Getting a different angle on the map

I had a really hard time making sense of the 2016 US presidential election results. Learning about the amount of fake news that got produced and consumed in the months before the election provided me with some pieces of the puzzle, but there was plenty more that defied understanding.

I didn’t do so well squaring pictures with numbers, for one thing. Clinton won the popular vote, but this map is mighty red:

election-2016-county-map

As it turns out, a two-dimensional map in this case is quite misleading, as it doesn’t help us understand much about relative magnitude. Luckily, Max Galka of Metrocosm has put together a three-dimensional map that you can manipulate to get a much clearer sense of what actually happened on election day. Here’s where you can take it for a spin. Go ahead; I’ll wait until you get back.

There’s a lot of information there. For one thing, you’ll note that there isn’t much light blue or pink, meaning Clinton by a small margin or else Trump by a small margin. There’s a lot of very flat deep red counties, and several sky-high deep blue counties. How’s your geography? Can you identify the counties where those highest towers are?

It’s not just the pictures I found interesting; Galka’s write-up provides some memorable data as well, like the fact that LA County, with a population over 10 million, has about a million more people than Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming combined (together they’ve got just over 9 million people).

I admit that looking at interesting maps helps to distract me from dwelling on the implications of the election’s outcome. We do what we can do.

I found these maps at Max’s post, Election Results in the Third Dimension, where you can see other maps and a more in-depth explanation. I recommend it.

How have you been occupying your mind since election day?

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3 thoughts on “Getting a different angle on the map

  1. Lori–I have wrapped myself in a nice cocoon of denial–staying off social media and avoiding almost all post-election conversation. That said, last night I was discussing with someone (now I can’t remember who) that I am privileged enough that I can stay in denial and figure that in most ways, a Trump presidency won’t affect my day-to-day life too much: My marriage isn’t in danger of being nullified, I’m not at risk of being deported (and neither are most of my loved ones), etc. I do wonder what will become of my health insurance since our family is on a marketplace plan. One day I may pull myself together enough to seek understanding on how this could have possibly happened, and what steps I could reasonably take to reach out to my disenfranchised and angry fellow country-peoples and try to make our nation a better one. But I’m not anywhere near that place of emotional stability or mental clarity yet. Love you!

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