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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Divided We Stand

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. In our next book (title TBA), we discuss how these divides played out in 2020.

Alan Greenblatt at Governing:
It's not just ideology that divides Americans. With the decline of trust in many institutions, politics has become a “mega-identity,” a way for people to find like-minded people who look like them and live like them and worship like them (or don’t) and have similar educational and economic opportunities.

Partisans are literally living apart from each other. During the 1976 presidential election, just over a quarter of the country lived in landslide counties, carried by one party or the other by 20 percentage points or more. In November, the number was 58.2 percent, according to Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart. More than half the nation’s counties were carried by a landslide.

The two parties dominate separate worlds enjoying separate fortunes. Joe Biden carried fewer counties than any presidential winner in history – 520, or less than one in six – but they represented 71 percent of the nation’s GDP, according to the Brookings Institution. “Biden-voting counties accounted for 83 percent of new firms started over the last decade, 73 percent of employment growth and 67 percent of the population growth,” says John Lettieri, president of the Economic Innovation Group, a research group focused partly on geographic inequality.