Philadelphia Votes, Part 2


After posting that map of Philadelphia’s presidential votes the other day, I wanted to see how much had changed since 2012. So I came up with this:


You’re still looking at a vast sea of blue, but the differences jump out at you. Clinton and Obama both won the city easily, but Obama won it much more thoroughly. Trump won wide swathes of the 45th ward where Obama had carried every single division four years earlier. Trump’s victories in the Northeast were also much deeper and widespread. Even in the dark blue areas of North and West Philly, we can see that Obama was the stronger candidate. Where Clinton had three divisions with 100% of the votes for her, Obama had twenty-seven. The pattern held throughout the area. Clinton didn’t lose much of Obama’s totals, just a handful of votes in each division. But it was enough.

Philadelphia votes


This year, at last, the dream of Republicans in Pennsylvania came true as our swing state finally swung. It wasn’t my dream for 2016, exactly, since I voted for Johnson, but for many who pushed back against the idea that the Commonwealth was a purely Democratic state at the Presidential level, it was gratifying. In fact, according to Nate Silver’s 538 website, Pennsylvania was the tipping point in electing Trump.

Over the weekend, I charted the precinct-level results in Philadelphia, the city Hillary thought would save the state for her. As most observers of the Philly political scene would have expected, Clinton was weakest in the Far Northeast. I was also surprised at Trump’s strength in South Philly and the river wards. Trump’s best division (we call precincts divisions here) was in South Philly, 39-14, where he tallied 70.3% of the vote (it’s the big one in the far south of the 39th ward). Clinton had three divisions in North Philly where the people chose her unanimously (29-07, 29-16, and 32-29,) which I’ve marked with asterisks on the map. There were also two ties, both in the Northeast (64-17 and 66-18).

Most of this is only of interest to my Pennsylvania readers, but I hope you all enjoy the map. You can click on it to zoom in, but the file is pretty big, so it may take a minute.


Philadelphia Maneto


I don’t normally listen to TED talks. Typically, the seem like a lot of hot air. But this one by Roman Mars on the subject of flag design intrigued me, so I took a listen. I’m glad I did because his point, that city flags are horribly designed, is one with which I absolutely agree.

Take a look for yourself, if you like:

Inspired by this, I took a look at the flag of my hometown, Philadelphia:


It’s not the worst you’ll ever see. It has colors in a pattern that most flags don’t replicate, so it’s recognizable. Those colors actually have a purpose, too, being derived from the flag of the first European settlers in the region, the Swedes. So that’s good. But it still has that seal-on-a-bedsheet problem that many state and city flags have. The seal is too small to be recognized from a distance, and has too many components to be easily remembered or drawn by hand.

But what does symbolize our city if not the city seal? Well, what makes Philadelphia unique in American history, even more than the brief colonization by the Swedes, is that it was the largest city founded by Quakers. The religious tolerance of William Penn and his coreligionists drew thousands of settlers from Europe to the city and the surrounding colony of Pennsylvania, making Philadelphia the colonies’ largest city for a time.

The Quakers don’t have any official symbol that I know of, but the American Friends Service Commitee has long been associated with what is informally known as the Quaker Star:


Those colors on a blue and yellow flag would not be easy on the eyes, but the symbol is one that spoke to me as a perfect representation of the city’s Quaker connections. A little tinkering with the color scheme led me to this, with the dark blue of the state flag and the lighter blue of the city flag standing in for the AFSC’s red and black.

Revised Philadelphia flagSo there’s my proposal. Elegant, simple, and symbolic of the city’s storied past. Let’s make it happen, Philadelphia!