TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2022
"We are not enemies, but friends:" In the 2020 presidential election, quite a few people voted for Donald J. Trump.
In fact, he racked up more than 74 million votes. Nationwide, the final tally is officially said to have looked like this:
2020 presidential election:
Trump: 74.2 million votes (46.9%)
Biden: 81.3 million votes (51.3%)
According to this official account, Donald J. Trump received 74.2 million votes.
That said, Joseph R. Biden received even more votes than that. According to that official account, Biden received 81.2 million votes, a difference of roughly 4.4 percentage points.
Biden won the nationwide popular vote, but Trump got a boatload of votes. From that day to this, many members of our blue tribe have wondered how that could be—have wondered what those 74.2 million voters could possibly have been thinking.
At least in principle, it's a perfectly decent question, but our tribe has sometimes rejected attempts to seek out answers. When news orgs have ventured into the wilds, asking Trump voters to explain their thinking, members of our embattled tribe have often criticized them for doing so.
In effect, the policy known as "Don't ask, don't [let them] tell" was quite visibly back.
Why did so many people vote for Trump after four years of his governance? At least in theory, it's a perfectly decent question!
That said, it wouldn't be the worst idea to let some of those 74 million people offer their explanations. That said, there are other ways to review the 2020 vote totals, ways from which our own blue tribe might draw a bit of instruction.
For example, consider what the vote totals were like in "The Other 49."
Biden won the state of California by a walloping 5.1 million votes. Vote totals in the other 49 states were therefore remarkably close:
2020 presidential election, The Other 49:
Trump: 68.2 million votes
Biden: 70.1 million votes
Biden won The Other 49, but by less than two million votes! For the record, Trump won 25 of those other states. Biden won just 24.
That walloping win in California represents a bit of a problem for the Democratic Party. Under current arrangements, the state's votes are overwhelmingly Democratic—but in common parlance, that involves a lot of "wasted votes."
In presidential elections, the Democratic candidate receives California's electoral votes whether he or she wins the state of a lot or a little. Regarding the slightly misleading nature of those giant Golden State wins, consider the state of affairs which obtained in the 2016 election:
Candidate Clinton won the nationwide popular vote by some 2.9 million votes, but she won California by 4.3 million votes! By a fairly narrow margin, she actually lost the popular vote across The Other 49.
California is still part of the United States. In 2020, its roughly 17 million presidential votes were, of course, properly seen as part of the nation total.
That said, we don't elect our presidents on the basis of the nationwide popular votes, as we Democrats keep proving. And our overall thoroughly basic key point would be this:
A lot of people—a whole lot of people—voted for Donald J. Trump! Those people are Americans citizens too. In theory, they're the neighbors and the friends of those in our own blue tribe.
Why did those people vote as they did? In part because there were so many of them, we can't quite tell you that.
We can tell you this. Even after four years of President Trump, the nationwide vote in our 2020 House elections was even closer than the vote between Candidates Biden and Trump.
Even after four years of President Trump, nationwide voting for the House was fairly close. Democratic candidates emerged with more votes, but the vote totals looked like this:
2020 House elections, total nationwide votes:
Republican candidates: 72.8 million votes (47.7%)
Democratic candidates: 77.5 million votes (50.8%)
The margin there was just a bit over three points.
On a percentage basis, Candidate Trump ran behind his nationwide slate of congressional hopefuls. But even after four years of Trump, a very large number of neighbors and friends voted for his party.
In The Other 49, Republican candidates for the House actually won more votes, if only by a narrow margin, than their Democratic counterparts did! For many in our own blue tribe, it's hard to fathom how Donald J. Trump, and his congressional party, could have gained so many votes.
According to many political experts, the numbers are likely to be much worse for Democratic candidates in this fall's House elections. Even after two years of Donald J. Trump's post-election lunacy, millions of our neighbors and friends will be voting to put his party back in charge.
Our deeply self-impressed political tribe finds such matters hard to fathom. In hopes of winning future elections, how might we perform some self-improvement here in the tribe we call home?
Tomorrow: We continue from here
Just for the record: Just for the record, here are the additional data from the 2020 House elections:
2020 House elections, The Other 49:
Republican candidates: 67.2 million votes
Democratic candidates: 66.4 million votes
"We must not be enemies," President Lincoln once said.