Yesterday I got to the point where I could verbalize how I was feeling: disappointed and let down. Then my sister Donna sent me a link to Frank Bruni’s piece in the NYT:
Photo From The NYT
It’s always assumed that those of us who felt certain of Hillary Clinton’s victory in 2016 were putting too much trust in polls.
I was putting too much trust in Americans.
I’d seen us err. I’d watched us stray. Still I didn’t think that enough of us would indulge a would-be leader as proudly hateful, patently fraudulent and flamboyantly dishonest as Donald Trump.
We had episodes of ugliness, but this? No way. We were better than Trump.
Except, it turned out, we weren’t….
Some 46 percent of the Americans who cast ballots for president in 2016 picked him, and as he moved into the White House and proceeded to soil it, most of those Americans stood by him solidly enough that Republicans in Congress didn’t dare to cross him and in fact went to great, conscience-immolating lengths to prop him up. These lawmakers weren’t swooning for a demagogue. They were reading the populace.
And it was a populace I didn’t recognize, or at least didn’t want to.
When I look at the current election map of the US I am mystified by the enormous red expanse. I’m supposed to believe that the US is almost entirely Republican:
And then I came across this map showing population density – now the election results make some sense! People in the US are clustered on the coasts and in a few central locations – and the vote distribution is clearly more equal:
I came across the map in a tweet by Sarah Cooper and then tried to find out more.
Here is the visualization by data scientist Karim Douieb:
Data scientist Karim Douïeb figured that a more accurate way to represent how people voted is to use colored dots, varied in size proportionally to the population of each county. He turned the results into this GIF, which provides a clearer picture:
Pretty eye-opening, no? And yet, while this is clearly an improvement over the ham-fisted method of the first map in this entry, even this is not quite accurate. Within each of those large blue dots, you still have plenty of people who voted red, and vice versa. These results only show you which party won the vote in each region.
What do you think we’d see, if these data represented actual individual votes and we could zoom in on each one? The country is now more divided than ever, and just about evenly split. So all I’m certain of is that zooming out, we’d see a perfect shade of purple.
I guess it’s important to think more deeply about the mundane.