As luck would have it, I was traveling on Election Day, which suited me rather well. My political instincts are not good, and the charm of both parties’ major presidential candidates had eluded me, to say the least.
Since then, I have read up a bit on the national results. What strikes me is how completely Americans seem to have segregated themselves into like-minded communities.
–The District of Columbia voted 93 percent for Hillary Clinton and 4 percent for Donald Trump, a remarkable 89 percentage point differential.
–Tennessee favored Trump 65 percent over Clinton, who won 35 percent of the vote, mostly in Memphis and Nashville.
–California voted 62 percent Clinton, and 31 percent Trump, but there were splits within the state. The coastal areas favored the Democrat, and virtually every county north of Los Angeles and east of Interstate 5 (except Yolo County, which includes Sacramento and UC Davis) went Republican.
–Another western state, Idaho, favored Trump, 59 percent to 29 percent. Clinton carried only two counties — one that is that home to the University of Idaho and a smaller one that encompasses the Sun Valley ski resorts.
It is entirely possible in any of these states, or at least parts of them, that voters never encountered any people who had a different point of view than their own. This may explain the name-calling that preceded the election and the protests that followed it.
It’s easier to demonize people you’ve never met, I guess. Big as the country is, it feels at the moment like a bunch of walled enclaves.
Ballot Measure Update
I wrote last week about a ballot initiative in Santa Monica, Calif., that would have required a public vote to approve every new proposal for a building taller than two stories.This was seen as a prelude to similar micromanagement efforts in greater Los Angeles and was opposed broadly. It gathered only 44 percent of the vote, which seems like a sign of sanity.