I have never really accepted Trump's loss in Ohio, since election day. I knew too many people across a range of geography and class levels who were psyched up to vote Trump, and the economy and history are ripe for a win for the Trump movement. The surrounding states are all Trump wins as well (Indiana will be verified on Tuesday). What gives with Ohio?
At first I rationalized it as the favorite son, popular(ish) sitting Governor getting more of the non-Trump voters to coalesce around him. After all, Trump did get the same percent of the vote as in neighboring Kentucky and Michigan, during a similar stage of the primary season (high 30s).
Now that we're looking toward the general election, with Trump the presumptive nominee, I started investigating whether or not he could flip Ohio from blue to red. Most counties vote Republican, but the ones that vote Democrat have big chunks of the population. So I wondered what the primary turnout was for Democrats and Republicans, regardless of candidate, for some of the highly populated counties that vote Democrat in general elections.
I noticed something very unusual -- in the counties home to the three largest cities, which in 2012 went heavily for Obama, the percent of primary voters casting a ballot in the Democrats' contest was a lot closer to 50%. At first that sounds promising -- if that held in the general election, the Republican nominee could win those three biggest cities and clear a major hurdle in a key swing state.
However, they voted overwhelmingly for Kasich, not Trump. Everywhere else this season, when would-be Democrats turn out in yuge numbers to vote in the Republican primary, it's to vote for Trump. They're the populist and class-oriented Dems, and Trump is the most promising populist candidate of any party that they've seen in perhaps their entire lifetimes.
Nowhere have we seen would-be Democrats turning out in droves for Kasich, on the idea that he's a closeted homosexual liberal Democrat, and let's make sure he wins over that bully Trump. We should have seen that in New England, and yet Kasich didn't come close to taking any of those states. Those disaffected Dems clearly turned out for Trump.
On the day of the Ohio primary, MSNBC had reporters in two locations covering the "Democratic cross-over" narrative. Tony Dokoupil was in, I believe, Mahoning County, home to Youngstown, and part of the Appalachian Rust Belt area of Ohio. He reported that there was a lot of Dem cross-over, and from what he heard from those voters, they were mostly voting Trump. And sure enough, Trump carried the Appalachian counties in Ohio handily.
Then a blonde woman reporter was shown somewhere in, I believe, Cuyahoga County, home to the major city of Cleveland. She said that there was a lot of cross-over there as well, but that those voters were largely voting against Trump and for Kasich.
I didn't think that these Democrats who had invaded the Republican primary just to sabotage Trump could have made all that large of a difference in the big picture, though. Maybe it gave Kasich an extra few points over Trump, but it couldn't have actually decided the primary, could it have?
Well, it did -- big league.
In fact, there's really no other way to explain the outcome than that Kasich, the re-elected sitting Governor in control of the local political machine, "got" a massive number of Democrats to invade the Republican primary to ensure he won his home state, to avoid humiliation. He either bribed them, threatened them with firings (there are a lot of Democrats who work for the government in one way or another), targeted the black Get Out the Vote ringleaders to steer the black voters toward the Republican ballot and Kasich, or some other damn scheme.
That's why Kasich was so confident and matter-of-factly telling every interviewer that "Oh, I'm gonna win Ohio," weeks in advance. The fix was in, on his orders.
The upshot? See the Appendices for the calculations: I estimate Trump should have won Ohio with 45%, and Kasich coming in second with 35%. Those could be off by a little bit and still give Trump the win. And since Ohio was winner-take-all, he just needed to win by a single vote in order to take 100% of the delegates.
Trump should have done better in Ohio than in Kentucky, since there aren't as many Cruz Cult cucks like there are in western Kentucky (which lies south of Indiana, not Ohio). And he should have done better than in Michigan, since western Michigan has a cuck pocket and does not have the stretch of Appalachian territory that Ohio does, and Appalachia is one of the most heavily Trump-favoring regions in the nation. So 45% doesn't sound unreasonable, when he got in the high 30s in Kentucky and Michigan.
I realize that this investigation won't affect the delegate count, number of states won, popular vote, etc. But just so we understand where Trump performed best within the Republican primary, and where Trump can do well in the general, Ohio is clearly Trump country. It was only through a concerted statewide effort by the sitting Governor's political machine, including various degrees of incentives, bribes, and threats, that a huge chunk of the Democrat voters invaded the Republican primary to keep Kasich afloat.
Fortunately, Kasich's shenanigans won't keep Trump from clearing a majority of delegates. And a key swing state now looks much more favorable for the general election.
There are 17 counties that Obama won in 2012. They ranged from around 50% to 70% Democrat. And yet when you take the 2016 voters in the Democrat primary as a percent of all primary voters, in each of these same counties, they only run from around 30-50%. Within each county, between 10-20% of the primary electorate switched from would-be Democrats to Republicans. (See the county results for Republicans and Democrats.)
That is big in percentage terms (double digits), and also in sheer numbers of voters, since these blue counties are home to the major population centers. In several counties, this amounted to tens of thousands of Democrats posing as Republicans in order to prop up Kasich. Remember, Ohio was winner-take-all by statewide vote, so whoever had the most in sheer number of voters took all of the delegates.
Overwhelmingly this benefited Kasich, who won 13 of these 17 Obama counties, including the major population centers of Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Akron, etc. The 4 that Trump won were all Appalachian and smaller in population -- Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, and Athens.
To weed out the Democrat invaders whose only mission was to sabotage Trump and prop up Kasich, we assume that for a county's 2016 primary voters, the percent voting Democrat should be the same as the percent who voted Democrat in the 2012 presidential election. We apply that percent that should be Democrats to the total primary turnout, and get the number of primary voters that should be Democrats. This is much larger than the actual number voting Democrat, and the gap is mostly due to them voting for Kasich on the Republican side.
So, subtract the size of this gap from Kasich's number of voters, and place them in the Democrat primary (doesn't matter whether they'd vote for Hillary or Bernie). This shrinks Kasich's number of voters, and therefore the number of Republican primary voters. It does not affect Trump's number of voters, since he didn't benefit much from this huge invasion. (He did on a much smaller scale, and mostly in counties that are outside of these Obama counties.)
With this new count of total Republican voters, Kasich voters, and Trump voters, we compute the percent voting for Kasich or Trump in each of these counties. Trump wins every one of them except for Franklin, home to the state capital of Columbus -- perhaps not surprising that the center of the political Establishment would have gone for Kasich even without the Democrat invader shenanigans.
I estimate Kasich would have won Franklin 55 to 28, not so far from the actual result of 64 to 22. However, Trump would have won Cuyahoga (Cleveland) 44 to 40, Lorain (suburban Cleveland) 46 to 38, and Hamilton (Cincinnati) 37 to 36. The other blue counties he would have won by anywhere from 10 to 50 points.
Pooling all of these blue counties, Trump should have gotten 45% to Kasich's 36%. Since Ohio's primary was statewide, winner-take-all, county by county results don't matter -- only the grand pool of all voters. Trump should have handily won these blue counties, and he did handily win the Appalachian counties with nearly 50%. I figure the remaining sparsely populated red counties would have shown a similar correction as in the blue counties -- that Kasich's machine got local government employees mobilized on his behalf.
Even letting those stay with Kasich, though, they don't compare to the size of the populations in the blue counties, and are mostly balanced out by the Appalachian counties.
So, I see no reason to move away from the rough estimate of Trump legitimately winning 45% of Ohio, to Kasich's 35%. In any event, he would have won by single digits and taken all of the delegates.
To see how huge the change from blue to supposedly red counties was, here are a few relevant columns from the whole spreadsheet.
First column is the counties won by Obama in the 2012 Presidential election.
Second column gives the percent of the vote that Obama got in 2012, from greatest to least.
Third column gives the percent of the 2016 primary votes that were cast in the Democrats' contest rather than in the Republicans'.
Fourth column shows the decline in the percent voting Democrat.
Fifth column gives the end result of calculating how many extra Republican ballots were cast (overwhelmingly for Kasich), on the assumption that the percent casting a Democrat ballot in the 2016 primary should be the same as the percent voting for Obama in the 2012 general election. At the bottom of this column is the total.
|County||Obama % 2012||Dem % 2016||Change||Extra R votes|
Notice that of these counties that voted for Obama, only 5 or 6 out of 17 were still blue counties in the 2016 primary. Seeing several of the counties in the deep-blue NE Ohio region casting only 30-some percent of their ballots in the Democrats' primary is a big fat tell. We're really supposed to believe that all these Great Lakes industrial counties suddenly turned deep red. Maybe if they were turning red-for-Trump, but not red-for-Kasich. Total hijacking on Kasich's orders.
Trump has won all the major metro areas around the Great Lakes, except for Milwaukee and Green Bay way over in Wisconsin. Detroit, Chicago, Rochester, Buffalo -- all Trump victories. He should have claimed Cleveland and Toledo and their satellite cities as well.
In the last column, notice how many of these counties delivered tens of thousands of votes to Kasich. In total, these blue counties delivered well over 230,000 votes to Kasich that would have otherwise been cast in the Democrat primary. Kasich won the state by roughly 220,000 votes, which is about how many extra votes he coerced out of these 17 counties. Not to mention the other red counties that he got to vote for him.
The 4 counties that Trump won did not show such gigantic numbers of cross-over votes: Athens (under 1,000), Mahoning, Trumbull, and Ashtabula (all under 10,000). Even throwing those out of the estimates since they did not favor Kasich, would not impact the overall conclusion, since they're so few compared to the hundreds of thousands of coerced votes that Kasich got around the state.