Economic Divide Between U.S. Political Parties Grew in 2020 Vote

(Bloomberg) — The results of last week’s presidential election showed a widening partisan and economic divide between urban and rural America.

President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in 477 U.S. counties encompasses 70% of America’s economic output, whereas President Donald Trump’s base of 2,497 counties represents less than a third of the economy, according to a Brookings Institution analysis released Tuesday.

In 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won counties representing 64% of economic output whereas Trump’s accounted for just over a third.

“The problem — as we have witnessed over the past decade and are likely to continue seeing — is not only that Democrats and Republicans disagree on issues of culture, identity, and power, but that they represent radically different swaths of the economy,” researchers Mark Muro, Eli Byerly Duke, Yang You and Robert Maxim (NASDAQ:) wrote.

Democratic voters tend to live in diverse economic centers. They are often college-educated and in jobs that rely on investment in research and development, technology and services exports, the authors wrote. Meantime, the Republican base resides in large part in more rural areas and smaller towns and is often more dependent on “traditional” industries for employment.

Almost all of the counties with the largest economies voted for Biden, including a few Clinton lost in 2016 such as Maricopa County in Arizona, Duval County in Florida and Tarrant County in Texas. The counties with the biggest economies to go for Trump in 2020 were Nassau and Suffolk on New York’s Long Island.

“This economic rift that persists in dividing the nation is a problem because it underscores the near-certainty of both continued clashes between the political parties and continued alienation and misunderstandings,” the authors wrote.

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