WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - They should put up signs on Route 81 and at the Thousand Islands Bridge which read ‘Welcome to Trump Country.’
Election night 2020 proved the north country is not tired of President Trump, not at all.
The numbers will change as mail-in votes are counted next week, and the mail-ins will reduce the margin of victory President Trump ran up in the north country.
No matter. Even if the mail-ins heavily favor Democrats, President Trump still has strong - and apparently growing - support.
Consider this: in 2016, in the three counties of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence, President Trump beat Hillary Clinton 55 to 45 percent.
Last night, President Trump beat Joe Biden by a far greater margin, 65 to 34 percent. Again. that margin will change in Biden’s favor as absentees are counted over the next 10 days, but it can’t change enough to wipe out the underlying strength of the president’s support.
Alexander Cohen, Associate Professor of Political Science at Clarkson University said Wednesday that there are clear signs in the numbers that the north country is moving to the right politically.
St. Lawrence County, for instance, voted twice for President Obama.
“That’s inconceivable now,” he said.
“If you’re in Potsdam or you’re in Canton or you’re in Watertown, you’ll see plenty of Joe Biden signs,” Cohen said.
“But you won’t see them very often once you get out into the rural areas.”
Also, Trump’s most public north country supporter, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, won by an almost identical margin to Trump’s, beating her Democrat opponent 64 to 35 percent. Again, the margin will shrink as absentees are counted, but given that Stefanik got 73,000 more votes than Tedra Cobb, the underlying point remains the same: President Trump and the politicians who support him are popular around here.
“I think she’s ambitious, and she has a future ahead of her,” Cohen said.
“She’s eyeing what that might be, and I think whatever path that is, is going to be loyalty to Trump’s vision of the Republican Party.”
Cohen sees the shift of white men who did not go to college from loyalty to the Democratic Party to the Republicans as key to understanding the strength of President Trump, both in the north country and nationally.
He also believes President Trump’s strength with Latinos is important; “A lot of minorities, when it comes to moral issues, are very much aligned with the Republican Party.”