By about 2 to 1, Dallasites voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. That is, 459,000 Dallasites voted for Hillary and 262,000 voted for Trump, according to official polls. All major cities in Texas voted against Trump, too. So how did Trump win all of Texas last November?
The same reason he won the electoral college: Sparsely-populated rural areas that are over-represented in congress. Not only did 459,000 Dallasites vote for Hillary, 24,000 Dallasites voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson. 6,000 voted for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. As in San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and El Paso, the “please, no Trump” ticket carried the vote easily. All of Texas’ major cities chose anyone but Trump in the big election of 2016. Trump was the least-liked in all Texas’ cities.
As well, Hillary won the national popular vote overwhelmingly by almost 3 million votes — a record number, by anyone’s standards. But Trump won the electoral college. The electoral college favors rural, sparsely populated areas. And rural counties carried the day in Texas, too.
Most of Texas, in fact, is comprised of rural counties — broad stretches of farmland with few people inhabiting them. It’s incredibly important real estate: the people that work this land are the backbone of American agriculture.
The national electoral college, in theory, tries to address the disparity between town and country: Cities cannot exist without agriculture. Without produce, none of us can live. If all farmers moved to the cities “for better jobs,” no one would farm. And that is the conundrum: America needs crops, and farmers. If everyone moved to the city — “for a better job” — no one would do the dirty work we need to have society to function as we know it. The electoral college tries to ensure rural workers get a fair shake. That’s not an ignoble goal.
But the corporate globalization impetus says — and this is where Trump comes in — : Maybe we can offshore this? What if overseas farmers send us crops, and local farmers can go back to school to retrain as IT/white collar workers? It’s theoretically possible that America doesn’t need to make anything domestically at all.
Eventually, this runs up against the wall of practicality: You have to have workers that will get their hands dirty with jobs that cannot be outsourced: Infrastructure, electricity, telecommunications equipment, plumbing, construction, and the ancillary positions that accompany all these jobs. Hedge fund managers, stock speculators, banking executives — these positions only matter to people that are already rich. And in politics the folks that defend these positions are also those that are already very well off, as a rule of thumb.
Donald Trump started his campaign with a message of economic populism. He has betrayed that message. He said he would “protect and defend” (sic) Social Security and Medicare, which are earned benefits by American workers. He has gone back on this pledge. (Big league.) He has appointed Goldman Sachs banking executive Steve Mnuchin to head the US Treasury. Trump has also signed an executive order to repeal banking regulations enacted after the Great Recession of 2009. He nominated anti-gay, antichoice Tom Price for Health and Human Services. He nominated Ben Carson, a lackadaisical brain surgeon, to be the head of Housing and Urban Development, apparently only because he is black. He has nominated Betsy DeVos, who has never gone to a pubic school, or had any experience with them, and who actually seems to resent the philosophical ideal of public education, to run America’s education system. Trump nominated braindead Texas governor Rick Perry to run the country’s nuclear stockpile. Trump also abandoned his campaign promise to have Medicare negotiate lower drug prices, one of the singular aspects of the US healthcare that has driven up costs. Trump has ended up becoming an old school supply-side economics Republican.
This is probably why all the major cities in Texas voted against Donald Trump. Dallas voted against Trump 2-1. Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, and Austin also voted against Trump. Texas is not dumb.