This ‘Red vs. Blue’ Covid-19 Growth Chart May Be Good News for Trump




This chart is bad news for red states — but, sadly, may be good news for Trump.

I’ve seen lots of Californians respond to this chart with a glowing schadenfreude: yeah, we have a problem here in Blue America but it’s nothing compared to Red America (both of which terms Obama wrongly denied existing sixteen years ago.) The Anti-Trumpers among us shouldn’t be doing that — and not simply because it’s cruel.  My guess — and I’d love to see data that would allow testing this out — is that this chart explains Trump’s path to winning in November.

This isn’t just a matter of “Red vs. Blue,” after all: it’s a matter of “White vs. Black” (or, more properly, “Non-White”) within each group.  I would further bet that the proportion of non-white to white Covid cases (at least compared to the proportion in the each state’s eligible voting population) in red states is higher in Red states than Blue States — but even if they’re the same, so long as it’s higher than the population distribution, the 2016 Trump states that Biden needs to win are losing voters favorably inclined towards him as opposed to Trump.

Let’s use the example of Pennsylvania, which has been described as “Philadelphia on one end, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in between.”  If Covid has a disproportionate impact in those two big cities, but largely spares the mostly rural area in between, then a winnable purple state becomes more like — or at least like Ohio or Iowa.  One could do a similar analysis of Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Florida.

Do I think that this is what is motivating Trump to push states — including California — to open up their states (and especially schools) both too soon and too swiftly?  No, personally, I don’t think that this — unlike deterring urban dwellers from voting with the prospect of no mail-in ballots, too few polling places, and too little social distancing over hours in line — is a plan to kill enough people to win these elections.  But I would also bet that I’m not the first to think of this, and that Steve Bannon (or whoever is filling his role this time out) has figured this out and showed the results to Trump — and while he might not affirmatively seek it out, he is aware of and comfortable with it happening.

Note that if pollsters are working off of a “sampling frame” that requires reaching a certain number of voters of each race, the only hint that they’d have that this was coming was that it might take longer to reach their goal for voters of color than they had expected.  That’s a pretty subtle indicator to track.  But they should start doing it.

I do recognize that the countervailing argument is that Covid seems to kill off mostly men and the elderly, and that might end up hurting Trump.  It’s a legitimate point, but I’m guessing that it’s going to be a smaller effect.

If anyone knows about the racial and gender breakdown of Covid cases (and, more importantly, deaths) in swing states — and about whether pollsters are taking account of it in modeling the November electorate — I’d be interested in hearing it.  This will probably be a big part of their excuse for failing to forecast another Trump win, if it comes.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)