Counties won by Democratic President-elect Joe Biden make up 70 percent of all U.S. economic output—or gross domestic product (GDP)—a new post-election study finds.
Biden has repeated the phrase “there are no blue states or red states, just the United States” in several appeals to President Donald Trump’s voters since being named President-elect Saturday. But the more than 75.6 million votes Biden won in the 2020 election led him to victory in nearly all of the country’s top 100 most powerful local economies.
Meanwhile, Trump voter counties make up less than one-third of the country’s economic output, a Brookings Institution study said. The president’s unsuccessful re-election bid hinged on his touting of the pre-pandemic economy. But his railing against urban areas as “crime infested” rather than centers of American wealth only allowed him to amass more rural county voters.
“Trump’s losing base of 2,497 counties represents just 29% of the economy,” the post-election analysis co-authors found.
Brookings Senior Fellow Mark Muro told Newsweek Thursday that Biden won 94 of the biggest GDP counties, while Trump won only six: New York’s Nassau and Suffolk counties; Texas’ Collin County; California’s Kern County; and Oklahoma’s Tulsa and Oklahoma counties.
Trump’s urban-versus-rural 2020 campaign narrative further widened the definition of blue and red states, meaning the Republican won 7 percent fewer population-heavy economic powerhouses than he did in 2016. Biden’s 70 percent GDP share this year came from the 477 U.S. counties he won compared to the 29 percent GDP share held in the 2,497 counties won by the president.
The study authors noted that Democrat control of heavily populated, economic city centers is hardly new. But the Republican Party’s honing in on sparsely populated rural landmasses in order to hold onto votes has led lawmakers to reject things like coronavirus pandemic aid to cities, and to dismiss urban issues as partisan problems for their political rivals to handle.
Biden improved on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 wins in 472 counties, which composed 64 percent of U.S. GDP four years ago. This year’s Democratic nominee flipped places like Arizona’s Maricopa County and Texas’ Tarrant County to dig even deeper into Republicans’ dwindling economic centers. Muro told Reuters Thursday that the GOP is clinging to “an economic [voter] base situated in the nation’s struggling small towns and rural areas, which remains frustrated.”
Biden flipped five of the 10 most economically powerful counties Trump won over Clinton four years ago: Phoenix’s Maricopa County; Dallas-Fort Worth’s Tarrant County; Jacksonville, Florida’s Duval County; New Jersey’s Morris County; and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida’s Pinellas County.
The 41-point gap between the economic output of Trump’s “red counties” and Biden’s “blue counties” this year has also impacted each party’s views on topics like diversity. The Brookings study co-authors highlighted that Biden’s counties tend to be “far more diverse, educated and white-collar professional.” Aggregate non-white, college-educated portions of counties Biden won are between 35 and 36 percent—compared to Trump county economies, which are only between 16 and 25 percent non-white, college graduates.
Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for additional remarks Thursday morning.