Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ever hear of Vigo County Indiana? You can bet Clinton and Trump have

By Kevin “Coach” Collins

Some political “experts” insist “Bellwether” counties like Vigo, Indiana aren’t “bellwether” counties but just statistical coincidences.

“After all, what can an unsophisticated bunch of Midwestern hay seeds know about politics that we don’t know?” they might smugly suggest.   

The ironic answer to that question is: Not much, except who will win the presidency every four years.

What makes Vigo County so unique is that since 1888 the voters there have voted for the winner of each presidential election, except in 1908 and 1952. That means they have been right 14 elections in a row and 29 of the past 31 elections for an astounding 93.5% accuracy rate.  

Because of this remarkable record, sent a reporter to Vigo County last summer where he remained until after the November local election. This assignment was probably to prove that Hillary Clinton was on her way to a resounding victory over Jeb Bush. There really was little reason to think otherwise.

The media was laughing at Donald Trump who despite a late start had just pulled ahead of Jeb Bush to lead the Republican pack, 18% to 15%. No one outside of Vigo County and die hard Trump supporters around the county had any reason to doubt that it would be Bush vs Clinton II.

The reporter lived in Vigo for several months and had difficulty finding anyone who was not voting for Trump.

Despite Vigo’s voter registration numbers showing Republicans with only about 10,000 voters, Democrats with about 30,000 and independents with 40,000 voters, Trump was always the topic of political conversations. The most lasting memory the reporter came away with was of the County Republican Chairman sitting in his Party’s booth at the County Fair; it was just three weeks after Trump’s June 16th announcement and the only candidate whose buttons, bumper stickers and yards signs people wanted was Donald Trump.

Ten months later in the May 3rd Indiana primary which welcomed independent voters, Trump won Vigo County with 63% of the vote in a multi-candidate field, even while fighting a Republican establishment that worked tirelessly against him.

This accomplishment is especially important because Indiana law unconstitutionally says independent voters “…can only choose the primary ballot of the party who received a majority of their votes in the previous general election, and voter records are kept as public information.”

Since this regulation virtually forces independent voters to vote in the Democrat primary it is indeed significant that Trump got 8,539 votes in Vigo, besting Sanders’ 7434 and Clinton’s 6042.

Vigo County: Remember that name. 

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