December 1, 2016

Urban areas that flipped red (and a few that flipped blue)

Both the Establishment media and conservative regulars are framing Trump's success as an uprising of non-urban America over urban America. The media provides its consumers with ego flattery in the form of reassuring them that Trump voters are hicks in the sticks, while conservatives pride themselves on not being urbanites and want to flatter their own egos about the electoral strength of non-urban America.

It's not that there's no truth to this -- a thousand voters in this rural county, a thousand voters in that rural county, pretty soon you've got a narrow victory.

But so much of non-urban America was already sour on the Democrats that there wasn't a whole lot more blood to be squeezed from that stone.

Rather, the key new partner in the Trump coalition was urban areas -- not just any, but those in de-industrialized regions. Industrialization produced large populations who are still there in the Rust Belt, even if it's down from their peak around 1970.

They may be forgotten cities, but they are still cities. In the Establishment and conservative mindset, whether you love 'em or hate 'em, only the thriving glamorous cities represent urban areas.

An earlier post on Election Day discussed these issues, and now we can see where exactly the large numbers of new Republican voters came from. We can also see which urban areas that used to be Republican have defected to the elitist party.

To keep the numbers round, I'm using "urban area" to mean a county with about 100,000 people or more. I only counted it as a flip if it was the same color during both Obama elections, and switched during the Trump election. Otherwise it already flipped due to Obama, McCain, or Romney. We're interested in the re-alignment brought about by Trump vs. Clinton.

First, a brief reminder of where urban areas are located:

We can't expect flipping urban areas in the Upper Plains if there aren't any there to begin with. And they'd already be Republican anyway.

This map shows urban counties that went for Obama both times and then for Trump (red), and those that went for McCain and Romney and then for Clinton (blue). Click to enlarge.

See the Appendix for tables listing the county, state, largest city, population size, and the last time it voted Republican (if it went to Trump) or Democrat (if it went to Clinton).

Let's start with the handful that went from red to blue. If Trump cities are forgotten cities, then new blue cities are thriving magnets for aspiring elites. Trump cities lie in the Rust Belt, new blue cities in the Sun Belt.

The worst offender is Orange CA, which hasn't voted Democrat since 1936. Next is Fort Bend TX, part of the Houston metro, that hasn't been blue since favorite son LBJ ran unopposed in 1964. Another favorite son, Jimmy Carter in 1976 and '80, was the last Democrat chosen by three counties in the Atlanta metro (Cobb, Gwinnett, Henry).

The only new blue county outside of the Sun Belt is Anne Arrundel MD, part of the Baltimore metro and home to Annapolis ("Drain the swamp"). It only narrowly voted Republican the past two times, though, so it's not as dramatic of a reversal. The last Democrat they voted for was LBJ in '64.

These counties are all affluent, and are natural defections as Trump re-aligns the GOP toward its Progressive Era dominance, when its guiding principle was husbandry of America's industries, relying on the native working class and industrialists alike.

What's disturbing is that when these new blue counties voted Democrat many decades ago, they were in line with the rest of the nation -- FDR, LBJ, Carter. Now they are voting blue at a time when the country has swung decisively red. They are joining their fellow nouveau riche parasites to make the Democrats the party of reactionary elites.

Turning to the blue-to-red counties, the bulk of them lie in the former industrial powerhouse of the Greater Northeast -- east of the Mississippi, and not the South. The two main sub-divisions are those along the Great Lakes and those in eastern major river valleys (Delaware, Hudson, Connecticut). Most of them contributed to winning the state for Trump, or at least substantially narrowing the margin (as in Rhode Island). The exception here is New York, where the gains outside of New York City were offset by the worse-than-usual Republican numbers within it. Not surprising, given all the yuppies, transplants, and immigrants there.

The largest counties here, with over half a million residents, are Suffolk NY (Long Island), Macomb MI, and Montgomery OH. I said in the Election Day post that a major Rust Belt city would turn red, and although it wasn't as big as Cincinnati, its large satellite Dayton turned red for the first time since 1988.

Just under half of these Rust Belt counties voted GOP for the last time as recently as 2004, although that doesn't mean they were reliably red before then. For some, 2004 was like 2016 a risk-taking year for the reliably blue county. For others, they had been drifting away for awhile, and 2008 was the crossing-over point. So Trump has both brought back lapsed Republican counties, as well as piqued the interest of blue counties who only vote red when things look really bad and they want someone to shake things up.

Nearly half last voted Republican during the 1980s, and a handful for Nixon in '72. Only two counties last voted GOP when it was a losing party (St. Lucie FL and Suffolk NY last voted red in '92). So unlike the new blue counties, the red-for-Trump counties have generally been on board with the rest of the nation -- for Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and now Trump.

And although W. Bush won many of these counties, he didn't win the states they're in because he didn't win enough of them at once, and by large enough margins. Sure, W. Bush won Racine WI in '04, but Trump also added Kenosha, which hasn't voted red since the '72 landslide. And W. Bush won Macomb MI in '04, but Trump added Saginaw and Bay, which haven't voted red since the '84 landslide. So W. Bush could only make a dent in Wisconsin and Michigan, while Trump won both of them. And W. Bush didn't win any of the three in Pennsylvania that Trump flipped, which last voted GOP in '84 or '88.

Outside of the Rust Belt, there are two flipped counties in Florida that helped win the state. Although it might not seem like a historic upset since Florida goes back and forth, these two counties (Pinellas and St. Lucie) have been solid blue since '88 or '92. I'm guessing the transplants there are refugees from the Rust Belt. They vote like them, at any rate.

Secondarily, there's a pair of Southern minority cities where Trump's no-BS appeal to blacks managed to convert two urban areas that are traditionally Democrat because they're majority minority. These are Robeson NC and Jefferson TX, which only voted Republican in the '72 landslide, and were Democrat before that at least back through 1960. Chesapeake VA is also nearly majority minority, and no doubt flipped red with the help of the blacks for Trump. That was a W. Bush county (and state), though, so it's not such a major reversal.

Finally, there's an outlier out West in Cowlitz WA, which is actually on the Oregon border and part of the Portland area rather than Seattle. (Oregon is the reddest state on the West Coast, notwithstanding the recent colonization of Portland -- imagine that for twice as long in Seattle, and five times as long in San Francisco.) There's no single big city there, but a collection of small towns with roots in the lumber industry. Since 1960, they've only voted Republican in '60, '72, and '80.

That flip is part of the "grungers for Trump" phenomenon that I've pointed out several times before. This now includes the hometown of Nirvana (Aberdeen WA), whose small county (Grays Harbor) has not voted Republican since 1928! At least they picked winners when they did decide to go red. Truly a return to the Progressive Era of the GOP.

This makes it clear that the main issue determining the election was populism vs. elitism, and that gaining the white working class in forgotten cities was smarter than trying to reach out to minorities in mega-cities. The losses on the GOP side reflect that: it was elitist whites who left, not blacks, Hispanics, or Asians (such as their numbers were in the GOP).

If we don't internalize these lessons, we'll slip back into the same anti-urban mindset that lost so badly over the past generation. Rescuing and re-building forgotten cities is not blind worship of urbanism, unlike the failing mindset of Establishment Republicans whose idea of urban outreach is making themselves as cosmopolitan as possible in order to win the votes of yuppies in thriving cities. The Trump movement can prioritize urban areas, as long as it's coming from an attitude of stewardship over American industries, rather than maximizing the incomes of carpet-bagging yuppies.


Red to blue counties

State County Largest City Pop (100K) Last voted D
CA Orange Anaheim 32 1936
GA Cobb Marietta 7 1976
GA Gwinnett Peachtree Corners 8 1976
GA Henry Stockbridge 2 1980
MD Anne Arundel Glen Burnie 6 1964
TX Fort Bend Sugar Land 6 1964

Blue to red counties

State County Largest City Pop (100K) Last voted R
CT Windham Windham 1 1988
DE Kent Dover 2 2004
FL Pinellas St. Petersburg 9 1988
FL St. Lucie Port St. Lucie 3 1992
IL Winnebago Rockford 3 2004
IN Porter Portage 1 2004
IN LaPorte Michigan City 1 1988
IN Vigo Terre Haute 1 2004
IN Delaware Muncie 1 2004
ME Penobscot Bangor 2 2000
ME Kennebec Augusta 1 1988
ME Androscoggin Lewiston 1 1988
MI Macomb Warren 8 2004
MI Monroe Monroe 2 2004
MI Saginaw Saginaw 2 1984
MI Bay Bay City 1 1984
MI Calhoun Battle Creek 1 2004
MI Eaton Charlotte 1 2004
NC Robeson Lumberton 1 1972
NH Hillsborough Manchester 4 2004
NJ Gloucester Washington Twp 3 1988
NY Suffolk Brookhaven 15 1992
NY Niagara Niagara Falls 2 1984
NY Oswego Oswego 1 2004
NY Broome Binghamton 2 1984
NY Orange Newburgh 4 2004
NY Dutchess Poughkeepsie 3 2004
NY St. Lawrence Ogdensburg 1 1988
NY Saratoga Saratoga Springs 2 2004
NY Rensselaer Troy 2 1988
OH Montgomery Dayton 5 1988
OH Stark Canton 4 2000
OH Wood Bowling Green 1 2004
OH Lorain Lorain 3 1984
OH Portage Kent 2 1988
OH Trumbull Warren 2 1972
OH Ashtabula Ashtabula 1 1984
PA Luzerne Wilkes-Barre 3 1988
PA Erie Erie 3 1984
PA Northampton Bethlehem 3 1988
RI Kent Warwick 2 1984
TX Jefferson Beaumont 3 1972
VA Chesapeake Chesapeake 2 2004
WA Cowlitz Longview 1 1980
WI Racine Racine 2 2004
WI Kenosha Kenosha 2 1972
WI Winnebago Oshkosh 2 2004


  1. St. Lucie is my home county. Traditionally it’s transplants from the Midwest, Northeast and some lower class whites from places like West Virginia. There’s a sizeable black ghetto population and Mexicans to pick citrus. The county is now demographically dominated by Port St. Lucie at the south end which is transplants from all over including the Muslim that shot up the Orlando nightclub.

  2. Erie County was once home to one of GE's largest locomotive factories. It was also home to a lot of other manufacturing companies and a major Great Lakes port.


    Vomit inducing. This partisan dickhead is still (still!) bitter about 2000. Do these people realize that 3rd party candidates have kept the GOP from winning? And that Johnson did more damage to Trump than Stein did to Clinton?

    Get a frikkin clue. She says Gore wouldn't have invaded Iraq. Who cares at this point? The Dem elitists are if anything getting more insular, more territorial, and more haughty. Instead of shaming Green voters, how 'bout improving your party. Go ahead and keep up the arrogance and deceit ("we're not the war party"). It served you so well in the last 3 election cycles.

  4. So Sec of State is going to be Giuliani or Romney? So far there are worrying signs that Trump isn't fulfilling our hopes of remaking the GOP, but as someone reminded me, he has experience with firing people..

  5. David Lynch connection: Robeson County NC's largest city is Lumberton, where Blue Velvet is set (though filmed in a nearby county).

    Cowlitz WA might as well be the Twin Peaks setting.

    Most of these cities that ought to be made great again could have been the setting for his Midcentury nostalgia.

  6. The red-to-blue counties are much more of a historic reversal. They're reverting to a party they haven't voted for since the '60s and '70s. The blue-to-red counties are reverting to a much more recent pattern from the '80s, '90s, and 2000s.

    So the major angle of re-alignment is not so much Trump making the GOP friendly to the working class, which Reagan managed to do, but to make it so hostile against the elites.

    Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II were all very friendly to the country club cliques -- Trump says I don't need their dirty donor money, and we're going to drain the swamp.

    That populist / anti-elitist angle hasn't been mainstream in the GOP since McKinley / TR in the Progressive Era.

  7. In fairness, the elites were not debauched anti-American parasites and monopolists back in the 1960s. Not since fin-de-siecle decadence and octopus-like trusts have the elites been so awful that the rising GOP had to campaign on cutting them back down to size.

  8. Eisenhower and Nixon made the GOP the party of the working class. Reagan kept them onboard with his cornball patriotism and cowboy persona, while he was IRL eviscerating them (see "how can he lie like that?" in American Psycho). Nixon's winning formula of separating New Left from blue collar could work every time if the GOP purged the randroid/libertardians who seized control in 1980.

  9. The face of the libertardian Midwestern evangelical #NeverTrumper

  10. "Now they are voting blue at a time when the country has swung decisively red."
    Hillary seems to have won the popular vote, so it didn't go that decisively red. A small shift in the right places and she'd have won. And I wouldn't have thought of Dayton as a "major Rust Best City". But other than that you made some good points. We talk a lot about votes at the state level (particularly those comparing Red States today to the Confederacy) overlooking changes in counties. When a county votes differently than it has in many decades, that's interesting even if the state as a whole doesn't flip. And speaking of granularity, I'd like to see some breakdowns of those majority-minority cities that flipped to Trump.

    I don't think Progressive-era Republicans were that anti-elite. Progressives were not the same thing as Populists. Progressives typically WERE the urban elite crafting what they saw as a more acceptable version of modern industrial urban capitalistic democracy. I don't want to hold up a Marxist like Gabriel Kolko as the representative of truth, but his Triumph of Conservatism is a valuable resource on that time period. Most of the reforms were made at the behest if corporate leadership, with legislation written by their lobbyists. Kolko is hard to satisfy, with anything less than than full-scale socialism or adoption of the Populist platform taken as a way to head off what he saw as necessary changes, but it's hard to look at what actually happened and view it as Bedouins invading the capital rather than the existing elite having asabiya themselves.

  11. Like Trump said, subtract the illegal votes in California (13+ % of residents are foreign-born), not to mention millions of illegals voting elsewhere, and there goes the "popular vote" talking point.

    Dayton is under a million people, not a big-league city like Cincinnati.

    The big Republicans like McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt were against the elites, else McKinley's campaign to push through tariffs as a Congressman would have gone through smoothly, and it would not have been a re-alignment away from the laissez-faire Gilded Age.

    They did get the industrialists on board, but that's different from saying the elites got their way -- not those elites who were not industrialists, and not those who wanted global commerce uber alles. The run-up to WWI was an earlier surge of global interconnectedness, both political and economic.

    Marxists are wrong when they suggest that anti-elite policies are secretly pro-elite just because the elites formally draft and sign the legislation. Their hand was forced by the populist uprising.

  12. Here's an online election atlas that goes back to 1960 for free, and longer if you pay:

    You can pick a year, then look across the states. Or pick a state, and look across the years. States have county-level info on the winner, though not by what margin (except in recent years).

    Color code is reversed -- blue is R, red is D. ("It's preserving an older arbitrary standard," i.e. confusing everybody today.)

  13. Anne Arundel County has Annapolis and surrounding towns. Glen Burnie up north must have been solid Trump, the capital must have gone solid Hillary. I think you're right, massive elite support for Hillary in Annapolis area likely.

  14. Ft. Bend has been largely transformed by immigration. It's a classic case of how wrong the cucks have been about immigration. Ten years ago it was a largely white evangelical county with orthodox conservative leanings. Now it's full of Asians, East and South. Sugar Land will have bindi mayor pretty soon.

  15. Ft. Bend is no different demographically from 4 years ago, when Romney won it by 7 points. This time Clinton won it by 6 points.

    A 13-point swing in just 4 years is mostly due to the elite whites rejecting the populist message of the Trump movement.

  16. I found this interesting, arguing that the real story is Clinton losing voters in the Rust Belt rather than Trump gaining them. Individual Democrats seemed to be staying home or voting third party:

    There's an element of the elite responding to popular sentiment in the progressive era, but much of it was them carrying out things they had already seen as being in their collective self-interest.

  17. Out of curiosity, do you have the numbers of the people who voted and their ethnic breakdown? I'm pushing back a little, because I can tell you, there has been a significant change in this area (even in the last four years). I've seen it as my kid has progressed through elementary school. The classes get less and less white. Also, of those who are classified as "white", do they break out Arabs? We have a YUGE Middle Eastern demographic that's shown up.

    Because of Texas' safe red status (for now), did whites vote less, and did Trump's villainization and immigration policies increase the turnout of Hispanics and Asians (particularly Muslims) in this county?

    I admit I have not seen the presidential vote number for the county until now, and I'm a bit surprised. I expected Ft. Bend to eventually turn (every year, more offices are contested by Democrats where they were usually settled in the GOP primary), but I did not expect a change this dramatic. That's because the whites in this county are not what I'd call typical "elite". They're more like Ted Cruzians. Sugar Land is Tom DeLay's home. Yes, he was in leadership, but he was always seen as a bit declasse by more elite Republicans.

    The leading industry here is oil, so the American whites working tend to be more middle American in their views. However, you could be right, in that the medical and technological industries here are growing as well, and they will tend to bring in a different white demographic.

  18. Barone has an article today about a couple things I haven't seen discussed anywhere else. First, he says that the Midwest tends to reject the party run by crooks(the GOP in the 70's, The Dems now). Second, he says that the Upper Midwest in particular doesn't stomach wars. The area was a hotbed of anti-Vietnam sentiment, while Trump's blistering of post 9/11 foreign policy served him well and dragged down Hillary whose fingerprints are all over recent misadventures.

    Barone also thinks that a more conventional GOP candidate wouldn't have matched Trump's performance in the "outstate" Midwest on account of truecon trade policies alienating people, though a cuck might've bested Trump in the Sunbelt and among cosmopolitans.

    For those who think that any GOPer would've had the election in hand, keep in mind that such a candidate wouldn't have fought as hard against the Clinton's chicanery. The Dems have basically been running an ongoing psyop since Bill's first run to the White House. Relentless polling (down to what phrases and words play best), oppo. research, Hollywood speech writers and ad creators, memes crafted by experts in manipulation (remember when "dark" was used monolithically by the MSM/Dems/Cucks to describe Trump after the GOP convention?), etc. There was a time (the late 60's-late 80's) when the GOP had a reputation as the party that played dirty. The birth of PC in the early 90's forced the party to sheath it's sharpest blades pertaining to racial issues (no more Willie Hortons), while the Dem's burgeoning class of Boomer yuppies started playing to win. Thanks to cuck cowardice, the GOP managed to cede damn near every issue to the Dems. The Dems and the MSM badgered McCain and Romney into bending over backwards to prove that they cared about non-whites as each candidate failed to even appeal to many whites. Result? Losing to the Manchurian candidate, the smooth non-entity Obama whose racial neuroses and dubious background would've been picked apart in the 70's or 80's.

  19. It doesn't include race data, and there was no exit poll in Texas this year or last time. But the demographics are basically unchanged from the 2010 Census to 2015 estimates. Can't account for a 13-point swing among hundreds of thousands of voters.

    Minorities in Texas are already maxed out for Dem support -- and remember that Trump flipped nearby Jefferson County into the red column, a large majority minority area that has only voted R once since 1960 (in '72, when everyone did).

    If anything, Southern minorities warmed up to Trump big-league (see also Robeson County NC).

    Whites descending on Ft. Bend are only in it to maximize their incomes and their conspicuous leisure / consumption. They don't give a damn about the rest of the country, or the local working class -- who does their landscaping and kitchen / bathroom remodels? Illegals.

    Lots of Californians and other blue staters have been carpet-bagging in Texas, too.

  20. "the real story is Clinton losing voters in the Rust Belt rather than Trump gaining them."

    Well, the only people allowed to write postmortems titled "The Myth of..." are those who got everything right -- not left-wing blogs like Slate, Salon, WaPo, etc.

    Back in August, I showed that there was not going to be a "monster vote" for Trump, as most of his supporters were arguing (most notably, Conservative Treehouse). I was right.

    But trying to spin the utter collapse of the Democrat coalition as just a flesh wound, is just the partisans trying to reduce cognitive dissonance.

    Trump and the Trump movement took a sledgehammer to the cracks that existed in the Dem coalition, and shattered that sucker wide open.

    There would have been stay-at-homes even if it were a wimpy cuck as the GOP candidate, simply because the breaking point had been reached for the Dems. But with Trump unrelentingly hammering away at their contradictions (Bernie endorsing Hillary is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs), they were even more decimated on Election Day.

    Having wiped out a yuge chunk of the enemy's forces before the major battle, Trump didn't need to have double the numbers on his side compared to the last time.

    And remember how, all before the election, if you stayed home or voted third party -- you were as good as a Trump voter, and a traitor? Well now that so many did just that, the commentators ought to believe that these legions of Rust Belt non-voters count as de facto Trump voters.

    However you frame it, it was a revolt of historic scale.

  21. "For those who think that any GOPer would've had the election in hand, keep in mind that such a candidate wouldn't have fought as hard against the Clinton's chicanery."

    What I've read from the historical models suggests that the main weakness of a non-Trump candidate would have been the lack of a strong coalition on their side, not so much the predictable opposition.

    Without Trump, it was shaping up to be the most bitterly divided and evenly contested primary in GOP history. "The splitter strategy," as Conservative Treehouse called it. Nominate Jeb, who would never get more than 25% of the polls / votes, by splitting up the non-Jeb vote into as many small pieces as possible, by fielding a wide variety of nano-niche candidates.

    It could have been Jeb 25, Cruz 23, Rubio 20, etc., as the popular vote around Super Tuesday. That means no clear leader and no coalition in the fall.

    Trump wiped out the next place by double digits early on, so there was no possibility of a weak divided coalition on Election Day.

  22. In 1992, the big change was the collapse of the Reagan-Bush coalition in the GOP numbers. Clinton only moderately improved the numbers on the Dem side in most of the new blue states. And Perot took more from Bush than from Clinton.

    Yet libs will describe '92 as a revolt of liberalism over ossified conservatism.

    I keep your forces at home = I triumphed before the battle even began.

    You keep my forces at home = You're lucky my side stayed at home.

  23. Wonder what will happen next

  24. The Left-Right battle doesn't neatly apply to the 1992 election, anyway. Clinton ran (and mostly governed) as a cultural and fiscal moderate, not a SJW, appeasing Boomers with tough on crime policies and his welfare reform was part of the reason the atrocious black ghetto baby boom of the 60's-early 90's finally ended. Boomers hated the welfare largesse of the 60's-80's (Reagan's welfare "queens" driving welfare "Cadillacs). It took the first Boomer president (and the rise of his generation mates) to overhaul naïve policies implemented by G.I.s and Silents. Say what you will about Clinton, but it's probably the best thing he ever did.

    America was still quite conservative in the early 1990's, per the GSS, the MPAA ratings policies, the DARE program, controversy (warranted) over rap music in an age of urban unrest, attempts to crack down on massive inner city crime rates, and so on. Gay characters were still largely non-existent in media produced from 1990-1992.

    The GOP could've easily won in 1992 if Bush wasn't such a putz, and if Perot hadn't called out the establishment's globalism. Speaking of which, both parties' elites were committed to globalism by the '92 election. Globalism also doesn't neatly align with Left-Right ideology. Rather, it's a sign of being in an era that embraces striving and inequality.

  25. GOP had no chance in '92. Elections are not won over the course of campaigns, but over the whole four years preceding Election Day.

    Already in '88, the Democrat was heavily chosen by the cross-over voters -- hard to imagine otherwise, with Reagan '84 having won over such a large swath of the electorate. The Democrat was also the choice of the infrequent voters (didn't vote last time). These are a more reliable sign of where things go next time, if a 2nd+ term is being sought by the incumbent party.

    Also the re-alignment away from the Nixon-Reagan coalition was already apparent in '88, with the Pac NW and Lutheran Triangle breaking away, and California damn near turning blue as well.

    The only relevant aspect of campaigns is party unity -- measured by how bitter and evenly contested the primary is, particularly in the early stages when money and media exposure is not so much of a factor (later stage is more a war of attrition).

    And even the bitterness of the primary is a reflection of the past four years -- if the partisans are not happy with where their party has been going over the past four years, it's unlikely that the other side's voters will feel like crossing over either.

    In '92, early primary results showed Buchanan the culture warrior giving the the moderate Bush who dismissed "the vision thing" a real run for his money.

    Again, only a minor factor compared to the entire four years preceding Election day '92, but the only part of the campaign that mattered.


You MUST enter a nickname with the "Name/URL" option if you're not signed in. We can't follow who is saying what if everyone is "Anonymous."