Where the Difference Lay

Out of curiosity, today I Googled for the county-by-county results of the 2016 Presidential campaign.  They were easy to find, here, and I indulged myself in a bit of investigation to find out just where the difference lay in the popular vote, so championed as “more fair” than the “obsolete” Electoral College.

I had heard multiple times from various sources that California and New York were the states that put Clinton over the top in the popular vote, and that without them, Trump had won by millions of votes.  That may be true, but you can’t just take her votes away in those states and keep his.  You have to remove both sets of votes, and see how the numbers fall.

That’s what I did.  I figured that it was probably the more populous counties in the two states that made the difference, but I was a bit surprised by the result after spending some time the an Excel spreadsheet and the vote tallies.

Six counties.

That’s all it took: six counties in California and New York.  They were Alameda County, Los Angeles County, and San Francisco County in California, and Bronx County, New York County, and Queens County in New York.  If no one in those counties had voted, and everything else had stayed the same.  Trump would have won the popular vote as well as the Electoral College.  In fact, this is the exact scenario that the Founding Fathers were trying to avoid by creating the College, though they were thinking of entire states, not single counties.  They didn’t want a small, highly populated area dictating to the rest of the country the results of  a Presidential election.  They wanted a President to have broad appeal across the entire country.

Myself, I’m just as glad that LA, San Fran, and the Big Apple didn’t have the final say as to who got to be President.