If you need something to feel good about, Clinton won Washtenaw County by over 77,000 votes, holding the Republican ticket to an historic low

clintonvolunteersypsi

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?

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27 Comments

  1. Bob
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    The truth is that SHE didn’t work hard enough. She ignored the Midwest states, Michigan in particular. She just assumed that she would carry Obama’s voters. It’s bad enough that she ignored Sanders and his supporters, she ignored the very reason Bernie and Trump surged. Accounts have Bill arguing the campaign was ignoring blue-collar voters, and being pushed aside as an out of touch old man. She could have chosen a running mate like Bernie or Elizabeth Warren. Instead, we got white-bread, anti-abortion Catholic Tim Kaine. A guy so ineffective that he couldn’t beat Mike Pence in his one debate.

    There are reports of campaign staffers screaming at interim DNC head Donna Brazile, not to mention the disaster of Wasserman Schultz. Hillary was so tone-deaf about her mistakes that she still had Huma sitting front and center at her concession speech. The Weiner’s were the last nail in her coffin before the election, but there she was. Clueless. Can we start a class action lawsuit on behalf of America? Can we sue HRC for gross incompetence? There’s a ton of Clinton Foundation money there. Lord knows. The poor people who lose their health care are going to need it.

  2. Posted November 11, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Midwest less hospitable? Lol, it’s the push, push progressives that are loathsome. Mocking and judging daily how one should think. Saying we’re dumb, non college educated. Lol,.Like the shoeless illegal that cannot speak English is better than the guy who works 16 hours a day farming. So you can drive your Subaru to whole foods.

    Liberals are out of touch with people. Only thing they talk about is their identity, sexuality, colour, gender. Oh, they do give a care on climate change..and that’s good.
    But that’s about it.

    Glad you all got a punch to the gut. Hubris pie takes awhile to swallow. Maybe now your party can get off identity politics daily talking points.

  3. stupid hick
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Bob, it’s not Hillary’s fault. Remember, Trump beat a dozen of the brightest and best candidates the Republicans had to offer too. He stumped everyone for well over a year. Mistake after mistake, any one of which would have been fatal for any other candidate, any other time in history, but not for Trump. As EOS will acknowledge, not even an election rigged by George Soros stopped him. Trump’s campaign may very well be the first in history that made a profit for a candidate instead of costing him millions. Like it or not, he is obviously a genius. A narcissistic, racist, sexist, con man genius, but one that would have probably beaten Bernie too.

  4. Stacey
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if MI went red, I think it went Trump. And by that I mean he spoke to the issues of trade and opportunity for prosperity, which I think at this point in MI are neither a blue nor red issues. They are economic issues. People are hurting. And Clinton shoulda spent more time addressing these concerns and telling people her plan to fix it. Sanders won MI and I think it’s bc he addressed these concerns.

  5. Scott Trudeau
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Washtenaw County is one of the places where the economic recovery (however tepid) is actually making things better.

  6. Doug French
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I was thinking that very thought when I got the email. And I’m still thinking about those 5,800 votes cast for Gary Johnson, and wondering, in this deep-blue county that helped Bernie Sanders win the Michigan primary, where those votes might have otherwise gone.

  7. Mr. X
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Doug, my guess is those who voted for Johnson were conservatives who couldn’t stomach the thought of voting for Trump. As that’s the case, I don’t think they would have likely gone to Clinton. The 2,469 Stein votes, however, are a different matter.

  8. Mr. X
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Great point, Scott. It may not be that people here are growing more liberal. It may just be that they’re more directly feeling the positive effects of the Obama turnaround.

  9. Doug French
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Perhaps. But the county went 55%-44% Sanders in the Democratic primary, suggesting a lot of Clintontipathy among the more adamant progressives (and/or idealistic college kids).

  10. Scott Trudeau
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    And to follow up on my point, we’re seeing that cities are becoming the locus of economic opportunity and are benefiting from the recovery while small towns and rural areas are still largely failing.

    At a recent statewide planning conference I attended, many of the attendees were from rural & small town Michigan. One of the big topics and questions permeating the conference was how to plan for a shrinking population and limited access to funds to maintain infrastructure. Meanwhile, Ann Arbor is grappling with insanely high demand for housing and a growing population and economy. The differences are stark.

    A lot of people prefer and choose a rural or edge-of-suburban lifestyle. But a lot of people are just stuck there, and we’re not making it easier for them to take advantage of cities because we’ve largely decided to stop building more city. We’ve got plenty of rural & suburban housing, but those places are far from where emerging jobs are and the entry level, low education jobs are expensive and difficult to access for people who are time & money constrained.

    For an anecdote demonstrating this problem, On the Media’s recent series on poverty featured a story of a young woman in Ohio who made a go of moving to Columbus to get and keep a stable job but how she quickly got clawed back into her low opportunity rural hometown in part due to the (relatively) high cost of living in Columbus.

  11. Scott Trudeau
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The whole OTM series was great. I think the story I refer to is in episode 4: http://www.wnyc.org/press/on-the-media-poverty-series/92816/

  12. Murph
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    The “student” precincts in a2 and ypsi were some of the strongest points of Clinton support in the county, many of them going 85%+ for her. don’t think we can blame them.

  13. Murph
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Ypsilanti’s 1-2, along harriet street, was the absolute highest Clinton support in the county, just over 94% for her. Salem township was the lowest, all three precincts there around 33% Clinton. That’s from memory, I didn’t take note of where the Johnson votes were.

  14. Kerri Pepperman
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I canvassed the south side before the election, and *everyone* was a Clinton supporter. I felt like ditching my list and just knocking on every single door.

  15. Janette Rook
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I admit I self-segregated here a long time ago. I love little towns, but I’m not diplomatic enough to have the difficult conversations that must arise, at least not without verbal cutting-a-bitch lately

  16. Scott Trudeau
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    People who didn’t vote are at least as dismaying as those 50k Stein voters. 2.6 million voted for Obama in 2012 in Michigan. 2.3 million voters voted for Clinton in Michigan in 2016. Those missing 300k voters are at least as much a problem as the Stein voters.

  17. Emma White
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Don’t forget that Washtenaw has the highest level of educational attainment in the state.

    http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/united-states/quick-facts/michigan/percent-of-people-25-years-and-over-with-bachelors-degree-or-higher#map

  18. Matt
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I know this election has really convinced me that maybe I’m not cut out to retire to northern Michigan. I might just stay right around here, where people are sane.

  19. Emma White
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Nationally, white college graduates moved toward Clinton by 10 percentage points over Obama. The trouble is that Michigan as a whole has low levels of college attainment.

  20. Andy LaBarre
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    To the Tim Newton experience:

    “Midwest less hospitable? Lol, it’s the push, push progressives that are loathsome.” – Did MW liberals push bathroom bills in IN and punitive LGBT measures in MI? Did they actively restrict voting rights? Did they seek to limit the rights of other people?

    “Mocking and judging daily how one should think.” – Agreed, that’s bad. Your post is effective in doing that.

    “Saying we’re dumb, non college educated. Lol,.Like the shoeless illegal that cannot speak English is better than the guy who works 16 hours a day farming. So you can drive your Subaru to whole foods.” – Even if that were true (which it’s not) how about looking at it like this: That shoeless immigrant may be the one working for the farmer off the books so the farmer can pick his subsidized crops and use publically funding roads to get them to Whole Foods. And when did the GOP or conservatives help the UAW or American auto industry?

    Liberals are out of touch with people. Only thing they talk about is their identity, sexuality, colour, gender. – So the ACA, ARRA and Auto Bailout were all about identity. Gotcha. The tax cuts Obama got passed were identity? Gothca. His proposals on education re-financing and paid sick leave, and childcare were all identity. Infrastructure was about identity. I see. And Trump never mentioned identity? Like ethnicity, or religion, or gender? OK.

    “Oh, they do give a care on climate change..and that’s good. But that’s about it. Enlighten me. ” – Where are conservatives on climate change? Enlighten you how? One side understands it’s an issue and is willing to address it. The other simply denies science.

    “Glad you all got a punch to the gut. Hubris pie takes awhile to swallow. Maybe now your party can get off identity politics daily talking points.” – Sure does. Even when you’ve won six of the last seven popular votes for POTUS. Even when your candidate received more votes than her opponent. And your candidates received more votes for the House…and the Senate. Remind me again how the GOP came together to work with Obama after 2008? Remind me how the GOP didn’t pout and use the filibuster. Remind me again how the Tea Party didn’t hold rallies or question the president’s legitimacy.

  21. M
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I like the idea of fanning out across the state and running for small town school board seats.

  22. Jean Henry
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    People are being harassed in the county as we speak. Young girls being grabbed in Ypsi. “It’s a free country now, bitch!” A woman walking to work in A2 being yelled at to go back home where she belongs and called a slut. Kids in two regional schools hrassing people of color. In one school, the kids pushed a row of lockers into a wall to keep out students of color.

    The work now is not patting ourselves on our backs. It’s not dissecting how HRC blew it (and how much better Bernie would have been) all of those narratives ignore the real work that needs to happen right now, which is to learn how to be effective allies to people at risk. Because the risk is constant and very real.

    If you have intellectual room to speculate on the election outcome or the poor working class, you are missing the work, We in Washtenaw county are not better. We are insulated. It’s really easy to behave well absent any threat.

    The owrst thing we could try to do is twist this thing to take race out of the equation. LGBTQ people voted for HRC, Black people, Muslim people, Latinos, all voted overwhelmingly in the majority for HRC. Many of them working class. As a percentage of their demo more are working class and poor than white people by large margin.

    Only white straight women and whote straight men voted for Trump. If you want to make this predominantly about more than fear of a non-white majority, as more than a bold assertion of white hertonormative supremacy, you have missed the story.

    And you need to ask yourself why you would minimize the problem now. Of all times. With those numbers in the voter rolls. Why minimize the issue now?

    We have been doing that for too long.

  23. Regan Parker
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I think I self segregated here. Loud voices like yours and Bee’s kept me here. I knew I’d found my people. But I do think we’re in a bubble here and I think that’s why so many of us were so shocked Wednesday morning. We weren’t listening to our neighbors. We couldn’t even hear them. So they got real loud Tuesday. We need to do a better job of making sure ALL Americans voices are heard and considered. Even those we think don’t need it.

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    M– an out of towner wouldn’t have a chance at a small town school board election. Those are inside jobs– totally. But the Democratic party could start cultivating local dems to run, and really training them to do the work.

  25. Lynne
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Yeah. There are a lot of other positions too. Clerks, drain commissioners, etc

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    In my home county, which is as big as Washtenaw County, and which has grown considerably diverse in the last 40 years, most of the local seats are still filled by people from local families. there are more women, but it’s still the same names. And no people of color. No South East Asians, even though they make up a decent chunk of the population now and have been there since the 70’s.

  27. alan2102
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Scott: “2.6 million voted for Obama in 2012 in Michigan. 2.3 million voters voted for Clinton in Michigan in 2016. Those missing 300k voters are at least as much a problem as the Stein voters.”

    Those missing 300k liberal democratic Obama voters were virulent sexists. What else could explain their absence?

    Nationally, Clinton got SEVEN MILLION fewer votes than Obama got in 2012:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as-HI6bueqY

    Amazing what sexism does to people.

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  1. […] [To give you a sense of just how infinitesimal this amount is, in Washtenaw County, Michigan alone, Clinton won by over 77,000 votes.] And we know, given how tight the race was, that even the smallest of factors may have contributed […]

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