Here Are Last Words on 2016 Election: Wyoming Voters Most Powerful in USA

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Welcome to the Cowboy State – home of the most powerful voters in America.

And these voters care a lot about voting too, as record numbers turned out on Nov. 8. Some counties like Laramie, Fremont and Johnson recorded 100 percent turnouts of registered voters. This is amazing in a country where barely half of the eligible voters turned out.

Because we have the smallest population of any state in America, it takes just 187,923 voters in Wyoming to cast a single electoral vote. In California it takes 677,355 voters to generate a single electoral vote.

Some 22 of Wyoming’s 23 counties voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. The only exception was Teton County. It has been estimated that 84 percent of the counties in the country voted for Trump. This includes a lot of empty space. Heavily populated counties in the big cities and on the coasts voted big for Hillary but under laws established by our constitution, the winner is declared by getting to 270 electoral votes first. Trump did that easily. It was a runaway.

Trump got over two-thirds of the votes cast in Wyoming, the highest percent of any of the 50 states,

So why did Trump win the national election?

Just days after the national election, two smart journalists gave a keynote speech to Gov. Matt Mead’s Wyoming Business Forum on what they thought was the primary reason for why Hillary lost.

James Fallows and his wife described the Trump voters they had met across the country. They had been working for three years traveling the country talking to folks in America’s small cities and towns.

It was a not just a bunch of gun-toting, beer belly white guys coming out of the woodwork to vote for Trump, they explained. What they found was that small town people were all satisfied with their local and state governments but were leery and distrustful of the national government.

The Fallows felt this Trump vote reflected a pent-up anger against the national establishment that caused millions of people to cast votes for Trump. Hillary represented what was wrong back in Washington, D. C. and these citizens were ready for something different, even if it was as crazy as the Trump candidacy.

Two issues that did not get much press seemed to me to cause discomfort for people who were considering voting for Hillary Clinton.

The first was the emphasis on Hillary’s support of third-term abortions, where pretty much a live baby is killed by the procedure. This came out in the last debate and Hillary was steadfast in her support for such actions. Trump was not. To a great number of people, abortion is still a dominating issue and that discussion spelled doom for thousands of potential Clinton voters.

The second issue came from another speaker at the Business Forum, writer Mike Allen from the web site Politico.

He said that a tremendous number of people were turned off by President Obama’s emphasis on forcing schools and institutions to create transgender bathrooms. “Some people just felt this was being stuffed down their throats,” he said.

He said the election was so close it was some of these seemingly not so major issues that piled up votes for Trump against Hillary, which spelled her defeat in rural areas. As stated earlier, although not as many people live in these places, their votes still count big, especially in small states like Wyoming.

My last words on the election concern whether journalists can make good political candidates.

I have a little experience here, running in a statewide contest back in 2002 and not faring so well.

In the early part of the 21st Century, the two most powerful editors in Wyoming were Dan Neal of the Casper Star Tribune and D. Reed Eckhardt of the Cheyenne Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Both are amazing men, great writers and champions of good government. And both lost on Nov. 8 in their first tries at public office.

Neal lost a race for State Representative after running a vigorous campaign in Natrona County. Alas, he ran as a Democrat and in most places in Wyoming that spells doom.

In Cheyenne, Eckhardt ran for City Council. It was a spirited race and I thought for sure he would win. Not so. He lost.

Not sure what the lesson here is, if indeed there really is one.

I know for sure that I am never running again. But I hope that these two do.




Check out Bill Sniffin’s columns at www.billsniffin.com. He is a longtime Wyoming journalist from Lander who has written six books. His newest is “Wyoming at 125,” which is now on sale at fine bookstores. His books are available at www.wyomingwonders.com.