton in these states. While this cumulative total might sound impressive, this actually signifies that he received just 52.4% of the votes cast for himself and Clinton in these states. That's far from a landslide. And yet he was awarded 105 electoral delegates for these four close-calls.
Let that sink in... Trump was given more electoral delegates for winning the four largest states he won than Clinton was given for winning the three largest states she won, even though the three states she won comprised a half a million more people and a 30% larger economy, and even though she won these three states by a whopping 27%, as compared to Trump's less than 5% margin of victory.
Or, to put this all together ... In the seven largest states by population, comprising roughly 45% of the nation, Hillary Clinton mopped the floor with Donald Trump, by 9.8 per cent head-to-head, 54.9% to 45.1%.
And yet she she lost in the Electoral College!
The Electoral College has got to go!
This remains apparent when one looks at the final third of the country by population...
The final third, comprising the thirty-five smallest states (and Washington D.C.):
Clinton wins 13 states (and Washington D.C.), for 78 delegates in the Electoral College, by roughly 2.1 million votes
Trump wins 22 states, for 143 delegates in the Electoral College, by roughly 6.5 million votes
To sum it up, then, Trump loses by almost 2.9 million votes, but somehow ends up with 74 more delegates in the Electoral College!
Now, I know some are thinking--"Well, look at that ass-kicking!"--Trump won all those states, and by such large margins! But, really, how does his winning one third of the country by 4.4 million votes make him more deserving of the presidency, and more of a "winner", than the candidate who won the first third by 5.1 million, AND the second third by 2.1 million? Let's not be ridiculous.
It's just not acceptable that Clinton received a 17 delegate advantage for winning a third of the nation by 5.1 million, while Trump received a 65 delegate advantage for winning a supposedly equal third by 4.4 million. And it becomes even less acceptable, odious even, when one considers that the more populous states pay far more than their share of taxes, and largely carry the less populous states...
Our forefathers went to war over less...
Still not feeling it? Still thinking the Electoral College is a good thing?
Okay, let's try again. Some defenders of the Electoral College claim it's necessary to prevent the least populous states from getting trampled by the most populous states. So let's look at the election results (when rounded off to the nearest thousand) for the 11 least populous states (and Washington D.C.) from least populous on up.
Wyoming: Trump wins 3 Electoral College delegates by 56,000.
Vermont: Clinton wins 3 Electoral College delegates by 83,000.
District of Columbia: Clinton wins 3 Electoral College delegates by 270,000.
North Dakota: Trump wins 3 Electoral College delegates by 123,000.
Alaska: Trump wins 3 Electoral College delegates by 47,000.
South Dakota: Trump wins 3 Electoral College delegates by 110,00.
Delaware: Clinton wins 3 Electoral College delegates by 50,000.
Montana: Trump wins 3 Electoral College delegates by 102,000.
Rhode Island: Clinton wins 4 Electoral College delegates by 72,000.
New Hampshire: Clinton wins 4 Electoral College delegates by 3,000.
Maine: Clinton wins 3 of 4 Electoral College delegates by 20,000.
Hawaii: Clinton wins 4 Electoral College delegates by 138,000.
Note that Clinton has won 7 of 12 of these races, by roughly 200,000 votes. In 2000, the last time the Electoral College stifled and smothered the popular vote, the supposed "loser," Vice-President Al Gore, won 6 of 12 of these races, by roughly 25,000 votes. Well, heck, that destroys the argument the Electoral College helps the small states, doesn't it? I mean, the Electoral College effectively nullified the votes of the 11 smallest states (and Washington D.C.) the last two times it has mattered, and the only two times it has mattered since 1888.To refresh, Clinton won 7 of the 15 largest states, by roughly 7.2 million votes, but was nevertheless behind in the Electoral College in these states, 163 to 154. And she also won 7 of the 11 smallest states (and Washington D.C.), by 200,000 votes. Now, she won the Electoral College among these states, 24 to 16. But do the math. She was still behind in the Electoral College, 179 to 178. Incredibly, she won 14 of the 27 largest and smallest voting blocs, (26 states and Washington D.C.), by upwards of 7.4 million votes, but was still losing the election in the Electoral College! That's not a quirk of history. That's a disgrace. That Trump did well in the remaining 24 states (he won 17 of 24, by a cumulative total of roughly 4.6 million votes) doesn't even factor into the equation.
The Electoral College has got to go!
Let's shore up that last point. If your kid runs for class president, and manages to win 54% of the vote in 27 of the 51 classrooms, comprising over 70% of the students, yet is still trailing in those classes due to some ancient school rule giving the votes taken in smaller classes more weight, you don't give a flying food fight that the other kid won the majority of the remaining classrooms, and almost caught up in total votes cast. Your kid "lost" even though she won. And was screwed, royally screwed, through no fault of her own.
Now, I know some Republicans are thinking..."But I like the Electoral College. It has helped the Republican Party put our guy in office four times now (Hayes 1876, Harrison 1888, Bush 2000, and Trump 2016), and has never helped anyone else. It's kinda like our secret weapon." But take a closer look. The Electoral College hurts Red States, too, and it's only a matter of time until it costs the Republicans an election. To wit, Clinton won 4 delegates for a less than 3,000 vote victory in New Hampshire, while Trump won but 3 delegates for his 123,000 vote victory in North Dakota. That's not exactly fair, now is it? And that's just the beginning. To expand, Clinton picked up 17 electoral delegates for winning Nevada, New Mexico, Maine, and New Hampshire by a combined 115,000 votes, while Trump was awarded but 3 electoral votes for winning North Dakota by 123,000 votes. That's not good. Now, Trump also won Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota by a combined 340,000 votes, and received just 9 delegates for his victories in those states. That means he won four states, by more than 450,000 votes, and received but 12 electoral delegates, while Clinton won four states, by 115,000 votes, and received 17 delegates.
Now, let's not kid ourselves. No one honestly thinks that's fair. I supported Clinton, and I don't think that's fair. And I guarantee you that if you ask voters in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota if they think that's fair, none of them will say "Oh, yes, I think that's fair."
In fact, it's hard to imagine the kind of person who would think that's fair.
And there's a good reason for this: it's because it isn't fair. The Electoral College was never designed to be fair, and has become progressively less fair over time.
And it doesn't even do what it's purported to do--help the small states.
Now, I know this is hard to grasp, because it goes against everything most of us have been told. But the Electoral College DOES NOT actually help small states. Sure, when pitted head-to-head, 1 mega-state vs. 16 small states, the winner of the 16 small states will receive more delegates, but that doesn't translate to these 16 states receiving more attention on the campaign trail, or more power in Washington.
Well, why not? This is where it gets tricky. Think like a candidate. If you're on the campaign trail, driving in your bus up a highway dividing two states--one of which the polls tell you is in the bag and one of which the polls tell you is a close call--you always take the off-ramp to the state with the close-call on the horizon. No matter what. If there's a 10,000 person rally planned for a state you know you've got won (or have no chance of winning), with a series of local TV interviews lined up afterwards, you cancel it, and instead head off to the swing state, where you can show up at local libraries and gymnasiums, and perhaps squeeze out a few more votes.
And then you look at your watch--and fly back to Miami, or Philadelphia, or Detroit--wherever that next mega-rally is planned in the largest swing state.
It's just not good for America. Year after year, decade after decade, candidates spend most of their campaigns in swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and ignore the rest of the country. They'll visit California, Texas, and New York, of course, but just to raise money that they turn around and spend in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Colorado. Big states all. Sure, they'll occasionally make a stop or spend some money in a narrowly divided state like Iowa, Nevada, or New Hampshire, but that's just not the focus. Trump, if you recall, was sharply criticized for campaigning in Maine at a point where it appeared to be out of reach. The small states where the outcome of the election seems certain aren't even considered. I mean, when was the last time a presidential candidate campaign spent any real time in Vermont, the Dakotas, or Idaho?
So the problem with the Electoral College is two-fold. By its very design it hurts big states, and devalues the votes of its citizens. And in practice it also hurts small states--and puts all the focus on large swing states.
I mean, just think of it. You're a candidate. And you're doing great in Montana. Surprisingly so. And you know if you go there you'll create some excitement and receive tons of local air time, and pick up 20,000 votes or more. But you're also down in Florida. By a smidgen. And you know if you go to the Tampa VA, and meet with local veterans, you might pick up 100 votes or so. What do you do?
Well, you know what you do. You go to the Veterans Hospital. Everyone counting on you to win the election compels you to go. Your supporters in Montana even compel you to go. You must win the Electoral College. And to do that, you must win the biggest swing state...even if it means blowing off all the small states that are seemingly out of reach, or already in your grasp...
The Electoral College has got to go!
There is just no reason for its continued existence...
Let's reflect. The Electoral College was conceived in the Original Sin of this
nation, in that it was a by-product of slavery. When designing the Constitution, the Founding Fathers, mostly from Virginia, were concerned that the
northern industrial states would someday dwarf the slave states in
population. So they forced upon them a compromise in which the slave
states were given partial credit for their slaves--and where presidents would be selected not by a
popular vote but by delegates selected at the state level and subsequently sent to Washington,
with the number of delegates determined not by the population of each state but by its
total number of representatives in the two houses of congress.
Well, therein lies the trick, you see. Seats in the House of Representatives were allocated to the states based upon their respective population. From receiving the agreed-upon 3/5 credit for their slaves, the slave states were over-represented in the U.S. House of Representatives when compared to the number of actual voters in their states. By connecting the number of Electoral College delegates to the number of representatives in congress, moreover, they'd extended this benefit to Presidential elections.
Of course, the slave states weren't the only ones benefiting from this arrangement. As each state was given
two senators in the U.S. Senate, no matter how small the state (or the senator), small states also benefited.
So, no, (I was about to write "Virginia" but that hardly seems appropriate), there is no Santa Claus. The Founding Fathers were never as concerned about the nation as a whole as they were in holding onto power within their respective states, which in the southern states meant finding ways to expand their constituents' already over-sized grasp (from owning slaves), to a Goliath-sized grasp on the government, whereby their votes were worth considerably more than the votes of their Northern cousins.
Now, I realize this isn't what many are used to reading. But it's nevertheless true. From looking at the election of 1792 and the census of 1790, it becomes apparent that there were roughly 1.93 million free men and women in the 8 states holding less than 7% of their population as slaves, and 1.27 million free men and women in the 7 states holding more than 15% of their population as slaves. And that this 8 was granted 72 delegates to the 7's 60... Well, let's do the math. This means the slave states of that time--in order of percentage of slaves, SC (43%), VA (39%), GA (35%), MD (32%), NC (26%), KY (17%), and DE (15%)--were over-represented in the Electoral College, in comparison to the number of free men and women in their states, by a little more than 25%. Well, this translates to more than 12 delegates.
Now, think about that. There were only 132 delegates at the time. Almost 10% of the delegates to the Electoral College, then, were set aside for the slave states, so they could "represent" their slaves, which in reality meant representing the slave owners, and defending the "peculiar" tradition (slavery) that had both enriched them, and empowered them.
And no, that's not just rhetoric. The historical record backs this up. It's not a coincidence that a son of Virginia--far and away the largest slave state--ruled the country for 32 of its first 36 years--and that a son of the south--slave owners all--ruled the nation for 49 of its first 61 years... Nor is it a coincidence that talk of secession heated up among the slave states as their stranglehold on Washington grew weaker...
that was a long time ago. We have no reason to believe the Founding Fathers ever dreamed their deal with the devil would continue in perpetuity. And one might note that, for the most part, it hasn't. African-Americans are no
longer considered 3/5 a person. They can vote. And women can vote, too.
It stands to reason, moreover, that the Founding Fathers
never dreamed the Electoral College would become the roadblock to progress it's become, more than 200 years later. In 1790, the largest state by number of free men, women and children was Massachusetts (which at that time included Maine), with roughly 470,000, and the smallest was Delaware,
with roughly 50,000. That's a ratio of about 9.4
to 1. Massachusetts, moreover, received 16 delegates (1 for every 29,375 free men, women, and children) in the 1792 election, as compared to Georgia, which received 4 delegates (1 for every 13,250 free men, women and children). That's a ratio of 2.2 to 1. It follows, then, that through the prism of the Electoral College, a vote by a free man from Georgia was worth over twice as much as a vote by a free man from Massachusetts.
And from there it's gotten worse. Today we have California, with roughly 39.3 million people, and
Wyoming with around 590,000. That's a ratio of about 66.6 to 1. For the 2016 election, California received 55 electoral delegates (1 for every 715,000 men, women and children) and Wyoming received 3 electoral delegates (1 for every 197,000 men, women, and children). That's a ratio of 3.63 to 1. It follows, then, that, through the prism of the Electoral College, a voter from Wyoming is worth more than 3 1/2 times as much as a voter from California. Well this proves that California is getting a far worse deal today than Massachusetts was at the birth of this nation when slave states received partial credit for their slaves.
Now, this is nothing to scoff at. There's no reason to believe the architects of the U.S. Constitution would have approved of such a situation. In fact, they may very well have viewed
any system in which states the size of California and Wyoming were given the same amount of
representation (as in the U.S. Senate, where Wyoming has the same number
of Senators as California) as an unjust system, and taxation without representation for the larger state.
So, why, again, are we holding onto the Electoral College--a ghost from our distant past conceived in the Original Sin of slavery, which magnifies the unequal representation of American citizens already on display in the U.S. Senate? I mean, Alabama finally took down its Confederate flag. Isn't it time we cleanse our Constitution of its stain of slavery, once and for all?
The Electoral College has got to go!
And I'm not the only one willing to say so...
Here's Donald Trump, in 2012, on Twitter, when he incorrectly thought President Obama was gonna lose the popular vote but win in the Electoral College.
Cherish this moment. You won't read this often...
Donald Trump was right.
Having established that the Electoral College has got to go, we can now look at some other aspects of the election. First and foremost of these is that Donald Trump was incredibly lucky in doing as well as he did...suspiciously lucky, even...so much so in fact that if he'd been as lucky in one of his former casinos they'd have pulled him off the floor and interrogated him in a room with a one-way mirror.
Finding #4. Donald Trump was either really lucky, or ???
Let's see if you agree...
Since delegates to the Electoral College are almost all divvied up on a winner-take-all basis, that is, where the winner of a state receives all the delegates from that state no matter how slim the margin of victory, we can approximate the "luck" involved in the election by looking at the numerical margin of victory for each state divided by the number of delegates rewarded for that state.
Here, then, are the states in order from the largest amount of over-votes per delegate in the 2016 election, to the smallest amount of over-votes per delegate. The abbreviation for each state is followed by the ranking of that state in population, as of the 2010 census. The subsequent numbers reflect the number of over-votes per delegate, that is, the number of votes over the number required to win in that state divided by the number of Electoral College delegates awarded for that victory. (Note: Bold states are states that voted for Clinton.)
1-10: DC (49) 90,036, MA (14,) 82,209, CA (1) 77,636, OK (28) 75,537, MD (19) 73,476, KY (26) 71,765, AL (23) 65,412, WV (38) 60,115, NY (3) 59,758, TN (17) 59,294,
11-20: ID (39) 54,823, MO (18) 53,244, AR (32) 50,730, LA (25) 49,811, IN (16) 47,651, IL (5) 47,236, WA (13) 43,414, NE (37) 42,293, ND (48) 41,012, KS (34) 40,669,
21-25: WY (51) 39,482, NJ (11) 39,024, SD (46) 36,754, MS (31) 35,931, HI (40) 34,511,
26-30: UT (33) 34,093, MT (44) 33,844, SC (24) 33,335, CT (29) 32,051, OR (27) 31,386,
31-40: VT (50) 27,735, OH (7) 24,825, IA (30) 24,552, TX (2) 21,241, RI (43) 17,996, DE (45) 16,825, VA (12) 16,310, AK (47) 15,644, CO (22) 15,154, GA (8) 13,196,
41-51: NM (36) 13,109, NC (10) 11,554, ME (41) 11,071, AZ (15) 8,294, NV (35) 4,534, MN (21) 4,477, FL (4) 3,893, WI (20) 2,275, PA (6) 2,215, NH (42) 684, MI (9) 669
While this at first might look like a healthy mix of good luck and bad luck for both candidates, a closer look reveals an amazing fact--the "luck" becomes incredibly one-sided once one takes account the population (and resulting delegate total) for these states.
First, note that 16 of the 25 most under-represented victories (that is, victories in states in the top 25 above) occurred in states voting for Trump. Well, this reinforces what has already been demonstrated--that the Electoral College hurts red states, too, and that it is just a matter of time until it costs the Republicans an election.
Now note that victories in 6 of the top 15 states by population (these fifteen representing roughly 2/3 of the over-all population) were under-represented in the Electoral College. Here they are in order from most under-represented to least: MA (14), CA (1), NY (3), IL (5), WA (13), NJ (11).
Incredibly, Clinton won ALL six of these states!
Now, look at the flip side--the 9 victories within the top 15 states by population that were over-represented in the Electoral College (that is, in the bottom 26 above). Here they are in order by most over-represented to least: MI (9), PA (6), FL (4), AZ (15), NC (10), GA (8), VA (12), TX (2), OH (7).
Well, 8 of these 9 went to Trump.
If one were to think like Trump and classify the vote results for the fifteen most populous states as deals, based on the reward received divided by margin of victory, then, it would look like this...
Bad deals in order of badness, worst to not quite so bad: Clinton in Massachusetts, California, New York, Illinois, Washington, and New Jersey. No bad deals for Trump.
Good deals in order of goodness, best to not quite as good: Trump in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia, Clinton in Virginia, and Trump in Ohio and Texas.
Now, one might be tempted to credit Trump with using his ground game to eek out victories in every close big state but one. But there's a problem with this: he was often frugal in his advertising and there's no evidence his campaigning in these states led to undecided voters suddenly changing their minds about him. So, it remains a mystery as to why, of the top 15 states by population, Clinton won the 6 biggest landslides and Trump won the 6 closest races. If one assumes there is no unseen bias as to whether Clinton or Trump would get the best (or worst) deal, then, these numbers are quite surprising. Clinton won 20 of 50 states, so the odds of her winning an individual state was .4. .4 to the sixth power comes out to .4 of a percentile, or .004--which translates into odds as 250 to one. And that's just the odds of Clinton picking up the six worst deals. Trump won 30 of 50 states so let's say his chances of winning an individual state was .6. .6 to the sixth power comes out to 4.6%, or 0.046. .004 x .046 comes out to 0.0001866. The odds of BOTH Clinton getting the 6 worst deals and Trump getting the 6 best deals are thereby around 5359 to 1. Well, it follows that an election as one-sided in its "luck" as this one comes around every 21,436 years or so.
When one realizes the magnitude of Trump's incredible "luck", moreover, it's hard not to consider the possibility Trump's "luck" was no coincidence...
and that some of the closest races won by Trump--the races representing the best deals for Trump--were actually stolen...
Finding #5: The narrowness of Trump's victory was both unprecedented, and suspicious...
Here, then, are the states with the five smallest margins of victory, with the Electoral College delegates received for winning each state, followed by the margin of victory:Has anything like this ever happened before?
MI (16) 0.2, NH (4) 0.3, WI (10) 0.8, PA (20) 1.0, FL (29) 1.2.Well, a quick look at these five closest races reveals that Trump received 75 delegates from states decided by 1.2% of the vote, or less. Yikes. That's almost 25% of his total. That's 75 delegates from states decided by 1.2%, or less...to Clinton's 4, for her victory in New Hampshire.
In a word: No. When one looks back at earlier elections they just don't play out like this--with one side winning 4 out of the 5 closest races (which we will define as a margin of victory of 1.5% or less), with the 4 states won being massive states in comparison to the 1 state lost. The 2012 election had but 1 close race, won by Obama. He won Florida for 29 electoral delegates. The 2008 election had 3, with Obama winning 2 for 26 electoral delegates and McCain winning 1 for 11 electoral delegates. The 2004 election had 4, with Bush the second winning 2 for 12 electoral delegates and John Kerry winning 2 for 14. The 2000 election was a bit unusual in that Al Gore won 4 close races to Bush the second's 2, but where Gore's 4 states translated to the same amount of electoral delegates, 29, as won by Bush from his 2 close victories, which included the most closely contested state (and a state actually won by Gore, once all the votes were counted), Florida.
So, let's go back even further. In 1996, Bill Clinton won 2 close races for 12 electoral delegates and Bob Dole won 2 for 21. In 1992, Bill Clinton won 2 close races for 17 electoral delegates and Bush the first won 1 for 14. There were no close races in 1988. There was but 1 close race in 1984, won by Walter Mondale, in his only statewide win over Ronald Reagan, for 10 electoral delegates.
Now, let's take this in. In 2016, Trump won 71 more electoral delegates than Clinton the female in races decided by less than 1.5% of the total vote. This 71 delegate margin of victory in the Electoral College in these close races is more than the winning margin in similarly close races in the previous 7 elections...combined. He won by 71. Mondale won by 10 in 1984. There were no close races in 1988. Clinton won by 3 in 1992. Dole won by 9 in 1996. In 2000, there was a tie. Kerry won by 2 in 2004. Obama won by 15 in 2008, and then again by 29 in 2012. That's a 68 delegate advantage in the Electoral College for those winning races decided by a popular vote of 1.5% or less. Over the last 7 elections. Trump is either insanely lucky or something else was at work.
When one considers that the man has owned casinos for most of his life, and knows all about rigging machines and making the numbers come out in his favor, one might reasonably suspect something else was at work.
But let's not go there...yet. This was, after all, but 7 elections. In 1980, Reagan won 6 close races for a total of 55 electoral delegates, and Carter failed to win any close races. This is impressive. Almost Trumpian. We should keep in mind, however, that Reagan won 3 of these 6 races by wider margins than Trump won his 4, and that these 55 delegates weren't exactly needed, as Reagan won by 440 votes in the Electoral College.
So let's continue. In 1976, Jimmy Carter won 1 close race for 25 electoral delegates, and Gerald Ford won 6 for 42. There were no close races in 1972. In 1968, Richard Nixon won 1 close race for 8 electoral delegates, and Hubert Humphrey won 1 close race for 25 electoral delegates. In 1964, Barry Goidwater won the only close race for 5 delegates. And in 1960, Nixon won 1 close race for 32 electoral delegates, while Kennedy won six close races for 75 electoral delegates. Now, keep in mind that Nixon claimed this election was stolen from him. He won 32 delegates in close races, but was down a net 43. He also lost the largest state, and the popular vote. Now, just imagine the stink Nixon would have made had he won the popular vote, and the largest state, but still have lost due to his receiving only 4 delegates from close races, while Kennedy received 75!
By now you should see where this is heading. The 2016 election was both freakishly nasty, and freakishly one-sided in the luck department. In 1956, there were 3 close races in which the margin of victory was 1.5% or less, 2 won by Adlai Stevenson for 27 electoral delegates, and 1 won by President Eisenhower for 11 electoral delegates. In 1952, the prequel, Stevenson won 2 close races for 18 electoral delegates, and Eisenhower won 1 for 11 electoral delegates. This brings us to 1948. The 1948 election is the closest we've seen to the 2016 election. In some ways it was worse. 7 states were decided by 1.5% or less. 4 of these 7 were among the 5 most populous states in the nation. The difference between the 1948 election and the 2016 election was the balance. Thomas Dewey won 4 close races for 71 electoral delegates, while President Truman won 3 close races for 78, a net gain of 7, a mere smudge compared to Trump's pick-up of 71.
We are now entering the FDR years. In 1944, Dewey won 1 close race for 25 electoral votes, and Roosevelt won 2 close races for 35 delegates. In 1940, Wendell Willkie won 2 close races, for 33 electoral delegates. There were no close races in 1936. The only close race in the 1932 election was won by Herbert Hoover, for 8 electoral delegates. Well, yikes, that means the political genius Franklin Roosevelt won but 1 close race in 4 elections, while the complete novice Donald Trump won 4 in but 1!
Looking back still further, one can see that in 1928 Al Smith beat Herbert Hoover in 2 close races, for the grand total of 23 electoral delegates. And that in 1924, there were no close races. This bring us then to the election of 1920. In 1920, James Cox beat Warren G. Harding in the only close race, for 13 electoral delegates. Well, what about the election of 1916, then? There were 4 close races in 1916, 2 won by Woodrow Wilson for 17 electoral delegates and 2 won by Charles Evans Hughes for 23 electoral delegates.
We've gone back a hundred years now. 25 presidential elections. In 4 of these elections, there were no close races decided by less than 1.5%. In 13 of these elections, the losing candidate won the most electoral delegates among states decided by 1.5% or less. Within the close races of these 13 elections, moreover, these losing candidates had a combined margin of victory of 166 electoral delegates. In one election the number of delegates received from close races was a tie. That leaves but 7 elections (of 25) in which the over-all winner picked up more electoral delegates from states decided by 1.5% or less than his opponent. The combined margin of victory for the close races in these elections was 162 delegates. Well, do the math. 162 minus 166 is -4, less than zero.
The average electoral delegate advantage from close races awarded the winners of the U.S. Presidency from 1916-2012 was therefore less than zero! And yet Trump received a SEVENTY-ONE delegate advantage in one election, while losing the popular vote by a decisive margin!
Still, let's keep looking. We wouldn't want anyone thinking we're cherry-picking, now would we? (As we go back further in time, the Electoral College slowly gets smaller and the impact of each state gets larger, but the proportion of delegates from close races should remain about the same.).
In 1912, there was but 1 close race, with third-party candidate Theodore Roosevelt picking up 13 electoral delegates. In 1908, there were 3 close races. Taft won 2 for 26 electoral delegates, and William Jennings Bryan won 1 for 5. In 1904, there was 1 close race, won by Roosevelt, for 8 electoral delegates. There were no close races in 1900. In 1896, there were 3 close races, 2 won by McKinley for 20 electoral delegates, and 1 won by Bryan for 4 electoral delegates. In 1892, there were 4 close races, 3 won by former President Grover Cleveland for 26 electoral delegates, and 1 by sitting President Benjamin Harrison for 23 electoral delegates. (There was a third close race won by James Weaver in North Dakota, but the 3 electoral delegates for this state were evenly split among Weaver, Harrison and Cleveland.) The 1888 election was another strange one, somewhat akin to the 2000 election, in which the candidate winning the most votes lost the Electoral College. But this was nowhere near as one sided in the "luck" department as the 2016 election. In 1888, President Grover Cleveland won 3 close races for 24 electoral delegates, but was outflanked by challenger Benjamin Harrison, who won 2 close races for 51 electoral delegates. The 1884 election was also closely contested. There, Cleveland won 3 close races for 57 electoral delegates, and James Blaine won 1 close race for 13 electoral delegates. Now, this was a net gain of 44. Since the Electoral College was smaller back then, Cleveland's 44 electoral vote advantage in close races represented 11% (44/401) of the electoral college. While impressive, this was still not as large as the whopping 13.2% (71/538) advantage gained by Trump in 2016. There's also this. Unlike Trump, Cleveland won the popular vote.
So let's keep looking, and see if there's ever been an election besides the 2016 election in which the presidency was decided by a series of close races which made the loser in the popular vote the winner in the Electoral College. In 1880, the over-all loser Winfield Hancock won 2 close races, for 14 electoral delegates, and the soon-to-be-assassinated James Garfield won 1 close race, for 15 electoral delegates. In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes won 2 close races for 29 electoral delegates, and Samuel Tilden won 1 close race for 15. Tilden also won the popular vote 50.9 to 47.9, but was deemed the loser of the Electoral College by 1 vote via a "compromise", in which Hayes and his party agreed to reduce northern control of the southern states, which led, in turn, to the Jim Crow era in which black southerners were denied their right to vote. In 1872, President Grant won 1 close race for 11 electoral delegates, and newspaperman Horace Greeley won 1 close race for 8 electoral delegates. The election of 1868 was another strange one. There Grant won 1 close race for 5 electoral delegates, but lost 2 to over-all loser Horatio Seymour for a total of 36 electoral delegates.
This bring us to Lincoln. In the 1864 election, Abraham Lincoln won 1 close race, the only close race that year. But it was in the biggest state, New York, at a time when 11 states were waging war against the other 25. As a result Lincoln's net gain of 33 electoral delegates (representing 14.2 % of a much-smaller Electoral College) from close races can hardly be considered anywhere near as surprising as Trump's pick-up of 71 one hundred and fifty-two years later. The 1860 election was also a bit crazy. 4 different candidates won close races. The winner, Lincoln, won 1 close race for 4 electoral delegates. Bell won 1 for 15. Douglas won 1 for 9. And Breckinridge won 1 for 8. There were no close races in 1856. There were 2 close races in 1852, both won by Franklin Pierce, for 13 electoral delegates. There were 2 close races in 1848, both won by the overall loser Lewis Cass, for 15 electoral delegates. And there were 3 close races in 1844. Henry Clay won 2 of these races, for 22 electoral delegates. But this was more than offset by James Polk's close victory in the great state of New York, which rewarded him 36 electoral delegates.
We're almost there. In the election of 1840, William Henry Harrison won 2 close races for 40 electoral delegates, and Martin Van Buren won 1 close race for 23 electoral delegates. In 1836, Van Buren won 1 close race for 8 electoral delegates, and Harrison won 1 close race for 8 electoral delegates. In 1832, Andrew Jackson won 1 close race for 8 electoral delegates, and Henry Clay won 1 close race in a state where he was awarded 2 delegates more than his opponent. With the election of 1828, the original design for the Electoral College--where each state made its own decision as to how to pick the members of the Electoral College, becomes apparent. John Quincy Adams won the only close race, but received only 1 extra electoral delegate for his victory. That we are playing by a different set of rules as we get closer to the birth of the country becomes even more apparent when we look at the election of 1824. There Adams also won the only close race, in Maryland, but was awarded but 3 of Maryland's electoral delegates, while Andrew Jackson was awarded 7.
And that's it. The Presidential elections held prior to 1824 were strictly a vote by the Electoral College. In 9 states the electors were appointed by the state legislature. In 9 states they were elected by the voters on a statewide basis. 4 states were divided into districts, with 1 elector voted into the college per district. And 2 states had a split system, with 1 elector voted in per congressional district, and 2 additional electors voted in on a statewide basis.
So let's sum up the elections of 1824-1912, and see how they compare to the election of 2016. There were no close races in 3 of these elections. In 6 of these elections, someone who failed to win the overall election received the most delegates from close races in the election. Cumulatively, these "losers" received a 74 delegate advantage. In the 14 remaining elections, the over-all winner received the most delegates from close races, for a cumulative 232 delegate advantage. So, let's do the math. 232 minus 74 equals 158. 158 divided by 23 is just short of 7. This means that, even before the modern era (1916-2012), in which the overall winners received a less than zero delegate advantage in the Electoral College courtesy races decided by less than 1.5%, it was rare to receive much help from close races, with the average amount of help per election being less than 7 electoral delegates. When we add this earlier era into the modern era, moreover, and average things out over the 48 elections we've discussed (not including 2016), we find that the 48 previous winners of the presidency received on average a 3.2 delegate advantage from close races.
Donald Trump has just received 71!
When a number doesn't make sense in light of expectations, it is sometimes described as an outlier. Well, there is a strong circumstantial case in support of the possibility Mr. Trump is an out-liar, who stole the 2016 election.
I mean, just think of it. A man who built a casino empire based on rigged machines wins the biggest prize of all by stringing together the luckiest winning streak in recorded history, with the outcome decided by machines.
No, there's nothing funny there. Nothing funny at all.
Finding #6: The election may have been "rigged".
Cheating in an election can be anticipated, based upon the desirability of cheating in that state, and the likelihood of success. Foremost in this second factor is that the state must be a heavily contested state, with an expected outcome within range of the desired outcome. Let's take a closer look, then, at what were considered to be the 18 closest races heading into the election.
Here are these 18 states, along with the anticipated margin of victory within each state, as calculated by fivethirtyeight.com, on the day of the election. (The bold states in this first list are states that were expected to vote for Clinton.)
ME 7.4, MN 5.8, NM 5.8, VA 5.6, WI 5.3, MI 4.2, CO 4.0, PA 3.7, NH 3.6, NV 1.2, NC 0.7, FL 0.7, OH 1.9, AZ 2.2, IA 2.9, GA 4.0, SC 6.4, AK 7.4
And here is the actual margin of victory in these 18 states. (The bold states in this list are those that actually voted for Clinton.)
NM 8.3, VA 5.4, CO 4.9, ME 2.7, NV 2.4, MN 1.5, NH 0.3, MI 0.2, WI 0.8, PA 1.0, FL 1.2, AZ 3.5, NC 3.7, GA 5.1, OH 8.1, IA 9.4, SC 14.3, AK 14.7
And here is the difference between fivethirtyeight's estimates...and the actual results of the election. (The bold states and numbers in this third list are those that gave Clinton a larger percentage of the vote than expected.)
NM 2.5, NV 1.2, CO 0.9, VA 0.2, AZ 1.3, GA 1.1, FL 1.9, NH 3.3, ME 4.7, NC 4.4, PA 4.7, MI 4.4, MN 4.3, OH 6.2, WI 6.1, IA 6.5, AK 7.3, SC 7.9
Well, from this perspective, things look pretty good for Trump. Of these 18 so-called "battleground" states, 12 of which fivethirtyeight.com predicted would fall for Clinton, Trump held his own and picked off 5: Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. The difference between the pre-election polls and the actual results in these 5, for that matter, were not out of line with the difference between the polls and the results in the other states.
But let's expand our scope a bit. Here are the 25 states and 1 district which fivethirtyeight.com predicted would vote for Clinton, along with the difference between the expected results and actual results. (The bold states in this list are once again those that gave Clinton a larger percentage of the vote than expected.)
DC 16.3, HI 8.5, CA 7.2, IL 4.2, MA 3.9, WA 2.9, NJ 2.6, NM 2.5, NY 2.3, OR 1.9, NV 1.2, RI 1.1, CT 1.0, CO 0.9, MD 0.3, VA 0.2, DE 1.0, VT 1.0, FL 1.9, NH 3.3, MN 4.3, NC 4.4, MI 4.4, PA 4.7, ME 4.7, WI 6.1
Well, this is quite surprising. Clinton won 15 of the 26 races fivethirtyeight.com predicted she'd win by a larger margin than they'd predicted. Now, 3 more of these races were within 1.5% of what was predicted. That means there were but 8 races which Clinton was predicted to win, in which she did noticeably worse than expected--out of 26.
Now note that all 8 of these were among the 12 closest "battleground" states she was predicted to win.
This is indeed curious. The election results were either better than expected for Clinton, or within 1.5% of what was expected, in all 14 states she was expected to win by 7.5% or more, but only 4 of the 12 states she was expected to win by 7.4% or less.
The more you look at this, the more suspicious it becomes. Of the 26 states expected to fall in Clinton's direction, there were but 7 states in which the results were off by 3 percent or more, to her detriment. All 7 of these were heavily-polled "battleground" states. She won 3 of these states anyhow. She lost the other 4.
There's something else... At the outset of our look into the abyss, it was noted that the desirability of cheating should be considered a factor when looking for cheating. Here, then, are the 18 "battleground" states listed by the number of Electoral College delegates, along with the actual margin of victory:
FL (29) 1.2, PA (20) 1.0, OH (18) 8.1, GA (16) 5.1, MI (16) 0.2, NC (15) 3.7, VA (13) 5.4, AZ (11) 3.5, WI (10) 0.8, MN (10) 1.5, CO (9) 4.9, SC (9) 14.3, IA (6) 6.5, NV (6) 2.4, NM (5) 8.3, ME (4) 2.7, NH (4) 0.3, AK (3) 14.7
Well, the first thing one notices is that 8 of the 9 biggest "prizes" among these states fell for Trump, but only 3 of the 9 smallest... But look closer...
It is suspicious, to say the least, that the 5 states expected to go for Clinton, that ended up going for Trump, were the 5 largest of the 8 closest "battleground" states expected to go for Clinton, and that the 3 smallest states stayed in the Clinton column, with 2 of the 3 actually gathering more votes for Clinton than expected!
If you're having trouble seeing it, here in isolation are the 8 closest "battleground" states that were expected to go for Clinton, in order by Electoral College delegates, along with the actual margins of victory. (Reminder: Clinton victories are in bold).
FL (29) 1.2, PA (20) 1.0, MI (16) 0.2, NC (15) 3.7, WI (10) 0.8, CO (9) 4.9, NV (6) 2.4, NH (4) 0.3
But there's another factor to look at beyond the desirability of cheating, before suspecting cheating has occurred. And that's the likelihood of success. We've already narrowed things down by focusing on the states considered "battleground" states--states within striking distance of either candidate which could be pushed in either direction without attracting much notice. Well, it should go without saying that the likelihood of success within these states would be greatly enhanced if those running the state shared a worldview with the one doing the cheating.
With that in mind, then, let's look at the party affiliation of the Governors of the eighteen "battleground" states, when placed alongside the difference between the expected margin of victory in each state and the actual margin of victory. (Democrats are in bold.)
NM Susana Martinez (2.5), NV Brian Sandoval (1.2), CO John Hickenlooper (0.9), VA Terry McAuliffe (-0.2), GA Nathan Deal (-1.1), AZ Doug Ducey (-1.3), FL Rick Scott (-1.9), NH Maggie Hassan (-3.3), MI Rick Snyder (-4.4), NC Pat McCroy (-4.4), MN Mark Dayton (-4.5), ME Paul LePage (-4.7), PA Tom Wolf (-4.7), WI Scott Walker (-6.1), OH John Kasich (-6.2), IA Terry Branstad (6.5), AK Bill Walker--Independent (7.3), SC Nikki Haley 7.9
Well, this is unexpected, disturbing even. Clinton won 4 of the 5 states with Democratic Governors, but only 3 of the 13 states with Republican (or Republican-leaning Independent) Governors. And it's worse than that. 2 of the 3 Republican Governors for states won by Clinton, Susana Martinez and Brian Sandoval, were of Mexican descent, and were unlikely to help Trump, whose campaign was fueled by anti-Mexican fervor. Well, this means Clinton won 6 of the 7 "battleground" states in which a Democrat (or Republican of Mexican descent) served as Governor (and effectively oversaw the election), but only 1 of 11 "battleground" states in which a Republican (or Republican-leaning Independent) served as Governor (and effectively oversaw the election), and would presumably be rooting for Trump.
Well, this supports that something fishy was afoot. This fishy/foot smell grows more pungent, moreover, when one considers that the only battleground state with a Trump-supporting governor won by Clinton was Maine, and that Maine had the widest gap between polling and results of any Clinton state not falling across the line into Trump country.
Well, this raises the possibility Maine Governor Paul LePage had his finger on the scale. When one realizes Clinton won 4 of the 5 battleground states with Democratic governors, for that matter, the possibility most if not all governors have their finger on the scale seems reasonable.
But perhaps we're relying too much on fivethirtyeight.com. Let's look, then, at a different interpretation of the polls, and see if it leads us in a different direction...
Here are the 18 most closely-contested states in the 2016 election, along with the anticipated margin of victory in these states, as calculated by RealClearPolitics.com. (The bold states are those expected to go for Clinton.)
WI 6.5, MN 6.2, NM 5.0, VA 5.0, ME 4.5, MI 3.4, CO 2.9, PA 1.9, NH 0.6, FL 0.2, NV 0.8, NC 1.0, IA 2.0, OH 3.5, AZ 4.0, GA 4.8, AK 6.0, SC 6.3
And here again are the actual margins of victory in these 18 states. (The bold states in this list are those that actually voted for Clinton.)
NM 8.3, VA 5.4, CO 4.9, ME 2.7, NV 2.4, MN 1.5, NH 0.3, MI 0.2, WI 0.8, PA 1.0, FL 1.2, AZ 3.5, NC 3.7, GA 5.1, OH 8.1, IA 9.4, SC 14.3, AK 14.7
And here is the difference between RealClearPolitics.com's estimates...and the actual results. (The bold states and numbers in this third list are those that gave Clinton a larger percentage of the vote than expected.)
NM 3.3, NV 3.2, CO 2.0, AZ 0.5, VA 0.4, NH 0.3, GA 0.3, FL 1.0, ME 1.8, NC 2.7, PA 2.9, MI 3.6, OH 4.6, MN 4.7, WI 7.3, IA 7.4, SC 8.0, AK 8.7
Now, in some ways this is even worse. While RealClearPolitics had both Florida and North Carolina in the Trump camp, they also pegged Wisconsin as the EIGHTEENTH closest race. This might make the election results in Florida and North Carolina slightly less suspicious, but it most definitely makes the election results in Wisconsin look far more suspicious.
I followed up on this suspicion, moreover, and compared the polling vs. results discrepancies for the 2016 election against those for the four previous elections.
Well, this raises some questions. Over the 4 elections leading up to the election of 2016, only 4 of the 55 races in battleground states resulted in a final count for a Republican that was more than 2 points over what was anticipated by RealClearPolitics.com. 1 of these races, moreover, was the 2000 race in Florida, for which Al Gore was presumed to have a 3 point lead, but which George Bush was able to pull off with the obvious help of his brother, the Governor of the state. The other 3 races were in Arkansas in 2000, in Florida again in 2004, and in Missouri in 2004. There were no Republican "surprises" of 2 points or more in 2008 or 2012.
This is in stark contrast to the election of 2016... In 2016, Donald Trump received a final tally 2.7 percent or more beyond what was expected in 9 battleground states, 5 of which were presumed to have been states falling for Clinton, or within 1 point of falling for Clinton. Even more surprising, the difference between what was anticipated and the final results in 6 of these 9 states was over 4.1 percent, the largest difference in favor of a Republican over the 4 previous elections. Here, again, are the nine:
NC 2.7, PA 2.9, MI 3.6, OH 4.6, MN 4.7, WI 7.3, IA 7.4, SC 8.0, AK 8.7
Note again Wisconsin. This is the most suspicious of the bunch.
Wisconsin, after all, 1) crossed the line for Trump, 2) crossed the line from farther back than any heavily-polled state in recent history, 3) had a Republican Governor, and 4) was the home state of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who would leave his post after the election to become Trump's Chief-of-Staff.
Of course, there's also Michigan and Florida. Michigan was, by final results, the closest race, so close an honest and thorough recount could very well have flipped the state on over to Clinton. And Florida was far and away the largest battleground state, with the biggest reward.
It should be noted, moreover...that the Governors of Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin: Rick Snyder, Rick Scott, and Scott Walker, respectively, were all governors in their second term, without any real chance of holding national office. They may very well have been looking to cash out. Snyder and Scott are to be termed out in 2019. While Walker has the option of returning for a third term, he is obviously ready to move on, as he ran for President in 2016, to the sound of one hand clapping, and quickly dropped out in disgrace.
(Note: on 4-18-17, Trump made a speech in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and introduced Gov. Scott Walker from the audience. Trump said Walker was "incredible." He then introduced Sen. Ron Johnson, telling the audience Sen. Johnson needed to make the other members of NATO pay their bills. He then teased "Scott, you're right here in Wisconsin. You don't have to bother. We'll keep you right here--for a little while, at least.")
So that is where our suspicions should lie...at least initially. Governors Snyder, Scott, and Walker should be watched for the next decade or so, to see if they end up in the Trump Administration, or on Trump's Board of Directors, etc...
Or even to see if they are in fact the same person... Rick, Rick Scott, Scott... Are we sure these aren't in fact the same man? Or evil triplets separated at birth?
I'm just wondering out loud, of course... While it seems possible, probable even, that some hanky panky was performed to turn the race Trump's way, it remains possible no cheating was done on his behalf.
At this point, we have reasonable suspicion, and that is all.
But in light of Russian hackers' interference in the election--and the likely-but-as-of-this-date-still-being-investigated collusion of Trump's team with these hackers--this suspicion can not be dismissed. It is my conclusion, then, that it should instead become the basis for further investigation. It's not solid, but it's something.
While Trump's post-election behavior could have gone miles towards making this something a nothing, moreover, it should be noted that he has only made matters worse for himself by misrepresenting his unbelievably "lucky" win as a landslide with a mandate, and the biggest victory in the Electoral College since Ronald Reagan. (Of the 8 victories since Reagan--Bush 41, Bill Clinton 2x, Bush 43 2x, Obama 2x, and Trump--Trump's victory in the Electoral College comes in 6th, before only Bush 43's 2 victories. Of the 58 winners in the Electoral College going back to George Washington, moreover, Trump received the 46th largest percentage of delegates... That's hardly something to brag about.)
Trump, of course, has also claimed his record-setting loss in California was due to 3-5 million votes being illegally cast against him, and that he'd have won in California anyhow if he'd actually wanted to, and that, oh, yeah, by the way, the election in New Hampshire was stolen from him as well--by people bused in from Massachusetts.
Well, this bit of misdirection is exactly what one might expect from someone who'd stolen an election for himself, or, at least, the kind of person who could convince himself it's okay to steal an election, as long as the right guy wins...
More to follow...
From Obama Nation to Abomination: Part 2
In Part 1 of this essay, we discussed the questionable legitimacy of the 2016 election... We also discussed the need to finally eradicate the Electoral College. And we did this while avoiding discussion of many of the scandals to emerge after the election. In Part 2, then, we will discuss other overlooked aspects of the election, and the ramifications of some of what transpired after the election results were in.
Let's go back. Trump's improbable and suspicious rise to power through the Electoral College did not happen in a vacuum. He wasn't just some guy who lost the popular vote but got elected in a fluke, a la Benjamin Harrison in 1888. No, he was the guy the Republicans put up against Hillary Clinton--a woman they'd been dreading and preparing to fight to the death for 24 years. The ugliness and nastiness of the election, then, came to many as no surprise. For 8 years, they'd been dreading what felt like the inevitable, a second rematch of the 1992 and 2000 elections... Team Clinton vs. Team Bush. But instead, they got a change-up--someone who was willing to channel the hatred the Republican base felt towards both Hillary Clinton and her former boss, President Barack Obama.
Yes, I typed his name: Barack Obama. It's amazing how many articles on the election have focused on Hillary Clinton and her perceived failures as a candidate without mentioning that, oh yeah, those voting for Trump were voting against Barack Obama as much as Hillary Clinton.
Now, I know some will shake their heads at this. Barack Obama left office with a high approval rating, they will say. How could he have hurt Clinton's chances at getting elected?
How quickly they forget...
Finding #7: Hillary Clinton actually did quite well under the circumstances.
Let's go back a little further. Before Barack Obama came along, Donald Trump was a bit of a clown--a billionaire playboy constantly in the tabloids and constantly flirting with bankruptcy, who nevertheless fancied himself a genius at the "art of the deal". Few took him seriously. But then, by golly, America elected a black President, and Trump saw his opportunity.
He was smart enough to realize that a big white un-melted chunk of the American melting pot was not quite comfortable with a black man living in the White House. He saw, furthermore, that this would guarantee those speaking out against him an audience. And audiences, he knew, could be sold things.
So he began publicly questioning Obama's background. He couldn't come right out and say a black man had no business in the White House without being overtly (and thus, embarrassingly) racist, but he could question the authenticity of the President's birth certificate, and raise the possibility the President had actually been born in--eegads--Africa. Never mind that Obama's mother was an American citizen, and that he was thereby born an American citizen, no matter where his birth took place. Never mind that a number of top Republicans--such as John McCain and Ted Cruz--were actually born outside the U.S. to American citizens--and that few if any Republicans had a problem with their someday residing in the White House. Nope, Trump's concerns were strictly with Obama. There was just something different about him. (I wonder what that was.) He just couldn't be trusted.
And that was just the start of something big. Trump, the billionaire clown, and TV personality, became a political figure, with a loyal following, willing to absorb his every utterance. He kept at Obama for years, even after the truth about Obama's birth certificate had become clear to anyone who'd looked into it, or at it. In lockstep with media personalities Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, moreover, Trump constantly attacked the President, always focusing on his otherness, always playing the race card. As discussed in Part 1 of this essay, Trump actually tried to start a rebellion when he thought Obama had lost the popular vote in the 2012 election, but had been re-elected through the Electoral College.
Well, this set the stage for his successful run at the presidency. He tapped into the anger of disgruntled whites, including the vast majority of angry white males, and turned it against the party who'd put a black man in the White House, and was now trying to follow that up with--double eegads--a woman. And not just any woman--Hillary--the target of a seemingly endless string of right-wing venom--going back nearly 40 years--to when she dared suggest she felt superior to moms who bake cookies.
This was a perfect shit storm, of sorts. A man with no interest in policy or saying anything nice backed by white men afraid of becoming a minority... up against a woman with more baggage than Kennedy, and by Kennedy, I mean not President Kennedy, but Kennedy airport.
So the election was actually Trump's to lose. A large chunk of the country was craving a hard turn to the white, I mean right, even if it meant putting an incompetent narcissist in power. The positive approval ratings for Obama were misleading, to say the least. After Trump and others broke the seal, and made it okay to hate Obama for his otherness, Obama's approval rating among Republicans never climbed above 21 percent. That's hatred, folks. And completely irrational hatred at that. President George W. Bush presided over two major economic collapses--the tech bubble and the housing bubble--and failed to protect the country against a coordinated attack by Al Qaeda, despite many warnings. He then responded by invading a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. And yet his approval rating among Republicans--even while the economy was in total free-fall--never dropped below 55 percent.
I'll give you a second to soak that in. Bush attacks the wrong country, and commits the U.S. military to not one but two endless wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, while simultaneously encouraging reckless investment in the real estate market--which results in the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression. But his job approval ratings--not his personal approval ratings, mind you, but job approval ratings--never dips below 55 percent among Republicans.
And then along comes Obama, who saves the American auto industry, and sets the country on the road to recovery. He then tracks down and kills the man behind the attacks Bush failed to avenge, and largely avoids scandal. And yet his approval ratings among Republicans stay in the gutter for most of his presidency, due in part to the non-stop assault on his "American-ness" by Trump and his supporters.
So Hillary had an uphill climb, to say the least. A 2016 Gallup poll helps put this in perspective. When asked to self-identify as "liberal" or "conservative", the majority of those polled in every state but 4 identified as conservative. When one deducted this conservative bias from President Obama's approval ratings, moreover, one found that only 13 states seemed destined to vote for Clinton, Obama's heir apparent.
And should one doubt this simple metric (deducting the conservative bias of a state from Obama's approval ratings) has any validity, well, then, one should look at the following list, created from this poll.
(2016 Obama approval rating by state minus an average of the annual poll's 2015 and 2016 approximations of conservative bias per state--with the conservative bias being the difference between the percentage of voters identifying themselves as conservative from the percentage of voters identifying themselves as liberal.) This number is then followed by the percentage of that state's voters choosing Clinton over Trump.
(P.S. The highlighted states represent Clinton victories.)
1-10: VT (60 - - 14.8 = 74.8) 65.2, MA (62 - -6.9 = 68.9) 64.5, CT (61 - -1.1 = 62.1) 57.2, NY (60 - -0.7 = 60.7) 61.3, CA (61 - 1.3 = 59.7) 66.1, MD (60 - 2.8 = 57.2) 63.8, HI (57 - 1.7 = 55.3) 67.5, IL (59 - 4.6 = 54.4) 59.0, WA (56 - 1.7 = 54.3) 58.8, DE (62 - 8.2 = 53.8) 56.0,
11-13: NJ (57 - 3.7 = 53.3) 57.3, RI (55 - 1.6 = 53.4) 58.3, OR (53 - 1.9 = 51.1) 56.2,
Well, let's stop right here. The 13 states listed above are the only states one should have expected to vote for Clinton, based upon Obama's approval ratings and the liberal/conservative bias of the state. She won all these states. Now, let's see how she fared in states where a victory seemed possible, but not probable.
14-18: ME (53 - 5.6 = 47.4) 51.5, CO (51 - 8.6 = 42.4) 52.7, MN (52 - 10 = 42) 50.8, MI (52 - 10.8 = 41.2) 49.9, NM (51 - 10 = 41) 54.7,
Now, let's stop again. That's it for the states Clinton could reasonably have hoped to win, based upon Obama's approval ratings and the liberal/conservative bias of the state. The rest of the states were simply too conservative, sometimes voting for Democrats but always hoping that the next Ronald Reagan would come along and make them feel good about themselves. She knew, or should have known, that she could only win these states with a maximum amount of effort, and a little luck.
19-25: NV (49 - 11.5 = 37.5) 51.3, WI (51 - 13.5 = 37.5) 49.6, FL (51 - 13.5 = 37.5) 49.4, VA (51 - 14.2 = 36.8) 52.9, PA (49 - 12.2 = 36.8) 49.6, AZ (50 - 13.4 = 36.6) 48.1, NH (47 - 10.5 = 36.5) 50.2,
Now, the rest of the states were pretty much out of Clinton's reach--either so ready for a change that they would never vote for a Democrat following in Obama's footsteps or so intractably conservative that they would never vote for a Democrat, period...
26-35: AK (47 - 15.2 = 31.8) 41.6, TX (49 - 19.9 = 29.1) 45.2, GA (49 - 20 = 29) 47.4, OH (45 - 16.2 = 28.8) 45.8, NC (48 - 19.8 = 28.2) 48.1, IA (44 - 18.2 = 25.8) 44.9, NE (43 - 18.3 = 24.7) 36.4, IN (44 - 19.9 = 24.1) 40.0, MO (43 - 20.5 = 22.5) 39.9, KS (41 - 19.4 = 20.6) 38.8,
36-50: SC (44 - 25 .1 = 18.9) 42.6, LA (43 - 27 = 16) 39.8, TN (41 - 25.2 = 15.8) 36.4, KY (38 - 23.2 = 14.8) 34.3, SD (40 - 25.2 = 14.8) 34.0, MS (44 - 29.3 = 14.7) 40.8, MT (37 - 24.6 = 12.4) 38.9, UT (39 - 26.9 = 12.1) 37.7, AR (39 - 29 = 10) 35.8, AL (41 - 31 = 10) 35.6, ND (38 - 29.4 = 8.6) 30.2, WV (29 - 21.2 = 7.8) 27.9, OK (35 - 28.2 = 6.8) 30.7, ID (32 - 29.9 = 2.1) 31.7, WY (27 - 31.3 = -4.3) 24.3
Well, it's clear from this that Clinton actually did quite well...considering... She lost one state barely within her grasp that she probably could have won--Michigan--but won three states she probably should have lost--Nevada, Virginia, and New Hampshire.
But there's more to be learned here...
Let's notice that there was a close correlation between the percentage of voters identifying as conservative, and their perception of Obama's job performance. This, in itself, is a bad sign. A president's job approval is presumed to be associated with his performance as Commander-in-Chief (Is he keeping the country safe?) and his stewardship of the economy (Is the economy improving under his presidency?). And yet, Obama's job approval ratings in states like North Dakota and Wyoming (states currently doing quite well financially) were as bad or nearly as bad as they were in states going through hard times, like West Virginia.
It seems likely, then, that these states were inordinately impacted by the streams of hatred upon which Trump sailed to prominence.
When one looks at the small percentage of the vote obtained by Clinton in these states, moreover, it seems probable this hatred was amplified by the election, in other words, that these states hated Hillary even more than they hated Obama.
Finding #8: The United States was growing apart before the election, and the election split it in two.
There is, in fact, much to support the proposition Clinton was more widely hated than Obama. I've already offered up the surprising fact Clinton won 14 states (plus Washington D.C.) by margins greater than expected. This might appear to work against the media's favored scenario--that waves of angry old white men rose up in support of Trump. But that's not exactly true. You see, a close inspection of the data suggests there were actually TWO voter surges that were not predicted by the polls--and that these surges nearly off-set each other. One was the surge of angry old white men widely reported by the media. This allowed Trump to win (if he did in fact win) mostly-white battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. It also resulted in his receiving greater than predicted (and sometimes far-greater than predicted) numbers in EVERY state he was predicted to win. But there was also a counter-surge, so to speak, that has not been as widely reported. This was the nearly-as-large surge of young people, women, and minorities which resulted in his losing by greater than predicted numbers in the 15 races previously discussed.
This surge of voters from both ends of the spectrum, moreover, is not just anecdotal. There are surprising and disturbing numbers which expose this tremendous divide within the country.
We have already revealed that Clinton won the five largest states (CA, TX, NY, FL, and IL--over 40% of the country) by near-record margins, more than 56.7% of the head-to-head vote with Trump. Well, she also received less than 50% of the head-to-head vote in the rest of the country, around 48.1%, to be more precise. This reflects a more than 8.6 pct divide between the five largest states and the rest of the country. This is not politics as usual. From 1960-1988, the divide between those five states (when added together) and the rest of the country was never more than 1.75%. The divide has thereby grown almost five-fold. And is presumably still growing. Since 1960, the largest divide between these five states (when added together) and the rest of the country, prior to the 2016 election, was the 2012 election, which reflected a 5.57% divide.
The divide had grown more than 50%...in but 4 years!
This should lead us to wonder, then, if there was something about Clinton (and/or Trump) which further split the country.
Something about Clinton...hmm...what could that be?
Finding #9: Clinton's being a woman cost her a lot of votes, but probably not the election in the Electoral College.
Heading into the election, there were 14 states which had never voted for a female Senator or Governor. To no one's surprise, Trump won 11 of these 14. The only states among these 14 to cross the line for Hillary, moreover, were Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada, close contests all. Clinton received 52.9, 52.7 and 51.3 pct. of the head-to-head vote within these states, respectively.
This was in stark contrast to the 11 contests won by Trump, which were mostly landslides--so much so that in the 14 states in which a woman had never been elected to the US Senate or the Governor's office (Note: I'm not counting wives or widows elected to continue their husband's work, or women attaining office solely through appointment or resignation) Clinton received on average but 41.0% of the vote, head to head against Trump. When the vote totals for the states in which a woman had never won were combined, moreover, she received just 45.3% of the vote in these 14 historically wary of women states, while receiving about 53% of the vote in the 37 not so wary of women states and district. That's a difference of 7.7%. It's hard to believe Clinton's being a woman didn't have something--and probably a lot- to do with this.
But let's test this, shall we? Let's compare this election to the 2012 election. In that election, President Obama won 5 of these 14 states--Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Ohio--and received about 47.2% of the head to head vote, while receiving about 53.6% of the not so wary of women states. That's a 6.4% difference. This suggests then that Ms. Clinton lost about 1.3% of the vote in these states because of her gender, and that her gender was perhaps even the decisive difference in Pennsylvania.
This is far from convincing, however. It seems likely some of those voting against Clinton because she was a woman voted against Obama for being an African-American as well. It's likely, moreover, that some who voted against Obama because of his racial make-up had no problem voting for Clinton.
So perhaps we're better off looking at some other numbers before coming down on this issue, one way or the other.
Let's start by looking at this list, which measures the relative population per state of men against women. Well, right off the bat the problem becomes obvious. Clinton won 7 of the 11 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the highest percentage of women, and Trump won 11 of the 15 states with the highest percentage of men.
And then there's this list, which presents the wage gap between male and female workers per state. It seems more than a coincidence that Clinton won 17 of the 24 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the smallest wage gap between male and female workers, but lost 23 of the 26 states with the largest wage gap.
Of course, there are other ways to measure a state's attitude towards women beyond the wage gap. Wallethub looked at a number of aspects when measuring a state's attitude towards women, and compiled this list
purporting to represent the relative equality of men and women among the states. Well, it once again seems more than a coincidence that Clinton won 14 of the 20 states in which women were closest to equal, but only 6 of the remaining 30.
This divide between the states voting for Clinton and Trump on women's issues is consistent, moreover, from poll to poll, and issue to issue. It reveals an underlying problem with women, if not open hostility towards women, among many of the states voting for Trump.
Here is a list presenting the percentage of currently divorced people by state. Divorce, we should recall, has long been noted to affect men more than women, and to lead to more bitterness towards the opposite sex. Well, here it is again. 12 of the 18 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the smallest percentage of currently divorced people voted for Clinton, while 12 of the 14 states with the highest percentage of currently divorced people voted for Trump.
And it doesn't stop there. This list presents the number of reported rapes per capita by state. It seems a bit of a coincidence that 7 of the 8 states with the lowest rape rate voted for Clinton and 11 of the 13 states with the highest rape rate voted for Trump.
So yes, sadly, it seems near certain Clinton lost a lot of votes due to her being a woman.
And we needn't rely on polls unrelated to the election to come to this conclusion. A poll conducted among voters after they voted in the election, the National Exit Poll, found that married men voted for Trump over Clinton more than married women, 57-38 vs 47-49, and that this also held true for non-married men when compared to non-married women, 44-46 vs. 32-63.
And yes, you read that right. Married men voted for Trump in larger numbers than unmarried men. That's not unexpected. Included within the unmarried men, we should recall, are the vast majority of young men, and gay men, demographics which largely voted for Clinton. More telling, I believe, is that even with the inclusion of young men and gay men, Trump received 12% more of the unmarried male vote than he received of the unmarried female vote. That's 2 points greater than the advantage he received among married men when compared to married women. Well, this supports the possibility divorced men voted for Trump, in part because of their anger towards women.
Still, beyond the reasons why men or women voted the way they did, the sad fact remains that the exit polls proved men voted against Clinton in large numbers, and women voted for Clinton in large numbers.
Or, if that's too vague, here's another way of looking at it... If, on November 8, 2016, a married man was standing in a polling booth, while an unmarried woman stood in an adjacent booth, the chances he voted for Trump and she voted for Clinton were almost three times greater than the chances she voted for Trump and he Clinton (.6 x .663 = .398 vs. .337 x .4 = .135... .398/.135 = 2.948).
Let's endeavor, then, to discover this decisive factor.
Now, on the surface, this appears quite alarming. But the real issue is...did this cost her any electoral delegates? I mean, one can't exclude the possibility some of the women voting for Clinton voted for her because she was a woman and that this partially or entirely offset the number of men voting against her because she was a woman.
So let's narrow our focus a bit. When one looks at the rankings of the 4 largest and closest swing states won by Trump--to refresh, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida--on the lists cited above, one finds that 3 of the 4 did better than average in the 4 lists reflecting the state's attitude towards women. Excluding Washington D.C., there are, of course, 50 states. An average ranking of 25.5 on these lists would thereby reflect an average attitude towards women. Well, Wisconsin averaged 13, Florida averaged 17.5, Pennsylvania averaged 24, and Michigan averaged 34.8. While 7 of the 20 states voting for Clinton averaged more than Pennsylvania's 24, only 3 averaged more than the average of all states, 25.5, and none more than Michigan's 34.8. The closest average to Michigan's 34.8 among the states voting for Clinton, for that matter, was Colorado's 29.3. It follows then that if Clinton had squeaked out a victory in Michigan, it would have been far and away the state least friendly to women in which she emerged victorious. One can take from this, then, that Clinton's being a woman almost certainly cost her the extremely close race in Michigan, and may also have cost her the nearly as close race in Pennsylvania.
Let's not forget, though, that she could have taken both these states and that still wouldn't have been enough for her to win in the Electoral College.
It appears, then, that while Clinton lost a lot of votes for being a woman, she lost most of these votes in states that would not have voted for her anyhow, and that her being a woman was not the decisive factor in the election.
Finding #10: "Quality of life" and the economy were factors in the election, but they were not THE factors.
Since the media has hammered home this idea Clinton lost the election by not focusing on the plight of unemployed workers in the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, it only makes sense we should start our search for the decisive factor for the election there--in the economy.
But let's expand our scope. Implicit in the argument Clinton failed to show enough empathy for the droves of unemployed white men in these states is that there are droves of unemployed white men in these states. And that these men are miserable.
So, let's look at the states not just in terms of the economy, but through the wider lens of their relative Health, Security and Prosperity--and see if there is in fact a divide between those voting for Clinton and those voting for Trump...that is particularly prevalent in the so-called battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
A variety of factors reflecting the physical health of the states were studied.
A. Life expectancy for white Americans, as reported on this list.
Summary: The 6 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the longest life expectancy for whites voted for Clinton and the 8 states with the shortest life expectancy for whites--make that 16 of the 17 states with the shortest life expectancy for whites-- voted for Trump.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from longest life expectancy among the states to least: WI 9, MI 30, PA 31, OH 36.
B. Suicides per 100,000 population, as reported on this list.
Summary: The 8 least suicidal states (plus Washington D.C.) voted for Clinton and 16 of the 20 most suicidal states voted for Trump.
Even better.... There's a correlation between the suicide rates of a state and the pct. of the vote in that state going for Trump. The lowest pct. voting for Clinton as opposed to Trump among the 13 least suicidal states (plus Washington D.C.) was 45.2%. Meanwhile, 15 of the 20 most suicidal states gave Clinton less than 45.2% of the head-to-head vote.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from lowest suicide rate to highest: WI 12, PA 13, MI 14, OH 20.
C. Over-all health and health care. A number of lists purporting to present this metric were consulted. I took the physical health and health care components from this list, and this list. and the mental health component from this list. and added the rankings of the states on these lists to the ranking of the states on over-all health care on this list.
Summary: Trump won the 24 least healthy states on the first list, the 12 least healthy states on the second list, 11 of the 13 least healthy states on the third list, and 12 of the 13 least healthy states on the fourth list. This makes it less than surprising that Clinton won 11 of the 13 healthiest states (plus Washington D.C.) and that Trump won 19 of the 20 least healthy states, when these rankings were added together.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from best over-all health and health care to worst: WI 22, PA 24, MI 33, OH 39.
D. Social Health. I took a look at this list purporting to represent "over-all well-being" and stripped away the physical and financial components. This left me with a ranking of the states based upon the social life of its citizens, along with their sense of purpose, and sense of community.
Summary: This proved most interesting. While states voting for Clinton did far better on the metrics relating to physical and mental health, states voting for Trump did far better on this metric. To wit, Trump won 11 of the 12 healthiest states by this metric. Still, let's not get too excited. He also won 11 of the 18 least healthy states by this metric.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from best social health to worst social health: PA 24, WI 34, MI 42, OH 47.
To take a broad look at health issues, then, I added A-D together, and created a list presenting the states and Washington D.C. in order of best health and health care to worst. The number in parentheses represents the total of the rankings from lists A-D for each state. The number that follows is the pct. of the vote for Clinton against Trump within the state.
SUM TOTAL OF RANKINGS FOR LISTS A-D (QUALITY OF HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE)
1-10: DC (8, 1 NA) 90.9, VT (38) 65.2, MA (38) 64.5, HI (47) 67.5, MN (47) 50.8, NJ (48) 57.3, CA (59) 66.1, CT (59) 57.2, NE (60) 36.4, SD (61) 34.0,
Avg. for the top ten 59.0
11-20: NY (62) 61.3, NH (73) 50.2, CO (77) 52.7, ME (79) 51.5, IA (79) 44.9, ND (79) 30.2, MD (80) 63.8, WI (80) 49.6, FL (83) 49.4, VA (90) 52.9,
Avg. for the second ten 50.7
21-25: TX (90) 45.2, AZ (93) 48.1, AK (94) 41.6, PA (95) 49.6, IL (96) 59.0,
26-30: WA (99) 58.8, RI (99) 58.3, UT (100) 37.7, NC (101) 48.1, GA (106) 47.4,
Avg. for the third ten 49.4
31-40: SC (108) 42.6, ID (111) 31.7, MT (114) 38.9, DE (117) 56.0, OR (121) 56.2, MI (123) 49.9, WY (127) 24.3, NM (133) 54.7, KS (137) 38.8, MS (140) 40.8,
Avg. for the fourth ten 43.4
41-51: LA (143) 39.8, OH (145) 45.8, MO (146) 39.9, TN (152) 36.4, IN (161) 40.0, AL (169) 35.6, AR (171) 35.8, KY (172) 34.3, NV (174) 51.3, OK (180) 30.7, WV (189) 27.9,
Avg. for the bottom eleven 38.0
Now, on first glance, this is pretty impressive. 11 of the 13 healthiest states (plus Washington D.C.) voted for Clinton, and 20 of the 24 least healthy states voted for Trump. This lends some credence to the theory those voting for Trump did so in a desperate attempt to improve their lives. But look again. 2 of the 4 states supposedly lost to Clinton because of her lack of empathy over their recent woes, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, are actually healthier than average states. And what's up with Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon? These are relatively unhealthy states, with high rates of suicide. Why did they vote for Clinton?
Were they so comfortable with their lives that they were afraid of making a change? And were Wisconsin and Pennsylvania so fearful about their lives that they felt a change was necessary?
Good question. Let's take a look.
A variety of factors were studied.
A. Percentage of unemployed, underemployed, and discouraged workers (U-6), as per this list.
Summary: Well, this is quite a blow to those claiming the economy was the key reason so many whites voted for Trump. Trump won 9 of the 14 states with the lowest percentage of unemployed or discouraged workers. Clinton won 4 of the 6 states with the highest percentage of unemployed or discouraged workers. Overall, Clinton won 11 of the 25 states with the lowest, and 10 of the 26 states with the highest levels of unemployed and discouraged workers. It seems clear, then, that there was almost no correlation between this metric and the election.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from least unemployed, underemployed, and discouraged workers to most: WI 14, OH 30, MI 37, PA 41.
Hmmm... While it might appear from this that unemployment and underemployment was a key factor in Michigan and Pennsylvania, it should be noted that this problem was far more prevalent in states like Illinois (46) and California (48), which voted for Clinton as opposed to Trump.
It should be noted, furthermore, that the unemployment and underemployment problems of Michigan and Pennsylvania are at their worst in cities like Philadelphia and Detroit, which have large minority populations.
So, then, let's zero in on white unemployment.
B. Unemployment percentage among white workers, according to this list.Summary: Now this is almost random. There doesn't appear to be any correlation between this metric and the election. To wit, Clinton won 10 of the 25 least unemployed and 11 of the 26 most unemployed. It's hard to take anything from that.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from smallest percentage of unemployed workers to the largest: MI 20, WI 21, PA 28, OH 37.
Well, heck, these four states were barely lower than average. White unemployment was as large or even larger a problem in Clinton states like California, Oregon, Hawaii, Washington, Nevada, and Illinois than it was in these states.
So much for white unemployment being a key factor in the election.
Well, then, maybe, the voters voted based on other aspects of security.
C. Underwater mortgages per state, that is, the percentage of homeowners who owe more than the value of their home, and are in danger of losing their homes, by percentage, according to this list.
Summary: Yikes. Here. once again, we receive a mixed message. 5 of the 6 states with the lowest percentage of underwater mortgages voted for Trump, while the 2 states with the highest percentage of underwater mortgages voted for Clinton.
But that's the narrow view. The wider view tells us the opposite--Clinton won 12 of the 25 states with the lowest percentage of underwater mortgages, but won only 8 of the 25 states with the highest percentage of underwater mortgages.
So, it's a bit of a stretch to take much from this metric.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from smallest percentage of unemployed workers to the largest: WI 31, PA 34, MI 45, OH 48.
Well, here we finally have a sign supporting the claim white people voted against Clinton in the "rust belt" because she failed to address their concerns regarding the economy. Only it turns out that isn't quite accurate. It's not the economy that is the problem as much as it is the housing market. Nobody wants to move to the "rust belt" anymore, and that's unlikely to change under Trump. Trump, after all, has made it clear he's opposed to corporations moving manufacturing jobs overseas, but will not lift a finger if a corporation moves its manufacturing jobs within the states, to avoid unions and higher wages...the unions and higher wages at the center of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio's economies...
So, if people voted for Trump in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio in hopes he'd help reinvigorate the housing market, they were sadly mistaken...
Let's take a closer look, moreover, to see if losing one's home is an actual problem in these states...
D. Homelessness, based upon the number of homeless people per 100,000, according to this map.
Summary: Hmm... This is a bit of a surprise. Trump won 19 of the 25 states with the lowest percentage of homeless people, while Clinton won the 8 states (plus Washington, D.C.) with the highest percentage of homeless people (and 14 of the highest 25).
As the number of homeless people per 100,000 appears to be unrelated to the strength of the economy within these states, moreover, this raises a question... Does a high homeless rate for a state reflect a poor economy, or a high level of tolerance for homeless people among the citizens of that state?
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from smallest percentage of homeless people to the largest: OH 11, WI 16, PA 23, MI 25.
Note that here again the four states supposedly ignored by Clinton all performed better than average. Well, this suggests once again that the economy, or, more specifically, fear of losing one's home, was not a major factor in the election.
E. Violent crime rate per 100,000 population, according to this list.
Summary: Now, at first there seems to be a slight correlation. While 12 of the 25 least violent states voted for Clinton, she won but 8 of the 25 most violent states (plus Washington D.C., the most violent area).
But look again. Clinton's largest victories---California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland--came in states with higher than average rates of violent crime. So, no, inner city crime (what Trump called American carnage) doesn't appear to have been a factor in the election, at least not with those actually impacted by it.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from lowest violent crime rate to the highest: OH 19, WI 21, PA 24, MI 38.
Note that 3 of the 4 had a lower than average rate of violent crime.
F. Incarceration rate per 100,000 adults, based on this list.
Summary: Now, we're getting somewhere. The 6 states with the lowest incarceration rate (plus Washington, D.C.)--and 10 of the lowest 12--and 15 of the lowest 21--voted for Clinton, while the 9 states with the highest incarceration rate--and 13 of the highest 15--and 24 of the highest 29--voted for Trump.
When one compares lists E and F, moreover, one finds that this is largely unrelated to the violent crime rates within these states.
Well, this suggests, then, that there is a fundamental difference in the citizens within the states voting for Clinton and Trump, and their attitudes towards crime and incarceration.
This is borne out, moreover, by a related statistic. As of this writing, in early 2017, 31 of the 51 districts of our study (50 states and Washington D.C.) had the death penalty on their books. Trump won 24 of these 31 (77.4% vs. Clinton's 22.6%). Clinton, however, won 14 of the 20 races in jurisdictions without the death penalty (70% to Trump's 30%).
Well, this correlates to 80% of the states in which Trump emerged victorious having the death penalty, as opposed to only 33.3% of the races in which Clinton emerged victorious (including Washington D.C.) having the death penalty.
This suggests, then, that there is a major difference in the character of Trump and Clinton voters.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from lowest incarceration rate to highest: WI 25, OH 26, MI 28, PA 31.
Nothing to see there.
SUM TOTAL OF RANKINGS FOR LISTS A-F (SECURITY)
1-10: NH (51) 50.2, VT (69) 65.2, ND (72) 30.2, MN (73) 50.8, SD (76) 34.0, IA (77) 44.9, UT (85) 37.7, VA (91) 52.9, NE (94) 36.4, ME (102) 51.5,
Avg. for the top ten 45.4
11-20: KS (111) 38.8, ID (112) 31.7, CO (119) 52.7, WI (128) 49.6, RI (132) 58.3, MA (134) 64.5, HI (136) 67.5, WY (140) 24.3, MT (146) 38.9, AR (148) 35.8,
Avg. for the second ten 46.2
21-25: TX (150) 45.2, NJ (154) 57.3, MD (155) 63.8, NY (161) 61.3, NC (161) 48.1,
26-30: CT (163) 57.2, OR (163) 56.2, IN (165) 40.0, MS (166) 40.8, KY (169) 34.3,
Avg. for the third ten 50.4
31-40: WA (170) 58.8, OH (171) 45.8, OK (180) 30.7, PA (181) 49.6, DE (182) 56.0, MO (183) 39.9, WV (185) 27.9, SC (186) 42.6, DC (159, 1 NA) 90.9, MI (193) 49.9,
Avg. for the fourth ten 49.2
41-51: CA (198) 66.1, IL (200) 59.0, GA (206) 47.4, AL (206) 35.6, LA (213) 39.8, NM (215) 54.7, TN (220) 36.4, AZ (226) 48.1, AK (229) 41.6, FL (244) 49.4, NV (278) 51.3,
Avg. for the bottom eleven 48.1
Now, this is something. Clinton won 14 of the 27 most secure states, but only 6 of the 23 least secure states. It appears, then, that Trump made voters in these states feel like he could turn things around, and make their lives more secure.
But did this "feeling" extend to their feeling he'd improve the economy?
A variety of indicators of economic prosperity were studied.
A. Gross State Product per capita, according to this list. It shows the GSP per capita, by state, in thousands, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Summary: Clinton won 16 of the 22 most productive states (plus Washington D.C.), but only 4 of the remaining 28.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton: PA 23, WI 25, OH 27, MI 36.
Okay, this feeds into the narrative those voting for Trump thought he'd be good for the economy.
B. Average income in thousands for the 99% least successful families of each state according to this list.
Summary: 8 of the 12 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the highest average income for the lowest 99% voted for Clinton, and 17 of the 21 states with the lowest average income for the lowest 99% voted for Trump.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton: WI 24, PA 25, OH 31, MI 43.
This further supports the narrative those voting for Trump thought he'd help pad their bank accounts.
C. Percentage of millionaire households per state, according to this list.
Summary: The richest states, by and large, voted for Clinton. She emerged victorious in 14 of the 15 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the highest pct. of millionaires. And 17 of the richest 19. And Trump won 18 of the 19 states with the lowest percentage of millionaires.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton: PA 20, WI 27, MI 33, OH 35.
Wow. This looks like class warfare, people. Aren't Republicans supposed to hate it when the poor rise up against the rich?
D. Percentage of people living below the poverty line, according to this chart.
Summary: 12 of the 18 states with the lowest poverty rate voted for Clinton. Meanwhile, 14 of the 15 states with the highest poverty rate voted for Trump.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton: WI 19, PA 21, OH 30, MI 33.
Yikes. It really does look like class warfare.
E. Cost of living, according to this chart. (The numbers reported are from an index--an amalgamation of a number of costs that roughly reflect the percent of the average cost of living of 1.0.)
Summary: Amazingly, Trump won the 20 states with the lowest cost of living, and Clinton won 17 of the 20 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the highest cost of living.Well, heck, perhaps the lower cost of living in Trump states balances out the lower incomes in Trump states, and the apparent class divide between Trump states and Clinton states is not as wide as it would appear, based upon factors A-D.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton: MI 3, OH 18, WI 24, PA 35
F. Percentage of income going to state taxes, according to this list by Forbes.
Summary: 11 of the 13, and 28 of the 34, states with the lowest state taxes voted for Trump. Meanwhile, 14 of the 16 states with the highest state taxes voted for Clinton.
Hmm... This supports that those living in Clinton states are not as wealthy as it would appear based purely upon income, and that the class divide within the states is not as wide as one would otherwise expect.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton: MI 26, OH 32, PA 36, WI 47.
Note this last one. Wisconsin has a Republican governor. If Wisconsin voters voted for Trump because they thought he'd cut taxes, free up the economy, and bring back jobs, why the heck do they still support Gov. Scott Walker?
G. Money worries. This Gallup poll was consulted. It is a poll taken every year in which people from each state are asked how often they worry about money. I averaged out the results for 2015 and 2016.
Summary: While 8 of the 10 states most worried about money voted for Trump there was no corresponding surge for Clinton in the states least worried about money. In fact, Trump won 8 of the 12 states least worried about money.
Rankings of the four battleground states supposedly ignored by Clinton, from least worried to most: WI 8, PA 11, MI 17, OH 30.
Now, this is surprising. 3 of the 4 states supposedly won by Trump because Clinton failed to address their concerns about the economy were among the states LEAST worried about money. This casts serious doubt as to the veracity of the story spun by pundit after pundit (or should I say spundit?) after the election--that Clinton lost the election because she failed to realize it was really about jobs, and not about civil rights, or notions of common decency, etc...that is, if she'd only overlooked Trump's awful and insulting behavior to minorities and women and instead stuck to the basics--jobs and the economy--she would have won over a significant portion of the disenfranchised white male voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio.
Let's recall as well that these states also had much lower than average suicide rates: WI 12, PA 13, MI 14, OH 20.
Well, if the citizens in these states aren't killing themselves over their economic woes, and aren't even all that worried about their economic woes, why should we believe they voted based upon their economic woes?
SUM TOTAL OF RANKINGS FOR LISTS A-G (ECONOMIC PROSPERITY)
1-10: AK (64) 41.6, ND (68) 30.2, WY (90) 24.3, NH (97) 50.2, VA (109) 52.9, MD (116) 63.8, CO (118) 52.7, IA (118) 44.9, MN (120) 50.8, CT (128) 57.2,
Avg. for the top ten 46.9
11-20: WA (128) 58.8, NE (129) 36.4, NJ (132) 57.3, SD (137) 34.0, MA (139) 64.5, KS (142) 38.8, TX (149) 45.2, DE (153) 56.0, HI (155) 67.5, DC (107, 2 NA) 90.9,
Avg. for the second ten 54.9
21-25: IL (163) 59.0, PA (177) 49.6, UT (177) 37.7, WI (178) 49.6, MT (184) 38.9,
26-30: IN (185) 40.0, MI (188) 49.9, CA (194) 66.1, MO (196) 39.9, VT (198) 65.2,
Avg. for the third ten 49.6
31-40: OH (198) 45.8, TN (209) 36.4, OK (209) 30.7, NY (214) 61.3, RI (214) 58.3, LA (214) 39.8, FL (218) 49.4, NC (225) 48.1, AZ (225) 48.1, AL (226) 35.6,
Avg. for the fourth ten 45.4
41-51: ID (230) 31.7, GA (236) 47.4, NV (239) 51.3, OR (241) 56.2, NM (244) 54.7, ME (253) 51.5, KY (254) 34.3, SC (255) 42.6, MS (263) 40.8, AR (270) 35.8, WV (294) 27.9,
Avg. for the final eleven 43.1
Hmmm. Clinton won 12 of the 20 most prosperous states, but only 8 of the remaining 30. This suggests a slight correlation between the economy and the election, but not enough of a correlation to describe it as the key factor. As we've seen, Clinton won 13 of the 20 healthiest states, and only 7 of the remaining 30. And yet no one has claimed health and health care as the key factor in the election.
There's also this: the four states whose economic woes were supposedly ignored by Clinton ranked 22, 24, 27 and 31 in prosperity. That's far from the top, but far from the bottom as well.
It seems obvious, then, that the economy's role in the election has been greatly exaggerated. This conclusion is supported, moreover, by exit polls, which showed that those claiming the economy was their main concern voted for Clinton, NOT Trump, by a margin of 52-41,
SUM TOTAL OF RANKINGS FOR HEALTH, SECURITY AND PROSPERITY
1-10: MN (5, 4, and 9 = 18) 50.8, NH (12, 1 and 8 = 21) 50.2, ND (16, 3, and 2 = 21) 30.2, NE (9, 9, and 4 = 22) 36.4, IA (15, 6, and 7 = 28) 44.9, SD (10, 5 and 13 = 28) 34.0, VA (20, 8 and 5 = 33) 52.9, MA (3, 16, and 15 = 34) 64.5, HI (4, 17, and 14 = 35) 67.5, CO (13, 13, and 10 = 36) 52.7,
Avg. for the top ten 48.4
11-20: VT (2, 2 and 35 = 39) 65.2, NJ (6, 22 and 11 = 39) 57.3, MD (17, 23, and 6 = 46) 63.8, CT (8, 26, and 19 = 53) 57.2, WI (18, 14, and 24 = 56) 49.6, UT (28, 7, and 23 = 58) 37.7, WY (37, 18, and 3 = 58) 24.3, TX (21, 21, and 18 = 60) 45.2, DC (1, 39 and 20, 4 NA = 60) 90.9, KS (39, 17, and 11 = 67) 38.8,
Avg. for the second ten 53.0
21-25: NY (11, 24, and 33 = 68) 61.3, WA (26, 31, and 12 = 69) 58.8, ME (14, 10 and 48 = 72) 51.5, AK (23, 49, and 1 = 73) 41.6, CA (7, 41, and 29 = 77) 66.1,
26-30: MT (33, 19, and 25 = 77) 38.9, RI (27, 15, and 37 = 79) 58.3, PA (24, 34, and 22 = 80) 49.6, ID (32, 12, and 40 = 84) 31.7, DE (34, 35, and 16 = 85) 56.0,
Avg. for the third ten 51.4
31-40: IL (25, 42, and 21 = 88) 59.0, NC (29, 25, and 38 = 92) 48.1, IN (45, 28, and 26 = 99) 40.0, OR (35, 27, and 42 = 104) 56.2, MI (36, 40, and 28 = 104) 49.9, OH (42, 32, and 30 = 104) 45.8, AZ (22, 48, and 34 = 104) 48.1, MO (43, 36, and 26 = 105) 39.9, FL (19, 50, and 39 = 108) 49.4, GA (30, 43, and 40 = 113) 47.4,
Avg. for the fourth ten 48.4
41-51: SC (31, 38, and 45 = 114) 42.6, OK (50, 33, and 31 = 114) 30.7, AR (47, 20, and 50 = 117) 35.8, MS (40, 29, and 49 = 118) 40.8, LA (41, 45, and 36 = 122) 39.8, TN (44, 47, and 32 = 123) 36.4, KY (48, 30, and 46 = 124) 34.3, NM (38, 46, and 47 = 131) 54.7, AL (46, 44, and 44 = 134) 35.6, WV (51, 37, and 51 = 139) 27.9, NV (49, 51, and 43 = 143) 51.3
Avg. for the bottom eleven 39.1
Now, this is even more impressive. 17 of the 30 healthiest and most successful states (plus Washington D.C.) voted for Clinton, but only 3 of the 20 least healthy and successful states.
In other words, 17 of the 20 least healthy and successful states voted for Trump.
This supports the proposition Trump won many a protest vote...by those who'd been left behind...
Still, this leaves some unanswered questions. Why did North Dakota vote for Trump in such numbers, and why did Nevada and New Mexico vote for Clinton?
And why was there virtually no correlation between the percentage of voters voting for Clinton per state and the state's position on the list?
There must be more to it. A lot more...
So let's take a look at the elephant in the room...
Those arguing Clinton should have courted disgruntled voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio by focusing on the economy inevitably argue she destroyed her chances by focusing on "identity politics", that is, by pointing out the obvious--that she better represented the interests of women, racial minorities, ethnic minorities, and those with a traditionally marginalized sexuality than Trump, who had courted the approval of misogynists and bigots.
So, let's see if this strategy--which may not have been a strategy as much as an acknowledgement of the obvious--paid off for Clinton.
Finding #11: Race and "identity politics" were factors in the election, but they were not THE factors.
A number of factors were studied.
A. The percentage of non-hispanic whites, per state, according to this chart.
Summary: Well, there's something to this. Clinton won 5 of the 6--and 16 of the 30--states with the largest percentage of racial minorities (plus Washington, D.C.), but only 4 of the 20 states with the smallest percentage of racial minorities.
This presents us with a "chicken vs. egg" dilemma... Did Clinton do well in the states with large minority populations because she let them know she was on their side? Or did she do poorly in the states with small minority populations because her embrace of minorities alienated the white majorities in those states?
Well, we know it wasn't purely the latter because she emerged victorious in the two whitest states in America (Vermont and Maine). In fact, when one looks at the percentage of voters voting for Clinton vs. those voting for Trump, one realizes Clinton did nearly as well in Vermont (which was 94% non-hispanic white), as she did in Hawaii (which was only 22.8% non-hispanic white), and California (which was only 39.2% non-hispanic white).
So, no, the election cannot be simplified down to Clinton lost the white vote when she courted the minority vote.
She may have lost some white votes, but not the white vote in general...
So...what white votes did she lose?
We'll get to that later...
B. The percentage of foreign-born residents, or immigrants, per state, according to this list.
Summary: Some might find this surprising. 17 of the 22 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the highest percentage of immigrants voted for Clinton, while 25 of the 28 states with the lowest percentage of immigrants voted for Trump.
So much for the wide-spread belief states drowning in a wave of immigrants rallied around Trump, and his call for the creation of a border wall, and Muslim ban. Outside of Florida, and perhaps Arizona, few of the states voting for Trump did so while undergoing a significant influx of immigrants.
It remains to be seen, moreover, whether the influx of immigrants had a significant impact on the vote totals in Florida and Arizona. Both states were closely contested. And Arizona is a traditionally Republican state.
It seems likely, then, that the influx of immigrants helped Clinton overall, and that the supposed backlash against illegal immigration came in states experiencing very little illegal immigration.
C. The percentage of residents speaking a foreign language in their home, by state, according to this list.
Summary: This overlaps a lot with the last list. Clinton won 15 of the 19 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the highest percentage of residents speaking a foreign language in their home, and Trump won 11 of the 12--and 26 of the 31--states with the lowest percentage of residents speaking a foreign language in their home.
D. The percentage of female population, minus the percentage of male population, according to this list.
Summary: Yes, we've already looked at this list...way back when we were discussing whether Clinton's gender was a determining factor in the election. To refresh, Clinton won 7 of the 11 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the largest percentage of women, and Trump won 11 of the 15 states with the largest percentage of men.
This, of course, comes as no surprise in light of the National Exit Poll already discussed which found that married women were 29% more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton than their husbands, and that, even more impressive, unmarried women were 37% more likely to vote for Clinton than unmarried men.
E. The percentage of residents identifying as LGBT, according to this list.
Summary: Clinton won 10 of the 11 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the largest percentage of residents identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, or Transgender. Meanwhile, Trump won the 12 states with the smallest percentage of residents identifying as LGB or T.
This is a bit surprising in that the numbers were relatively small, so small one would be tempted to think there would be a great deal of cross-over in comparison to the vote. But this wasn't the case. 10 states (and Washington D.C.) had a percentage of 4 or more. All but one (South Dakota--who knew?) voted for Clinton. While at the same time 11 states had a percentage of 2.8 or less, all of which voted for Trump.
Still, the slight difference between these numbers made it hard for me to justify giving the rankings on this list equal weight with the rankings on lists A-C.
So I decided to improvise a bit.
I added the percentages of racial minorities, immigrants, and foreign language speakers in lists A-C to the female advantage in list D (x 3), along with the LGBT pct. in list E (x 3).
This gave me an approximation of the cultural diversity of each state, that is, the degree to which the state is not dominated by straight white males.
SUM TOTAL OF PERCENTAGES ON LISTS A-E, WITH D AND E MODIFIED (CULTURAL DIVERSITY)
1-10: CA (145.5) 66.1, DC (135.7) 90.9, HI (131.7) 67.5, TX (120.5) 45.2, NM (118.5) 54.7, NY (116.0) 61.3, NJ (112.6) 57.3, FL (108.6) 49.4, NV (107.5) 51.3, AZ (97.3) 48.1,
Avg. for the top ten 59.2
11-20: IL (90.6) 59.0, MD (87.0) 63.8, GA (85.5) 47.4, MA (85.1) 64.5, CT (82.9) 57.2, RI (81.7) 58.3, VA (77.3) 52.9, DE (77.0) 56.0, WA (72.6) 58.8, NC (72.1) 48.1,
Avg. for the second ten 56.6
21-25: LA (68.9) 39.8, CO (66.1) 52.7, OR (65.4) 56.2, MS (64.5) 40.8, SC (64.1) 42.6,
26-30: OK (62.1) 30.7, AL (58.9) 35.6, AK (57.0) 41.6, AR (54.7) 35.8, PA (53.3) 49.6,
Avg. for the third ten 42.5
31-40: MI (53.2) 49.9, KS (53.2) 38.8, TN (51.9) 36.4, UT (49.8) 37.7, OH (47.5) 45.8, MN (47.3) 50.8, IN (47.2) 40.0, NE (45.0) 36.4, MO (44.7) 39.9, WI (40.9) 49.6,
Avg. for the fourth ten 42.5
41-51: ID (40.7) 31.7, KY (40.5) 34.3, ME (36.8) 51.5, SD (36.6) 34.0, NH (36.1) 50.2, IA (35.0) 44.9, VT (34.8) 65.2, WY (26.1) 24.3, MT (25.6) 38.9, WV (23.5) 27.9, ND (19.6) 30.2,
Avg. for the bottom eleven 39.4
Well, that's pretty convincing, wouldn't you say? Clinton won 16 of the 22 most culturally diverse states (plus Washington D.C.), while Trump won 24 of the 28 most homogeneous (white bread) states.
Well, that certainly feeds into one narrative about the election--that Clinton focused on a multi-racial future, while Trump focused on a bright white past.
But, what's up with New England? And Minnesota? Why did they vote for Clinton when they are demographically much closer to Trump country--Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana.
And what's up with Texas?
Now, let's add the rankings of this final tally with the rankings of our previous list representing Health, Security, and Prosperity.
HEALTH, SECURITY, AND PROSPERITY RANKING PLUS CULTURAL DIVERSITY RANKING
1-10: HI (9 + 3 = 12) 67.5, NJ (12 + 7 = 19) 57.3, DC (19 + 2 = 21) 90.9, MA (8 + 14 = 22) 64.5, TX (18 + 4 = 22) 45.2, VA (7 + 17 = 24) 52.9, MD (13 + 12 = 25) 63.8, CA (25 + 1 = 26) 66.1, CT (14 + 15 = 29) 57.2, NY (24 + 6 = 30) 61.3,Avg. for the top ten 62.7
11-20: CO (10 + 22 = 32) 52.7, MN (1 + 36 = 37) 50.8, WA (22 + 19 = 41) 58.8, IL (31 + 11 = 42) 59.0, NE (4 + 38 = 42) 36.4, RI (27 + 16 = 43) 58.3, NH (2 + 45 = 47) 50.2, FL (39 + 8 = 47) 49.4, AZ (37 + 10 = 47) 48.1, DE (30 + 18 = 48) 56.0,
Avg. for the second ten 52.0
21-25: SD (6 + 44 = 50) 34.0, UT (16 + 34 = 50) 37.7, NC (32 + 20 = 52) 48.1, IA (5 + 47 = 52) 44.9, AK (24 + 28 = 52) 41.6,
26-30: KS (20 + 32 = 52) 38.8, NM (48 + 5 = 53) 54.7, GA (40 + 13 = 53) 47.4, ND (3 + 51 = 54) 30.2, WI (15 + 40 = 55) 49.6,
Avg. for the third ten 42.7
31-40: VT (11 + 46 = 57) 65.2, OR (34 + 23 = 57) 56.2, PA (28 + 30 = 58) 49.6, NV (51 + 9 = 60) 51.3, MI (34 + 31 = 65) 49.9, ME (23 + 43 = 66) 51.5, SC (41 + 25 = 66) 42.6, LA (45 + 21 = 66) 39.8, WY (17 + 49 = 66) 24.3, OK (42 + 26 = 68) 30.7,
Avg. for the fourth ten 46.1
41-51: MS (44 + 24 = 68) 40.8, IN (33 + 37 = 70) 40.0, ID (29 + 41 = 70) 31.7, OH (36 + 35 = 71) 45.8, AR (43 + 29 = 72) 35.8, MT (26 + 48 = 74) 38.9, MO (38 + 39 = 77) 39.9, AL (49 + 29 = 78) 35.6, TN (46 + 33 = 79) 36.4, KY (47 + 42 = 89) 34.3, WV (50 + 50 = 100) 27.9
Avg. for the bottom eleven 37.0
Well, this is even more convincing. Clinton won 14 of the 16 states (plus Washington D.C.) with the strongest combination of health, security, prosperity, and cultural diversity, while Trump won the 15 states--or, to move wider, 28 of the 34 states--with the weakest combination of health, prosperity, security, and cultural diversity.
But there's a serious problem. Why the heck did Maine, the whitest state in the country, and a state with its share of economy woes, vote for Clinton? And what's up with Nevada and Oregon? And what about Texas? It ranked high on both lists. Why didn't it vote for Clinton?
Now, one might assume that I need to weigh the lists differently to get more separation between Clinton states and Trump states. But look again. Any metric designed to include race or the economy has a problem with Maine, Nevada and Oregon. If you give enough weight to race to bring Nevada into the fold, you force Maine into the far reaches of Trump country. And the reverse is true if you try to bring Maine back into the fold by adding metrics related to the economy.
And that's not even to mention the problems on the opposite side. How is Nebraska more a Clinton state than Vermont? And just look at Vermont. It's on the list directly above North Dakota. Both are healthy and successful states overall--in the top ten. And both are very very white--among the 6 whitest states. And yet Trump received twice the percentage of the vote in North Dakota as he did in Vermont. There has got to be a reason for this... that has little or nothing to do with the economy or identity politics...
We'll search for this elusive factor in Part 3.