Culture Wars/Current Controversies

For Most Americans, the Local Presidential Vote Was a Landslide

Americans continue to self-select into localized lifestyle-based enclaves. Tenth Amendment constitutionalists and states rights conservatives ignore the fact that political conflict is now local rather than regional when it comes to geography. In order to function, pan-secessionism would need to assume the form of something like ancient Greece, which was just a collection of thousands of localities, or the Holy Roman Empire, which was a very loose confederation of hundreds of largely sovereign statelets. Another possibility might be something similar to the Ottoman millet system, where even if there is an overarching ideological imperium (like “wokeism”), the various cultural minorities are able to practice a maximum level of self-government on a localized basis.

By Bill Bishop, Daily Yonder

More than half of Americans live in counties where the vote margin between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was 20 percentage points or more. Still, the percentage of Americans living in landslide counties dropped a bit from 2016 to 2020.

Republicans and Democrats were less divided in the 2020 election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden than in the 2016 contest.

But only slightly.

In the last two elections — contests that were extremely close nationally — most people lived in communities where the final vote wasn’t close at all.

In 2016, 62% of voters lived in a county either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump won by 20 percentage points or more. This year, 58.2% of voters lived in one of these landslide counties.

The percentage of people living in a landslide county has been increasing since the mid-1970s. In the very close 1976 contest between Democrat Jimmy Carter and incumbent Republican Gerald Ford, about 26% of voters lived in one of these politically lopsided counties. That percentage increased steadily through the decades. In 1992, 37.7% lived in a landslide county. In 1996, 42%. In 2004, 48.3%, which increased to 50.6% in 2012.

(In figuring these percentages, we eliminated third-party votes.)

Then there was the big jump to 62% in 2016, dropping back just a little bit to this year’s 58.2%.


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