Fish in a barrel
I feel a little bit bad picking on a publication like Teen Vogue. This is a celebrity gossip rag for little girls that, in one of the most hilariously wrong management decisions of all time, has decided that it can arrest its plummeting sales by branching out into politics and current events. So, yes: this is presently a politics and current events gossip rag… aimed at little girls. It’s like it’s scientifically designed to be the least intelligent thing ever created, so I do sort of feel bad making fun of it.
Which is actually a complete lie. I love this stuff.
As expected, I got pushback on last week’s article defending the electoral college by demolishing the convenient lies the pro-electoral college people are spreading, which is just the type of absolutely backwards way of going about things that you all read Bumbling Bees to get. What I didn’t necessarily expect — though I certainly should have — was the utter incoherence of some of the pushback I got. In particular, I was informed that counties don’t matter because counties don’t "defend the country" by fighting wars, so they shouldn’t get any say.
Now that’s just all manner of confused. Had this exchange taken place anywhere but Facebook, I would give my interlocutor the benefit of the doubt and assume he understands what we mean when we say that 83% of all counties voted for Trump; as things are, however, I’m honestly not sure. When we say that a given country voted for Trump, you see, we don’t mean that a wizard magically incarnated the counties and sent them to the polling places, where the proud civil servants allowed them to vote as often as they wanted and using any names they wanted. No, see, what we mean is that the people who live in those counties, in the aggregate, voted for Trump. Do you see? The claim that "counties don’t fight wars" is completely silly. One may as well retort that the popular vote doesn’t fight in the wars either.
There’s a meme going around social media that you’ve probably seen mocking the ninnies who can’t stop crying about the electoral college. Of course it’s the case that this is just a bunch of sore losers complaining that their team only lost because the rules weren’t fair, and mocking them is fine, but that’s not the point. This meme, in attempting to explain the purpose of the electoral college, states that "there are 3141 counties in the United States. Trump won 3084 of them. Clinton won 57." This is an absolutely shocking piece of information, and it very well should be, since it’s completely false. While I’m certainly no fan of the horrors of unbridled democracy, and I certainly believe that the people promoting it need to be refuted at every turn, it’s at least as important to make sure that we’re refuting them with the truth and not with our own comfortable lies.
There are 3112 counties or "county equivalents" in the United States that reported voter data for the 2016 presidential election. Of those counties, 2622 of them went for Trump, and 490 for Clinton. This is a massive majority in favor of Trump, of course, but it’s nowhere near the absurd figure of only 57 counties for Clinton. For pity’s sake, Clinton won 33 counties in California alone. She won enough counties to generate the famous Clinton Archipelago, after all, not the Clinton Invisible Dot Coalition.