As the disputed results of Election 2020 head to the U.S. Supreme Court, I thought I’d take another look at the election map by county, since Trump won 18 of the 19 counties that have selected every president since Ronald Reagan in 1980. (source: Wall Street Journal)
And did I mention that Trump received more votes in California than any GOP candidate ever? Even more than former CA governor Reagan? (source: Mercury News)
We are no dubiously a unified nation, and our state-hood is even challenged; we are counties and voting precincts
Each election night, we hear that some percentage of “precincts” has reported results and, based on that, the news media — the companies that sell thin air to advertisers and, because of that, have to race to be the first to call a state or the election for a candidate — makes its predictions.
Precincts will “predict” states, according to these oracular media. States determine elections.
Yet, what precincts don’t show enough of, and what states are too broad to show, are results by county. In this article we’ll look at the election map by county, specific counties.
The bell-wearing castrated sheep leading the flock
Trump won 18 out of 19 bellwether counties. A “bellwether” is a trend indicator. (For etymologists like me, it comes from the Middle English bellewether for a bell being placed on a castrated ram — a wether — which would lead the flock.)
There are 19 counties that have chosen the president since 1980, claims The Wall Street Journal.
By looking at the word’s usage alone, one would think that “bellwether”-anything has become important since about 1940. In fact, the word started to dip when President Obama was first elected in 2008 but made a resurgence in 2015 when Trump announced his candidacy.
(Of course, I’m adding those events to the word’s activity artificially, but they are convenient to my narrative, which is what all advertising-hungry media do anyway.)
Which county wants a “President Biden”?
Washington state’s Clallam County is one of those 19 that has voted for every President since 1980. Until this year. It backed Biden, the ostensible “winner.” Why?
“Well,” you might surmise, “it might be because of its high percentage of blacks or latinos.” You know, people who hate Trump because he called Nazis “fine people.” (A frequently de-bunked claim.)
In fact, Clallam County is 82.4% white — meaning people who look like Trump — while the national average for Hispanic non-white is 60.1%. It was white people voting for Biden.
And not just any white people.
The county’s 77,000 residents include just 6% foreign-born persons — oh, wait, you mean it’s not immigrants who are voting against Trump? (source: U.S. Census) Its residents are less educated than the national average: 26% have college degrees versus the national average of 35%. Only 13% of the residents under 65 have a disability. As for household median income: $49,000 in Clallam as opposed to $69,000 nationally. A significant difference. Thirty percent of Clallam’s residents are 65 years old or older. That’s twice the national average.
The face of Clallam County
So a picture of Clallam county emerges: an older, poor, white population that is relatively under-educated and generally able-bodied.
Sounds like what most people think Trump voters look like.
What was the issue they cared about most? COVID. Yet, they are generally healthy. Older, but healthy. Why COVID? Could it be fear? Certainly, COVID affected things like tourism, which suffered in an area that is known for Olympic National Park. But what about the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle, just across the Puget Sound? Could that have caused more fear, and anger, for which Clallam residents blamed Trump and not Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee or Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin? (Durkin, by the way, has announced that she won’t run for reelection. She says she wants to focus on the “challenges” Seattle faces rather than campaign.)
Most likely, it was COVID’s effect on rising unemployment, which hit Clallam particularly hard. People were scared and angry. But who got the blame? Well, President Trump of course. Meanwhile, Clallam county and Washington State — land of the country’s two richest residents and one of the country’s preeminent Trump despisers, Bill Gates — voted for Biden.
I could go on about Clallam, but…
This article started out as a survey of all counties that were bellwethers, but Clallam captured me as a microcosm of what might be two “bellwether mental disorders” among the American electorate.
One bellwether disorder is fear and anger directed at President Trump over COVID rather than at state and local officials. We saw this mental disorder after Hurricane Katrina, the response to which was blamed more on President Bush than poor preparation was blamed on the governor of Louisiana or mayor of New Orleans. It reflects the more widespread disease among many Biden supporters.
The other is confirmation bias on the part of Biden voters that Trump voters look like, well, Clallam voters who voted for Biden. This mental disease, too, is held nationally by those who want desperately to see Trump supporters as uneducated white people.
A new kind of mental disorder
Of course, there is a third mental disorder, which I’ve already covered in other articles.
This disorder, affecting nearly 100% of Biden voters and sadly may be terminal once the U.S. Supreme Court hears the Texas case now before it, includes a blatant disregard of logic and ability to extrapolate.
When you see 18 of 19 bellwether counties voting for Trump; when you see Trump getting more votes in California than any GOP candidate ever, including Reagan; when you see Trump’s win in Florida over Biden as 200% more than his win over Hillary in 2016; when you see Trump’s huge increases among Latinos in Miami-Dade and in Starr County, Texas (arguably the highest percentage of Latinos in any U.S. county); even when you look at bellwether states like Ohio and Florida — clear Trump wins in 2020 — not picking the president?! … when you look at data like this and can’t imagine that Trump won, let alone admit that he might have, let alone agree that he did despite massive fraud, you might have this disorder.
The next drink of Kool-Aid’s on me.