Well, that was a race to remember. After an election night where it looked like President Donald J. Trump had actually won, defying polls and predictions again, mail-in ballots slowly but surely delivered the race for former Vice President Joe Biden, now president-elect. Here in Connecticut, though, the race was never up in the air.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won over a million votes in Connecticut, which marks the first time in history that a presidential ticket has accomplished that feat. Turnout was a staggering 80%, according to unofficial numbers from the Secretary of the State.
Percentage-wise, Biden’s 59.14% of the vote fell short of the 60.59% won by Barack Obama in 2008, though it’s still an impressive win by any standards.
Connecticut hasn’t voted for a Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988. More and more, the values of the national Republican Party seem out of step with Connecticut’s, which may be why, on a night that saw Democrats fail to capture state legislatures and seats in Congress that they thought were within reach, Democrats actually expanded their majorities in Connecticut’s General Assembly.
State House of Representatives 2020
State Senate 2020
As you can see, places where Democrats did well in the presidential election are also places where they did well in other races. The maps of the legislative races clearly show where the voting habits of residents are shifting.
Democrats are gaining in the Farmington Valley and lower Fairfield County, as they have been for the past decade and more, while Republicans are starting to expand their control in eastern Connecticut.
A look at the Presidential elections from 2004 to 2020:
Connecticut did see a red shift in 2016, which led to a tied state senate and a much narrower margin for Democrats in the house of representatives. Democrats have since made up that ground and more. Many of the towns that flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016 flipped back in 2020—though not all. Communities in eastern Connecticut like Voluntown, Putnam, Killingly, and North Stonington that voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 flipped to Trump in 2016 and stayed there.
Lower Fairfield County went in the opposite direction. Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Ridgefield, and Redding all voted for Romney. They then voted for Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020. And they didn’t just deliver squeakers for Biden; margins of victory for the Democrats ranged from 10% to over 30%. The ancestral home of Connecticut Republicans has become deep blue.
Connecticut’s cities once again delivered huge numbers of votes for Democrats, cementing their place as the state’s blue wall. Black voters in the cities have long been the party’s backbone, despite the Democratic Party largely nominating white, suburban candidates for statewide office. Perhaps, as Black voters nationwide take rightful credit for being the driving force behind ousting Donald Trump, Connecticut Democrats will finally clear their way to power here.
Voting by mail was clearly a massive success in the state this election. Hopefully we’ll be able to vote on an amendment to our constitution in 2022 that would let everyone vote by mail in every election. It’s hard to argue with 80% turnout; anything that makes voting easier will be a huge benefit to democracy in our state.
And now, we turn our attention from the election to all the problems we’ve been putting aside including systemic racism, crumbling infrastructure, and, of course, the coronavirus. Let’s hope this election helps us deal with all of those.
Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.
The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.