Historian and Author Tom Perry's thoughts on history and anything that comes to mind.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Voting For President in Patrick County Virginia


                When was the last time a Democratic Presidential Candidate won Patrick County?

                It might surprise some to know that it was Jimmy Carter in 1976 and he just barely won the county beating President Gerald Ford 2,740 to 2, 349 out of 5,377 votes cast in the bicentennial year of our nation. I could not vote in that election, but I started voting in the next election in 1980. I am 5-4 voting for winning candidates since then and with the recent primary election I did a little research just for fun to see historically how my home county has voted in my voting lifetime and a little beyond. 

             For most of my lifetime, Virginia has been a sure thing usually for the most conservative candidate until Barrack Obama changed the scenario winning Virginia in 2008 and 2012, but not Patrick County, where got shellacked 11,113 to 5,296 in those two elections. The President should not feel bad about it though because in my lifetime only two Democrats have won The Free State of Patrick, Carter as previously mentioned and Lyndon Johnson, I believe, in 1964.

                It really surprised me when Vice-President Joe Biden showed up in the county seat to spend time at the Coffee Break during the last election because he knew his ticket had no chance of winning Patrick County. Somethings are predictable and that is often elections. For instance, it is almost impossible for a Republican candidate to win the office without winning the state of Ohio. It is just something that historically always happens.

                You can go back to study all this thanks to the internet and the Virginia Board of Elections website where you can look at past elections as a way to predict future elections. I can almost guarantee the reader that the Republican candidate no matter who he is will get around 5,500 votes and the Democrat candidate no matter who she is will get around 2,500 out of around 8,250 votes. Virginia will be decided in 2016 probably in one county in Northern Virginia and perhaps another county in the Tidewater as their populations are large and can swing either way depending on the circumstances.

             This past week the primary unusual for us in that our vote really does matter deciding the candidate for either party and you can vote in either.  Which means as a Republican you could have “Felt the Bern” and voted for the socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to sabotage Hillary Clinton. A Democrat could have voted for any of the GOP candidates to get the easiest to defeat in November. Either way you can make a difference in Virginia this year.

                I noticed that the Republican primary got 2, 517 voters, while the Democrats only had 739 voters, which is not a good sign for the latter in November in Patrick County. In Virginia, over one million voted Republican with almost 800,000 voting Democratic.

                Over the years, I have studied the voting patterns of Patrick County just for fun. Usually, the most conservative precincts are in the Dan River District close to very Republican Carroll County to the west. Usually, Patrick Springs is the most liberal precinct by who receives votes.

                Presidential Candidates who won Patrick County since I started voting are Reagan in 1980 (4297 to 2382 for Carter with John Anderson getting 105) and 1984, where he won the most lopsided Electoral College victory in history. Both George Bushes won the county in 1988, 1992, 2000, and 2004. Romney and McCain beat President Obama in 2008 and 2012. Bob Dole beat Bill Clinton in 1996 (3547 to 2301), which might surprise some.

Virginia voted for Nixon three times 1968, 1972, and 1960. “I Like Ike” was the familiar refrain in Virginia in the 1950s, but before then Virginia was part of the solid South going for Truman and Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940s and 1930s reflecting, no doubt, the influence of the Byrd Democratic Party machine.

We are Democratic Republic and we decide who is President by way of the Electoral College, which means each state gets a number of electors (13 in 2016), which I believe is based on the number in the House of Representatives, based on population and Senators (two each for the state) in the U. S. Congress.

                Now, with the 2016 election coming in November, there is a scenario where it could come down to Virginia. I went to the website www.270towin.com and it is possible that the Democrats could have 263 electoral college votes and the Republicans could have 262 votes with only the 13 votes of Virginia left to decide who is the next President of the United States. While there is little doubt that Patrick County will go for the Republican, Virginia might not. So, your vote matters in 2016 if you live in Virginia. Don’t let your future be decided by someone else voting when you can make that decision yourself. VOTE!



Here is more information about the Electoral College


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