When America Becomes More Polarized, Republicans Win

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Over at 538, David Wasserman has an interesting piece about the growing partisan divide in America. In particular, there are hardly any purple counties left:

Of the nation’s 3,113 counties (or county equivalents), just 303 were decided by single-digit margins — less than 10 percent. In contrast, 1,096 counties fit that description in 1992, even though that election featured a wider national spread. During the same period, the number of extreme landslide counties — those decided by margins exceeding 50 percentage points — exploded from 93 to 1,196, or over a third of the nation’s counties.

But things are actually even more interesting than Wasserman suggests. He illustrates the growing partisan trend with a set of maps from 1992 to 2016, which show the increasing number of landslide counties. But it turns out there’s very little change from election to election. In fact, there are only two elections since 1992 which produced a big change:

In years when a Republican is elected, the nation becomes far more polarized. Or, if you prefer, in years when the nation becomes far more polarized, a Republican wins the election. Discuss.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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