(Savannah, Georgia) -- We are on the road again this week, touring America. The landscape is changing, so it’s a good time to take a new look at the electoral map. Let’s “brunch” on that this week.
“Georgia on My Mind” – There were a lot of polls in 2016 that showed Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump in Georgia. Ultimately, Trump won 51 percent to 46 percent, but the details are worth looking at. Two polls in August, including the highly-regarded Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had Clinton up by four to seven percentage points. As late as October 28, the Quinnipiac Poll had them tied. Georgia is changing demographically, as more people from the Northeast and Midwest move South. Similar states, such as North Carolina and Virginia, have already gone Democratic, and Georgia could follow suit. Red is not red forever!
“Arizona, Too!” – Much as in Georgia, there were times in this race when Hillary Clinton led in Arizona, a traditionally red state. Much of this change has its roots in two demographic shifts: the expanding Latino voter base, and the retirement of Northerners to the Sun Belt. Neighboring New Mexico was a solid Republican state for many years, but has gone Democratic in six of the past seven Presidential elections.
“I’ll Have a Blue Christmas, without You”—I can hear Elvis singing it now! As mentioned above, red states are never guaranteed to remain red; nor are blue states, blue. The lesson from this election lies in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. All were predicted – and with seemingly a great deal of certainty – to go for Secretary Clinton. Instead, all three traditionally-blue states went red for Trump; and few – if any – polls saw the trend coming.
“Be the Disenfranchised” – It has struck me in recent elections that certain voters leverage being disenfranchised. “We have no voice,” they shout; and maybe there is something to that. In 2000, we had a classic match-up between legacy candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush – both of whom come from legendary American political families. Fast forward to 2008, and you get the bi-racial, hardscrabble-life Barack Obama, and in 2016 the famously wealthy - but without political legacy -Donald Trump. Trump and Obama appealed to large numbers of voters who felt their constituency had no voice. They were the antithesis of the Bush-Gore (and, yes, Clinton crowd). They appealed to those who felt left out of the conversation, albeit at different ends of the political spectrum.
“Electoral College Matters” – On Monday, the Electoral College votes, and don’t bet a dime that it will overturn the election. There may be a couple of stray electors who don’t vote for Trump, but nowhere near the 37 who would be needed to change the outcome of the election.
“Hack Attack” – The reports of computer hacking in this election are not going to change the outcome either, but I do find them troubling. The fact that a foreign country tried to hack into the Republican National Committee (unsuccessfully) and the Democratic National Committee (successfully) is disturbing. I know of no credible evidence that suggests hackers breached any voting machines or vote counts, so the outcome of the election won’t change. But this ought to send up a red flag to everyone that threats to our cybersecurity are a serious and growing national security concern, and that proper resources must be devoted to protect against them. brought to bear to fight it.
“Biting into a Lemon” – Someone asked me this week why Democrats are so bitter about the outcome of this election, and whether that bitterness will last. The vote was nearly six weeks ago, and I think the wound will be raw for some time. The fact that one candidate won the popular vote and another won the Electoral College is very frustrating to those on the losing end of that deal. I believe Republicans would feel the same way if they had won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College. In 2000, the public was just as bitterly divided; but much of that bitterness dissipated when - just eight months into the Bush administration - the September 11th attacks helped unify the nation.
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