Wednesday, 12 Dec 2018
Business

2018 was a good reminder of the polarization of the 2016 presidential race

Something interesting happens if you associate the change in each country since its 2016 presidential vote to the results of its race in the Senate or the governorship: the colors change.


(Philip Bump / The Washington Post)

The country's reds are turning blue, with a margin margin in 2018 being better for Democrats than in 2016. The blueest parts of the country are also becoming largely red.

(For this analysis, we compared the results of the 2016 presidential election in each county with the results of the race in the Senate or the governorship of the state.If the state organized the two competitions, the closest to the results of the race was used.The data are from December 1st.)

In some cases, the color changes are a bit of an aberration. In Maine and Vermont, for example, comparing the results of the Democratic and Republican elections in the Senate excludes the votes of the winners, Independent Senators Angus King (Maine) and Bernie Sanders (Vermont). If we use their voting totals as the Democratic vote in these states, the map looks like this.

The dark red counties of Massachusetts, like those of Maryland, are not an aberration, any more than the dark blue spots of West Virginia. In each state, the results of the elections for governor or senate were favorable to the party that lost the presidential vote in that state. In West Virginia, Senator Joe Manchin III (D) was re-elected despite the red in which his condition became.

While national politics continue to mark states, West Virginia voters voted for Manchin and not Hillary Clinton, and Maryland voters voted for Larry Hogan (R) and not Trump, it meant that each party would vote for it. was shooting better than it was two years ago.

Look at the Midwest, the region that eventually handed Trump the presidency from blue to red two years ago. Chicago is pink, voting more heavily Republican last month than two years ago. Wisconsin, to the northwest, is much bluer, including the counties adjacent to Milwaukee.

Part of the change, however, concerns 2016 candidates in particular. Consider the area around Salt Lake City. Utah, more than any red state, rejected Trump in favor of a third party candidate. In 2018, the Republicans did a lot better than they had done two years ago.

The result? The counties that voted most strongly for Trump and Clinton in 2016 have generally been the ones who have seen the biggest rush to the other party.

The highly rated the change in suburban areas in the eyes of Democrats tends to believe that change in rural areas was much more important – depending on the number of people voting for Trump and the few people living in very rural areas, which made counties more rural less likely to tip the election results.

All this is a characteristic of democracy, not a bug. Residents of Visalia, California, choose their own mayor, but then have to agree with other residents of the area on choosing a representative to sit in the House. They must then weigh with the rest of the state on California Senators and ultimately with the rest of the nation over the President. At each stage, the candidates are almost necessarily further from the locality and its needs. The historic strategy to counter this was to present candidates for the presidential election who could appeal widely to the Americans.

This gap, however, can widen. The 2016 elections – with political rhetoric nationalized by cable channels and the Internet – have allowed Trump to bet that appealing to Republican base voters would cost him less votes than he could. had won. Meanwhile, Clinton tried to convince the Republicans to support his candidacy.

Trump's wager was won – at least in the constituency. How could this bet hold against a democrat of the same base, could be the question that defines 2020.

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