Liberal bubble though it may be, there are more Trump voters in our midst than we may think here in SF.
As the data from this year's election is getting finalized, President Trump's vote count in San Francisco has surprisingly grown in the two weeks since election day. And in a testament to something — super-high voter turnout, the power of an incumbent president, the quiet racism that lurks in all corners of America — there was even higher turnout for Trump in SF this year than there was in 2016. A grand total of 56,321 voters went for Trump in this, one of the most liberal cities in the U.S. — a full 18,633 more than voted for him four years ago, as the Chronicle reports.
That vote number represents 10.75% of registered voters in San Francisco.
San Francisco is a long way from turning red, despite what some progressives may cry every election season — and despite the notion that the city's moderate Democrats in City Hall are somehow right-wing. But it's easy to assume that Trump supporters in the city only number a small handful of people who are the same people who write ALL-CAPS arguments against every tax proposal in the city's election brochures.
But similar to how Trump found surprisingly high support among Latinx voters in Texas and elsewhere — despite having done his damndest to blow racist dog whistles about black and brown people as threats to white suburbia for the past four years — Trump has some surprisingly high support in working-class neighborhoods in San Francisco.
The highest rate of Trump voters in the city this year was in Visitacion Valley, as SFGate noted last week, with the president getting 23.56% of the vote there. Just behind that neighborhood was Lake Merced and Portola, where Trump voters also numbered over 20% of those who turned out this year. And there were a surprisingly high number of Trump votes coming from the Sunset and Excelsior districts as well.
One famous part of the city gave him less than 3.5% of its share. https://t.co/MmtDaJYUWc— SFGATE (@SFGate) November 4, 2020
As Phil Matier notes in his latest column, Trump's take of the SF vote this year was "20,935 more votes than there are registered Republicans in the city, who total 35,386." (About 28% of SF voters have no registered party affiliation.)
California National Republican Committee member Harmeet Dhillon was happy to comment on that fact, saying to the Chronicle, "The numbers you see out of San Francisco demonstrate that the president’s popularity goes beyond the Republican base," and "There are a lot of people in San Francisco who are afraid to publicly support not just President Trump, but any Republican they vote for because of the cancel culture, workplace repercussions, bullying and the like."
Long story short, the power of Trumpism — and the draw of an authoritarian strongman — is not something that every San Franciscan is immune to. And while you might expect some wealthy neighborhoods to go for Trump for tax reasons, or whatever, that's not actually where the biggest Trump turnouts were.
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