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Some Inconvenient Facts about the Trump Election

Pat Speer

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From Obama Nation to Abomination: an Alternative to Some "Alternative Facts" About the "Democratic" Election of Donald Trump
by Patrick Speer

Introduction: Re-writing the first draft of history.
I don't like Donald Trump. Let's not even pretend. He is, to me, the all-too-real embodiment of movie villains like Gregory Breed Marmalard in Animal House and Biff Tanney in Back to the Future. But this article is not about Donald Trump and my feelings about him, or even about his disastrous take-over of the government, as much as it is about the election of Donald Trump, and what it says about America.

In the days following T-Day, November 8, 2016 (a date that will live in infamy?) I, as so many other Americans, read news article after news article, and watched news program after news program, in an attempt to understand what happened. And was let down.

These articles and programs missed the big picture. Some of them treated the election as though Trump had won in a landslide, and that his election represented a mandate for change... And some of them treated the election like Trump had won fair and square and earned our respect (Like... Congratulations, you've just lost an election by close to 3 million votes. We owe you our undying allegiance... What?) And some of them treated the election like it was a poker game, and second-guessed every move made by Hillary Clinton over the past few months before the election, and essentially blamed her for winning the election by almost 3 million votes, yet still losing due to a loophole created for slave owners.
So I spent two months or so on my computer, analyzing the election results. And decided to write an article of my own.
Here, then, are my findings...
Finding # 1: There was no mandate.
I looked back through prior elections, and found no record of a similar election, in which the most populous state (in this case California, but in most prior cases New York) so roundly rejected a president. Going back to 1828, when elections bore little resemblance to today's elections and where the popular vote was an afterthought, the winning candidate lost the election in the biggest state but 8 times, and never by the margin by which Trump lost California. To wit, Trump lost California 61.73% to 31.62%, a more than 30 point margin.
Now, to be clear, some LOSERS have had worse performances in the largest state. Actually, correct that, ONE LOSER has had a worse performance in the largest state, and that was in 1920, when Ohio Governor James Cox lost to fellow Ohioan Warren G. Harding 64.56 to 26.95 in the great state of New York.
So, perhaps we should think of it this way. A monumental loser like James Cox only comes around once every hundred years or so, and this century's James Cox is Donald Trump.

(It seems likely, moreover, that Trump is aware of this fact. Since the election, he has repeatedly and without foundation claimed the California vote was illegitimate, and that 3-5 million votes were illegally cast for his opponent. He even feigned at opening an investigation into the matter.)
And that's not the only manner in which Trump is one of the biggest "losers" in history.
The last "winner" to lose his home state was Woodrow Wilson in 1916. And that's when one counts his home state as New Jersey, where he'd briefly served as Governor. Wilson was actually born in Virginia. He won in Virginia. The only other "winner" to lose his home state was James K. Polk, who lost his home state of Kentucky in 1844. Making matters worse, for Trump, is that Wilson lost 54.4 to 42.68, a difference of less than 12 points (slightly less than 58,000 votes), and Polk lost by .1 point (131 votes), while Trump lost in New York 58.4 to 36.15, a difference of over 22 points (and more than 1.7 million votes).

And that's not the worst of it. NO major party LOSER in American history ever lost his home state by such a margin, at least, that is, since the election of 1856, when ex-President Millard Fillmore split the vote and James Buchanan defeated John C. Fremont in his home state of California, 48.38 to 18.78.

So, now, let that sink in. Trump is both the second biggest loser of the biggest state in American political history, and the second worst performer in his home state in American political history.

The people who know Trump best like him least!
So...what was that about a landslide? And a mandate?
There is also this. U.S. Senators come up for election every 6 years. As a consequence only 33 or 34 come up for election every other year. Thirty- four seats came up for election in 2016, 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats. If there had been a "mandate" the Republicans would most certainly have picked off 2 or more of the 10. But no, they actually lost 2 seats. Even more amazingly, the total number of votes cast for Democratic Senatorial Candidates was far greater than the number cast for Republican Senatorial Candidates. To wit, they received over 18.9 million more votes than Republican candidates for Senator in the 12 states they won, while Republicans received barely 7.8 million more votes than Democratic candidates for senator in the 22 states in which they emerged victorious. Now it should be acknowledged that over 12.2 million of the votes for Democrats came in California, where no Republican was on the ballot, and a Black woman ran against an Hispanic woman. But that's just the point. How can Trump claim a mandate for his agenda when his party is so weak and disrespected it can't even get a candidate on the ballot for a Senate seat representing the most populous state in the country?
Well, what about the House of Representatives, then? Yes, it's true. The total number of votes in the House favored the Republicans, by .8 of a point. But this by no means represents a mandate. In fact, this margin was down from a 5.7 pct. margin of victory in 2014. Now think about that. That means the Republican Party, taken as a whole, LOST 4.9 of its mandate in but 2 years, and is now left with a narrow lead in popularity, not a mandate to rule without compromise. Of course, Trump lost the popular vote by 2.1 pct. So, think about that as well. That proves the AVERAGE Republican candidate for congress was 2.9 pct more popular than Trump among their constituents, and this in turn proves Trump should look to them, and their non-existent mandate, for guidance, as opposed to claiming they should get behind him and his non-existent "mandate" for change as he sees fit.
Finding #2. The "legitimacy" of the election is purely a matter of perspective. 

The way the election was covered fed into the illusion Trump's win was legitimate, and decisive. The news coverage followed the election from east to west, and kept an ongoing electoral count. By the time polls closed in the west, it was pretty much a done deal. The "people" had spoken. Trump had won. Some even said in a landslide.
But this was an incomplete portrait of what had actually occurred. Those reporting on a trial owe it to their readers to report not only what side is "winning", but whether justice is being served. Well, the same is true for those reporting on elections. The deference to tradition and the validity of the Electoral College by those in the mainstream press helped "legitimize" Trump's victory, even though many if not most of those watching at home felt justice was not served.

To be clear, most Americans do not give a rat's ass about the Electoral College, or even understand it. It is not a cherished tradition. It is, instead, that stinking loophole that
opened the door to George W. Bush, 9/11, and the failed war in Iraq.

So let's view the election as an event Americans can understand: a football game. And let's view it through a metric they both understand and support: the popular vote. And let's start from west to east instead of east to west. 

Well, Clinton struck first: she won Hawaii, by 138,000 votes. Then Trump battled back. He won Alaska by 47,000. Clinton then gained some momentum. She won in Oregon, Washington and Nevada, by a combined 770,000 votes. Trump then countered by winning Idaho, Arizona and Utah by a combined 515,000 votes. Clinton then slowed the momentum by picking up New Mexico by almost 66,000 votes. Trump regained his momentum by winning in Wyoming and Montana by a combined 220,000 votes. But then Clinton picked up Colorado by 136,000 votes. 

So, here we are at the end of the first quarter in our imaginary football game... Clinton has been in the lead the whole way, and is currently ahead by over 330,000 votes.
But we skipped something, didn't we? We skipped California, where Clinton won by, get this, 4,270,000 votes. The race from west to east in our example isn't even close. By the time we get to Texas, Clinton is winning in a landslide, by more than 4.6 million votes. Let's call that 23 points.
But Trump won Texas, some might say. He rallied back and gained the momentum.
Well, then, let's continue. If we're gonna describe an imaginary football game, after all, we might as well describe it to the end, and make it as dramatic as possible.
Trump and his big orange machine begin to roll. He picks up North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, by a margin of over 2.1 million votes. Clinton then squeaks out Minnesota, by 45,000 votes. Trump then resumes his roll. He wins in Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wisconsin, by a combined 1.6 million votes. He's closing in. and is now down by roughly 900,000 votes. But Clinton wins Illinois, by 944,000 votes.
So, here we are, half-way through our imaginary football game, and Clinton still has a sizeable lead of over 1.8 million votes. Let's call that nine points.
Trump then regains his momentum. He rolls like Sherman across the South and rust-belt. He wins in Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, and North Carolina...by almost 3.9 million votes. It's the end of the third quarter and he is now over 2 million votes in the lead! Let's say 10 points.
Only not so fast. Clinton battles back in Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, and wins those races by roughly 1.25 million votes. She is within striking distance. A big win in Pennsylvania and she's back in the lead. But Trump takes Pennsylvania, by 44,000 votes or so.
And that's it. The last minutes of the game are all Clinton. She wins in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine, by roughly 3.6 million votes, for a final victory margin of almost 2.9 million votes. Let's say 14 points.
Clinton, from this perspective, won a dramatic victory!
Now, to be sure every American can see it, here is how it played out as a football game.
                1st         2nd         3rd           4th         Total
Clinton      23             0            0            24           47
Trump        0            14          19             0            33
Now, no doubt some are thinking that this football analogy doesn't hold, because of that pesky Electoral College.

This brings us to our final finding of part one of this essay...


Finding #3: the Electoral College has got to go!

Now, let's look at the election from another perspective. Let's say that instead of looking at it from east to west or west to east, we look at if from the most populous states down to the least populous states. 

We'll start by looking at the Big 5: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. These states comprise 37% of the nation's population and over 40% of its economy. Now, here's the surprise. Clinton not only dominated in these states, she did better in these states than Barack Obama did in 2012. And it wasn't that Obama did poorly in 2012. There have been 30 major party candidates over the last 15 elections, going back to the election of 1960, Clinton did better in these five states than every major party candidate but four: Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Richard Nixon in 1972, Ronald Reagan in 1984, and Barack Obama in 2008. Now, all these candidates went on to win the election by size-able margins.

So why not Hillary?

It comes down to eight words: the Electoral College (which has got to go!).
Let me demonstrate. When looking at the states by population, one can break the country into three pieces, each representing around a third of the population.
Here, then, is a breakdown of the election by thirds.

The first third, comprising the four largest states by population:
Clinton wins two states, for 84 delegates in the Electoral College, by over 6 million votes.
Trump wins two states, for 67 delegates in the Electoral College, by a little over 900,000 votes.
Clinton is up by roughly 5.1 million votes. She leads by over 14 points in head-to-head voting. She looks like a sure-winner.

The second third, comprising the next eleven largest states by population:
Clinton wins five states, for 70 delegates in the Electoral College, by roughly 3.1 million votes.
Trump wins six states, for 96 delegates in the Electoral College, by a little over 950,000 votes.
Stopping right here, Clinton is around 7.2 million votes ahead. She is up by 8 1/2 points in head-to-head voting.

And yet, she is down 9 delegates in the Electoral College!

Where else in the world can you be leading by 8 1/2 points and still be "losing"?

This just isn't acceptable. The Electoral College, created for the wrong reasons and subsequently changed for the wrong reasons, is an affront to all-things American, in particular our sense of right and wrong and fair-play. It is not only un-Democratic, it is undemocratic. No American soldier ever died overseas for the Electoral College. They died for the concept of one man, one vote, with no hanky panky, and no back doors through which a widely-disliked candidate can sneak in and reward his cronies and supporters with an agenda rejected by the bulk of the populace.

The Electoral College has got to go!

Let's look at this again from a slightly different perspective. The three biggest states won by Clinton were California, New York and Illinois. These states represent over 71 million people. If separated from the rest of the states and combined into one, these three states would become one of the 20 largest countries in the world by population, with the third largest economy, after only the United States and China. Clinton received nearly 7 million more votes than Trump in these states and received over 63% of the votes cast for herself and Trump in these states. She did better in these three states (and Trump did worse) than any major party candidate since 1920. She was awarded 104 electoral delegates for her effort.

Now compare this to the four biggest states won by Trump: Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. These states comprise almost as many people as the three states won by Clinton, but have a significantly smaller economy, around 30% smaller. Trump received 1.4 million more votes than Clinton in these states. While this cumulative total might sound impressive, this actually signifies that he received just 52.4% of the votes cast for himself and Clinton in these states. That's far from a landslide. And yet he was awarded 105 electoral delegates for these four close-calls.

Let's let that sink in... Trump was given more electoral delegates for winning the four largest states he won than Clinton was given for winning the three largest states she won, even though the three states she won comprised a half a million more people and a 30% larger economy, and even though she won these three states by a whopping 27%, as compared to Trump's less than 5% margin of victory.

Or, to put this all together ... In the seven largest states by population, comprising roughly 45% of the nation, Hillary Clinton demolished Donald Trump, by 9.8 per cent head-to-head, 54.9% to 45.1%.

And yet she she lost in the Electoral College!

The Electoral College has got to go!

This remains apparent when one looks at the final third of the country by population...
The final third, comprising the thirty-six smallest states (and Washington D.C.):
Clinton wins 13 states (and Washington D.C.), for 78 delegates in the Electoral College, by roughly 2.1 million votes
Trump wins 22 states, for 143 delegates in the Electoral College, by roughly 6.5 million votes
To sum it up, then, Trump loses by almost 2.9 million votes, but somehow ends up with 74 more delegates in the Electoral College!
Now, I know some are thinking--"Well, look at that ass-kicking!"--Trump won all those states, and by such large margins! But, really, how does his winning one third of the country by 4.4 million votes make him more deserving of the presidency, and more of a "winner",  than the candidate who won the first third by 5.1 million, AND the second third by 2.1 million? Let's not be ridiculous.
It's just not acceptable that Clinton received a 17 delegate advantage for winning the top third by 5.1 million, while Trump received a 65 delegate advantage for winning the bottom third by 4.4 million. And it becomes even less acceptable, odious even, when one considers that the more populous states pay far more than their share of taxes, and largely carry the less populous states...
Our forefathers went to war over less...
Still not feeling it? Still thinking the Electoral College is a good thing?

Okay, let's try again. Some defenders of the Electoral College claim it's necessary to prevent the least populous states from getting trampled by the most populous states. So let's look at the election results (when rounded off to the nearest thousand) for the 11 least populous states (and Washington D.C.) from least populous on up.

Wyoming: Trump wins 3 Electoral College votes by 56,000.
Vermont: Clinton wins 3 Electoral College votes by 83,000.
District of Columbia: Clinton wins 3 Electoral College votes by 270,000.
North Dakota: Trump wins 3 Electoral College votes by 123,000.
Alaska: Trump wins 3 Electoral College votes by 47,000.
South Dakota: Trump wins 3 Electoral College votes by 110,00.
Delaware: Clinton wins 3 Electoral College votes by 50,000.
Montana: Trump wins 3 Electoral College votes by 102,000.
Rhode Island: Clinton wins 4 Electoral College votes by 72,000.
New Hampshire: Clinton wins 4 Electoral votes by 3,000.
Maine: Clinton wins 3 of 4 Electoral College votes by 20,000.
Hawaii: Clinton wins 4 Electoral College votes by 138,000.
Note that Clinton has won 7 of 12 of these races, by roughly 200,000 votes. Well, heck, that destroys the argument the Electoral College helps the small states, doesn't it? I mean, the Electoral College effectively crushed the desires of the 11 smallest states (and Washington D.C.).
To refresh, Clinton won 7 of the 15 largest states, by more than 7 million votes, but was nevertheless behind in the Electoral College in these states, 163 to 154. And she also won 7 of the 12 smallest states (and district), by 200,000 votes. Now, she won the Electoral College among these states, 24 to 16. But do the math. She was still behind in the Electoral College, 179 to 178. Incredibly, she won 14 of the 27 largest and smallest states, by 7.2 million votes, but was still losing the election in the Electoral College! That's not a quirk of history. That's a disgrace. That Trump did well in the remaining 24 states (he won 17 of 24, by a cumulative total of 4.6 million votes) doesn't even factor into the equation.
The Electoral College has got to go!

Let's shore up that last point. If your kid runs for class president, and manages to win 54% of the vote in 27 of the 51 classrooms, comprising over 70% of the students, yet is still trailing in those classes due to some ancient school rule giving the votes taken in smaller classes more weight, you don't give a flying food fight that the other kid won the majority of the remaining classrooms, and almost caught up in total votes cast. Your kid "lost" even though she won. And was screwed, royally screwed, through no fault of her own.
Now, I know some Republicans are thinking..."But I like the Electoral College. It has helped the Republican Party put our guy in office four times now (Hayes 1876, Harrison 1888, Bush 2000, and Trump 2016), and has never helped anyone else. It's kinda like our secret weapon." But take a closer look. The Electoral College hurts red states, too, and it's only a matter of time until it costs the Republicans an election. To wit, Clinton won 4 delegates for a less than 3,000 vote victory in New Hampshire, while Trump won but 3 delegates for his 123,000 vote victory in North Dakota. That's not exactly fair, now is it? And that's just the beginning. To expand, Clinton picked up 17 electoral delegates for winning Nevada, New Mexico, Maine, and New Hampshire by a combined 115,000 votes, while Trump was awarded but 3 electoral votes for winning North Dakota by 123,000 votes. That hardly seems fair. Now, Trump also won Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota by a combined 340,000 votes, and received just 9 delegates for his victories in those states. That means he won four states, by more than 450,000 votes, and received but 12 electoral delegates, while Clinton won four states, by 115,000 votes, and received 17 delegates.

Now, let's not kid ourselves. No one honestly thinks that's fair. I supported Clinton, and I don't think that's fair. And I guarantee you that if you ask voters in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota if they think that's fair, none of them will say "Oh, yes, I think that's fair."

In fact, it's hard to imagine the kind of person who would think that's fair.

And there's a good reason for this: it's because it isn't fair. The Electoral College was never designed to be fair, and has become progressively less fair over time.

Let's reflect. The Electoral College was conceived in the Original Sin of this nation, in that it was a by-product of slavery. When designing the Constitution, the slave states, led by the great state of Virginia, were concerned that the northern industrial states would someday dwarf their states in population. So they forced upon them a compromise in which the slave states were given partial credit for their slaves--and where the presidency would be selected not by a popular vote but by delegates determined by each state's government, with the number of delegates determined not by population but by the number of representatives in the two houses of the U.S. Congress.

Well, therein lies the trick, you see.
The slave states proposed this because they were given extra seats in the House of Representatives, due to their receiving the agreed-upon 3/5 credit for their slaves. And this allowed them to be over-represented in the Electoral College. (To the tune, even, that four of the first five presidents were from Virginia, and where a son of Virginia ruled the nation for 32 of its first 36 years.) And the small states went along with this because each state was given two senators, no matter how small the state (or the senator). And this allowed them to be over-represented in the Electoral College. The only states under-represented were thereby the larger northern states: Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut, and they, apparently, were either really really eager to move on with this whole new country thing or too dumb to realize they'd devalued the strength of their position in comparison to the other states. 

Still, this was a long time ago. There is no reason to believe any of the founding fathers ever dreamed their deal with the devil would continue in perpetuity. And one might note that, for the most part, it hasn't. African-Americans are no longer considered 3/5 a person. They can vote. And women can vote, too.

It seems likely, moreover, that the founding fathers never envisioned that the Electoral College could become the abomination it has become. In 1790, the largest state by number of free men, women and children was Massachusetts (which at that time included Maine), with roughly 470,000 free men, women, and children, and the smallest was Georgia, with roughly 53,000 free men, women, and children. That's a ratio of about 8.9 to 1. Massachusetts, moreover, received 16 delegates (1 for every 29,375 free men, women, and children) in the 1792 election, as compared to Georgia, which received 4 delegates (1 for every 13,250 free men, women and children). That's a ratio of 2.2 to 1. Through the prism of the Electoral College, the votes of the free folk of Georgia were worth over twice as much as the votes of the free folk of Massachusetts.

And from there it's gotten worse. Today we have California, with over 39.3 million people, and Wyoming with around 590,000. That's a ratio of about 66.6 to 1. For the 2016 election, California received 55 electoral delegates (1 for every 715,000 men, women and children) and Wyoming received 3 electoral delegates (1 for every 197,000 men, women, and children). That's a ratio of 3.63 to 1. Well this proves that California is getting a far worse deal today than Massachusetts was at the beginning of this nation when slave states received partial credit for their slaves.

Now, it's more than likely that the founding fathers would not have approved and may very well have viewed any system in which states the size of California and Wyoming were given the same amount of representation (as in the U.S. Senate, where Wyoming has the same number of Senators as California) as an unjust system, and effectively taxation without representation for the larger state.

So, why, again, are we holding onto the Electoral College--a ghost from our distant past conceived in the Original Sin of slavery, which magnifies the unequal representation of American citizens inherent in the U.S. Senate? I mean, Alabama finally took down its Confederate flag. Isn't it time we cleanse our Constitution of its stain of slavery, once and for all?

The Electoral College has got to go!

And I'm not the only one willing to say so...

Here's Donald Trump, in 2012, on Twitter, when he incorrectly thought President Obama was gonna lose the popular vote but win in the Electoral College.  
  • He [Obama] lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country! (Nov. 6)
  • The phoney [sic] electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. The loser one! (Nov. 6)
  • This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy! (Nov. 6)
  • We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided! (Nov 6)
  • Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us. (Nov. 6)
  • The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy. (Nov. 6)

Cherish this moment. Donald Trump was right.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Mr. Speer - Well done. Do you think we will live to see this unjust electoral system abolished? I understand that Democratically controlled states, some 14 of them I think, have passed laws committing their electors to vote for the winner of the US popular vote regardless of how their state voted. It would seem that the only way to move this process forward, or indeed to get rid of the electoral college altogether, is for Democrats to win the state houses that Republicans, by design and planning, have taken over. It will take many election cycles and lots of dedication and money. Complicating this even further is Jefferson Beauregard Sessions becoming Attorney General. He is a well known proponent of voter suppression. And with so many state houses in Republican hands it's likely that the vote will be more suppressed in the future than it is already now. I often wonder if we might be living in a far different country had Lincoln lived long enough to see Reconstruction through. 

White people here, the ones that fear multiculturalism, will apparently stoop very low to deny the vote to people of color. 

And now we have an even worse problem, and one that no amount of protest or petitions can change. The only real possible roadblock to permanent fascism here are the Republicans in Congress, and the courts. I'm not optimistic. 

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Thanks, Paul. I think the Electoral College is doomed. It is on the wrong side of history. Unfortunately, however, the Republicans will prop it up as long as they think it helps them. That is why I pointed out toward the end that it hurts red states, too, and that it is just a matter of time until what Trump thought happened in 2012 actually does happen. At that point, the Republcans will clamor to kill the College and the Democrats will agree.

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Yes, well done Pat. I actually eat this stuff up. What gives Republicans conviction is looking at an overall map of the 2016 red and blue states. which the overall land surface area looks like a Republican landslide. As well as county by county.

It is interesting that you mention a 4.9% total  loss by Republicans in house congressional elections from 2014 to 2016 as I believe I had heard that for all Federal congressional elections, the Democrats had more total votes than the Republicans in federal Congressional races in the 2014.election. Which means in order to be true the Democrats would have considerably outcast them in the Senate campaigns. But maybe the figure was taking in account all campaigns, governorships, state legislators, State attorney generals, controllers, Lt. Gov. etc.

As you've pointed out the "split" elections have always been in favor of the Republicans. But It seems almost impossible that we will ever get 3/4 of the State legislatures to reverse it.  Although you show very well equal inconsistencies with smaller states  as well as larger states. It may be that the overall complexion will always over time be in a state of flux so the inequities never stay long enough to convince a smaller state to give up their privileged position,( which is really what it is.)

Obviously California, New York gets screwed, and as you've pointed previously they are the "donor" states tax wise. while it seems the "red" states who complain the most about  Federal encroachment are the "recipient" states.It certainly is a gross inequity, as the most populous states are overwhelmingly blue states, (with the exception of Texas and Florida) and are the economic engines of the country. But on the brighter side, which we certainly need in light of your findings. The demographics of Texas are inevitably slowly turning to blue.

Edited by Kirk Gallaway
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