If you are a breathing human-being in the United States, or perhaps even elsewhere, you did not go an hour without either hearing or seeing a comment, tweet, picture, video– you name it– regarding the election results on November 9th, 2016. Certainly, with Trump at 62,979,879 and Clinton at 65,844,954 totaling to just over 128.8 million votes, the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made its mark in American history (Krieg, 2016). The difference in direction of the electoral college and the popular vote was confounding to the media all over the nation. Not only was the result itself unexpected— according to most polls— but the directional divergence had only occurred four other times in history, three of the four occurring before the 20th century.
With solely the numbers in mind, one might think that the visual of the election map would show a relatively even split; a truly “divided” nation would be both numerically divided and geographically divided, right? According to the map of “Clinton’s America” this was not the case. Despite the numbers, Hillary only won 15% or 3,000,000 square miles of the United States’ land mass, leaving Trump with a perplexing remainder of 85% at 350,000,000 square miles. To reflect these numbers, the seemingly small islands of Hillary would harbor 54% of the nation’s population at 174 million Americans (Jacobs, 2017). With some basic calculations, that comes out to 58 people per square mile whereas Trump’s land would host 1 person for every 2 square miles. So what can we determine from numbers alone? Clinton’s voters have had to come from exceedingly densely populated areas, or particularly cities. When looking at the “Clinton’s America” map, the identified cities— Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, etc.— prove this conjecture to be accurate. While the state is often represented by the city, the city is certainly not represented by the state. Look at New York, for example. When people think of think of the words “New York,” they immediately think of a skyscraper-lined landscape with mass herds of occupants roaming the streets. Much like other U.S. cities, The Big Apple represents the majority of the state’s population, economic activity, and the identification of the state as a whole. Yet, New York City only covers 0.006% of New York state’s total square mileage. These highly populated urban environments, such as New York City, are essentially isolated from the rest of the state, forming— in correlation to the map—islands. The “island” forms an individual entity and harbors a different group of people in comparison to the rest of the state. Cities are known for minorities and cultural diversity. Somewhere in American history, minority groups became linked to liberalism, setting the foundation of Clinton’s America.
Let’s now take a step back past the numbers, past the uneven population spread, past any knowledge you have of the United States— and focus only on the geography of the “Clinton’s America” map. The map gives off the perception that Trump not only won the election, but he dominated in the popular vote count as well as the electoral college. Clinton’s America conveys a distinctly inaccurate representation of the 2016’s election results, however it remains fairly accurate in terms of geopolitical spread. The map focusses on geographic accuracy, and does represent a proportional visual of landmass-to-population density. Of course to do this, city-based regions would need to be deliberately skewed. To say the least, it shows how ineffective the portrayal of land area is in determining overall political views in the United States. If an outsider with no knowledge of American politics were to see this map, he undoubtedly would argue that the United States is unquestionably conservative. As we know from the previously stated data, the popular vote was not in Trump’s favor and the results were remarkably close, deeming this map an inadequate way to represent American political stances.
So what can we learn from such an unconventional map? The first take away is that the cross between geography and politics can be extremely misleading if misunderstood. One must realize that the majority of the United State’s population lies within the exodermis of the physical contiguous landmass and the archipelago of liberalism contributes more to the nation’s identity than one might perceive. “Clinton’s America” also evokes the question as to whether our current electoral college system is fair in fully representing American democracy. Does the U.S. need to completely repeal the electoral college and rely on popular vote for further elections? Or have the founding principles of the nation become obsolete and simply need to be reformed to allocate growing population distribution? The conception of one map could be all the nations need to recognize and understand whether or not a more equitable system of democracy is necessary to fully express the voice of the people.
Cook Political Report Staff. “56 Interesting Facts about the 2016 Election” National Politics.
December 16, 2016. Accessed March 04, 2017. http://cookpolitical.com/story/10201
Frank Jacobs, “Trumpistan vs. Clintonesia.” Big Think Strange Maps, January 22, 2017.
Krieg, Gregory. “It’s official: Clinton swamps Trump in popular vote.” CNN. December
22, 2016. Accessed March 04, 2017.