Wednesday, February 24

“The map of the American vote reveals two worlds that everything separates and which are, even more than in 2016, face to face”


Lhe cards presented here are doubly specific. First, they were carried out on data from 3,143 counties (or equivalent) in the United States. This makes it possible to grasp the diversity of local situations. Next, next to the classic Euclidean map (which appears in small format), the cartogram, on which each county has a surface area proportional to its population, makes it possible to attribute their real weight to all the voters and thus to give its place to the urban world, hardly visible on classic maps.

The landscape which then appears is spectacular. This geography exposes two worlds that everything separates and which are, even more than in 2016, face to face. The phenomenon is comparable to what we observe in Europe, but with even more clarity. In the United States, since 2000, the differences in location between large and small towns and between center and suburbs (suburbs), peri-urban (exurbs) and campaign – what are called “urbanity gradients” – play an increasing role in the distribution of votes between Republicans and Democrats.

We should not therefore attribute this development to the sole personality of Donald Trump. The strength of its “system” is to have been able, even better than others, by its posture and its rhetoric, to redefine the republican electorate in a sense of identity, by uniting the conservative right and those who do not see it. in today’s world that a radical threat to their existence.

Radicalization of antinomies

However, it is the geography of the inhabitants which expresses it most simply and most strongly. Everything suggests, on both sides of the Atlantic, that living in a city is a major lifestyle choice that says a lot about who you are and what you want. In the 2020 election, the political color of a state as a whole depends, for the most part, on the presence and weight within it of one or more metropolises.

Even in “red” states (traditionally owned by Republicans), large cities give Democrats clear majorities. So in Texas, Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio rejected Trump. In the five core states of the “Deep South”, which from a distance appeared to be a large uniform red patch on the map, the largest cities, Atlanta (Georgia), New Orleans (Louisiana), Birmingham (Alabama) , Charleston (South Carolina) and Jackson (Mississippi) voted Biden. It’s clearly the Atlanta metropolitan area, with impressive scores in favor of Biden, that counts in Georgia’s political dynamic.

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