President Donald Trump has suggested that fraud caused him to lose California by almost 4.3 million votes, a major component of the Republican’s 2.8 million vote loss nationwide. He has pledged to launch a “major investigation” of voting procedures.
If so, he may want to head to the town of Atherton.
Home to Hewlett Packard CEO (and 2010 GOP candidate for California governor) Meg Whitman and other Silicon Valley elite, Atherton is a Republican-leaning outpost in the liberal San Francisco Bay Area. In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney defeated Democrat Barack Obama there by almost 5 percentage points, with Romney’s share of the vote topping the city’s then-GOP registration by almost 11 percentage points.
Last November, though, Atherton strongly backed Democrat Hillary Clinton, with Trump losing by 40 percentage points. His share of the vote was almost 10 percentage points below the city’s GOP registration.
4,839,958 Number of votes Republican Mitt Romney received in California on Nov. 6, 2012
4,483,810 Number of voters Republican Donald Trump received in California on Nov. 8, 2016
Trump has produced no evidence to back up his claims of voter fraud. Yet detailed county statements of votes suggest that Trump’s Golden State wipeout stemmed less from Clinton running up Obama-surpassing margins in Democratic strongholds such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Ana, and more from his falling well short of Romney’s performance in Atherton, Newport Beach, and other Republican-leaning and swing cities around the state.
Trump exceeded Romney’s performance in some parts of rural California and the Central Valley, such as Needles, Willits, Oroville and Stockton. Trump’s biggest gains came in the Riverside County cities of Perris and Moreno Valley, where Trump finished slightly ahead of the cities’ Republican registration, while Romney finished well behind it.
Statewide, however, Trump received about 350,000 fewer votes than Romney did in the previous presidential election.
In dozens of cities where Republican registration exceeded the party’s 26 percent share of the electorate, Trump fell well below Romney’s performance, election data shows. Clinton’s performance, meanwhile, was about the same as Obama’s in cities where Democratic registration exceeded the party’s 44.9 percent registration share.
In Sacramento County, Romney easily won its most Republican city, Folsom, while Trump narrowly lost there.
Some of those who did not vote for Trump supported Republican candidates in other races. Republican candidates for 64 seats in the state Assembly, for example, collectively received more than 4.8 million votes. Trump received fewer than 4.5 million votes.
“Let’s be clear: There was no massive voter fraud,” said Rob Stutzman, a Republican consultant who has been a Trump critic. “There’s little evidence that Trump was an out-performer in any part of the state compared to past Republican presidential candidates.”
Stutzman said Trump’s stances against trade agreements and immigration worked in places like the upper Midwest, but likely turned off some California voters who had backed Romney. “Overall this is a state that looks at NAFTA and trade and understands that it’s good for California,” he said, adding that “immigration-bashing is a generation behind us in California.”
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