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The Changing Face of Politics, by the Numbers
By Ashley Peters
Co-Chair, Collingsworth County Democratic Party—
WELLINGTON — Now that U.S. General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy has formally acknowledged Joe Biden’s win in the Nov. 3 election, the Biden team can finally begin the important work of his official transition from President-elect to the White House on Jan. 20, 2021.
Biden’s 6 million vote triumph over Trump is the result of four years of hard work and campaigning by Democrats at every level, from the DNC to our local parties. Last fall, Mike Chandler and I took over as co-chairs of the Collingsworth County Democratic Party. In the year since, we have hosted two of our U.S. congressional district candidates at a meet and greet event in January, worked with Shelly Brim on her campaign for county commissioner, networked with other Democratic county chairs in our area and helped organize this year’s primary runoff, and general elections.
While COVID prevented us from doing a lot of the things we had planned in the last several months, we have succeeded in increasing our public presence in the community and building on the state and nation-wide momentum to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, culminating in a 6.9% increase* in the number of Democratic voters in Collingsworth County since the 2016 election. Many might be surprised to realize that at least one in 10 of their neighbors (12.73%, to be exact) votes Democrat, and that many more likely lean that way – which means that if you’re in a restaurant with 30 people, there is a good chance that at least three of us are sitting at tables next to yours.
Biden’s win is reflective of the changing face of partisan distribution overall, as his victory over Trump represents a 2.6% increase in the split of votes since 2016, with a 3.24% increase in Texas. The number of Democratic voters nationwide grew by 21.42% (compared to the GOP’s 17.25%) and 35.62% in Texas, with the GOP experiencing just 25.73% growth by comparison. Biden also won 54% of the independent votes this year, amounting to an 11-point lead in those votes compared to Trump’s 3-point margin in 2016.
This trend is also demonstrative of the state-level change seen in the 2018 midterms, when Beto O’Rourke trailed Ted Cruz in the U.S. Senate race by just 2.56% compared to the 15.79% lead Cruz had in 2012 over his Democratic opponent Paul Sadler. John Cornyn’s margin narrowed this year as well, with him beating Mary “MJ” Hegar by just 9.64% compared to his 27.2% win over David M. Alameel in 2014.
Democrats are gaining traction in red states across the country, as evidenced by Biden turning Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia blue (and winning one of the split electoral votes in Nebraska), representing a full 64 electoral votes that ensured his 306 to 232 lead over Trump-a nearly direct inversion of the electoral college results in 2016. Two Senate runoff races in Georgia will determine which party controls the Senate beginning in 2021.
The trends we have observed nationwide and on the state and local levels point to a coming “blue wave” in future years. Our electorate is increasingly younger and more diverse as traditionally underrepresented populations are becoming more involved in politics and choosing to exercise their right to vote. 2020 marked the highest voter turnout in history, underscoring the renewed interest in individual contribution to the democratic process after four years of turmoil.
*All figures are compiled from state and federal data and represent the numbers from the presidential election only unless otherwise noted.