Trump, Clinton ‘bumps’ different on March 15
by RUSS STEWART
Mark Twain popularized the saying that there are lies, damn lies and statistics. To analyze politics, one must recognize bumps, damn bumps and damnable statistics.
For Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the March 15 Illinois primary was bumpless and bumpy. Two myths were punctured. All those aging Baby Boomer women who supposedly wanted to have a woman president in their lifetime failed to give Clinton any bump, and a lot of angry working class anti-Obama white Democrats, who supposedly wanted to "send a message" to Washington, gave Trump a bump by flocking to the Republican primary — with minimal impact.
As shown in the adjoining chart, the Republican primary turnout in Chicago and the suburbs was roughly double that of 2008. Turnout increased countywide by 139,847, from 172,235 to 312,082, but Trump got only 126,218 votes (40.4 percent of the total cast). Some may argue that those votes were by "crossover" Democrats who took a Republican primary ballot to back Trump, but statistics don’t lie: 59.6 percent of the Republican voters rejected Trump. In some city wards and suburban townships, Trump’s vote hovered around a third. That’s no bump.
Clinton’s 2008 Illinois presidential primary drubbing by Barack Obama is explainable. Although she was born in Illinois, she was an expatriate, and then New York’s senator, while Obama was Illinois’ junior senator. Obama crushed her 743,686-314,634 in Cook County and 1,281,902-655,671 statewide, getting a huge minority vote. However, the 2016 primary was supposed to be different. It was supposed to be the coronation of "Queen Hillary," with all those past pro-Obama votes snugly in her purse. Symbolism was then and still is the rage: America elected a black president in 2008, and it is time to elect a female president in 2016. Never mind that vast numbers of people think that Obama as president has humungous shortcomings, as in get that guy out of there, and Clinton, who was Obama’s secretary of state for 4 years, would represent a third Obama term — more of the same.
Yet it has become acutely clear that voters — even Democrats — don’t want more of the same. Obama’s 2008 "change we need" slogan is a non-starter in 2016. At an earlier presidential debate, Clinton was asked what she would "change" if president. "Look at me" was her answer, as if different chromosomes and skin pigmentation was all that was necessary.
On March 15, Clinton topped Bernie Sanders, a kooky 74-year-old Vermont senator and an avowed socialist, 628,147-531,864 in Cook County and 981,418-953,112 statewide. In Illinois, where the philosophy of Karl Marx is not exactly popular, home stater Clinton beat Sanders by 28,306 votes in a turnout of 1,950,716. Even Bruce Rauner won by more than that. Yet the media mavens think her nomination is inevitable? Get real. In Chicago, where every ward Democratic committeeman, as well as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, backed her, Clinton won by only 375,055-315,953, a margin of 59,102 votes. Clinton won the suburbs by just 253,092-215,911, a margin of 37,181 votes.
Sanders had no visible campaign, no media advertising, no precinct operation and no money. Clinton is on track to raise $1 billion. The Illinois choice was simple: do we or do we not want Clinton? Almost half the voters — supposedly Democratic voters — don’t want her. What about all those sexist Republicans who hate her guts?
As shown in the chart, the Democrats’ non-Clinton or anti-Clinton vote, combined with the 1,385,000 Republican turnout, was about 532,000 in Cook County, 315,000 in Chicago, and 960,000 statewide. That puts Illinois’ anti-Clinton base at about 2.4 million. Of course, only about half of the voters turn out in primaries; on March 15, it was about 3.3 million statewide for both parties. Statewide turnout in November will be around 5.8 million. The pro-Sanders vote cannot be construed to be pro-Trump or pro-Republican. Those voters simply don’t like her brand of pay-to-play politics, and they don’t want Bill and Hill back in the White House. However, Clinton should win Illinois.
One vote statistic is telling, in Maine Township. Clinton was born in Park Ridge, and she went to Maine East High School and later Maine South High School, where she was a "Goldwater girl" in 1964. In 2008 she won the township, which includes Park Ridge and Des Plaines, 10,334-9,781 over Obama; on March 15 she topped Sanders 10,737-9,784. Here is Clinton, Obama’s heir apparent, and she gets 403 more votes than she got in 2008 and Sanders gets more votes than Obama got. On the Republican side, turnout in the township surged from 8,173 in 2008 to 14,135 in 2016, with Trump getting 6,236 votes (44.1 percent of the total). That’s a non-Clinton or anti-Clinton vote of 16,020, compared to Clinton’s 10,737. Her victory is inevitable?
However, Trump has real problems. The presumption that millions of disaffected white Democrats will embrace his candidacy has not been borne out by voting thus far. To be sure, there is a "Trump bump." Republican turnout in the primary went from 895,000 in 2008 to nearly 1.4 million in 2016. In the Far Northwest Side 41st Ward, for example, where many police officers and firefighters reside, Republican turnout spiked from 3,517 to 6,228, an increase of 2,711, or 77.1 percent. Trump got 3,331 votes. Sanders beat Clinton in the Democratic primary 6,683-5,985. About a third of the 41st Ward voters took a Republican ballot, but nearly half of those "Republicans" (2,897) didn’t vote for Trump.
"I didn’t want to vote for Hillary, but I wanted to vote for Anita (Alvarez)" for state’s attorney, so I took a Democratic ballot and voted for Sanders," one 41st Ward resident said. The resident said that in November he will vote for Trump. Is he the norm or an aberration?
Turnout on the Southwest Side increased from 4,860 in 2008 to 10,289 in 2016, but Trump’s vote was 5,632 (54.7 percent of the total). Were those "Trump Democrats," or were some of those anti-Trump Democrats voting in the Republican primary?
The same trend was obvious in the northwest suburbs and on Northwest Side. In every township, turnout doubled over 2008, but in none did Trump’s vote nudge much past half. The more affluent the area, the lower his vote. Trump got 44.1 percent of the vote Maine Township, 40.1 percent in Niles Township (Skokie, Lincolnwood), 54.5 percent in Leyden Township (Rosemont and western suburbs) and 56.7 percent in Norwood Park Township (Norridge, Harwood Heights). However, in more affluent suburbs, Trump got just 30.2 percent of the vote in Northfield Township (Glenview, Northfield), 42.1 percent in Schaumburg Township and 40.6 percent in Elk Grove Township.
Clinton fared no better. She won Maine Township by 953 votes, Norwood Park Township by nine votes, Niles Township by 1,105 votes, and, surprisingly, Northfield Township by 3,635 votes, but she lost Leyden Township by 342 votes, Elk Grove Township by 200 votes and Schaumburg Township by 357 votes. Remember, those are Democrats voting in a Democratic primary, and they’re not voting for her.
The trend in Chicago was similar. In 2008 against Obama, Clinton won the Northwest Side 38th, 41st and 45th wards, as well as the 11th, 13th and 23rd wards. On March 15 she lost every one of those wards to Sanders. In fact, she lost all 11 "white ethnic" wards. She won only four white-majority Lakefront wards and no Hispanic wards. It was Clinton’s 60 to 70 percent showing in the predominantly black wards and townships that provided her margin of victory. Sanders beat Clinton in the Collar Counties and Downstate roughly 439,000-377,000. That’s amazing. There are a lot of Hillary haters.
So what if the November choice is between Clinton and Trump? Based on the Illinois returns, that’s not the usual "least worst" choice. It’s more like a choice between do I slash my wrists or do I cut my throat. Thank you President Obama. You’ve definitely given us "change we need." Our next president will be the most least hated — or is it the least most hated?
Send e-mail to russ@russstewart. com or visit his Web site at www. russstewart.com.