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Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

In more ways than one, I have returned.

After three years in Thailand, I am back living in the United States.

After a year and a half away from this blog, I am back writing. I’m not sure how long I’ll be back on these pages, but I am here now to put these thoughts down.

The 2016 presidential election is over and Republican Donald J. Trump has, in a stunning upset, defeated Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton to become the next President-elect.

The words “stunning upset” is used because most political polls showed Clinton winning even up to Election Day itself. The polling aggregating website, Fivethirtyeight.com, had Clinton winning 302 votes in the Electoral College and Trump taking 235 votes. This website gave Trump a 28.6-percent chance of winning the election. Three other websites that I followed (Electiongraphs, Real Clear Politics, Princeton Election Consortium) also predicted a Clinton victory.

There will be many more pieces written by others that will discuss how Trump won. I, instead, would like to take this space and explain how Clinton lost.

I posit that Clinton lost (and Trump won) three states that had voted for the Democrat in the past six presidential elections. This troika of states held 46 votes in the Electoral College that were more than enough to tip the election towards the Republican in 2016.

Those states are Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

I posit that it is not that Trump won those states, but Clinton lost them. For my proof, I will use the metric of votes cast in the 2012 and 2016 elections.

In Michigan, in 2012, Mitt Romney garnered 2,115,256 votes (44.71%). In 2016, according to the data from the Associated Press Trump received 2,279,210 votes (47.59%), an increase of 163,954 (0r +7.75%). For the other party, in 2012, Barack Obama received 2,564,569 votes (54.21%). Four years later, Clinton received 2,267,373 (47.34%), a decrease of 297,196 (or -11.58%).

Had Clinton received the same number of votes in Michigan that Obama received in 2012, she would have won the state and its 16 votes in the Electoral College. In fact, Clinton’s tally of votes in Michigan was less than the number of votes given to the Democratic presidential nominee in the past three presidential elections (2012, 2008 (2,872,579), 2004 (2,479,183)).

In Michigan, Trump grew the Republican vote total while Clinton’s numbers shrank. It’s not that people who voted Democratic in past elections went for Trump as his vote tally only grew slightly; it’s that people who voted Democratic in past elections did not come out for Clinton as her vote count decreased.

In Pennsylvania, in 2012, Romney, garnered 2,680,434 votes (46.68%). In 2016, Trump received 2,912,941 votes (48.79%), an increase of 232,507 (or +8.67%). For the Democrat, in 2012, Obama received 2,990,274 votes (52.08%). Four years later, Clinton received 2,844,705 votes (47.65%), a decrease of 145,569 (or -4.86%).

Had Clinton received the same number of votes in Pennsylvania that Obama received in 2012, she would have won the state and its 20 votes in the Electoral College. In fact, Clinton’s tally of votes in Pennsylvania was less than the number of votes given to the Democratic presidential nominee in the past three presidential elections (2012, 2008 (3,276,363), 2004 (2,938,095)).

In Pennsylvania, Trump grew the Republican vote total while Clinton’s numbers shrank. It’s not that people who voted Democratic in past elections went for Trump as his vote tally only grew slightly; it’s that people who voted Democratic in past elections did not come out for Clinton as her vote count decreased.

In Wisconsin, in 2012, Romney garnered 1,407,966 votes (46.04%). In 2016, Trump received 1,409,467 votes (47.87%), a increase of 1,501 votes (or +0.1%). For the Democrat, in 2012, Obama received 1,620,985 votes (53.01%). Four years later, Clinton received 1,382,210 votes (46.94%), a decrease of 238,775 votes (or -14.73%).

Had Clinton received the same number of votes in Wisconsin that Obama received in 2012, she would have won the state and its 10 votes in the Electoral College. In fact, Clinton’s tally of votes in Wisconsin was less than the number of votes given to the Democratic presidential nominee in the past three presidential elections (2012, 2008 (1,677,211), 2004 (1,489,504)).

In Wisconsin, Trump grew the Republican vote total (albeit slightly) while Clinton’s numbers shrank. It’s not that people who voted Democratic in past elections went for Trump as his vote tally barelt ticked up; it’s that people who voted Democratic in past elections did not come out for Clinton as her vote count decreased dramatically.

That’s my contention. In these three states that were the cinder blocks of the “Blue Wall”, there was an “enthusiasm gap” where voters who had selected the Democrat in 2012 did not do the same in 2016. It’s not that they voted for Republican. They either sat it out or voted for a third-party candidate. It’s not that “Reagan Democrats” or “angry white men” came out in unexpected droves in those states to tip the balance for Trump. It’s that the members of the “Obama Coalition” did not come out in droves to support Clinton.

Had this “enthusiasm gap” been turned around even slightly and those 46 votes in the Electoral College held by MI, PA, and WI swing away from Trump and towards Clinton. Those votes would have been enough to make her the President-elect.

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