The world's worst electoral strategist famously said, not very long ago, “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” Unfortunately that was the overall Clinton campaign strategy: let Trump have the white working class deplorables while we harvest votes from rich, white suburbanites who have tended to vote Republican in the past. It worked out badly because many Republicans in Pennsylvania (as well as Ohio and Wisconsin; God only knows why Schumer threw in Illinois) went home to Trump in the last week and those who didn't just weren't enough to balance out the losses from the blue collar Democrats Schumer was dismissing with such alacrity.
Interestingly, the strategy worked in places where it didn't matter– not in the states where Hillary needed to win electoral votes but in states that were already so blue that she didn't need the Republican suburbanites and in states so red that a few college educated woman who normally vote Republican weren't go to change anything. So, for example, Hillary won Orange County, California– first time for a Democrat in living memory. Her campaign pitch was perfect for well-off moderate Republicans in the suburbs between Los Angeles and San Diego. She won Orange County 556,544 (51.0%) to Trump's 472,669 (43.3%). How good was that? Well, let's compared it to Obama's vote there in 2012. He lost the O.C. to Romney 541,592 (53%) to 457,077 (45%). Hillary got almost 100,000 more voters than Obama had Romney won nearly 70,000 more votes than Trump. It didn't make any difference. Hillary was going to win California with or without Orange County.
It didn't make any difference in Texas either, where Hillary beat Trump in the Republican suburbs outside of Houston, San Antonio and Austin. (I haven't had time to analyze the data from suburban Dallas-Ft. Worth but I'd be surprised if it was much different.)
Most Houston suburbanites like in Harris County, which also encompasses the whole city of Houston so this gets a little tricky and trickier still when you realize that it's really just northern Brazoria County and southern Montgomery County that are actual Houston 'burbs. But bear with me a while. We're going to compare– like we did with Orange County– the 5 suburban Houston counties in terms of votes not just for Hillary compared to Trump, but for Hillary compared to Obama. The idea is that Obama maxed out whatever could be gotten in the Texas cities and that in counties like Harris (Houston), Travis (Austin) and Bexar (San Antonio) hillary's over-performance was from suburban voters.
• Harris- Hillary- 706,471 (54.2%), Trump- 544,960 (41.8%)
Obama- 585,451 (49%), Romney- 584,866 (49%)
• Fort Bend- Hillary- 134,475 (51.6%), Trump- 117,212 (45.0%)
Romney- 116,028 (53%), Obama- 101,043 (46%)
• Brazoria- Trump- 72,653 (60.4%), Hillary- 43,075 (35.8%)
Romney- 70,684 (66%), Obama- 34,327 (32%)
• Montgomery- Trump- 150,188 (74.0%), Hillary- 45,744 (22.5%)
Romney- 137,822 (80%), Obama- 32,852 (19%)
• Galveston- Trump- 73,566 (59.3%), Hillary- 45,503 (36.7%)
Romney- 68,594 (63%), Obama- 39,162 (36%)
And we'll add in Travis and Bexar counties (which include Austin and its southern suburbs and San Antonio and its suburbs).
• Bexar- Hillary- 319,191 (54.5%), Trump- 240,161 (41.0%)
Obama- 263,871 (52%), Romney- 240,519 (47%)
• Travis- Hillary- 306,475 (66.3%), Trump- 126,750 (27.4%)
Obama- 231,540 (60%), Romney- 139,503 (36%)
What do we see? We see Hillary gigantically out-performing Obama in the suburbs around Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Her strategy worked! But it was 100% meaningless. She beat Trump in Harris County by over 160,000 votes and she took more than 120,000 more votes there than Obama. That's huge! But except for bragging right, it doesn't get you a thing, not even a ride on the subway.
Romney won Fort Bend County– easily the purest Houston suburban county of all (kind of like their version of Orange County)– but Hillary didn't just win Ft. Bend Co. against Trump, she had more votes there than Obama and more votes there than Romney!
And even in the reddest areas around Houston, like Montgomery County, the northern parts of which as exurbs, not suburbs, Hillary significantly outpolled Obama– 45,744 (22.5%) to 32,852 (19%).
None of these mattered. Texas was never in danger of slipping out of Trump's grasp and the DCCC was far too lame, incompetent and turgid to take advantage of Hillary's suburban coattails to even try to win any down-ballot races. Statewide, Trump won Texas' 38 electoral votes 4,681,590 (52.6%) to 3,867,816 (43.4%). Romney beat Obama in Texas 57-41%. Trump outpolled Romney by over 100,000 raw votes but Hillary outpolled Obama close to 600,000 votes! Imagine if those 600,000 votes were scattered among Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Hillary lost Wisconsin by 27,257 votes, Michigan by 11,612 votes and Pennsylvania by 68,236 votes– so just 107,105 in those 3 states worth 46 electoral votes, enough so that the country would have been well-saved from President Pepe The Frog.
But let's look at what happened in Pennsylvania, where her strategy was meant to have worked, but didn't. There are 5 suburban collar counties around Philly, although most of one of them, Berks, is more exurban than suburban so it's a bit of an outlier.
• Delaware- Hillary- 169,169 (59.4%), Trump- 106,559 (37.4%)
Obama- 164,805 (60%), Romney- 105,270 (39%)
• Bucks- Hillary- 165,861 (48.4%), Trump- 163,873 (47.8%)
Obama- 159,598 (50%), Romney- 155,876 (49%)
• Montgomery- Hillary- 251,083 (58.7%), Trump- 160,803 (37.6%)
Obama- 227,561 (57%), Romney- 169,903 (42%)
• Chester- Hillary- 140,188 (52.6%), Trump- 115,582 (43.3%)
Romney- 123,280 (50%), Obama- 122,232 (49%)
• Berks- Trump- 93,094 (52.9%), Hillary- 75,169 (42.7%)
Romney- 80,857 (50%), Obama- 79,895 (49%)
Clearly, Schumer was wrong about gaining 2 moderate Republicans for every blue collar voters who went to Trump in the western part of the state. Generally speaking, Hillary did a tiny bit better than Obama in the counties where she had to make up significant losses in other parts of the state.
By gearing a message towards moderate, college educated Republicans– particularly women– they inadequately messaged white working class men. And now we're stuck with President-elect Pepe the Frog.
UPDATE: Back To Texas
My friend, Zack Lyke, who managed the Tom Wakely campaign in TX-21, has been pouring over the precinct-by-precinct results and hopefully his work will help whichever Democrat runs against Lamar Smith in 2018. But this morning he shared some of the info he's dug up that is relevant to this comparison between and Texas and Philly area suburbs in regard to Hillary's strategy. Lets start with Precinct 3020, one of the most populous precincts of the Alamo Heights area, considered the chief voting precinct of this wealthy, white suburban-type area.
While San Antonio has an extremely high Hispanic population (55.6%), Alamo Heights comes in at just 13.55% Latino (93.80% white overall as a community). The median income of Alamo Heights is very high– $77,257. The voter turnout is also very hight– 72.29% this cycle. Typically speaking: white, rich, and high turnout in Texas = Republican. The precinct had 443 straight Republican ballots, and only 343 straight Democratic ballots– yet this super-red precinct voted for Hillary– 911 to 779 for Trump. The chance of a DCCC run by a character like Ben Ray Lujan compiling and using this type of data for 2018 is exactly ZERO. Tim Ryan is certainly a step in the wrong direction but with Pelosi picking DCCC chairs, there's virtually no chance that the Dems will ever win back the House.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis