So go 'Minnewisowa' and the Great Lakes

A political realignment takes more than one election.  The 2016 election was close, the losing candidate did win the popular vote, and only one region truly switched its electoral votes from recent 
patterns.

That region included the tri-state area that I originally named "Minnewisowa" (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa) in 2004.  Minnewisowa did change dramatically, with Wisconsin and Iowa voting for Trump (they voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012), and the Democrat won usually very blue Minnesota by only a few thousand votes out of almost three million cast.  The other Midwestern region, often called "Middle Atlantic" America, is clustered around the Great Lakes and includes Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  All of these states but one (Indiana) voted for Mr. Obama in 2012.  This year, all but one (Illinois) voted for Mr. Trump.  That represents a shift of  a decisive 74 electoral votes.  Should the GOP nominee win these states again in 2020, that would represent an electoral college realignment.

Most of these states fit into what has heretofore been called the "Rust Belt" because of its long-term loss of manufacturing jobs.  Today, it might be more accurately described economically and politically as the "Transition Belt" as change and transformation come to these states in America's heartland.

Popular vote realignments are more complicated.  What has not changed is the rural-exurban division from urban locations in most states.  Again, the 2016 vote is more tentative than conclusive.  Mr. Trump made an unprecedented appeal to black inner-city voters and was rewarded with a higher percentage of them as well as the occurrence of many black voters staying home.  The failure so far of President Obama's Cuba initiatives brought many Cuban-American voters back to the GOP in Florida this year.  Mrs. Clinton's margin in the city of Philadelphia was only 400,000-plus in 2016, whereas it was more than 600,000 in 2012, easily enough votes to give the state overall to Mr. Trump.  Clearly, black turnout was diminished in 2016 there and elsewhere.

On the other hand, renovation and new high-rise residential construction in most large U.S. cities is bringing back increasing numbers of older suburbanites, many of whom have traditionally voted Republican.  In the recent past, Republican state strategists have all but given up on making appeals in the inner cities, and this has contributed to the huge majorities for Democrats in these cities.  Should these strategists decide to follow Mr. Trump's minority voter initiatives, and couple that with appeals to suburban-now-urban voters, the tentative realignment trends of 2016 could become more permanent.

Another trend is the continuing relocation of many northern liberal voters to southern states where conservatism has dominated in recent decades.  This new demographic has made big GOP states such as Florida and Texas more politically competitive.  As I have suggested, realignments are complicated.

A large and populous nation such as the United States, still economically powerful, will always be demographically dynamic in an age of increased mobility and technological change.  Twenty-sixteen brought about a political earthquake with aftershocks that will continue for some time.

A political realignment takes more than one election.  The 2016 election was close, the losing candidate did win the popular vote, and only one region truly switched its electoral votes from recent 
patterns.

That region included the tri-state area that I originally named "Minnewisowa" (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa) in 2004.  Minnewisowa did change dramatically, with Wisconsin and Iowa voting for Trump (they voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012), and the Democrat won usually very blue Minnesota by only a few thousand votes out of almost three million cast.  The other Midwestern region, often called "Middle Atlantic" America, is clustered around the Great Lakes and includes Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  All of these states but one (Indiana) voted for Mr. Obama in 2012.  This year, all but one (Illinois) voted for Mr. Trump.  That represents a shift of  a decisive 74 electoral votes.  Should the GOP nominee win these states again in 2020, that would represent an electoral college realignment.

Most of these states fit into what has heretofore been called the "Rust Belt" because of its long-term loss of manufacturing jobs.  Today, it might be more accurately described economically and politically as the "Transition Belt" as change and transformation come to these states in America's heartland.

Popular vote realignments are more complicated.  What has not changed is the rural-exurban division from urban locations in most states.  Again, the 2016 vote is more tentative than conclusive.  Mr. Trump made an unprecedented appeal to black inner-city voters and was rewarded with a higher percentage of them as well as the occurrence of many black voters staying home.  The failure so far of President Obama's Cuba initiatives brought many Cuban-American voters back to the GOP in Florida this year.  Mrs. Clinton's margin in the city of Philadelphia was only 400,000-plus in 2016, whereas it was more than 600,000 in 2012, easily enough votes to give the state overall to Mr. Trump.  Clearly, black turnout was diminished in 2016 there and elsewhere.

On the other hand, renovation and new high-rise residential construction in most large U.S. cities is bringing back increasing numbers of older suburbanites, many of whom have traditionally voted Republican.  In the recent past, Republican state strategists have all but given up on making appeals in the inner cities, and this has contributed to the huge majorities for Democrats in these cities.  Should these strategists decide to follow Mr. Trump's minority voter initiatives, and couple that with appeals to suburban-now-urban voters, the tentative realignment trends of 2016 could become more permanent.

Another trend is the continuing relocation of many northern liberal voters to southern states where conservatism has dominated in recent decades.  This new demographic has made big GOP states such as Florida and Texas more politically competitive.  As I have suggested, realignments are complicated.

A large and populous nation such as the United States, still economically powerful, will always be demographically dynamic in an age of increased mobility and technological change.  Twenty-sixteen brought about a political earthquake with aftershocks that will continue for some time.