Who are we politically in Lorain County? Shifting winds


An in-depth look at 2008 (left map) and 2016 (right map) presidential election canvass reports shows how Lorain County’s political affiliations are changing. Blue areas show support for Democrats while red areas show support for Republicans. The huge swathe of purple shows areas where voters were split (plus or minus three percent for either candidate). Democrats lost considerable ground in the most recent election, with their base consolidated mainly to Elyria, Lorain, Sheffield/Lake, and Oberlin.


Illustration by Jason Hawk | Civitas Media

President Donald Trump, who arguably never left campaign mode after his surprise Election Night victory, has declared his candidacy for 2020.

The re-election campaign kicked off Saturday in Florida, just 30 days after Trump’s inauguration.

So if the grueling 18 months of the last campaign season didn’t sate your hunger for knives-out politics, it looks like you’ll get four years of it this time around.

Trump’s rise revealed shifting attitudes across the nation, a strong rubber band effect snapping to the right after eight years with President Barack Obama in the White House.

Lorain County was no exception.

With the 2020 race officially underway, we decided to look back at the Lorain County Board of Elections’ canvass reports back to 2000, specifically for presidential races, to see what their numbers reveal about shifting attitudes.

As previously reported, they show traditionally blue Lorain County going purple in 2016. Yet there’s more to the story.

In 2000, Al Gore won the county 11,852 votes. John Kerry won here by 17,767 in 2004 and Obama stretched the Democratic hold to win by 26,208 votes in 2008.

Support remained strong but slightly diminished four years later as Obama won his second term by 22,059 votes.

In 2016, unofficial results showed Trump taking the tiniest of edges. When the ballots were certified, Clinton held the county by her fingernails — just 131 votes.

Where is the shift happening?

Simplistic election maps show Middle America bathed in a homogeneous shade of red with just the “coastal elites” in blue.

In Ohio, small blobs of blue show Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, and Cincinnati standing virtually alone in an ocean of red.

After the election, a popular conservative meme claimed Trump won 3,084 of the nation’s 3,141 counties. Those numbers were wildly inaccurate. Clinton actually won 487 of the 3,113 counties — which still seems immensely lopsided.

Does that mean a majority of the country is conservative? No, that’s not how it works because of population density.

Nor is it as simple as New York and California propping up leftism (never mind Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Illinois in the interior). There are nearly 300 cities spread across the U.S. that are home to 100,000 or more people, and they are overwhelmingly blue.

Election data shows the nation’s political leanings sharply defined by the urban-rural divide. Small towns and wide open spaces have a proportionate correlation to conservatism; the larger a city, the more liberal it will be.

And that’s what the more recent local canvass numbers show, with some interesting exceptions.

Oberlin, proud of its libertine historical roots, showed 92 percent support for Clinton this fall. Lorain and Elyria were also blue cities. Sheffield provided the only blue township in the entire county. All other suburbs, villages, and townships went red.

Again, don’t be fooled by the map. A majority of its geographical area may be red, but population density is what counts.

In Lorain County cities, Clinton won 54,524 to 46,226. In townships and villages, Trump won 20,592 to 12,425.

What we can learn here is that so-called “fly-over” states such as Ohio aren’t as pegged as you may think. They’re actually complex political ecosystems.

An in-depth look at 2008 (left map) and 2016 (right map) presidential election canvass reports shows how Lorain County’s political affiliations are changing. Blue areas show support for Democrats while red areas show support for Republicans. The huge swathe of purple shows areas where voters were split (plus or minus three percent for either candidate). Democrats lost considerable ground in the most recent election, with their base consolidated mainly to Elyria, Lorain, Sheffield/Lake, and Oberlin.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2017/02/web1_Elections-2008-2016.jpgAn in-depth look at 2008 (left map) and 2016 (right map) presidential election canvass reports shows how Lorain County’s political affiliations are changing. Blue areas show support for Democrats while red areas show support for Republicans. The huge swathe of purple shows areas where voters were split (plus or minus three percent for either candidate). Democrats lost considerable ground in the most recent election, with their base consolidated mainly to Elyria, Lorain, Sheffield/Lake, and Oberlin.

Illustration by Jason Hawk | Civitas Media