Beyond Virginia: How America’s Big Counties Are Reshaping Politics - NBC New York

Beyond Virginia: How America’s Big Counties Are Reshaping Politics



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    Karina Smith holds her 2-year-old son Kyler as she fills out her ballot at the polling place at Washington Mill Elementary School Nov. 7, 2017, in Alexandria, Virginia.

    At first glance, Virginia, with its rapid suburban population growth and deepening blue tint, may seem like the exception rather than the rule. But the pattern is one that’s been replicated across the country, NBC News reported.

    An NBC News analysis of voting and demographic trends in each of the lower 48 states shows that, since 2000, Democrats have improved upon their presidential election margins in the lion’s share of the most vote-rich and populous counties in America even as their share of the vote in the remainder of each state was stagnant, decreased or — at best — grew at a far slower pace.

    The data seem to show two important trends since 2000.

    One, Barack Obama’s candidacy and presidency blew open the partisan voting divide between the most urban counties in states and the rest of their population. The 2008 election seemed to be a watershed in the split.

    Two, the changes that followed 2008 were not just about the minority vote in urban centers. In 2016, without the first black president on the top of the ticket, the gaps between these counties and the rest of the states widened more.