States That Shifted to Biden in 2020

Guess the five states where Trump won the electoral vote in 2016, but Biden won in 2020.
No electoral votes shifted in the other direction, from Democrat to Republican
Quiz by Jerry928
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Last updated: November 27, 2020
First submittedNovember 7, 2020
Times taken10,028
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State
Arizona
Georgia
Michigan
Pennsylvania
Wisconsin
+70
Level ∞
Nov 27, 2020
Comments of a partisan nature such as "the party I didn't vote for is terrible, blah blah blah" will be deleted and could result in a ban. Even though we occasionally feature political quizzes, JetPunk is not meant to be a political discussion site. We are committed to non-partisan and non-toxic quizzery.
+20
Level 61
Nov 27, 2020
easiest five points ever
+9
Level 71
Dec 19, 2020
Have you tried the Seven Continents Quiz?
+6
Level 80
Nov 27, 2020
First four were easy, but for some reason I blanked on Wisconsin. :-(
+1
Level 56
Jan 21, 2021
Me too! I don't know why though, it seemed pretty obvious looking back on it. Still got it at the last moment.
+6
Level 54
Nov 27, 2020
Why do all the electoral seats of a particular state are added to one party's tally , instead of counting the total number of seats they actually won?
+9
Level 75
Nov 27, 2020
I'm not sure why they do this, but I think it's something each state chose to do, and there are two which, I think, split their electoral college votes based on who wins each district.

Then again, the American electoral system has always seem unnecesarily complicated to me.

+11
Level 79
Nov 29, 2020
Yup, Nebraska and Maine if I remember correctly
+4
Level 71
Dec 18, 2020
The 2nd congressional district of Maine went for Trump, while the 2 statewide electoral votes and 1st district went for Biden. In Nebraska the 2nd congressional district went for Biden, while the 2 statewide electoral votes plus the 1st and 3rd district went for Trump.
+6
Level 65
Dec 18, 2020
Some states have considered and are considering proposals to pledge all their delegates to the candidate that wins the national popular vote, which is a nice idea, but it won't work unless all the most populous states agree to do it. If, say, New York alone pledges its 29 votes to the popular vote winner and the Republican wins the popular vote, the election is over. But if New York alone pledges its 29 votes to the winner and the Democrat wins the popular vote, New York's decision makes no practical difference because its electoral votes always go to the Democrats anyway, so the election is still very much up for grabs. You'd really need swing states (like the ones in this quiz) to endorse this idea to make it viable.
+3
Level 65
Dec 18, 2020
There's a chance that it'll happen, but it might take a while. For example, Pennsylvania (my state!) was probably THE battleground state in this year's election, and there's a bill for the plan under consideration here. I'm not sure if it'll pass because both legislative houses are Republican-controlled now and Republicans tend to favor the Electoral College (which is a fact, not a partisan opinion, for the record), but I still think it's not completely out-of-reach, especially if one of the chambers goes blue in the future. It seems that Ohio and Texas, 2 populous and somewhat swingy states, are also considering it. Given some of the challenges ahead, I don't expect it to come to fruition by the time of the next election, but hopefully in the next decade.
+3
Level 73
Dec 19, 2020
If Texas shifts to a solidly blue state, the Electoral College will be done away with. Republicans will realize they won't win without the 30-something votes Texas will supply (the current number will change once census figures are tallied) and will realize that there are millions of Republican voters in solidly blue states such as New York, California, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, and Maryland.
+2
Level 65
Dec 20, 2020
The Texas flip to blue is a possibility, but I have to imagine there would be a compensation coming from the Rust Belt. If Texas goes blue and the Democrats are empowered to implement their more ambitious social policies, I think we're likely to see several of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and especially Ohio and Florida drift towards "solid red" states.
+4
Level 58
Dec 18, 2020
Because the states themselves are controlled by political parties that can predict the outcome. Let's say you're the Democratic party of California. If change the assignment of electoral votes to be proportional, then you are giving the Republicans ~20 electoral votes, making it much easier for them to win the national tally. But let's say parties shift and Republicans take over California. They will now also have an incentive to keep the current distribution. So any party that controls a state will do its best to shut out the opposing party.

One possible exception might be Georgia, where Republicans control the state but lost the presidential election due to demographic shifts. If Republicans are afraid they will consistently lose Georgia in the future, they may pass a law to switch to proportional electoral vote assignment. That way they can retain some of those votes even after Democrats are a majority in the state, as long as they can hold one of the state houses.

+3
Level 71
Dec 18, 2020
By speaking of "seats," you're conflating different systems. While the number of electoral college votes for each state is the total of its Congressional seats, the presidential and legislative elections are separate. As such, there are no seats in the vote for president.
+2
Level 75
Dec 18, 2020
Every state can choose how they want to do it. Originally, it was more proportionally split for most states, but quickly moved to winner take all. James Madison (father of the constitution) absolutely hated winner take all.

Some states have pushed recently to move to awarding like Nebraska and Maine do (statewide winner takes 2 seats corresponding to senators, the rest go based on congressional district). That might seem more logical, but we tend to see that pushed only in states where the party pushing that approach consistently loses the presidential election statewide, yet has enough control on the state legislature that they've gerrymandered the districts. Wisconsin, for example - often goes "blue", yet heavily gerrymandered so that republicans would be virtually guaranteed at least half the electoral votes regardless of how well their candidate did.

+1
Level 75
Dec 18, 2020
States that reliably go to the same party as that which controls the state legislature and their redistricting process? They never propose splitting their electoral votes.
+2
Level 73
Dec 19, 2020
If that were the case, the party in control of the Statehouse would redistrict all Congressional districts to favor them. We already have gerrymandering but if each state went to this system, we would have much more extreme gerrymandering (this is all assuming that the states don't have some sort of law saying that the districts can't be drawn to favor one party over the another).
+30
Level 68
Nov 27, 2020
Still weird that in 2020, the US hasn't changed the way they vote. Popular vote is the way it should work. If you are a Republican in California you might as well not vote, as you know the Democrates will win. And on top of this, in the Senate where the two Republican representatives of Wyoming (population 570,000) get the same votes as the two Democratic representatives of California (population 39.5 million). I guess this is why the US is considered a Flawed Democracy, and not a Full Democracy..
+1
Level 74
Nov 27, 2020
or maybe that's why the US isn't a democracy but a republic. I don't suppose there would be any convincing you about why the electoral college is useful for the very reason that we aren't a democracy
+27
Level 68
Nov 27, 2020
I think you need to look up what a democracy is. France is also a Republic, are you saying they don't have democracy?
+10
Level 64
Nov 27, 2020
We are both a democracy and a republic. They are not mutually exclusive, and in fact they complement each other very nicely.
+10
Level 65
Dec 18, 2020
Yeah, I don't know why people can't grasp this. It's like saying "Patrick Mahomes isn't a football player. He's a quarterback." The latter is just a specific type of the former.
+17
Level ∞
Dec 18, 2020
It's a very common logical error that comes up all the time on JetPunk. The most famous example is, "tomato isn't a fruit, it's a vegetable". But I've also seen "a mosquito isn't an animal, it's an insect", and many more. Is there a name for this fallacy? It seems to be widespread among the population.

To be fair to @esb219, I think what they were saying is that the United States was never intended to be a direct democracy. In fact, until the 17th Amendment, people didn't even directly vote for U.S. Senators, who were instead chosen by state legislatures. The founders wanted some level of indirection. They didn't want people to, for example, be able to vote themselves money from the state coffers.

+3
Level 62
Dec 18, 2020
I believe it's a false dilemma, but it's not completely the same as the textbook meaning of it.
+6
Level 71
Dec 18, 2020
Democracy is better approached as an "extent-to-which," rather than a "yes-or-no" question. Every society has democratic and counter-democratic forces. The ongoing struggles between them determine the levels and types of influence exerted by broad publics over governments and, by extension, states.
+2
Level 61
Dec 18, 2020
@MrHoef, perhaps you are thinking of a false dichotomy
+3
Level 67
Nov 27, 2020
It is just a kind of "never change a running system" thing. Most of the modern states were reborn in the last century from collapsing states and thus seeked for constitutions which are more resilient. The USA never got this "chance" to get reborn. But as for every empire in history, this is only a question of when and not of if...
+14
Level 74
Nov 27, 2020
I couldn't agree more. One interesting and nice side-effect of New Zealand changing its electoral system in 1996 from the British winner-takes-all to the German proportional system is that suddenly every vote in every part of the country matters. Previously parties ignored the safe red and blue areas, and focussed their advertising blitzes on the close seats that always decided each election. Now with the national vote total being all that matters to calculate national seats total, advertising is spread evenly and sanely across the country. By the way I worked for 4 weeks as a paid electoral official at the latest NZ national elections, in October 2020, managing an advance voting place for two weeks beforehand, then for two weeks afterward at headquarters looking for dual voters (illegal casters of a second vote). Great to discover how our system is so bullet-proof and resilient against fraud.
+11
Level 65
Dec 18, 2020
This is exactly right. Voter engagement and participation should be priority #1. As it stands now, a Republican voter in New York and a Democratic voter in Mississippi have no reason to vote in the presidential election, and the presidential candidates feel no need to tailor their messages to Massachusetts or Oklahoma. It's all about 12 states, and everyone else is marginalized. Whatever system we have in place should encourage rather than discourage participation.
+5
Level 65
Dec 18, 2020
Agreed. Randall Monroe (the xkcd guy) came out with a great cartoon map a few days ago that perhaps sums up the American electoral system better than any political analyst can. If you hover over the map, you can see that he points out that California has more Trump voters than Texas, Texas has more Biden voters than New York, etc. People often talk about how abolishing the Electoral College would favor the Democrats... and admittedly it might to a certain extent since Democrats tend to win the popular vote. However, it also ensures that all people, both Democrats and Republicans, have their voices heard. I imagine if the EC was abolished, neither party would be able to rely on solidly blue/red states, and both would have to align their platforms more toward the will of the people. Also, as jmellor mentioned it would probably motivate people to turn out more, which our democracy sorely needs.
+1
Level ∞
Dec 18, 2020
I find arguments for abolishing (or preserving) the Electoral College to be self-serving. Pretty much everyone who wants to get rid of it is a Democrat. And everyone who wants to keep it is a Republican. No doubt if the situation were reversed, it would be the Republicans calling for abolition and the Democrats muttering something about state's rights.

It's very similar to how Democrats were all about the sacred rights of the filibuster until they were in the majority and then the filibuster was undemocratic, etc...

Not that the Republicans are any better. The only unifying principle of both parties is their naked efforts to gain power, employing any arguments they think will stick.

+2
Level ∞
Dec 18, 2020
One thing that I do worry about is "ratchet" effects. This is when one party gains a majority and then uses that majority to change the rules of the game, thus ensuring perpetual dominance.

This is how Viktor Orbán made Hungary essentially a single-party state, while not doing anything illegal.

It's also why issues such as gerrymandering and court packing are so terrifying. It could eventually lead to a situation where one party controls everything, and there is almost no way for them to be legally voted out of power. My personal belief is this: "be wary of changing long established customs".

+6
Level 65
Dec 18, 2020
With respect Quizmaster, I doubt abolishing the EC would turn America into a one-party state, or even a state where Democrats are significantly more powerful. For one, the Senate would still exist, and the Senate essentially gives more power to small states which tend to lean Republican. Additionally, parties change. We saw this election that Republicans have made serious inroads with blue-collar and Hispanic voters. If Republicans are too unpopular to win a majority of the vote, they'll just have to change their messaging to be more in line with what Americans want, which would, if anything, improve democracy.

And, at the end of the day, America isn't Hungary. Hungary suddenly became a democracy 30 years ago, while America's been a mostly stable republic gradually transitioning toward more democracy for over 2 centuries. As flawed as American democracy is, it would be incredibly difficult to take it down.

+5
Level 65
Dec 18, 2020
Court-packing is a different matter. That's blatantly political and really doesn't do anything to improve American democracy or help the public. Getting rid of the EC, or at least making the EC a proportional system, DOES improve American democracy in my opinion.

(For the record, I'm trying to keep this non-partisan as possible, but if you think my comments need to be deleted, I understand).

+2
Level ∞
Dec 18, 2020
I agree that the EC is not an ideal system if we were starting from scratch. But if only one party is advocating for changing a long-established custom, skepticism is warranted. If Republicans stood to gain by abolishing the EC, then no doubt they would be all for it, and Democrats would be against it. Both parties are cynical, and their arguments are worth very little. In any case, it doesn't really matter since it's in the Constitution, and there's no way 3/4 of states would ratify an amendment.
+4
Level 65
Dec 18, 2020
Yeah, that's fair. Personally, I think my dislike for the EC outweighs my concerns about the potential political consequences of it. Still, I hope that, if it happens in the future, it's a bipartisan measure made to strengthen American democracy instead of a political maneuver (although in the current environment, there's no way this is going to happen).
+5
Level 73
Dec 19, 2020
I don't think the US would ever get to be a one-party system. The House and Senate still exist and there are still some areas that lean liberal and others that lean conservative. There are also a lot of moderates who would vote for either party, if the parties could move more central. If we didn't have the EC, the campaigns would take place all over the country for president, and candidates would have to appeal to more than just the die-hard party followers in certain states since every vote would count. Right-leaning moderates in California are a lot different from ultra-conservatives in Alabama, likewise left-leaning moderates in Texas are different from ultra-liberals in New York. Getting rid of the EC would hopefully move the US back to the point where the parties would actually have to work together.
+5
Level 65
Dec 20, 2020
Whether an argument is self-serving doesn't affect the validity of the argument itself though. I'm liberal and I'm for abolishing the EC, but I really believe in my heart that voter engagement should always be priority #1. Some things are more important than partisanship. And as I mentioned somewhere else here, the compensation that the Senate provides to smaller states is more than enough to level the playing field. That argument might be self-serving, but it's also true.
+4
Level 74
Dec 23, 2020
To Mr Quizmaster: I don't get a vote in the US elections, so I don't think that my belief that the president should be decided by whoever gets most votes is "self-serving". It's just that it's plain ridiculous that any candidate in any election that gets the second-highest number of votes can be declared the winner. It's doubly ridiculous that this applies to just a single election, that of the most important position in the land.
+3
Level 71
Nov 27, 2020
That is exactly why the Founding Fathers did it that way. The states with a tiny population will at least have an equal chance in the senate to get bills passed. Do you want 3 or 4 states to decide the presidential election every four years ? I bet if the republicans were the majority in population, you would be in favor of the electoral college.
+12
Level 65
Dec 18, 2020
The Senate vote has nothing to do with the presidential vote. Wyoming's 600,000 residents have as much representation in the Senate as California's 40 million residents. That's kind of insane, but it's also the protection for smaller states to which you're referring. The practical effect of this now is that the Republican "majority" in the Senate has represented a minority of American citizens for quite some time, because if you add North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Nebraska, and Idaho together, you get seven million people represented by ten Republican senators. If you take New Jersey alone, you get nine million people represented by two Democratic senators. That's plenty of protection for smaller states. Extending this logic to the presidency makes no sense, because the president is the same for everyone in the Union, so every vote should count the same.
+7
Level 59
Dec 18, 2020
One false argument is always that large, traditionally Democrat, cities would always decide the Presidency without the EC. This is mathematically impossible of course but people forget that. The roots of the EC are racist- it was set up, in part, to appease slave owning states who had large populations of non-voting Blacks. The racist roots alone, aside from all of the other issues, are reason to abolish the EC.
+5
Level 69
Dec 18, 2020
It would take more than 3 or 4 states to determine an election if by popular vote. Just for argument's sake, say all residents of the US were registered voters. (I know they aren't, but the percentage of residents in any given state are about the same as any other.) Plus there was 100% voter turnout. OK, that's approximately 330,000,000 votes cast for president, so it takes 165,000,001 votes to win. Here are the breakdowns of the top states by population (rounded):

CA- 39.5 million

TX- 29.0 million

FL- 21.5 million

NY- 19.5 million

PA- 12.8 million

IL- 12.7 million

OH-11.7 million

GA- 10.6 million

NC- 10.4 million

So as you can see, it would take the top 9 states and almost 3/4 of NC all voting 100% for the same candidate to control the election. I'm not suggesting doing away with the EC but those who advocate keeping it needs a better argument than the usual "CA & NY would outvote the rest of the states. And in these top 10 states, one is solid red, 3 solid blue and the others mixed.

+4
Level 69
Dec 18, 2020
"Do you want 3 or 4 states to decide the presidential election every four years ?"
But that's how it works now. Every Presidential race comes down to a small handful of 3-5 swing states.
+4
Level 73
Dec 19, 2020
This year nobody cared about either Dakota, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana, New England, New Jersey, New York, the entire west coast, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas, Delaware, Missouri, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii, Alaska, Colorado, South Carolina, DC, or Wyoming. All of these states were safe for one party. Iowa, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, and Florida were semi-competitive. Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Georgia are what ended up deciding the election. That is maybe 11 of the 51 entities that have electoral votes that really mattered. In reality, in was more like 8 that decided the election. I would say that having nine states that have about 51% of the population pick the winner would represent what a majority of Americans want. The Dakotas, Kansas, and Wyoming might have a lot of land, but cows and corn can't vote. LA might not have a lot of land, but people can vote.
+1
Level 80
Dec 18, 2020
Because a good idea is a good idea forever. (With apologies to David Brent.)
+3
Level 27
Dec 18, 2020
Just saying that Trump still would have lost the last 2 elections if it were popular vote.
+6
Level 66
Nov 27, 2020
I think a system similar to Maine and Nebraska will be better, which to help the balance of the states and more considering the popular vote.
+6
Level 61
Dec 18, 2020
It has been suggested that it might be just as bad, because electoral districts are also not a good reflection of their population because of gerrymandering. What would be wrong with just letting the winner of the popular vote become President?
+2
Level 66
Dec 18, 2020
I thought so as well but it seems that, if we were to use that method, not only would have Biden lost this election, but Romney would have beaten Obama in 2012. Because of the way that system works, it's heavily favorable towards the GOP. Safe blue states like Cali and NY lose a lot of votes from more rural districts, and they are unable to win them back in the less populated, usually repiblican states (which are still over-represented in this system because of the two extra votes every state awards to the state-wide winner, regardless of the state's population).
+3
Level 52
Dec 18, 2020
What if we did something similar, except instead of using district lines that could be gerrymandered, delegate based on the percentage of votes in each state (if state A has 10 electoral votes & is 60% D & 40% R, give 6 votes to D and 4 to R)
+1
Level 61
Jan 9, 2021
Sure, or, hear me out, why not let the person who gets the most people to vote for them be president? Simplicity is not always bad.
+3
Level 78
Nov 27, 2020
Easy after looking at John "this is why election is fun" King for five days.
+2
Level 50
Nov 27, 2020
100%!
+13
Level 84
Nov 27, 2020
Very US centric. Why no quiz on which of Burundi's 18 provinces went for Nkurunziza in 2015?
+4
Level 74
Nov 27, 2020
I'll leave that one for you to make. Great quiz suggestion :)
+3
Level 72
Nov 28, 2020
Few years ago I applied the electoral system of my country (Spain) to the 2016 US election. And with that system (D'Hondt mehtod) there was a tie between Clinton and Trump, so I think it was in Texas or California Johnson would have gotten a couple electors that would decide the outcome. So what would have been the most democratic? Having a winner with 3 milllion less of votes of other one? Having all the decision power of someone with barely 3% of votes? Having a winner with 48% of votes but less of 50% of states? I don't know (if I knew, I'd made a method with my name!!!)
+7
Level 61
Dec 7, 2020
And one vote in Nebraska-2...
+4
Level 60
Dec 14, 2020
Nebraska's second congressional district also shifted to Biden.
+2
Level 74
Dec 15, 2020
It did, but a plurality of Nebraska's electoral vote still went to Trump.
+6
Level 65
Dec 18, 2020
"Joemaha" was a gem overshadowed by the rest of the circus. But it's such a good name.
+3
Level 74
Dec 18, 2020
I nearly forgot Arizona! It already feels like the election happened over two years ago!
+13
Level 68
Dec 18, 2020
The party I didn't vote for is terrible, blah blah blah!!!
+2
Level 46
Dec 19, 2020
Best comment on this site!
+2
Level 44
Dec 19, 2020
The celebration I did not ballot for is bad, yak yak yak
+2
Level 65
Dec 19, 2020
Ban him QM!!!
+1
Level 46
Dec 20, 2020
He did it just to replicate the words QM said is gonna get u banned. He didn't actually mean it.
+5
Level 65
Dec 20, 2020
I think the comments on this site are markedly more civil than elsewhere on the internet. There is definitely some level of partisan bickering, but the overall vibe is a lot more measured and respectful than the usual fare, *and* people here tend to know what they're talking about, or at least have enough of an understanding of issues to make the conversation fruitful.
+1
Level 57
Dec 21, 2020
Imagine this: voting for national political leadership hasn't been done in a couple thousand years. Your citizens are spread out across 1,500 miles of mostly wilderness, with no road to connect the southernmost major cities with the capital in the north. Plastics don't exist. Ships go down all the time in November storms.

Would you really propose that 1 million paper ballots be sent to be counted (by hand) in some nationally central location? Wouldn't it be easier to just send one person who can vote on behalf of the winner of your region's vote?

In our modern world, direct democracy is far more practical. When this stuff was invented, not so much. To all the places with wonderful voting systems that don't have any flaws or flawed outcomes: you're welcome.