Election Analysis

  Counties That Voted for Biden

Account For 70 Percent of US GDP

By Steve Rensberry
RP News

Graphic courtesy of statista.
 EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - (RP NEWS) - 11/20/2020 - A recent report by the Brookings Institute shines a light on the growing economic divide in the country, made even more apparent from the results of the latest General Election, with president-elect Joe Biden winning just 477 counties to Donald Trump's 2,497.

The big difference: Residents and businesses in the 477 counties that Biden carried accounted for an aggregate share of U.S. GDP of 70 percent, compared to just 29 percent for counties carried by Trump. The difference was somewhat smaller in 2016 when Trump ran against Hillary Clinton, but was still very large, with Clinton carrying 472 counties with a US GDP of 64 percent, to 2,584 counties carried by Trump accounting for 36 percent of US GDP.

GDP figures used for comparison, pertaining to the 2020 election, are from 2018.

As noted in this summary by statista data journalist Niall McCarthy: "The 2020 presidential election was notable for considerable political and geographic divides but it also highlighted a huge economic divide. . . . The political outcome of this year' contest is different and the country's economic voting chasm has widened. Biden won virtually all of the U.S. counties with the biggest economies including Los Angeles (CA), New York (NY), Cook (IL), Harris (TX) and Santa Clara (CA) while Trump was the candidate of choice in small towns and rural communities with correspondingly smaller economies," McCarthy writes. "The most economically powerful counties won by Trump in 2020 were Nassau (NY), Suffolk (NY), Collins (TX) and Oklahoma (OK)."

The Brooking Institute's report notes the often-cited differences between the two demographics of metropolitan vs rural or small-town America.

"Biden’s counties tended to be far more diverse, educated, and white-collar professional, with their aggregate nonwhite and college-educated shares of the economy running to 35 percent and 36 percent, respectively, compared to 16 percent and 25 percent in counties that voted for Trump," the Institute states, "In short, 2020’s map continues to reflect a striking split between the large, dense, metropolitan counties that voted Democratic and the mostly exurban, small-town, or rural counties that voted Republican. Blue and red America reflect two very different economies: one oriented to diverse, often college-educated workers in professional and digital services occupations, and the other whiter, less-educated, and more dependent on 'traditional' industries."

The report forecasts coming gridlock in Congress and between the White House and Senate because of the country's deep economic divide. "The problem . . . is not only that Democrats and Republicans disagree on issues of culture, identity, and power, but that they represent radically different swaths of the economy," it states. "Democrats represent voters who overwhelmingly reside in the nation’s diverse economic centers, and thus tend to prioritize housing affordability, an improved social safety net, transportation infrastructure, and racial justice. Jobs in blue America also disproportionately rely on national R&D investment, technology leadership, and services exports."

The possibility of significant serious economic harm to just about everyone in the country is a concern, especially if the divisive pattern made apparent in the last few election cycles continues, they said.

"Specifically, Trump’s anti-establishment appeal suggests that a sizable portion of the country continues to feel little connection to the nation’s core economic enterprises, and chose to channel that animosity into a candidate who promised not to build up all parts of the country, but rather to vilify groups who didn’t resemble his base," the report states, noting the special needs posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, making it "a particularly unsustainable situation."

See: Brookings Institute Report