Take a close look at that map. Do you know what it represents? There are 3,113 counties in the United States. Well, give or take. Like most things in America that have anything to do with red or blue, Republican or Democratic, we cannot even come to an agreement on who and what we are.
For the purposes of this discussion, we will use the standard set by the Associated Press. That method considers parishes in Louisiana as counties for the sake of tabulating election outcomes. Alaska does not break-down results by county. The map represents the outcome, by county, of the 2016 presidential election between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The first thing that stands out is how red the map is, right? Donald Trump won 2,626 counties to 487 for Hillary Clinton. Clinton received almost 3 million more votes than Trump did yet won less than 16% of the counties across the country. In 2012, President Barack Obama set a record low for a victorious candidate when he captured only 689 counties, just over 22%.
But if we drill down deeper into the numbers? Hillary Clinton did not need to carry ALL of the 202 counties Barack Obama carried in 2012 but she lost in 2016.
Not even close.
She only needed SIX.
In Michigan in 2012, Barack Obama carried 20 counties. Hillary Clinton carried only 8 in 2016. The ones that changed?
Bay, Calhoun, Eaton, Gogebic, Isabella, Lake, Macomb, Manistee, Monroe, Saginaw, Shiawassee, and Van Buren.
Barack Obama carried those 12 counties by a total of 39,413 votes. Hillary lost Michigan by 10,704 votes. But we can ignore 10 of those 12 as the margins were so small. Barack Obama won Saginaw County by 11,656 votes. he won Macomb County by 16,096. Hold either one of those countiesby the margin Barack Obama did in 2012 and Hillary Clinton wins Michigan in 2016.
In Pennsylvania in 2012, Barack Obama carried 12 counties. Hillary Clinton carried 11 in 2016. What is odd is that Pennsylvania is the only one of the critical swing states where the change was not simply Hillary Clinton losing counties Barack Obama won. Hillary lost Erie, Luzerne, and Northampton Counties but won Centre and Chester Counties. Hillary lost those three counties by 33,850 votes. Barack Obama won them by 30,811. That is a swing of 64,661 votes in a state Hillary Clinton lost by 44,292. Carry Luzerne and either Erie or Northampton by the margin Barack Obama did in 2012 and Hillary Clinton wins Pennsylvania even if she had not improved on Obama in Centre and Chester counties.
In Wisconsin, Barack Obama carried 34 counties in 2012. Hillary Clinton carried only 13 in 2016. The outliers were Adams, Buffalo, Columbia, Crawford, Door, Dunn, Forest, Grant, Jackson, Juneau, Kenosha Lafayette, Lincoln, Marquette, Pepin, Price, Racine, Richland, Sawyer, Trempealeau, Vernon, and Winnebago.
While that seems like a major rout, quantity does not always equal quality.
Of the 21 counties Donald Trump turned red in 2016, only 6 had more than 20,000 votes cast. Ten of them had less than 10,000 votes cast. Barack Obama carried those 21 counties by a combined 35,735 votes. Hillary Clinton lost Wisconsin by 22,748 votes. Barack Obama won Winnebago County by 3,337 votes. Hillary Clinton lost it by 6,393. Barack Obama won Kenosha County by 9,896. Hillary Clinton lost it by 255 votes. Barack Obama won Racine County by 3,714 votes. Hillary Clinton lost it by 4,114 votes. Carry those three counties by the margin Barack Obama did in 2012 and Hillary Clinton wins Wisconsin.
Six counties. Three states. Roughly 75,000 votes.
All counties Barack Obama carried in 2012.
If Hillary Clinton wins them, she is President of the United States and Merrick Garland is a Supreme Court Justice. Instead, we live a nightmare every day that has no end in sight.