Michael Barone demonstrates the part of the U.S. that made sure that Hillary Clinton won’t become president Jan. 20 (and probably ever):
Hillary Clinton lost the election in the Midwest. Donald Trump won 50 Midwestern electoral votes that went to Barack Obama in 2012 — Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Plus 20 more in Pennsylvania, where the two-thirds of voters beyond metro Philadelphia are Midwestern in culture and concerns. Trump could have lost Florida and still won.
In the popular vote Clinton came close to equaling the Obama’s 2012 percentages in the South and not-yet-fully-counted West, and her 4 percent drop in the Northeast cost her no electoral votes. But in the Midwest plus Pennsylvania the Democratic presidential percentage dropped from 54 percent in 2008 and 51 percent in 2012 to 45 percent in 2016.
Those drops came mostly outside the Midwest’s million-plus metros, though black turnout sagged notably in Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee. University towns turned in their typical lopsided majorities, 68 to 26 percent in metro Madison, Wis.
But in Midwestern outstates, counties outside million-plus metro areas, the shift away from Clinton looked like the shifts of white Southerners away from Democrats in decades past.
Iowa, the largest state with no million-plus metro areas was typical: 54 percent Democratic in 2008, 52 in 2012, 41 percent in 2016. The drop is similar in Wisconsin outside Milwaukee and Madison (54 to 50 to 41 percent), Michigan outside Detroit and Grand Rapids (55 to 52 to 41 percent), Ohio outside Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati (48 to 47 to 35 percent), Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (48 to 44 to 36 percent).
Similar outstate drops were not quite enough to carry Minnesota for Trump and were swamped in Illinois by metro Chicago. But they were enough to switch the Midwest electoral vote from 80-38 Democratic in 2012 to 88-30 Republican this year.
These areas aren’t growing demographically, but they’re not tiny either. They cast 100 percent of votes in Iowa, 61 percent in Wisconsin, 47 percent in Michigan and Pennsylvania, 44 percent in Ohio.
What accounts for the abandonment of Hillary Clinton in areas hitherto reachable for Democrats?
The outstate Midwest is loaded with non-college-graduate whites — 62 percent in Iowa, for instance. Nationally that demographic moved from +25 percent Romney in 2012 to +39 percent Trump in 2016. In the Midwest outstates the shift was even more vivid.