Lost Cause: Seeing America through the losing candidates


Some people have a knack for picking a winner, while others...not so much. Following the 2016 presidential election, ProPublica's Lena Groeger decided to explore the other side of history - one viewed through the lens of the losers.To this end, she mapped the counties that supported the losing candidate in every presidential election since 1828.


Image: ProPublica.

"The maps, stripped of party colors, trace the history of American politics from underneath it. Through them we can explore a geography of opposition, where the prevailing opinion was rejected, and where resentment was birthed or fostered. They locate the disgruntled and disaffected. They presage conflict and even civil war," she explains.

"Looking at these maps you can see the impact of historical trends: urbanization, party realignment, the emancipation of slaves and civil rights. You can see how red and blue states have rarely been that homogenous. You can even see how geological features created over millions of years ago still influence our politics today."


Image: ProPublica.

The project leverages election data from Frédéric Salmon, and mapping data from the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, National Historical Geographic Information System, U.S. Census TIGER/Line Shapefiles and U.S. Census Cartographic Boundary Shapefiles.

Explore the Lost Cause project here.