US ELECTIONS: The three counties in three states that made a difference for Joe Biden

Joe Biden

 — By Simon Tisdall – The Guardian – 07 November 2020

Donald Trump had alienated key voter groups in each of the constituencies that helped swing the presidency for Joe Biden

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

This county, the state’s most populous with more than 1.5 million inhabitants, is coterminous with the city of Philadelphia. Residents cast about 750,000 votes in the election, favouring Biden over Trump by 81%-18%. It was 30,000 pro-Biden votes from the county, declared at about 9am on Friday, that overturned Trump’s state-wide lead, which on Tuesday night had looked impregnable.         

The shift, potentially worth 20 electoral college votes, added vital momentum to the Democratic candidate’s push for the White House. The county is at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement – it is about 43% African American and 45% white. Supporters were involved in protests against the police killings of George Floyd in Minnesota and a local man, Walter Wallace, who was shot in October.

Trump repeatedly dismissed nationwide BLM protests, insulted and mocked demonstrators, and sent troops to suppress them. Now they paid him back. Exit polls show African-Americans in Pennsylvania, representing 8% of all voters, backed Biden by 92%-6%. The Hispanic/Latino community, 4% of all voters, backed him by 78%-18%. Although the two minorities’ total numbers were relatively small, so was Biden’s margin of victory.

Clayton County, Georgia

Trump’s treatment of congressman John Lewis upset many voters in Clayton County. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

Located in the greater Atlanta area, this county forms part of the 5th Congressional District, which was represented from 1987, until his death in July, by the Democratic congressman, John Lewis, the renowned civil rights leader.

Fulton and DeKalb counties also belong to the 5th District, which is majority African-American and comprises almost three-quarters of the city of Atlanta, Georgia’s largest.

Three former presidents, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama, attended Lewis’s funeral, where Obama delivered a powerful eulogy. But Trump snubbed the event and was slow to pay tribute, appearing to ignore or dismiss Lewis’s contribution to racial justice.

It’s fair to say his absence caused great offence, and not only among African-Americans. Those voters may have gained their revenge last week. Early on Friday, 917 votes from Clayton gave Biden a state-wide lead for the first time. Overall, Clayton county backed Biden by 85% to 14% for Trump. DeKalb followed suit, by 83% to 15%. Exit polls showed that black people in Georgia, comprising 30% of the population, backed Biden by 87% to 11%. Last week, Democrat Nikema Williams was elected for the 5th District.

Maricopa County, Arizona

Trump’s vendetta against John McCain, the popular Republican senator from Arizona, infuriated many people in the state. McCain, a Vietnam war veteran who died in 2018, was a favourite son unafraid to criticise the president. In return, Trump repeatedly insulted him.

Partly as a result, another local hero, the former astronaut and Democrat, Mark Kelly, will now fill McCain’s Senate seat after emerging victorious last week. Kelly’s wife is the former Democratic congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, who was shot in 2011. Giffords represented the 8th Congressional District, centred on Maricopa County. Maricopa, with 62% of the state’s population, is home to Phoenix, the state capital. In short, Maricopa is vital for any presidential candidate who wants to win Arizona.

Yet Trump managed to alienate county residents to the extent that they voted last week for a Democratic senator and for Joe Biden by 51% to 47% – more than enough to flip the state. At least 1,912,000 Maricopa voters turned against Trump, including Hispanic/Latinos by about 2 to 1. About 47% of white voters went for Biden. It was a remarkable turnaround in a once-famed Republican stronghold – and very much a Trump own goal.

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  • Clyde Duncan  On November 10, 2020 at 1:10 am

    SHOCKER: American Jewish Vote Clinched Biden’s Victory and Trump’s Ouster

    Without their critical support, Biden would have lost Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona and Trump would be looking forward to four more years

    Chemi Shalev – Analysis | Haaretz

    American Jews decided the outcome of the U.S. elections. The evidence is clear and incontrovertible. Lopsided Jewish support made Joe Biden president and tossed Donald Trump out of office. Without the Jewish vote, Trump would have won the elections and stayed on for another four years in the White House.

    Asked to comment last year on the intractable Jewish support for Democrats, Trump said it shows they are “disloyal” to Israel and the Jewish people. One shudders to think of his reaction – and that of his fanatic fans – to the fact that American Jews were the ones who actually deprived him of victory. Whoever assured Trump that the Jewish community would reward him for his ostensibly pro-Israel policy has some explaining to do, to say the least.

    THE STATISTICS ARE CLEAR-CUT. Biden was declared winner of the election by virtue of his narrow victory in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State pushed the Democratic candidate over the 270 threshold in the Electoral College and made him president-elect. Without Pennsylvania, John King might still be standing in a CNN studio with his Sharpies and his county diagrams, awaiting final results from Tortolita, Arizona or some other place that no one had ever heard of before.

    Without Jews, Biden would have lost Pennsylvania. The math is simple: There are anywhere between 300,000 and 500,000 Jews in Pennsylvania, depending how you count, so let’s split the difference and settle on 400,000. Over 80 percent are adults, according to most population surveys, and of these, over 80 percent of them vote on average. And they split for Biden by a three-to-one margin, according to a state poll conducted by J Street and a national Jewish poll carried out by the American Jewish Committee.

    AN OVERALL JEWISH POPULATION OF 400,000 YIELDS 320,000 ELIGIBLE JEWISH VOTERS, OF WHICH ABOUT 256,000 JEWISH ADULTS ACTUALLY CAST A BALLOT.

    At a three-to-one ratio, Biden garnered 192,000 and Trump 70,000. Thus, the Jews of Pennsylvania gave Biden a surplus of 122,000 votes. He is currently leading Trump by 45,000 votes. This means that without Jews, Trump would have triumphed over Biden by a 75,000-vote margin and we would be living in a totally different world.

    Even if one takes the lower figure of 300,000 Jews overall in Pennsylvania, 240,000 eligible voters and 192,000 actual voters, and divide them by the lower seven-to-three ratio reported in a post-election survey carried out by the Associated Press, Biden gets 134,000 Jewish votes and Trump 58,000, creating a surplus of 76,000 votes, far bigger than the current margin. THAT IS GAME, SET AND MATCH.

    One might posit that when the final counting is over it will emerge that Biden could have won the elections without Pennsylvania. Of the states still outstanding, Georgia or Arizona alone could give Biden the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win. Without the Jews, however, the president-elect wouldn’t stand a chance of winning Georgia or Arizona either.

    There are approximately 100,000 adult Jews in Arizona, with a higher average age than the U.S. community overall. If 80,000 of them voted in accordance with the national ratio, 60,000 went to Biden and 20,000 to Trump, producing a 40,000-vote margin for the Democratic candidate. Biden currently leads Trump in Arizona by 17,000 votes.

    The story is the same in Georgia. According to Jewish Virtual Library, 130,000 Jews reside in the state. If 100,000 of them voted, they gave Biden 75,000 votes and Trump 25,000, a margin of 50,000 votes. Biden currently leads Trump in Georgia by 11,000 votes. Without the Jews, Trump would be leading by 39,000.

    In other states with close contests, Jews may not have actually pushed Biden over the threshold, but they brought him very close to its edge. Nevada’s 80,000 Jews, of which approximately 60,000 would vote, gave Biden a 30,000-vote surplus in a state he won by 36,000.

    Michigan’s 90,000 Jews would provide Biden with 36,000 surplus votes in a state he won by 48,000 alone. Were it not for the Jews, Nevada and Michigan might still be waiting for the final projection.

    Jewish communities do not vote the same in every state, of course. They are subject to the same swaying factors as any other Americans, be it education level and religiosity, business and personal finances, and a web of other intersecting concerns that push all the country’s citizens right or left. One state’s community may have a larger Reform and Conservative presence, which historically points leftward; another still may have a larger Orthodox populace, which tilts further right. But the polls have spoken: AMERICAN JEWS VOTE BLUE.

    After years in which the main impact American Jews on U.S. elections was measured mainly in terms of donations and activism, for the first time in U.S. history it was the raw electoral power of the Jews which made the whole difference.

    Traditionally dismissed as an electoral force because of their heavy concentration in decidedly Democratic states such as California, New York and Illinois, the close 2020 elections rendered their smaller presence in battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Nevada more pivotal – and, it appears, decisive – than ever before.

    American Jews might have played a similar role by clinching the 2000 elections for Al Gore, if he’d been declared the winner in Florida instead of George Bush. Before that, one would have to go back to the 1960 election, in which John F. Kennedy took a whopping 82 percent of the Jewish vote. Without the Jews, Kennedy might have lost New Jersey and Illinois, which he won by a hair’s breadth, but that still would have left him with the bare minimum of 270 electoral votes.

    THIS MAY BE THE FIRST TIME IN U.S. HISTORY THAT AMERICAN JEWS SINGLE-HANDEDLY CLINCHED VICTORY FOR THE WINNING CANDIDATE.

    The fact that they defeated a president who is described as the best friend Israel ever had in the White House highlights the well-known fact that the American Jewish community has far more pressing concerns than Israel, especially when Biden himself comes with impeccable Israel credentials, even if the Jewish right is already describing him and his party as deadly enemies.

    Right wingers in both Israel and the United States will describe the decisive role played by Jews in the 2020 elections as perfidy [rotten rope].

    A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS, MOST OF THE DEMOCRATIC WORLD AND A MINORITY OF ISRAELIS WILL VIEW THE AMERICAN JEWISH VOTE AS A GODSEND THAT SAVED THE DAY.

    Trump, of course, will remain as clueless as ever. He is likely to blame the Jews and fume at their “disloyalty” rather than internalize how much his conduct in office repelled and his moral values revolted most American Jews and drove them away. BUT THAT IS MERELY PAR FOR THE COURSE.

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