I’m not one to take solace in the fact that, when all was said and done, more Americans voted for my candidate. While it may be true, it doesn’t change the fact that, because we didn’t work hard enough across the country to turn out the Democratic vote, we lost, putting a man like Donald Trump into office. With that said, though, I am heartened by the fact that, here at home, we were able to deliver enough Democratic votes in Washtenaw County to hold the Republican presidential ticket to just 26.59% of the vote, which, as Lawrence Kestenbaum, our Clerk and Register of Deeds, has noted, “is the lowest percentage for Republican presidential nominees in at least a century, and probably ever.” And I think that’s an important thing to note. Even though the state of Michigan turned red, our volunteers here in Washtenaw County did a fantastic job, delivering the County for Clinton with a margin of more than 77,000 votes. What’s more, if I’m reading the reports correctly, we also turned out more voters this year than in 2012. [In November, 2012, 64.58% of registered Washtenaw County voters cast 181,181 ballots. In November, 2016, 65.58% of registered voters cast 196,252 ballots.]
With that said… While it’s certainly good news that more people are voting here, and voting Democratic, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps it’s not just a reflection of how hard we’re working. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but I wonder if, just maybe, our trend toward progressiveness in Washtenaw County is driven at least in part by the fact that other areas of Michigan, and the midwest in general, are becoming increasingly inhospitable for people who value things like inclusiveness, tolerance and compassion. What if, in other words, these positive numbers that we’re seeing here have less to do with the fact that we’re more successfully conveying the value of liberal principles, and more do to with the fact that like-minded people are being driven here by the increasingly conservative environment they’re encountering elsewhere in the region? I still think the work we did here this election cycle was great, but I just wonder if our success here might actually indicate that the state as a whole is moving to the (alt) right… What do you think?