In 2012, President Obama won Illinois' 20 electoral votes and 57.6% (3 million of 5.2 million voters) of the Illinois popular vote. Mitt Romney won only 40.7% of the popular vote. President Obama won the popular vote with a whopping 16.9% margin.
Densely populated Cook County, which includes Chicago, turned out 2 million voters, and Obama won 74% of those popular votes. Cook County is solidly navy blue, but even so, there is a rich history of Democrats' putting a thumb on the scale, which is a nice Midwestern way of saying we've been known to cheat.
This year looks very different. It's almost certain that Hillary Clinton will win Illinois' 20 electoral votes, but it is likely her margin of the popular vote will be much narrower than Obama's in 2012.
Many college educated women in Illinois are voting for Trump. In past elections, I've been a left leaning independent. This year, for the first time, I registered as a Republican. I voted early for Donald Trump.
Among my college educated circle of women friends, 80% of (46) white women and 55% of (18) non-white women are for Trump. Yes, it is a small unscientific sample; I have more white than non-white women friends, and I ran out of time to ask more people. But the sentiment is wildly different than in 2012 when most voted Democrat.
It doesn't help Democrats that Illinois Obamacare premiums for 2017 soared 44-55% depending on the plan, but that isn't the key issue for voters with whom I spoke. We like Trump's plan for the economy, job growth, trade policy, position on illegal immigration and plan for background checks for new legal immigrants.
Sky High Unemployment and Soaring Crime
The chiefly black South Side of Chicago is in a Depression. The problems have persisted for years and have grown worse. ("Third World America 2012: A Country at War with Itself") In January 2016, the Chicago Tribune reported that "nearly half of young black men in Chicago are neither in school nor working."
Many want change. In September, attorney Brunell Donald-Kyei made a passionate case on WGN to explain why after twenty years of voting Democrat, she switched parties and became Vice-Chair Of Diversity Outreach for the National Diversity Coalition for Donald Trump. (I do not know Ms. Donald-Kyei, and she was not part of my women's voter sample mentioned above):
"I voted for Barack Obama when he said when he was gonna bring hope and change and yes we can and no we didn't. The jobs didn't come, the better schools didn't come, the investment in our communities did not come..national security ....our borders are open. We're not safe... We're Americans, we're Americans first. America first."
She added that Trump's message resonates: "Democrats care about the inner city when it's election time. After election time, what do you get? Zero."
The number one cause of death of young black men in Chicago is lead poisoning. According to Second City Cop, overall October statistics are grim and climbing:
October 2014: 39 dead, 215 wounded
October 2015: 31 dead, 203 wounded
October 2016: 79 killed 348 wounded
Chicago had an October surprise, and it is deeply unpleasant. What is not a surprise is that many of us are voting for Donald Trump and we're highly motivated.
Motivated to Vote for Trump
Why does the Republican popular vote matter in a blue state, even if that isn't how we elect our president? A higher percentage of the Illinois popular vote contributes to a greater margin of the popular vote nationally. Popular support is important to solidify the legitimacy of the presidency. Every vote matters, and this year, many former Democrats are highly motivated to vote and show their support for the man we want to be our president, Donald Trump.